It has been crisp and cool lately and I love it! I am much more of a sweater than swimsuit kinda gal. One of my favorite things to do is join friends for a cool weather hike. Hiking is the perfect way to enjoy nature, take your fitness outdoors and share an experience. The problem? We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season and that makes taking time for yourself even more difficult. Doing it with a friend definitely helps. Devoting a morning to hiking may not be on your agenda with extra to-dos already vying for your time, I encourage you to remember that something is better than nothing.
When I went to grad school I promised myself I would find 30 minutes a day to exercise for me. health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter4.aspx Some of my fellow students, especially the single ones, seemed surprised. My daughter was a year old, I was teaching classes and maintaining a home. I had created more time by eliminating television and getting up earlier and 30 minutes was what I had to work with. Sticking to a manageable timeframe prevented me from thinking in all or nothing terms. When you put too much between yourself and a goal, it's way too easy to give up.
I love and have shared this saying many times, though I'm not sure where it comes from: It's not what you eat between Thanksgiving and the New Year, it's not what you eat between the New Year and Thanksgiving. There are a few variations but the point is that taking care of yourself; eating healthfully, moving your body and managing stress more often than not, yields results. It is the 80/20 rule in action. That being said, I am not suggesting you go crazy and call it your 20%, but rather that you keep your healthy habits and allow yourself to be human. Love Aunt Martha's holiday fudge? Have a piece. If fudge is a trigger food and you'll eat the whole box after one piece, pass it on to someone else. No time to drive to the gym for a workout? Take a brisk walk to the post office to mail those cards. All those little choices add up. Don't believe me? Reverse the process. It's not usually a season of poor choices, that cause weight gain or lack of fitness, it's several seasons.
By staying with, but modifying your habits, the transition back to your version of normal will be a lot smoother. Trying to get started building health habits? Slow down and breath whenever you can, this calms the mind and body allowing you to focus. Find movement as often as possible, powerwalk the mall, stretch before bed, whatever works. Finally, since food is so abundant at this time, only eat what you love and stop before you're stuffed. Make your non-party meals as nutrient dense as possible and know yourself, plan ahead. A little awareness can help you navigate the season and be ready to return or start those healthy habits.
If you enjoy hiking or would like to try it, here are a couple of useful links-