As the weather starts to get colder, it gets harder and harder to stay motivated to be healthy and active. The days are shorter, and when it starts to get dark at 4 pm, all you want to do is cuddle up with a warm blanket and some comfort food.
The change in seasons is inevitable, but if you’ve committed to, or want to commit to, keeping healthier winter habits, especially when it comes to fitness, here are a few small things you can try to do to keep motivated.
- Choose a time that works for you to workout, and stick to it. If you’re a morning person, then always try to do your workout before you start your day. Start by choosing 1 morning a week that you commit to doing a workout, then add a second, and keep going from there! This is especially key if you’re choosing to work out at home.
- Pick a class or trainer you love. If you hate what you’re doing, you’re less likely to keep going, especially when it’s cold and dark out. A great teacher makes all the difference when trying to pick your fitness routine. If you try a workout you like, but don’t like the energy, chances are you won’t go back.
- Don’t make yourself unrealistic fitness goals. If you’ve never worked out a day in your life, starting your fitness journey with a “5 day a week” goal, is setting yourself up to fail. Start by doing one day a week, every week. Do not miss that day and that workout, no matter what. If you have to miss it, reschedule it. Once you’ve been able to start small, adding on more days won’t be as daunting.
- Don’t start with the hardest class your gym has to offer. Ask at reception, before signing up, what the intensity level is of the class that peak your interest. Start off with a beginner to intermediate class so you can get into the groove of things. If you immediately start with the hardest class on the schedule, it’s very demotivating. It will be harder to keep up, and as a result, less fun to do. You also risk hurting yourself which will really throw a wrench into your fitness plans. Start slow, you’ll feel great as you start to get stronger and can move towards the harder workouts.
- Redefine comfort foods. This is a tricky one, and takes time and effort. Instead of gravitating towards large, heavy meals when seeking comfort from the cold, try choosing hearty, warm and healthy options instead. If you’re thinking about grabbing a burger and fries, try opting for beef stew or a big bowl of soup. The beef stew will have the potatoes and meat you’re craving, but is also packed with nutrients. I’m not suggesting you never have a slice of pizza, but if you start to retrain your brain for what it seeks for comfort, you’ll instinctively start craving healthier options.
- Try to steer clear of the seasonal sugar bomb coffees that start to pop up. Yes, it’s pumpkin spice latte season, but just one grande PSL has 50 g of sugar, which is more than double what your daily intake should be. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but having one a day until the next seasonal drink comes out will leave you buzzing with added sugar.
- Make smart snacking choices. Since you’re already craving comfort foods, you’re also more likely to crave junky snacks. Keep easy to grab snack options at home, and try not to even buy the ones that you know aren’t good for you. Popcorn is a great substitute for chips if you’re craving something salty. Looking or a sweet treat? Keep sliced fruit in the fridge, or have an apple with some nut butter. You’re body is most often craving comfort, more than the food itself, so you can “trick it” with healthier choices as long as the taste type mirrors what you’re body is looking for.