There’s a chill on the air, the sun sets at 5:14pm (yep, I checked) and salad and exercise is nowhere near as appealing as take-away and the couch!
This time of year, when the seasons and our behavioural patterns are noticeably changing, is such an important time to lay down a routine. Not only to keep your weight loss goals on track (or prevent slipping backwards) but to maintain your health consistently year-round. This will keep your immune system firing, your energy high, and prevent premature ageing (aesthetically and internally to all your body systems).
Here are 9 tips to get your routing set up and to stick with it:
1. Flex that discipline muscle now!
It’s really important to lay down your routine asap. The more established your healthy habits are when we hit winter proper, the easier it is to just continue straight on. The days are going to keep getting shorter and colder and you’ll crave dense foods and couch time even more – so get started now!
3. Excuses, ex-shmuses
Make a big list of all the challenges or excuses you think might pop up and come up with solutions for them now, before you’re in the moment. It makes it so much easier to make good decisions when your motivation is waning. For example, if you think you’ll bail on exercise because it’s raining, think ahead for some undercover areas or get your hands on an exercise circuit you can do at home (try Women’s Health and Women’s Fitness magazines and their websites). If you might get stuck at work and want to pick up some take-away on the way home, always have some tasty meals in the freezer that you can whip out when needed.
2. Accountability is key
If your exercise is by appointment (like HYPOXI) or you’ve got a buddy you don’t want to bail on (and who won’t bail on you), you’re twice as likely to get that exercise done. You could even start a challenge among friends or family (having everyone in your house on board where possible removes a lot of poor food temptation). You can all chip in if you want a prize, pool recipe and workout resources and generally just hold each other accountable and keep it fun. I recommend setting goals based on consistent action vs results based as everyone gains fitness and loses weight at different rates (for example: who exercised 5 times or brought their lunch to work every day vs who lost the most weight or can do the most push ups).
4. Slow cooker season is upon us
One upside of the colder months is that winter meals tend to freeze better and can usually be made in big batches. Think slow cooked stews and soups, baked veggie stacks and that all-season staple, the frittata. Now is a great time to splurge on a beautiful winter cook book and play around to find some new staple recipes you love. Having healthy leftovers on hand is one of the simplest and most impactful habits affecting how well you stay on track over winter.
6. Are you assessing or guessing?
Its super important to track your activities towards your goal. I love MiGoals diaries because they have a section to track your consistency on a task for each day of the week, but you can add tick boxes to your own diary. At the end of each week, see if you did well and why - so you can replicate it next week; or if you didn’t hit your target - how you’ll work to improve.
5. Why is this important to you?
Is it a weight loss goal? A maintenance goal? A health goal? Why is it so important to you to stay on track? Every time you answer, ask yourself why again until you get to the crux of it. This deeper motivation is what will keep you going when you feel like hitting the snooze button. Find a way to keep this front of mind everyday – build it in to your morning routine (diary/journal/sticky note on mirror), set a pop-up reminder on your calendar, set it as your home/lock screen on your phone or stick it up somewhere at home.
7. Pimp your beverages
Don’t get stuck drinking less water and increasing your consumption of coffee and black tea. There are some amazing herbal teas (I like Pukka for their flavours) and healthful latte options. I like matcha, turmeric, red chai (beetroot), blue chai (blue spirulina) and regular chai (from a spice mix not a powder or syrup). These taste amazing and all offer their own health benefits. Even the good ol’ hot lemon and ginger is amazing!
9. Be realistic
Don’t put down a 5am run if you know there is no way you’ll get out of bed in the cold darkness. I’m all for setting yourself challenges, but when you’re consistently not achieving your targets you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure. Pick tasks you know you can do and step it up as you go along. You don’t have to overhaul your habits in a week!
8. Plan to win
You’re going to be less inclined to spontaneously exercise and eat well, so don’t leave it to chance. Set aside 5 minutes before the week kicks off to plan where you realistically have the time and energy to meal prep and exercise. If you know Tuesdays are hectic, you can cook extra food on Monday and make sure you fit in some movement on another day instead.
I hope these tips help you to lay down a healthy routine to stay on track. If you have any tips that you love or questions – don’t hesitate to reach out!