I have to admit it and tell you that I love winter! The heat of summer tends to make me literally over-heat and render me completely discombobulated… so the arrival of fresh Autumn air gets me all excited for the chill of winter when I can think clearly and re-energise.
Bizarre but true.
All this being said, winter is renowned for taking the blame when summer comes back around and last season’s bathing suit doesn’t fit so well… In fact, you’re considering never going back to the beach… ever!
“How did this happen? I was so good this winter!”
Yes, that’s you (and me) thinking you’d been so well behaved during the stormy nights of movie watching, roaring fires and being snuggled in a rug on sick days away from work. Surely it was just one or two carbo-loaded comfort meals? Wasn’t it just 3 or four cups of that amazingly amazing white hot chocolate? You’re pretty sure you’d braved the cold and gone for a run/walk at least once a week!?
Sigh. The games we play with ourselves.
The fact is winter is a bitch when it comes to trying to stay motivated to move and eat well. Crunchy salads are all of a sudden not appealing at all, smoothies are out of the question and exercise is just a mission because your pyjama’s and a movie seem like a much more sensible option!
So, lovely human, here are 5 tips to help you (and me) stay motivated this winter;
1. Focus on the FEEL-GOOD-FACTOR:
There is no doubt that good food and regular exercise improves your overall mental and physical health. You cannot dispute this, because it is scientifically proven! Google it if you think I’m lying. So, I encourage you to remain focused on the FEEL-GOOD-FACTORS of eating a well-balanced, nutrient filled diet and sticking to a regular exercise routine whether it be walking, running, Pilates, a session with your trainer, Yoga or any other form of movement that increases your core temperature. Yes, a little luuurv under the covers also makes the cut. 😉
2. EMBRACE the weather:
Just like you embrace hot, balmy summer nights try to embrace the fresh icy-ness of winter mornings. There is so much beauty in the calm of the morning and the cool mist can be quite magical and soothing if you take a moment to acknowledge it. I’m not saying embrace the gale force winds, hail storms and go and get pneumonia! Please, don’t do that! I’m just encouraging you to get up and get dressed and take in the beauty of the wintery scenes.
3. DRESS UP:
Ok, so I don’t mean go all crazy and dress up like Tinkerbell! Well, I suppose you can. Whatever floats your boat. I mean for you to go and invest in a few pieces of really good quality winter training clothes. While you’re at it, try and buy the most colourful items you can find so that you don’t disappear into the greyness of the landscape and you at least feel colourful (who needs happy pills when you have colour!?). Here is some advice from www.mayoclinic.org on dressing for winter training;
“One of the biggest mistakes you can make when exercising in cold weather is to dress too warmly. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The evaporation of sweat, however, can make you lose heat from your body and feel chilled.
Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.
Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.
You may need to experiment before you find a combination of clothing that works well for you based on your exercise intensity. If you’re lean, you may need more insulation than someone who is heavier.
Keep in mind, too, that stop-and-go activities, such as mixing walking with running, can make you more vulnerable to the cold if you repeatedly work up a sweat and then get chilly.”
4. Set MINI-GOALS:
At the beginning of the winter season, schedule your training days on an A4 month-by-page calendar. Print those pages and keep them on your fridge, bathroom door, bedroom mirror or wherever you are sure to lock eyes with it! Every time you tick off an activity from your calendar, plonk R20 or R50 (whatever you can afford) into a jar (preferably sealed!). At the end of winter, use the money to treat yourself to a new bikini (um yaaaah! Because you’ll be looking smoking hot!) or that LBD you’ve had your eye on. If you’re not into material possessions, treat yourself to a spa day, a really great meal at a fancy restaurant or invest in a month of Yoga classes or personal training sessions.
You can use this MINI-GOAL setting with food too. Write down daily goals i.e. Monday: Drink a green smoothie / Tuesday: No sugar / Wednesday: No alcohol etc. Every time you tick off a healthy task, plonk some more moola into the jar.
Come on! If spoiling yourself at the end of a cold winter after looking after yourself so well isn’t exciting then you’re not human. If giving the money to charity is more appealing, then donate it! Do whatever you like with it if it keeps you motivated.
5. Phone a FRIEND:
Get hold of a friend who you know won’t let you down and can act as your personal cheerleader on crappy days when you “just don’t feel like it”. This is also a great chance to re-connect with old friends who you haven’t seen in a while. An active catch up in the forest, on the promenade or just around the neighbourhood. You could also go to a movement class together and grab a healthy breakfast and catch up afterwards. If the weather is really poo, make sure you reschedule and DON’T just cancel! Or, most personal trainers offer semi-private sessions (two-on-one). This is often a more affordable personal training option and will give you extra incentive to get moving as now you’re accountable to another person… not just your friend. Your trainer also might show you no mercy at your next session if you decide to skip an appointment. 😉 No one wants to experience the wrath of a PT who has been subjected to a no-show… trust me!
I hope these 5 tips to help you stay motivated are simple and easy enough to implement into your daily life as we approach the winter months. I felt pretty motivated re-reading this post before sending it out into the webiverse… let’s see if I can take my own advice.