How To Stay Motivated During Winter
By Anderson, Eat Simply. Live Healthy.
It’s freezing outside and suddenly your couch is incredibly comfortable, pasta tastes even more delicious, and you have an abiding desire to watch reruns of Modern Family. Oh well, you’ll work out tomorrow…. when it’s sunny and 75.
If you find it difficult to maintain healthy habits during the colder months, you’re not alone. It’s normal for people to become less mobile during the wintertime due to a number of factors. Here are some reasons why you’re lacking motivation and how to get back on track:
The gym seems like a magical and far away place.
After January 1st, you decided to avoid the gym for a few weeks until the crowds die down. It was a somewhat valid excuse, but now your sneakers have cobwebs. Get back in routine by committing to a fitness class. Treat it like an appointment. You wouldn’t skip a meeting with your boss; treat your workout the same way.
It’s dark at 5pm.
You arrive to work in the dark and leave in the dark. Talk about a fun-sucker. Try working out in the morning so when your workday is over, you’re free to go home and relax. Still not feeling a morning workout? Invest in a fitness tracker (like the Polar Loop, $100, or Fitbit Zip, $50) to become extra conscious about racking up steps throughout the day. Remember, stairs are your friend.
Extra layers get too comfortable.
It’s normal to wrap yourself in a burrito of warmth, the more sweaters the merrier! Unlike shorts and tank tops, extra layers don’t encourage a tone up because we’re covered up. Don’t let t-shirts and stretchy pants cause you to lose sight of your physique. Though it hasn’t seen much sun in the past few months, it will soon!
Carbs are comfort.
Winter means comfort food even after the holidays are over. Nothing takes the chill off like a hot dish of cheesy lasagna. T-minus 10 minutes and you’re passed out in a food coma. Carbs are not the enemy but it’s important to keep your eating in perspective. Though it’s hard not to gravitate toward comfort foods, try swapping in healthier alternatives. Soup (not creamed based) is always a hot and filling choice. Or try “healthifying” your favorite comfort foods. When making lasagna, use zucchini instead of pasta noodles. Look at you.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common. These individuals suffer from depression-like symptoms that start once the leaves fall and continue through the winter months. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re feeling bummed out, but remember exercise helps combat the feelings associated with SAD. Still can’t shake those blues? A light therapy device might be something to look into. The light balances your body clock to lift your spirits and stabilize your mood (Try NatureBright SunTouch Light and Ion Therapy Lamp, $70).