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Smash the Winter Blues

Don’t let the colder weather interfere with your fitness goals. You don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to keep in shape. Ask yourself, how much you want to fit into those jeans/pants/skirts. If it is a significant need then do something about it – it’s your life, live it like you should be.

Stop yawning and get going! Yes, it’s cold and undesirable to be out from under your blankets but it is more important now than ever to keep those extra pounds from knocking on your thighs and inviting themselves in to stay.

If you are like the majority of Americans you tend to put on 10 or so unwanted pounds over the cooler months then try for the next 5 months to lose it all again in time to fit into that polka dotted bikini. Why does this happen? Well there are a few reasons:

We have a tendency to eat stodgier foods in winter and less salads and fruits. Instead we opt for creamy sauces, potatoes and hot chocolates with marshmallows. Couple that with slightly anti social behavior – yes, that’s right – curling up on the couch on a Friday night with a value bag of Junior Mints (well they were on special) instead of going out dancing, does make a difference. There is a reason why it’s called being a couch potato. Think about the shape of a potato and you’ll get the idea!

Typically, we don’t do as much incidental exercise which can be responsible for burning 200¬300 calories a day. For instance, this may be walking at lunch time, walking the dog further, window shopping, going on picnics, trips to the beach, playing in the back yard with kids and general daily activity. Let’s do the math (it’s not trigonometry) that’s 1500 calories a week which you’re not burning which is the equivalent to a whole day’s worth of calories. Multiply that by 3 months and that’s right … 18,000 extra calories have decided to stay!

The most important thing to do this winter is stick with your fitness regime. Hiding it under baggy clothes doesn’t count. If you stop, you’ll just have to work twice as hard to get it off. It’s even harder once you get older and your metabolism slows. Here are some hints and tips to keep you on the band wagon.

Stay motivated & warm

  • Some people hate exercise because “it’s too cold”. Well, even though it’s cold, you can still have a quick hot shower to warm you up and get you going (be mindful of water restrictions though and shower with a friend – a hot one!)
  • Allow an extra 5 minutes warm up and ease into it. The first 5–10 mintues are always the hardest, but then you start to feel great, so persevere and work through it.
  • Have a few sips of coffee pre-workout (speeds up metabolism).
  • If you are going on a winter holiday go on a holiday which includes activity or, better still, escape to a tropical island where you have to be bikini clad and you’ll want to be fit and fabulous.
  • Record it – keep a food and exercise diary so you can keep an eye on what’s going in and what’s coming off. It keeps you mindful! A great website is and the bonus is it displays a pie chart so if your boss walks past it appears as if you are still working efficiently!

Food tips

  • Don’t buy chocolate or junk food in bulk packs. If you need to treat yourself go for the smallest serving you can find. (if you don’t buy it you won’t eat It – thus avoid that aisle at Cosco altogether). Don’t even buy it for family members. They should be supporting you, not sabotaging you.
  • Buy organic, non processed food where possible. Eat clean and you will feel clean. So many food products are filled with chemicals so go back to nature. Swap the mocha frappaccino for a skim milk espresso (by the time you bring the cappuccino back to your desk the froth has disappeared anyway, and the chocolate or cinnamon sprinkles end up on your top lip – never impressive in those meetings).
  • Cling onto summer with great simple salads topped with heated lean meats – baby spinach leaves, grape tomatoes and dash of balsamic vinegar will do the trick nicely with your grilled chicken and seeded mustard!
  • Fast is not always unhealthy. There are many simple recipes that take 10 minutes and under to prepare as long as you are organized and have your meat selection ready to cook. Keep it simple – no mess no fuss steak or chicken with frozen peas & corn for dinner is always a winner, but avoid those sugary sauces, opt for warm spices like garlic, chili & mustard to add flavor.

At the office

  • Talk to people – yes actually walk over to your colleague. They will be more willing to help you out then and there than if you send them an email to red flag.
  • Stand and move as much as you can, tap your foot under your desk.
  • Do your deep vein thrombosis exercises (it will be entertaining for everybody).
  • Eradicate the vending machine. It will force you to move to get a snack and if you have made all that effort it may as well be a healthy one.
  • Ban the birthday cake and opt for buying the birthday person movie tickets instead.
  • Have a fitness buddy at work, walk at lunchtime. Sneak out for a gym session. You will be a million times more productive if you invigorate yourself. This sort of behavior is infectious and soon the whole workplace will be abuzz with energy.
  • Take the stairs. You’ve heard it before but it works even if you work on the 35th floor; try at least the first 10 flights then increase by a flight every week (do that 5 times a week and you’ll have tight buns for sure).