I have a confession to make. Well, really two confessions.
I love Christmas. I always have. It's a time to be with your family and friends, and eat. I said it. The best baked goods come between Thanksgiving and New Year's, and you know it.
With that, confession number two. Every late January, I get asked by a co-worker if I'm pregnant. Yup. The post-holiday weight goes to my gut every time. I do have two kids already, so that's gotta be it. At first, I think it must just be my love for bulky sweaters. It's not. It's go time.
In order to be completely transparent, I have a job that I love at the Y, so no excuses — it's not too cold to leave my office to get into shape.
So, here's my advice on staying healthy during these cold months, with tough love, and without all of the motivational "time to get ready for bikini season" crap.
1) The treadmill is a magical you-time.
I have two kids, so when I can drop 'em at Kids Stuff, and have a full hour or two to myself, I darn well use it for more than taking a nap which is what I'd want to do. It's a break in the work day, or a calm before the storm before going home. Also, the perfect time to catch up on magazines, or Friends re-runs.
2) Trap yourself.
Group exercise: You can't leave. Group cycle? It's not like when you get tired, you can just hop off your bike, and pretend to get a drink outside. You're locked in, friend. And that's the only way you're going to get. it. done.
3) Winter isn't an excuse to hibernate.
Try new things. I've now been to every group exercise class at least once. Too cold? I tried logrolling, I'm on the RollerGirls roller derby rec league, I run around the gym with my kids. Love te outdoors? Snowshoe, ski, sled.
4) Stop mindless eating.
I could eat cookies until I notice that the box is gone, and wonder where it went. I've started using myfitnesspal to track workouts and eating habits. I've literally reached for snacks, and thought to myself, do I want to eat this and have to plug it into myfitnesspal? When I have a cookie attack, I instantly go for a walk and grab some hot tea. Don't eat while you're doing other things.
5) Stop stress eating.
Again, I instantly reach for the cookies after my kids have (FINALLY) gone to bed, they just won't. stop. fighting, and of course, the normal money worries and work stress. Realize you're doing it and cut it out! And quit eating in the couple of hours before you go to bed - you'll sleep better and give your body a break.
6) Cut the crap.
Aim for real food. Oranges > orange juice. Fruit > fruit snacks. With that being said, check out sites like 100 Days of Real Food. Diet Coke does not equal food, nor anything real. Can you pronounce everything on the ingredient label? Isn't there something scary about that? I stick to Great Harvest in Woodbury bread, found a love for Trader Joe's, and shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store. All things you know. Just do them.
7) Get the family involved.
Not to get motivatonal, but chances are, you are a role model to somebody - your kids, family or friends, co-worker. Someone cares about you and wants to stay active and eating well. All of these people notice what you do with your time. Get them involved. I grew up at the local community center, and smile every time I see the whole family hitting up the Y together. Play basketball, go swimming, take a class.
Studies show you need it, so go to bed. Seriously. It's all warm in there.
9) Facebook it all.
Scratch that. I don't want to hear about each meal you've eaten today, your detailed workout, or all of the things you've accomplished today, and nobody else does either. There. I said it. Certainly share tidbits, funny stories, or what you're proud of, and friend me on myfitnesspal. Keep the nitty gritty stuff to yourself.
10) Don't keep it in the house.
You can tell it's January (and therefore, the perfect time to ask me if I'm with child - seriously people, why?), and I've started to prepare for hibernation when I can't fit all my treats in the cupboard. Just throw it out, better to waste than to waist (put that on the board, I love that saying) - I know if there's a pan of brownies in the house, I will have no idea where it went by bedtime, except for that my stomach really hurts. With that being said, don't even keep your binge foods in the house.