It’s getting darker. And colder. The leaves are changing and falling from the trees; pumpkin everything is around us; and it’s almost time to drag out those sweaters. The seasonal changes can be a challenge for some people. I know that I definitely notice a change with the seasons.
My fitness changes a fair amount with the time of year. During the late spring through early fall, I don’t go to the gym very much. My focus changes to cycling or hiking, or running outside. The weather is too nice to be stuck in a smelly, stuffy gym and I’m usually training for an event.
Once October comes around, it’s too dark and cold for me to bike to work anymore so I hang up my cycling clothes and stow my bike for weekend rides only. I also head back into the gym to resume consistent weight lifting and swimming.
I definitely suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some years it’s milder than others, it really just depends. Here in Portland, the constant gray and relentless rain can often last from December through May. That sucks. The rain is what gets me the worst. I try my best to avoid the winter blues. Exercise definitely helps!
And of course, there’s also the problems of the holidays. Surviving Halloween season is always a challenge, even years later. The temptations of Halloween and Christmas candies everywhere you turn is enough to derail anyone trying to lose weight! Did I mention Thanksgiving? PIE!! One of the things that has helped me keep off 100 pounds–year in and year out–even during the holidays is that I don’t quit what works. I keep exercising on a regular basis. While my activities may change with nasty weather, my consistent routine does not.
Lately I’ve been craving comfort foods: casseroles, mac n’ cheese, pasta, soup and grilled cheese sandwiches…basically carby things! I’ve been resisting thus far, or making a lighter version of the things I crave. I had a bowl of tomato soup with a piece of toast with cream cheese on it for dinner one night instead of the grilled cheese sandwich. It satisfied the craving (temporarily at least). Making “skinny” versions of the things I crave is what helps the most. One of the websites I’ve used a lot is SkinnyTaste. She has a ton of “lightened up” recipes for things like casseroles.
So do you struggle to stay on track during the darker months?
Is it harder to get up in the morning and get yourself to the gym?
Are you less motivated to workout after work when it’s dark and cold?
How do you change that? For me, what works is forcing myself to keep the normal fitness routine. It helps stave off the winter blues, it makes me feel better and keeps me healthy. I know how much better I will feel if I do it, so I do it!
It seems overly simplified, but it works. I wrote a post about how I track my food and exercise. Using something as simple as Google Calenders to track my and plan my workouts keeps me motivated, makes me feel accomplished and it makes it hard to BAIL on it. It’s on my calender. I’m going to do it!
This is not to say it’s always easy, but putter along taking the exercise and food one day at a time.
QUESTION: How do you deal with the changing seasons? What is the hardest struggle? Food or exercise?