Well, another week is upon and us, and here in Calgary this new week includes rain, rain, and more rain – and even a little bit of snow – in the forecast. As the seasons change from summer to fall (or jump straight to winter!) it’s easy to want to stay cuddled up in a cozy chair wrapped in blanket rather than get geared up for a run or head to the gym. It’s also much easier to snag a piece of warm banana bread or bake some cookies than continue to keep up your vegetable intake for the day! So when the weather’s urging you to stay indoors, how do you get motivated to keep up your fitness and healthy eating?
Here are some tips to start implementing now, before the winter season really hits and your habits slide away…
- Set a goal. What would you like to accomplish physically this winter: Is it maintaining your fitness level that you worked hard to establish all summer long? Is it running a race towards the end of fall, or being prepared to run one just after Christmas? Is it preparing for the holiday season (aka: usual weight gain) by eating healthier now? Just make sure when you set your goal that it’s S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and set within a time frame for best results.
- Make a plan – ahead of time – and stick to it! The most important part of any plan is first of all to have one! Secondly, consistency is key…this cannot be emphasized enough. Real results come from not just one or two days of eating thoughtfully and a workout here and there, but after discipline that eventually becomes habit. The best way to ensure this consistency is to be prepared – have a plan (going back to our S.M.A.R.T. goals above) that you can stick to. Will you work out with a buddy to help you stay consistent? I like to lay my clothes out the night before so I have no other option but to get up and get going with some kind of activity. It’s hard to walk by those clothes without noticing them and thus choose another plan. Be prepared for the possible barriers you know you might experience so that you can combat the temptation to give in to them. If you already have potential solutions in place, you’ll be able to more easily handle the excuses before they hit!
- Try something new. Remember to keep exercise fresh and fun – it doesn’t have to be long, drawn out, and full of moves that you despise! Changing up your activities now and then helps keep your desire to move strong and your enjoyment levels high. Try a new class with a friend at your gym or a more alternative style of fitness – snowshoeing or spinng. Think outside the box and keep challenging your concept of “working out” and what it means to be “fit.” The same goes for food too – the more variety, the better. This is hardest in winter, of course, so keep that variety up as you head into the winter season. After all, variety is the spice of life!
- Give yourself grace & listen to your body. There are some days where your body needs a break or desires a different type of food. Denying your body of the nutrients it wants (yes, sometimes even (healthy) fat and sugar!) and pushing it too far with exercise can bring more harm than that one cookie or than sleeping in and having a rest day. If you miss a workout, that’s okay! Give yourself grace and let it go, but then make conscious choices to stay engaged and thoughtful in your goals and in being healthy and well. That’s what it’s really about, anyway – living life more fully and improving your overall quality of life. It’s great to have goals and a plan, but if you’re not at those goals yet feel stronger, healthier, more energetic, and are a better person to be around, then you’re living right! Grace: we all need to give it, but most of us need to accept it more readily for ourselves rather than criticize, downplay, and discourage our own efforts.
What goals do you have for the fall/winter? Do you have a harder time staying consistent in the winter season too? I think it’s time for me to set some goals, make a plan, and think about being proactive before the winter really sets in, because I’m already feeling the urge to stay curled up all day! Now: about that run for today…I’m outta’ here! 😉 Have a great week – live well and be well, friends!