At the start of every spring, we are inundated with magazine covers, billboards, and advertisements, all purporting to know the best way to get a “bikini body” by summer. Many people find themselves scrambling, using unhealthy weight loss methods (like starvation diets, or fasts) to prepare themselves for the beach. It’s no wonder! We are bombarded with messaging that tells us our bodies are most beautiful when they are most lean. Then, when winter comes around, we breathe a collective sigh of relief. Our bodies won’t be on display as much, we can let that unhealthy diet go (which usually results in rapid weight gain of the initial fat you lost, and then some), and ease up on the exercise regimen. It’s a vicious cycle. Sound familiar?
First of all, I believe that every body is a “bikini” body! A piece of clothing is not only for certain people or certain bodies. Second of all, we all have the right to love ourselves, no matter what we look like in a bathing suit. The idea that we need to change ourselves every year in order to fit an unrealistic beauty standard is absurd.
That being said, it’s a cycle that many of us do fall into. It’s very natural to gain weight in the winter.
I have yo-yoed, in weight and health, my entire life. In the past, I would get on a “health kick”, get “in shape”. Then, inevitably, it’d get too cold and dark and I’d hibernate for four months until the sun came out again. I repeated this cycle for years and years until, one winter, I had an epiphany that was truly transformative. I realized that health and fitness were never going to
simply work out for me. If I wanted to be healthy year round, I needed to work health and fitness in. I discovered that consistency is the key to success, and that if I worked to incorporate healthy choices into my daily existence, that way of living would just become a way of life.
Here are some tips I’ve acquired that help me stay active, healthy, and motivated when the seasons change:
During the winter months, the sun rises from approximately 6:30 - 7am everyday. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get your fitness in before work and start your day off right! Additionally, during the winter months, a lot of us suffer from sluggish feelings, lethargy and even depression! This is due to lack of light and vitamin D. By getting up earlier, you give your body the opportunity to get some much needed sun. This will ultimately improve your energy and mood levels a great deal!
The weather in the early morning hours during the winter is perfect for running! The sun is out so it’s often a lot warmer than you think, but it’s still cool enough to not overheat. Be sure to still bundle up, though!
A comprehensive workout doesn’t have to take 2 hours; 30-45 minutes is definitely enough time to get your fitness on! Here’s a link to a 40 minute workout!
Some start as early as 6:30am! Yoga is a great way to incorporate exercise and meditation into your daily routine. Yoga always leaves me feeling incredibly refreshed and renewed.
You don’t need to go to the gym every day to get in great shape. There are tons of amazing 30-45 minute calisthenics workouts online available for free that you don’t even need any equipment for! The best part about these is that you can do them anytime, anywhere (even on vacation during the holidays). Here’s a link to an awesome workout you can try at home.
Breakfast is the most important meal because it breaks your overnight fasting period and replenishes your body of the essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. You’ll also have better eating habits as you’re less likely to snack during the day!
Binge eating is very common during the winter and starts often because of the holidays. Many times we start eating sugary, fat-laden and high-calorie foods that negatively impact our body's hormone levels. We end up craving more and more of these foods and, before you know it, we’re hungry and tired all the time. Counteract this by monitoring your sugar and fat intake, eating healthy snacks like peanut butter and apples and getting in your daily dose of exercise!
Incorporate these simple tips, and come spring, you’ll feel fit, strong, healthy, and happy. Let’s end the cycle of weight loss and weight gain, and feel good in our bodies year round!
Want some help getting started? Come in for a free fitness assessment! A Pongo Power Personal Trainer can teach you everything you need to know to get you moving today, at your pace!