I saw this meme one time that said, “My greatest fear is marrying into a family that runs 5ks on holidays.” Honestly, I’m not sure why, but I thought it was hysterical. As I write it out now, I didn’t even crack a smile so maybe it’s not that funny.
It’s a little amusing that some folks will literally hibernate through winter starting in November and come out at the end of February.
Which, believe me, sometimes sounds amazing because I am notorious for being cold.
It’s kind of an oxymoron, but in all seriousness, we have a window unit in our bedroom (keep in mind, this is in addition to our big AC unit that cools the rest of the house) because I like to have the room I’m sleeping in cold so I can have heavy blankets.
I’m a hot sleeper, so it must be cold in our room.
As much as we might want to hibernate through the winter, that really isn’t ideal; especially when you have goals you want to reach.
I’ll say once again, I totally understand wanting to hibernate through winter. There’s a half marathon that I run every year at the end of October and to be honest, most years after that is over, I want to hide in my house until spring.
That is not how we live healthy lifestyles. We don’t lead healthy lifestyles only when the weather is good. Because, that’s not a lifestyle, that is a “I’ll pretend to be healthy when it works for me”.
Well, mama, I love ya, and sometimes tough love is what gets our attention the most.
Let’s dive in, shall we? How to stay active through the holidays.
There are many different ways to be active and in a guest post that was published last year by Molly Miles [which you can read here] she talks about the different ways to be active:
“I get bored doing the same activities all the time. Running is important and proper weight training is important, and frankly I find those two to be the easiest things to incorporate into a full time job/busy lifestyle. However, they’re not the most mentally stimulating things in the world. Plus that same 2-mile loop around your neighborhood sure gets old after a while. There’s only so many times you can see if Mr. Johnson’s black and white cat is sitting outside his house today.-Molly Miles
Time to do something different!
- Take advantage of the nice weather to drive to a local park and do some trail running.
- Dig your bicycle out of the garage or out from under your dirty clothes and take it out for a spin.
- Go to a beginner women’s mountain bike meet up (most bike shops and REIs have these periodically for free or for a very low fee) to learn some new skills and meet some new friends.
- Find a hike nearby and walk up a mountain.
- Pack up your tent and go backpacking.
- Take a spin class.
- Try a martial arts class (I did BJJ and kickboxing for 3 years and am an advocate of martial arts for all sorts of reasons, but that’s another topic for another day).
- Go roller skating!”
With that topic in mind, let’s build on that, shall we?
Considering postpartum healthy living is the focus of this website and with that tends to come the want/need to lose weight, it’s important to keep your weight training routine going.
If you are bored with your routine, you can click here for a 30 day Instant Download plan for the gym that I created specifically for high calorie burning for those focused on losing weight.
Bottom line on that? Keep your weight training routine!
Keeping that in mind, let’s chat about a couple of different things to be aware of that might keep you from trying some of the things that Molly mentioned above
#1 – Too much television
Downton Abbey is marvelous and who can’t get enough of binge watching great shows available on Netflix such as the Great British Baking Show? What’s better than fantastic accents and food? Nothing really.
But, it shouldn’t be our fall back and be only what we do.
Especially when it’s cold outside, curling up on the couch in the cold evenings under a blanket is super tempting.
And while relaxation like that is important, doing so every night for the length of winter can really take a toll on the progress of your goals.
Here’s a tip –
find ONE thing that you would like to learn/accomplish through the winter and work a little bit on it through those gray days. It could be that you work on it everyday, or every few days. But something that keeps your mind and your hands busy.
Examples could be –
- Learning a new language
- Scrap booking your kiddo’s first year of life
- Trying two new recipes per week
- Learning a new skill
- Reading x amount of books. Ever heard of a summer reading list? How about a fall/winter reading list?
#2 – Short days
Ugh. The short days of winter are pretty brutal in my opinion. It doesn’t get really light until at least 7:15 or 7:30am and in the dead of winter it tends to get dark no later than 5:00pm.
This is why it’s important to get out and get a walk during lunch hour or right before naptime for the kiddos, but making time to bundle up and get outside for just a few minutes.
We as humans are basically complicated house plants with emotions. We need water, food, and a bit of sunlight.
Those 3 things are vital to our way of life. Can we have too much sun? Obviously.
But, bundling up and getting out and getting some vitamin D and some steps in even when it’s cold will really help beat away the winter blues.
Which leads me into my last point
#3 – Winter Blues
The winter blues is something that I have long struggled with. To be completely honest and transparent, I HATE winter. I hate it with a passion.
The Thanksgiving/Christmas season is something that I love and those holidays keep my mind off of the fact that it is winter, but when it hits January/February, I really have to focus my mind on the positive and keep myself busy doing the things I know I can do to beat the winter blues.
These are things like my example above of making sure I get out for a walk and get some sunlight, making sure I get my workouts in, having a hobby to do during the winter months.
Keep my mind occupied and not focusing on the fact that it is gray and freezing cold.
Believe it or not, it really does help.
A lot of times, you’ll see posts that say something like “how to stay skinny through the holidays” to which I have to roll my eyes because I hate the word skinny.
I grew up during the era of pop stars with killer abs, half shirts and size zero. Which, sadly, this trend is coming back.
Who do I need to write to tell them that I still want the other half of my shirt? But I digress.
This really got in my head and even though I had great support at home about positive body image, I still struggled with never being thin enough.
So! When I see posts that say how to stay skinny through the holidays, it bugs me.
I have written posts about how to ‘stay on track’ through the holidays, which is a completely different topic. Because it teaches you how to enjoy the holidays and continue to lead that healthy lifestyle even when you are tempted with all of the rich holiday food.
Here’s the deal…
Winter sucks sometimes. It just does; but when you have a plan of attack and know where you struggle, such as the short days and too much television, it can really help set you up for success.
My two biggest pieces of advice on this topic:
- Keep your weight training plan in place through the cold months
- Find a hobby that has nothing to do with health, fitness, or weight loss. Absolutely nothing. Because when you’re on a weight loss journey, we tend to obsess and that is the last thing we need to do.
Hang in there mama and really try to enjoy the winter! You’ve got this.