Yes we all can feel it in the air, colder weather is coming…
This is the time of year of joy, giving thanks, making snow angels and spending time with those closest to you. This is also however, the season of shorter days, lack of motivation and the desire to lay under the covers all day with comfort food. Am I right?
I completely understand this struggle because I have been there! We all have. It can be so hard to feel energized for the day knowing that there’s little sunshine and you will be wrapped up head to toe.
But this doesn’t mean we give up until Spring…Knowing that Winter is coming means that we can prepare for it!
We have to get prepared and create habit NOW if we want to have a successful fall and winter. The patients we see who are the most successful are those who prepare and each day implement small healthy habits, pushing themselves a little further than the day before.
When we implement healthy behaviors this creates habit and habit is what creates a lifestyle. (That can withstand the winter!)
5 areas people struggle with during the colder months & how to overcome them!
1. Nutrition and Eating Habits
“Just one bite of this halloween treat!” “It’s so cold out let’s just order pizza in with the game”… sound familiar? Yup, same here because who doesn’t love indulging or throwing back a few with game? The downside here is often times not even the little bit of nachos, it’s that this leads to throwing in the towel and “starting fresh tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, it always takes a few days to get back into the rhythm, a few days for your body to digest the foods and a few days to finish the leftovers bringing us right back to the next game. One “treat day” can offset a weeks worth of good efforts, leading to an endless cycle of frustration with our bodies and with food.
Instead opt for healthier choices during game days.. Think dairy free buffalo chicken dip with veggies and seltzer water instead of a beer.
Skip the kids stash of halloween candy and opt for healthier versions like these:
This time of year is great for soups, crock pot meals, vegetable chili and finding healthier alternatives to those cold weather classics. All of which are perfect for cooking in bulk saving you time later in the week. Pinterest is a great resource for healthy fall recipes!
There are so many healthy choices out there and once you start choosing those options it gets easier to keep making the healthier choice every time!
2. Exercise & Movement
With the days becoming shorter and colder it makes sense to lose the motivation to exercise. Evening walks in the summer are so relaxing and the best way to unwind after a long day but of course hard to do in the colder months or... is that just what we’ve been telling ourselves?
Why can’t we put a couple extra layers on and get out there for the fresh air and see all the colorful leaves? The weekends or days off can also be a great time to find a new walking trail to take the dog, walk with a friend or fun date idea! It’s not snowing yet, there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of this beautiful fall weather.
As the weather gets colder, it is easier to just go home and plop down on the couch. With the days getting shorter, and longer commute times looming due to bad weather, there is no shortage of excuses to just go home after work. Pack clothes and keep them in your car. This way you have no reason to not go get a quick work out, walk or class in after work. How many times have you said that you should work out and then don’t do it. Just to then feel guilty about not doing something. Stop thinking and just start doing. Even if you talk yourself into going and give yourself permission to leave if you really don’t feel like it, I guarantee you that you won’t regret showing up. But you will regret not making the time.
When I am feeling stuck in a rut or bored I find a new gym or workout class to try. This usually fuels some new motivation and excitement. There are usually 30 day trials for yoga or pilates studios or check out groupon for some other offers.
Another great tip is to do a 30 day challenge with friends or coworkers. You could do a push up challenge (start with 30 each day and increase by 10 each week), walking challenge (10k steps each day) or challenge yourself in the gym! See if you can break some personal records. Start a group chat for participants to keep up the motivation!
The biggest difference we see from patients who are doing well and those who might be struggling is, mindset. Having the right mindset is a GAME CHANGER. 80% of success is mindset and 20% is strategy. Read that again. Having the right mindset means living life
knowing that nothing will be perfect, life is going to be busy and unpredictable but still knowing how to get back to the basics and tools you know how to use: eating right, exercising, taking your supplements, getting enough sleep and managing stress. Make time for those priorities without excuses. Living live with forward movement instead of “life” running the show. You have all the power in your life, you just have to decide that you do.
