Fall is creeping in, and winter isn’t too far off, it’s time to prepare for cooler temperatures. For some people this can be an exciting time, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and looking forward to fall colors, and winter snow. And there are others that dread the cooler weather and being “stuck” indoors. Although fall and winter can have their perks (good eating and a change in scenery), they can also have some downsides, including winter weight gain and seasonal depression. But, there are things you can do to help prepare yourself for this and even prevent it.
Consider revamping your menu. It can be easier to stay healthy and fit during the summer, fresh produce is in season, and it’s the time of year when we’re most active. However, staying fit and healthy is entirely possible during fall and winter (even over the holidays). You might just have to try a little harder. Make a commitment to yourself now, that you’ll eat healthier, and practice better portion control. If you commit now, and set yourself some boundaries, it will make it easier when temptation strikes.
Here are a few other ways to keep the weight off:
- Eat more fiber, it will help you stay full for longer periods.
- Bring healthier snack options to work (so you don’t reach for the free holiday goodies).
- Research healthier recipe ideas for your holiday gatherings. You can indulge a little, but be careful about portions, or reconsider how you make your favorite dish.
Commit to exercising. Don’t put this off until Near Year’s Day. Make your resolution now. Stop the winter weight from even starting, by getting ahead of it. Consider a new sport or hobby that gets you outside (you have permission to buy a new wardrobe if needed). There are lots of fun activities you can do in the fall and the winter, and tons of warm layers (and water resistant options) to keep you warm. But, if you really want to avoid going outside in the cold, consider a DVD exercise routine or a gym membership.
Get ahead of Seasonal Depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a real issue. It’s “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons… symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Instead of dreading the months ahead, take preventative measures now to keep S.A.D. from getting the better of you. You can talk to a doctor about your symptoms and discuss your options. Exercising can be a great way to boost endorphins to help fight against depression. Consider taking a hike or even just a walk around the block. Plus, getting outside can help you absorb more vitamin D, which is beneficial to your mind and body. Other ways to treat S.A.D. including journaling, planning a vacation to a warm destination, and light box therapy.
You may not be a fan of the cooler months, but like it or not, they’re coming. So, the best thing you can do is take time to plan and prep for them. If you want to avoid the winter weight, make a plan of action for better food choices and commit yourself to an exercise routine. If seasonal depression is a problem, speak with a medical professional and start taking the steps to living healthier and happier. PS. Don’t worry, spring and summer will be waiting on the other side.