With summer gone and fall already in progress, you may already be feeling the subtle changes in your body. It begins with the change in weather followed by a change in clothing. We go from hot and sunny days wearing light and breezy shorts, tank tops and skirts to piling on jeans turtlenecks and sweaters for the cooler and winder afternoons and evenings.
From fall onward the days are shorter, and the temperatures are crisper and cooler and sometimes just down right cold and miserable. It doesn’t exactly make one want to jump up and go to the gym or head outdoors for a game of volley ball or a bike ride. Our fall and winter body is also influenced by some of the social events of the seasons, particularly celebrating the fall harvest and Thanks giving followed by the holiday season. These two events are often accompanied by some of the biggest and most stuffing and filling meals of the year. So whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukah or just the general holiday season with time off, there is always a certain merriment to the season that involves extra cookies, chocolates and treats from co-workers, friends and neighbors. Certainly the change in season can create some obstacles and challenges for the fitness and body concerned individual. The best thing for one to do during this time of year is to get a bit of a plan started now so that those extra pounds don’t pop up over the winter months. Try some of these tips:
Snack on Healthy Foods
If you must, stay warm and cozy inside but be careful and conscientious of what you snack on. Chances are you will spend a little more time indoors in front of the television than you did over summer. And if you do end up sitting around and snacking on food make sure it is healthy and nutritious so it does not sabotage all your health and fitness goals. Stock up on some healthy snacks around the house at all times. Try apples with almond butter, or carrots and celery with hummus dip or plain low fat yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts.
Become Soup Savvy
Soup is a great winter food. It is nourishing, warming, filling and usually full of vitamins and protein. Still, one needs to be aware of what type of soup one is eating. Choose one that is broth based as opposed to cream based. Better yet, if you are at all ambitious and good in the kitchen then you can try making your own. Soup is not necessarily hard to make. All you need to do is start my lightly sautéing a few vegetables such as sliced onions, mushrooms, celery and carrots then add to this a chicken, beef or vegetable broth. You can then add some protein such as beans or cooked chicken breast or something a little filling like rice or noodles. Make sure your soup is high in vegetable content but also low in salt, sodium and sugar.
Sip on Tea
Many teas are actually quite slimming as long as you do not over load them with sugar, cream, milk or sweetner. At the top of the list for the most slimming teas is green tea. This drink is high in antioxidants with helps to fight free radicals and is lower in caffeine then black tea or coffee. Plus, it has been reported that drinking as little as four cups of brewed green tea a day can help one to lose weight. Other good teas to try include white tea and oolong tea which both are also reported to have slimming properties as well they are also lower in caffeine and equally high in antioxidants.
Revitalize Yourself with the Power of Scent
If you are feel down and out or a little less energized, try picking yourself up with the power of scent. Whether you start your day with an invigorating cup of mint tea or hazelnut flavoured coffee or start your day in the shower with and energizing shower gel with the scent of lemon, lime or grapefruit, it might be just what you need to get energized and get your body moving. Citrus scents are particularly refreshing and energizing so look for products that contain these, or make your own with a few refreshing drops of essential oil. Try this invigorating body scrub recipe: add equal amounts of coconut oil and raw organic sugar (roughly one cup each) to a glass or plastic jar. Mix these together until you have the consistency of smooth peanut butter (adding a little more of one or the other for proper consistency). Then add 8-12 drops of citrus essential oils such as lemon, lime, bergamot or grapefruit. This makes a refreshing and energizing morning shower scrub.
Go Shopping for Lingerie
When we are swathed in layers of clothes whether it be long johns, turtle necks or sweaters it is hard to feel connected to one’s body. Going lingerie shopping will in itself remind you of the slimmer, more feminine side of yourself under all the layers of clothes you need to wear to stay warm. Plus, just keeping something close to the skin that is lacey and delicate will remind you the you are not just a winter warrior.
Take a Trip to the Spa
Another way to get in touch with your body is by getting a massage or other body treatment which will not only relax your body but help you feel more connected to it. Plus, massages have a healing benefit of releasing tight muscles as well as helping the skin to detox and remove unwanted toxins. There are a lot of great spa treatments that your body can benefit from, especially in winter such as a hot stone massage, reflexology or even a simple pedicure.
If you can’t bear the idea of getting out doors for exercise, then at least take up some sort of craft or art over the winter months. This may not be as affective for getting your body in shape as actual exercise, but chances are if you are knitting, crocheting, painting or drawing you will be less likely to sit in front of the television chowing down on your favourite evening snack or comfort food.
Invite your Friends Over
Try a pot luck dinner where only healthy foods are allowed. Or get together for a clothing swap. Play a game that is a little active like sherades, or ping pong. These activities will at least keep you moving.
Invest in Fitness Equipment
Purchase a balance ball or some free weights. Or perhaps a yoga mat and some yoga C.D.’s. If you have a little more time, perhaps join an indoor fitness class or join a recreation club to play a game of indoor volleyball or basketball with a local league.
Go skating at a local rink, going on a snow shoe adventure or trying out down hill or cross country skiing. If you get a little active in one or a few of these outdoor winter activities, chances are you won’t be dreading winter so much and you might actually look forward to enjoying some snow and ice.
Follow these tips over the winter months, and I guarantee you that things will be shaping up for you by spring time.
Dana teaches fitness part time and specializes in Yoga, Pilates and Body Sculpting. She has been writing for close to ten years and was the Skin Care Writer for the Toronto Examiner from 2010 to 2016. She also works part time as a fashion and fitness model. She is thrilled to be writing about fitness and health for STYLE.CA.