There will be days where you can’t manage all those things perfectly and that is okay. Learning to have balance through it all is what’s important and continuously looking to progress and better yourself makes everything easier. Think of it like this, at one point learning the ins and outs of a new job seemed overwhelming and impossible but now it’s second nature and you feel confident doing it without really thinking about it. That’s just like learning how to have a balanced healthy lifestyle.
Thoughts of doubt and lack of motivation is NORMAL you don’t need to be on it every second of the day to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes when you forget about always trying to be healthy and you simply eat and move in a way that makes you feel good, one choice at a time, you create a healthy lifestyle (without even realizing it!)
Keeping a journal can be a great way to keep things in perspective. Write down 3 things that you did well each day, 5 things that you are grateful for, or the one thing that you want to improve on tomorrow.
With the fall and winter seasons upon us, this means it’s also the holiday season. This in itself can cause a lot of stress and pressure we don’t need to be making matters worse by giving up on our health journey. All too often we hear people say, “oh I’m just going to wait until after the holidays to start,” sound about right?
The reality of it though is that the “holiday season” boils down to 3 or 4 meals. That’s it. Are you going to let a few meals completely throw you off for a few months? You can even make healthier alternatives or sides to those meals if you really wanted to go the extra mile!
No one will be perfect on any given day, let alone a holiday but building habits now will help you balance out these meals and help you feel confident going into the holiday season.
5. Motivation & Energy
Humans were meant to rise and fall with the sun and now that the days are becoming shorter and less sunshine it’s no wonder why we are feeling more sluggish and unmotivated.
This doesn’t mean we give up though! There are many things we can do to regain the motivation we had during summer and improve our mood.
Vision boards – get creative and make a night of it! Write out your goals, the bigger picture favorite quotes, and dive into what you want to achieve. Hang it somewhere you can see every day. Dream big and manifest those goals!
Daily mantra – find one quote or mantra that you love and resonates with you and make that the background of your phone or computer screen. Let this motivate you and get you excited about reaching new goals or simply brings you joy! I change mine weekly to keep me focused.
Rebalance the day in 1 minute- If you feel like you’re in a funk or messed up the day, think of one thing you can do that will make you feel healthier or give a small burst of energy. Example: 20 squats while brushing your teeth, make your bed, get a low sugar green juice, order a salad instead of the normal sandwich. It’s in these small moments that we gain momentum.
Grow your “can do” muscle – each time you make one healthy decision it gets easier to make the next one. If you order a salad instead of the fried food at a restaurant it gets easier to do it again. Or you skip the afternoon frappuccino and instead go for a walk, it gets easier to make that choice again. Maybe you aren’t really in the mood to go to the gym but you push yourself, remove the emotions from the action and end up going! Doing this will help condition your mind to go to the gym consistently, building positive habits instead of making an excuse.
Embrace the season and set new goals: Jan 1st isn’t the only time that we need to set resolutions. The change of seasons is a great time to re-evaluate what is and isn’t working and to set new goals towards making changes.
This is a great time to purge and renew your space. Clearing away physical clutter can make space for new inspiration to flow. Maybe it is time to create a small sanctuary in your home to spend time reading, journaling, writing in the evenings rather than watching TV or surfing on Facebook.
Set a personal goal: it could be to walk for a charity event, run a half marathon (this pairs well with your fitness goals!), attend a yoga class, or pick up a new hobby. Goals are what keep us motivated and engaged in our lives. And while personal health goals are indeed important, having goals outside of ourselves – goals that are “other” focused have been shown to make us happier and improve our quality of life. Volunteer, get involved with your church or your child’s school, donate your time, resources, or expertise.
When you work on your mindset and create new goals the motivation will follow!
If you start to prepare and plan for the seasons to come, you are setting yourself up for success! Building and implementing these strategies into your daily routine will help you create a healthy lifestyle with ease. One that can withstand the changing weather and ever changing life circumstances. Just think of the things you can accomplish if we don’t let the colder months get us down!
Let the crisp air inspire a season of new adventures, new challenges and personal growth.