How Do I Stay Active This Fall?
By: Cole Howell, PT, DPT
As the leaves begin to change, the temperature drops, and the holiday season rapidly approaches, many people struggle to stay active and manage their health. Here are some tips to stay active this fall and to reduce the holiday weight gain. Why not use the change of seasons as a fresh start to tackle your health goals?
Change Daily Habits
Habit formation and consistency are keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Start with small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further from your destination. Take advantage of the beautiful fall foliage and get outside for some hiking. Play some flag football with the family during the holidays. And if you find yourself struggling to deal with the cold weather, try transitioning to home workouts, there are a ton of resources out there on the internet so go explore a bit!
Don’t Go Crazy with the Diet
Apply those healthy habits and consistency to your dieting, as well as your exercise. Avoid fad diets and cleanses, as they are not sustainable and you will likely gain all of the weight back. Try to eat foods that are in season (it’s a good excuse to get out and walk around the Farmer’s market). Eat a colorful diet filled with lots of fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Don’t keep all of that old Halloween candy sitting around the house, as you may find yourself snacking on it.
Stop telling yourself you’ll “start your diet next week.” Take the plunge and start TODAY! If you fall off the wagon and eat something unhealthy, do not beat yourself up over it. Instead, use it as a learning experience and use it as motivation to eat healthy for the rest of that day. Definitely do not use a dietary slip-up as an excuse to re-start your diet the following week...get back on your diet immediately. Consistency is key!!!
Keep a Journal
If you’re struggling to stick to a diet/exercise plan, I find it helpful to write things down. Keeping a journal makes you aware of exactly what/when you’re eating and may help you realize where you have room for improvement. I also find it helpful to review and evaluate your journal weekly! If you’re more of a tech person, there are a number of apps out there that help you count calories and track your exercise.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting unrealistic or vague goals is a common mistake! Try to set realistic short and long-term goals. Make your goals specific and set a time frame in which you would like to achieve each goal. Don’t forget to write your goals down (you can conveniently add them in with your diet and exercise journal). This will keep you accountable and you’ll experience a rush as you check these goals off your list. That sense of accomplishment will keep you motivated to continue in the right direction and to achieve your next set of goals.
Once you start building new habits, properly fueling your body, and exercising regularly, you will notice changes. You will lose weight, have more energy, and be more productive with your days. Once you notice these changes, you won’t want to go back! Fall is a common time for people to lose motivation. Instead of letting the holidays and the cold weather get the best of you, use this season as an excuse to set new goals and update your lifestyle!