I love the fall, especially in the Hudson Valley. The sky is blue, the leaves turn from green to brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange and gold, you can pick pumpkins and apples and enjoy the many local farmers markets. Fall is also the season right before winter. Remember that season where the white stuff falls from the sky and it gets so cold out water changes to ice? Yes, that’s winter!
So how do we stay motivated throughout the colder seasons to maintain our healthy lifestyles?
Winter is an ideal time to lose weight as your metabolism naturally speeds up to help keep you warm.
During the warmer weather, it is easy to get physical activity. We work in the garden, go for walks in the evening, bike ride with the family, and spend lots of time outdoors. Unfortunately, when winter rolls around, all we want to do is curl up on the couch in big sweaters and sweatpants with a cup of tea (okay fine, a glass of wine) instead of working out in the cold or dark. If dreary weather makes you lose motivation in fall and winter, you can derail months of healthy habits. So lets fix this and find some tips that can help us stay healthy and motivated during these next few months.
1. BE Positive & Set Goals
If winter weather leaves your motivation to exercise colder than an icicle, heat things up with a new goal. Winter isn’t just about cold weather; it’s a whole new season to start fresh. Embrace this time of year by sitting down and revisiting your goals and then plan out what you’d like to accomplish during the next few months. We’re all so busy that time seems to fly by, which is why it’s important to reflect on our past accomplishments and current goals. It can be anything from losing those last 10 pounds, to running a 5K (yes, you can still run outside in the cold) or even planking for a full 2 minutes, but choose a goal that you really want and that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone to reach it. Setting a realistic goal that you then break down into smaller, achievable action steps is a great way to start. Instead of focusing on simply working out this winter, this type of goal setting allows you to focus on the bigger picture and get what you really want.
2. BE Focused & Listen to Your Body
My little sister (or “princess snooze” as I call her) sets the alarm and has every intention on getting up, however hits snooze every morning! I agree that the gravitational pull of the bed is very strong at 6am, especially when it is cold and dark outside. That’s why you need to remind yourself that everyone’s optimal time to workout is different. Listen to your body. Some of us train more productively in the morning, some at night, some in the afternoon, and others at lunchtime. Just because your friends go for a chilly 5am run doesn’t mean that time is right for you. Try working out at different times of the day, and on different days of the week and you will find out what works for you. Also don’t stress yourself out about all the hype about burning more body fat first thing in the morning because if you don’t workout at all, you won’t burn any fat. Focus on finding a schedule that works for your body clock, and the rest will come.
3. BE Determined
If you’ve missed your workout or ate a whole tub of ice cream (by mistake) don’t throw it all away and continue to binge. Accept that you’ve missed your target and have to work harder to make up for the loss the following day. Staying fit through the winter will keep you looking good and feeling good about yourself. You’ve worked so hard all year so don’t throw it all away during the season of frivolity and food. Stick to your routine as much as possible, eat well and you won’t feel the after effects of a long indulgent holiday season – you’ll be one step ahead when January rolls round too.
I hope these tips help keep you motivated and make your winter exercise approach a little bit more positive and fun. Winter is an ideal time to lose weight as your metabolism naturally speeds up to help keep you warm. Keep moving through winter and you’ll be a step ahead when the warm weather arrives. Keep working toward your winter exercise goals and, when facing tough exercise challenges, smile and say, “I’d love to!”