Fall is here! Whether that makes you feel excited about wearing your new leather boots and blanket scarves, or whether you can’t stand the fact that winter is just around the corner, fall is here.
While you might not realize it, seasonal changes can really take a shot at your weight-loss goals. The activities you are able to carry out from season to season may change drastically, not to mention that restaurant and café menus tend to offer oh-so-tempting limited-time seasonal foods and beverages, which also tend to be packed with sugar and calories (pumpkin spice frappuccino, anyone?)
However, there are several ways in which you can stay on track with your weight-loss goals and take in the joys that every season brings.
Before we delve into these, however, it is important that you first have a well-designed goal.
No, “lose 5 pounds” is not a well-designed goal. By when? How will you achieve it?
Design Your Goal
First, determine what you want to achieve. This may be based on how much weight you want to lose, or certain foods you want to avoid (or eat more of) or if you want to take up more frequent exercise.
Next, determine when you want to achieve it by. For this, make sure that it is realistic. If you want to lose 5 pounds by tomorrow, for example, it is unlikely you will be able to achieve it. In general, a healthy rhythm of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds a week. Any more than that will likely be unsustainable.
Finally, specify how you are going to achieve this. You might have to consult with a dietitian or an exercise coach to make sure your how is healthy. This may be by jogging 3 times a week (just saying “exercising” is not specific enough), eating only only one serving of bread a day, and not drinking any soda, among others.
Whatever your goal is, before you deal with seasonal changes, make sure to design it based on what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it, and how you are going to achieve it.
Ok… now what is the problem with seasonal changes when talking about weight loss?
Seasonal changes are beautiful. But they can really put a cramp in your weight loss goals. Some of the ways they can affect you are:
- Changes in weather: These changes can make you feel to go for your morning run, less into your cold lunch salad, and more likely to feel under the weather.
- Seasonal food: It all looks sooo good, right? Seasonal food, like sugary coffee drinks, pies, cookies, and big meals, can make you feel tempted to make an exception here and there. The real problem comes when it isn’t just a once-in-a-while thing.
- Tons of get-togethers: In the end, these relationships make life worth living, especially if you are an empath. From a weight-loss perspective, however, the get-togethers can encourage you to drink and eat more than your would otherwise.
- Vacation: When we take a vacation from work, we often also take a vacation from exercise and eating well.
Most of the things mentioned above are not seen as problems in the least. And it is true; they are some of the most wonderful things about the end of the year and seasonal changes. In no way is this article meant to discount how valuable all of these things are. This article is simply meant to help you enjoy all of the wonderful things that come with changes in season, while still being able to stay on track with your health and weight-loss goals.
So. How Can I Stay On Track?
- Keep your goal in mind all of the time. Make it your computer background, write it on a post-it, or set
it as a daily reminder on your phone. Don’t allow yourself to forget what you have set your mind to, and you will feel more determined to make the right choices every day.
- Have a snack before going out to dinner. This sounds strange, but when you know you are going to be going out to a restaurant with friends for your yearly gathering to eat a decadent meal, it is best not to arrive feeling like you are going to devour everything on the menu.
- Use technology as an aide. When you feel you are losing your grip on your weight-loss goals, you can use one of thousands of smart phone apps to keep you on track. Whether it is reminding you to drink water, to do your daily ab exercises, or tracking what and how much you are eating every day, staying on track and staying accountable to someone (even if it’s your phone) could be very beneficial.
- Choose low-calorie or low-fat versions of seasonal foods. There are some great seasonal food options that aren’t packed with unnecessary calories. These include squash soups and multi-grain muffins. Ask the waiter what lower calorie options he recommends or look them up online and make them yourself.
- Ask to host. Hosting Thanksgiving might seem overwhelming, but it will allow you to have more control of the ingredients that are used. Look into making cauliflower mashed potatoes instead of traditional mashed potatoes. Hold the gravy, or use a teaspoon of turkey juices instead. Load up on the green beans. If hosting seems like too much, you can volunteer to help out and make suggestions about “skinny” options of the traditional dishes.
- Take on exercise you can do inside. If you aren’t confortable doing your routine at home, look into gym membership. If you already have a membership, talk a friend into joining as well so that you can motivate each other when one of you has the exercise blues.
Do you have more ideas for staying on track with your goals in light of seasonal changes? Share in the comments below!