Now that summer is on its way out, it’s time to starting developing a strategy to stay in shape. Months are colder, you might be less inclined to go outside and you’re going to be bombarded with tasty holiday goodies from now throughout the rest of the year. However, you don’t need to bulk up during the change of seasons like a hibernating bear.
9 Ways to Face the Change of Seasons
Where I live, the temperature has dropped quite a bit. Not only is the cold night air sticking around a bit longer, but now Halloween candy is filling the stores.
While some people try to avoid even the smallest morsel of sugary goodness from Halloween through Christmas, I enjoy it. It’s all about moderating yourself and controlling your urges to binge.
So what can I do to keep up the weight loss and maintain a healthier disposition?
1. Monitor Yourself With MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is a free app that helps you track all the foods you eat. It’s this tool that has helped me lose more than 50 pounds so far without drastically changing my diet. When I eat something, I simply record it in the app and it tracks sugars, carbs and calories.
The point of the app is to keep your stats in the green. If you’ve consumed too much, MyFitnessPal will show red numbers. It’s fairly easy to use and the free version is worth the install. Just make sure you stay in your “budget” of calories when looking at those grains of snacks.
2. Portion Control
MyFitnessPal can help you monitor intake, but it’s up to you to make sure you’re eating proper portions. For instance, an entire $5 bag of Halloween candy is not a single serving. Eat realistic portions of food including meats, fruits, veggies and snacks.
Properly portioning out my food has made the greatest impact for weight loss. I still eat pizza, but I limit myself to just two slices instead of nearly 3/4 of the pie as I had before. The best thing is that I really don’t miss the overeating. Especially since it was causing problems like rotten egg burps.
3. Change Your Mindset About Outdoor Chores
I am excited about getting snow. It gives me a chance to see how many calories I can burn by shoveling. Same goes for raking leaves and other outdoor chores to prepare the home for the winter. You need to change your mindset about chores and take advantage of the workout rather than dreading it.
Keeping the home clean also improves your mental health. Think of it this way, mess causes stress especially during certain seasons. The more cluttered and messy the home is, the harder it is for you to relax and feel comfortable. In other words, cleaning house is good for the mind and body.
4. Get Out and Play
In many ways, outdoor activities are more conducive to fitness during the winter. For one thing, you wear far more clothing which restricts movement. This will affect muscle development when you’re moving, skiing or simply make a snowman in the front yard.
I used to love playing football in the snow with my friends when the seasons change. Some of my fondest memories were sliding across the slush tackling the quarterback. The fall and winter seasons are filled with healthy activities. Try to make the most of it.
5. More Indoor Exercise Routines
There will undoubtedly be times when the weather is simply too rough to go for a walk. When the snow blows so hard than you cannot see a single shred of daylight, it’s time to stay in. That’s when indoor exercise routines are most beneficial.
Personally, I hope to have an Xbox Kinect back in my house by then. There’s nothing I like more than breaking into a sweat while playing something like tennis or one of my other favorite fighting games. Find your indoor activity that will help keep your heart rate up.
6. Walking In Place
What if it’s too cold to go for a walk but you want those illustrious steps for your Fitbit? Try walking inside in place. If you want a good workout for your thighs and hip flexors, raise your knees just a bit higher than normal while you walk.
I stumbled upon this activity while walking at my desk so I could watch an episode of “Deep Space 9” on Netflix. In the same amount of time I normally walk, my legs felt like I did five times the distance. It was far more grueling than I thought it would be.
7. Save Leftovers
It’s common for people to eat every trace of food on their plate whether it’s at a restaurant or at home. If you’re not getting enough physical activity during the changing seasons, this can be problematic. It’s OK to save food, especially if you served or bought yourself too much to begin with.
Keep in mind, you can easily lose weight by simply eating proper portion sizes. Holiday specials at your favorite steak house may be cheap, but they’ll be your downfall from a perspective of health. For example, a 16 ounce steak is far more meat than you should eat in a single sitting.
8. Cook Healthier Foods
I know a lot of people would rather stop by McDonald’s during a nice winter’s day to pick up dinner instead of cooking it at home. In reality, this is causing more damage during the winter than you might realize.
According to the Heart and Vascular Institute, colder temperatures put a strain on the heart as your blood vessels narrow. Now, think of adding unhealthy foods to the mix and imagine your vessels being more clogged with fatty deposits. It’s like shrinking the pipes of a semi-clogged plumbing system.
9. Practice Restraint
One of the hardest things many of us face every time seasons change is restraint. There seem to be so many good foods out there that you’ll want to taste them all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you go overboard. Remember what I said about portion control.
You need to keep in mind that you’re trying to remain healthy. There is quite a bit of belief people in general gain weight over the holiday season. However, self-restraint, proper portions and exercise can help make sure you’re not one of them.
Enjoy the Holidays, Don’t Fear Them
The holiday season is rife with fun and family activities. You don’t have to be afraid of the goodies that present themselves. You don’t have to avoid every little crumb of cookie or candy bar to stay healthy. Enjoy those sweets, but do so in moderation.