It’s now November, and as you may have noticed over the weekend; Christmas has well and truly moved in to our shops and TV screens. It means that the mad dash for the perfect gifts will begin, and soon our houses will be covered from head to toe in tinsel. It also means that we will be subject to much more comforting food like warming soups, hearty stews and roast dinners. It is a sad fact that the summer body you worked so hard for will most likely gain a few pounds this winter. However, don’t wait until January to keep yourself fit and healthy, start now and get ahead: and fit into that Christmas party dress like a glove.
New Year’s Resolutions are one of those things that we all make, try and stick to for a week or so, and the give up. However, what if you started your healthy habits now? Then, by the time January hits you will have already formed healthy habits and you can just carry on the good work. Here are a few things you can think about doing in the next few months to get your body healthier for 2018.
Make Exercise A Habit
Have you ever heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit? It’s a mantra which has been going around for a long time now, and it is considered to be pretty accurate. The key to getting yourself in the routine of exercising is to make it no different than brushing your teeth in the morning and making a cup of tea. It takes a while to train your brain into understanding that exercise is a normal part of your day- but once you do, it won’t feel like as much of a chore to go out for a morning run or practice some yoga.
Just remember to start with an exercise which you are happy to do. If you hate the thought of running (most of us do) then you don’t want to force yourself to go out in the blistering cold every morning in November, because you won’t keep up with it. Instead, why not start up YouTube, get out a mat if you have one, and follow a routine on there? It’s free, it’s in the comfort of your own home, and you can choose what type of thing you do.
Make Goals That You Can Measure
One of the mistakes many of us make when embarking on that healthier lifestyle is to not set specific goals. Simply saying you want to be healthier or thinner isn’t good enough; you need to set a goal you can track. For example, you might want to lose 5 pounds, or maybe a few inches off your waist. Whatever it is, make sure that each week you have the means to track your progress. You could weigh yourself, measure your body, or even take photos of yourself so that you can see the difference in yourself going forward. Having the knowledge of how well you are doing is what will motivate you further.
A lot of the time, the best way to motivate yourself to do better is to have others there with you, guiding you along and spurring you on. Bootcamps and residential retreats allow you to be with fitness professionals as well as with other peers who also want to achieve the same goals. Peer motivation can go a long way towards you achieving your goals, because you don’t want to be the only one not losing the weight you want.
Use An App
We have an abundance of technology in front of our faces these days, so why not take advantage of them/ There are apps such as FitStar Yoga which allow you to learn the practice of yoga while in the comfort of your own home, or there are ones like Runkeeper which monitor your activity throughout the day and motivate you to get up and go. All of these things will come in handy for motivating you to be the best you can be.
Track Your Food And Drink
One of the biggest factors in us gaining extra weight during the winter is all those extra sweet treats which you end up baking and leaving in the fridge to snack on throughout the week. As much as you may try to eat healthily at all times and plan well-balanced meals throughout the week, the only way you can truly know what you’ve put into your body is to track it. It can be easy to forget a biscuit here and a mince pie there, but these are the things which will affect your body the most. Using an app such as MyFitnessPal is a great option because you can track your food throughout the day and it will calculate your calorie intake and your macros. You can set weight loss goals on there and it will give you a calorie allowance for the day. If you come in under this, you will lose weight: simple.
Cut Out Bad Habits
Just as winter is a vehicle for unhealthy eating, it can also instil bad habits within us. The first of those is sedentary behaviour. When it’s cold outside, humans act much like any other mammals. They wrap up warm, stay indoors and light a ton of candles to make them feel cosy. This is the winter affect. It also means that we move around less and weaken our muscles. Curb this habit by getting up and moving around as often as you can. Go for a woodland walk, or exercise in the house.
Next up are two habits which go hand in hand throughout the winter and the rest of the year: drinking and smoking. Life can be incredibly stressful, and many of us turn to a relaxing glass of wine, or some opt for a cigarette to calm their nerves. Christmas is a time full of stress and worry with buying the presents, arranging when to see family and cooking dinner: and it is at this time of year when both of these habits can rise. However, if you feel the need for a cigarette, visit here and try an e-cig instead. You’ll still gain the same nicotine hit, but without the harmful chemicals. And as for drinking, there’s nothing wrong with a tipple during the festive season, just try and limit yourself to 2-3 drinks instead of binging.
Beth is a 30-something, self-employed Mum rediscovering her connection to British History and nature. Her loves include the discovery of knowledge, walking in the woods, and writing, among others. Beth is a Virtual Assistant at The Happy VA.