Winter means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Some have skiing or snowboarding in their sights. Some relish the holiday decorating and shopping. For others, winter highlights include slow cookers full of creamy macaroni and cheese, rich stews, and more buttery mashed potatoes than is decent to talk about. Add in the cold weather and pitch-dark evenings and you’ve got a recipe for some unwelcome winter weight gain.
While it is true that exercising in the winter is not quite as easy as a jaunt down the park path after dinner with the family, staying fit and mindful is possible with a little planning. And, it’s even more important with the tempting influx of baked goods, hot chocolate, family holiday recipes, and ALL THOSE parties. Need some help, pronto? We’ve got our five favorite ways to beat the fall “fluffing” and extra winter weight that you can start practicing . . . . right now.
- Mark your calendars. Yes, for exercise. If you’re normally a pretty busy gal or guy, then it’s inevitable that November and December will be downright nutty. Make a mandatory three-times-a-week date with yourself to meet with your trainer and work out. Be sure to ask your trainer to not let you off the hook easily if you try and cancel!
(Added bonus: keeping regular with your workouts will help keep holiday stress at bay, too!)
- Fill up first. . . Never mind the manners you were taught – DO eat before going to a party. Showing up to a gathering famished pretty much guarantees that you’ll overindulge in the wrong foods (especially if alcohol is involved!). Fill up with satisfying, healthy options such as nuts, avocado, cheese, jerky, or yogurt, before making your entrance. Trust us – saying “no, thank you” to the pecan pie with a full tummy is a whole lot easier.
- . . . then, make the rounds. Where do so many people park themselves at a party? Yep – smack dab next to the food. Depend on “out of sight, out of mind” and force yourself to go mingle a little in other areas NOT within reaching-distance of the queso dip.
- Enjoy what winter has to offer. Have you tried snowshoeing? Cross-country skiing? And when was the last time you tried sledding or snow tubing? Winter sports are an exhilarating, fun way to get your heart pumping. Did you know that snow tubing or sledding (including walking back up the hill) can torch over 400 calories an hour? And that ice skating is a great way to build leg muscles? Also, since lack of sunlight can trigger depressive symptoms, getting a few winter rays can keep your mental outlook healthy, too.
- Mind your cart. Just because you don’t have a blooming garden outside, it’s still smart to mind fill your shopping cart with colorful fruits and vegetables. The hues of dark green and orange that are more prevalent during cold months happen to be great choices at keeping fit and healthy. Ask your trainer for some tips on exciting ways to utilize squash, kale, citrus, carrots, and chard in your daily diet for mood-boosting, health-promoting meals.
With a new winter attitude, and help from your trainer, you CAN make this your healthiest winter yet. Then, come New Year’s, when everyone else is lamenting their winter weight gain, you’ll be so happy that you were mindful of your diet and exercise. Now, get out there and get your WINTER on.