Are you stuck in a middle-of-winter slump? Enough is enough. Forget about all your excuses for not exercising. It is time to get your booty in gear… read on!
I have noticed a common theme among my nutrition clients the past few weeks. The holiday season is over. What I’m hearing is that you are feeling bad that you got off-track by eating too much, didn’t have time for your daily walks and possibly put on a few pounds. You are trying to get back to establishing healthy habits– but it is hard. The cookies and parties are gone which makes things a little easier, however what really tends to be a struggle in winter is physical activity.
January is a tough month for many people, myself included. I’ll tie February in there too. The weather being the key reason… It’s dark. It’s cold. Some days it has been brutally frigid. Nobody wants to go outside when it’s like this and the couch and TV are so much more inviting. With TV usually comes snacking. Now what you’ve got is the dreadful combination of taking in extra unnecessary calories paired with expending very little energy. We all know what this means– usually weight gain and feeling generally crappy about yourself. It’s the winter blahs and the best way to beat it is to boost your activity!
Now I am generally not a big fan of television. But I will confess that I have found myself watching it far more often lately with these dark, cold evenings. Just the right amount of the right shows and it can be good for relaxing and unwinding. And when you learn something or laugh, even better. Watch too much and the wrong things, which by the way, is what is mostly on, and you wind up feeling like a fat slug. But you know what makes some good TV okay and what will make you feel like less of a slug? Answer= Accomplishing some sort of physical activity before you sink down on that couch.
What I am proposing is something that works for me– Make yourself EARN that TV time tonight. You’ve got lots of options. Here we go: Bundle up and briskly walk around your neighborhood for a half hour after dinner. Drive out to the gym to swim, use weights, whatever it is you like to do if you’re a gym-lover. Go to a rock climbing gym. Take a yoga class or do a yoga video at home. Play indoor tennis or racquetball. Go roller skating. (FYI– I did this for the first time in a very long time the other night and it was insanely fun.) Use your body to do something physical for at least 30 minutes. Or 20. Or 15. Or even 10. The point is to take action. You can work on building up the time later. The toughest part is getting started; adding minutes is a piece of cake. Just do something. Your reward is relaxing in front of your cozy TV for your favorite show or a movie. You earned it! You’re guilt-free and won’t feel like a slug.
Not only will you feel great for accomplishing something healthy, you are less likely to ruin that feeling by delving into ice cream or ripping open a bag of potato chips. Tip: Don’t keep that stuff in the house! Instead, fix yourself a mug of hot herbal tea or if it’s been a few hours since dinner and you truly are hungry, choose something to eat that will actually contribute to good health and not take it away. Hint: Fresh fruit or a handful of raw nuts is always good. Sometimes I have a hard-boiled egg with dijon mustard. An apple with almond butter is another favorite. Be mindful of your TV snacking. Remember, you are going to sleep soon and you only need something small to take the edge off any uncomfortable feelings of hunger so you can fall asleep.
The reality is, this weather isn’t exactly beckoning most of us to go out– so you’ve got to make it a priority. You have to make it a conscious decision. Even I struggle with this. What helps is reminding myself that once I am out there moving, I know I will quickly warm up and I will feel GOOD. And I always feel even better when I am done. You know you get that feeling too– you just need to remind yourself of it and get out there and do it.
“If you went running when you first started thinking about it, you’d be back by now.” -Nike
Ahh, so true, so true. Starting today, get out and earn your television watching tonight.