I live in an area with seasonal changes. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. I rather enjoy the change. There’s nothing like a brisk walk on a cool spring morning, or a bike ride on a hot summer afternoon. How about a nice jog in the colorful autumn?
That leaves winter…brrr.
I have to admit, the cold season is when I typically gain weight, even though I try to stay active. A couple of winters back (late 2010), I walked outdoors about 3 – 5 times per week for 30 – 40 minutes. That led to springtime running which got me started to my first 5k, and so on. Last spring/summer/fall (2011) was great. Between walking, running and riding my bike, I dropped about 18 pounds.
Then, came winter 2011.
I gained back that 18 pounds plus added 5 more. Ow.
Yes, I was still walking and even running. Not as much as in the warmer seasons, but more than most people I knew. In fact, it was unseasonably warm through most of 2011/early 2012 winter. No, my problem wasn’t activity. My problem was eating.
In the colder season I tend to cook more “big” meals. More pasta, stews, sauces, roasts…with all the trimmings, of course. Throw in those “little” holidays with the big feasts and you have a recipe for disaster!
In the back of my mind, I didn’t really get it. I kept telling myself that it’s ok – I’ll go running tomorrow. And I did go running, but my runs started getting shorter and slower. The extra weight was affecting my lower back, causing pain – which in turn made my runs shorter. It just snowballed.
In the spring I was supposed to run in the New York City Half Marathon (March, 2012). After New Year I attempted to get myself on a training schedule for this run. But the extra weight and back pain made it impossible to be ready by then, so I skipped it.
So, what do I have to look forward to for winter 2012/2013?
I will go in to the season trimmer once again (lost about 15 pounds so far). I will go in smarter too. I have a gym membership, which I do use. I have a personal trainer. My sessions will be over by winter, but not my knowledge of what I need to be doing and when I need to do it. I have a 10 mile run coming up too.
But I also did some soul searching around my eating habits. This is one of the toughest thing for people to change. I get it. But it’s imperative that you do if you want to keep your weight down. Exercise alone will NOT do it. You need to eat right. There’s a treasure trove of information all over the internet regarding nutrition, but it can be very confusing. I recommend getting a nutritionist if you can – it’s a great help. Otherwise, find a program that works for you and stick with it.
I also advise you steer clear of “fad” weight loss methods. I learned from experience that for most people, if you need to drastically change what you are eating, and you have to totally give up something (such as a no-carb diet), studies show they not only don’t last – they can be unhealthy in the long run. The weight you lose comes back quickly as soon as you start eating those foods you gave up.
The key is moderation. Smaller portions. Movement. Better food choices.
What I do to maintain is I use Weight Watchers on line tools to help me track what I eat, and also my exercises. Tracking is great to keep you aware of what goes in your body. It’s important to know, but also to NOT obsess about it. After some time, it will come naturally to you to pick better foods, east smaller portions. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from the door.
In fact, here’s a giggler for you… why is it that at my gym, I see people pull in to the lot and drive around it several times to find a close spot when there are a BUNCH of spots in the overflow lot? I mean, does that make sense that you have to find that closer spot to the gym door so you can go inside to work out? Funny stuff.
So my winter this year will be a smarter one. It’s my goal to be at 185 or less by the first feast holiday (Thanksgiving) and be no more than 188 (or less, of course) by New Years Day. I know I can do it. I have a plan. 🙂
Start on your plan now. Your health is important.