The leaves are falling and the sun is setting earlier by the day. Temperatures are dropping and change is in the air. After 15 years of helping people lose weight one of the biggest mistakes that I see is not paying attention to the seasonal changes happening around us right now. Changes to our schedules, our appetites, to the foods we crave and changes to our sleep patterns as dictated by the changes to the amount of light available to us in a day. I have watched people full of momentum in the summer months grind to a screeching halt in their weight loss efforts because they continue to try to eat summer foods into the fall and winter. Additionally, they don’t reassess their exercise routines to reflect the changes to their schedules and weather related obstacles.
The seasons are a wonderful, natural way to rotate into new and interesting things that keep us motivated on our journey to health and well-being. Do not allow their subtle approach throw you for a loop as you struggle against them. Give in and flow with them and your plan will seem endlessly interesting. You will avoid the trap of boredom and lack of motivation by inserting seasonal favorites and a variety of interesting ways to stay active.
Lose Weight into the Fall and Winter
Here are my Top 5 Actions to take to ensure you lose weight into the fall and winter:
- Get creative with new recipes. Fall and winter have an abundance of new and interesting fruits and vegetables and the desire for different types of food. Take time to research and try at least 1 new recipe each week that includes a seasonal favorite. For example, chili, soups, and stews including Butternut squash soup, roasted root vegetables and warm breakfasts like oatmeal with pumpkin stirred in for a fall flavor explosion.
- Get your indoor activities squared away now. As the weather changes you may not want to drive to the gym in the pitch black morning of winter. You may want to stay in bed just a little longer so in-home workouts become more realistic. Head off challenges by getting your in-home, winterized workouts ready now. Set up a specific space for exercise, purchase new and interesting DVD’s or streaming exercise services on your phone or begin to investigate free workouts on your cable network. Try working in one in-home workout a week for the next few weeks to get yourself reacquainted with what you need and when to do them.
- Start thinking about hydrating with warm liquids. Get teas and even bullion stocked up at work and at home. Staying hydrated is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle. Without realizing it, due to colder weather you may not be as attracted to drinking water and will subtly move away from it. Being dehydrated leads to increased mixed up cues mistaking hunger for thirst.
- Manage stress. The next few months are filled with stresses from the holidays to year-end responsibilities to travel and finances. Emotional eating (and drinking) tends to spike at this point of the year. Manage your stress by adding stress relieving exercises like yoga and meditation or even dancing to your schedule. Make them non-negotiable at least once a week and you will see and feel a major difference.
- Get sleep patterns figured out and shift bed time accordingly. With the changes to the sun setting earlier you may need to investigate your bed time and bed time routines. Take a chance to get to bed earlier in the winter months and get some extra sleep. It is a major piece of the weight loss puzzle so maximize the dark time and get some extra “z’s”. If you are having trouble waking in the darkness of the morning think about investing in a wearable technology or sunrise lamp that helps imitate sunlight and wakes you in the proper sleep level for best rest.
My suggestion is to take an inventory week. Take a moment to list out the things that need to change immediately because they are not working and assess them for seasonal adjustment. Just a few small shifts will make all the difference!