Don't let the weather fool you. The northeast is still experiencing some days of warmer weather even though it is the end of October. Despite the weather, I am sure you have already been experiencing a change in routine since the autumn season began. Summer is usually when healthy routines peak. People tend to eat healthier and exercise more. However, once Labor Day passes and the weather begins to cool, the healthy routines of the past few months tend to go out the window. So how do you maintain your healthy habits in fall and winter?
Healthy Meals: Follow a healthy meal plan by filling the majority of your plate with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy. Try to keep your fat intake to a minimum, and make sure to focus on healthy fats such as polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. Remember to eat lots of fiber and drink lots of water. Fiber will keep you feeling fuller longer and decrease your desire to reach for unhealthy snacks and food. Stay away from refined grains such as white bread, white rice, or white pasta. Refined grains have no fiber and are digested quickly leaving you feeling hungry again sooner. Also remember to be mindful when eating. Try not to engage in mindless eating. Be sure to honor your hunger and when you feel full, stop eating!
Exercise: Fall is a great time to begin a physical activity routine. Beginning a new exercise routine now will likely get you through the stress of the upcoming holidays and keep you motivated through the winter.
Once the weather turns colder and is no longer bearable for outdoor exercise, you will have to get creative about how to get your exercise in. Exercising at home could be a great alternative to outdoor exercise. You do not necessarily need machines or weights; you can rely on your own body weight for some good resistance exercises. Pilates or yoga could be great for flexibility, or you can get your heart pumping with jumping jacks, lunges, push ups, and planks. If you are a member of your local gym, then I strongly encourage you to use it. You could work out at your own pace with any of the machines or you could take a class that provides a bit more structure.
The key to exercise is finding the time. We are all living very busy lives and can find a million excuses not to exercise, but with a bit of organization and structure you can find the time and will thank yourself for it. Be mindful of your schedule; look for openings even if only for fifteen to thirty minutes, anything is better than nothing. If blocking out specific workout time in your appointment book works better for you then do it. Try to always have your workout clothes with you or in your car. Knowing you are carrying your workout clothes may be the psychological motivation you need. Or, lay out your clothes so that when you get home, your workout clothes are the first things you see, making it harder to ignore the obligation to exercise.
Find a partner to buddy up with for your workout. When you do not feel up to the task, your buddy can give you that little extra push to get over the hump and into action.
Sleep: Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. The circadian clock regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Regular bed and wake times can keep our circadian clocks working correctly and enhance the onset of sleep at night. Getting sufficient amount of sleep will maintain health, mood, and weight. Sufficient sleep will keep the immune system working efficiently, therefore decreasing illnesses such as the common cold. Not getting enough sleep could possibly trigger or exacerbate chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Obesity resulting from lack of sleep is two-fold. Lack of sleep leaves you energy deprived, therefore leaving you less motivated to exercise or prepare healthy meals. Additionally, sleep plays an important role in regulating the hormone leptin. Leptin plays a key role in satiety. When you don't get enough sleep, leptin levels drop making you feel hungrier, increasing the potential to reach for high-fat, high-calorie foods. Sleep also has other health benefits such as enhancing mood and memory.
Water: Staying hydrated is important; it is imperative to drink the recommended daily intake. Drinking adequate amounts of water will keep your metabolism working at its full capacity, keep you energized and attentive, keep your short-term memory working, and quench your thirst which is often mistaken for hunger. Make sure to stay hydrated with water as opposed to high sugar content soft drinks or fruit drinks, coffee, and energy drinks.
Just because the leaves are changing colors and the weather is changing from warm to cool doesn't mean your health should change too. Being mindful about your health and wellness will keep you on track to upholding a healthy routine. Just remember some of the tips outlined here to maintain balance in your life.
Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes take back control so they can get the healthy body and life they want. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, nutrition education and caring support. The result is they lose weight and keep it off without dieting and live a healthy life symptom free.
Bonnie is a registered dietitian, certified dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She offers programs for the chronic dieter to achieve long lasting weight loss, for people with diabetes to attain blood sugar control and prevent diabetes complications, and for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome to identify their food triggers so they can enjoy a symptom free life. Bonnie also treats a variety of other medical conditions, and offers a nutrition program teaching young children how to make healthy food choices.