Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fighting Fall Fatigue

Every October, without fail, I manage to put on a few extra pounds.  Despite the fact that it happens every year, I never realize that it’s happening, and I am never prepared for it.  I am just shocked every year by the appearance of the same couple of pounds.  Along with the shock comes a long rant about how “there is no reason why I should be gaining weight”.  I truly feel for my husband. He has to watch this whole thing play out.  I’m sure I put on quite a performance.

From what I have seen on other weight loss blogs, and overheard in line at the grocery store, I am not the only person who suffers from this “mysterious” October weight gain.  The most common rational I have heard is that the weight gain can be attributed to the increase in seasonal sweets appearing on the market.  While I understand this viewpoint, I’m just not convinced this is the only reason for the weight gain.  Every season has it’s fair share of indulgences, and I am pretty certain that Halloween candy has no more calories than the stuff that fills our Easter baskets in the Spring.

So if it isn’t the pie that is making me look like a pumpkin, what is it?  I have come to the conclusion that with October, comes a lack of drive.  The dark, cool days just do not promote the same level of activity as those long, sunny summer days. When the sun goes down and the cold sets in (which can happen as early as 5:30 pm), it is easy to slip on an oversized-sweater (which hides a belly bulge a lot better than a summertime bikini) and settle in on the couch.

In order to keep the belly bulge at bay, I have put together a list of a few things to keep you (and I) motivated this Fall:

  • Look into starting some group exercise classes.  Group fitness instructors are trained to be motivating, which can be helpful when we are lacking internal motivation. If you don’t have a gym membership, there are some great (free) classes online. I have posted a few of my favorites on my Pinterest boards.
  • Plan a few evening activities into your week to keep you moving.  Go for a walk before the sun sets, or schedule in an evening yoga practice.
  • Learn some new healthy recipes and cooking techniques. Cooking will keep you active during the evenings, and prevent you from ordering too much Chinese take-out.  
  • When it stays dark later in the morning, it is easy to stay in bed an extra half an hour.  Unfortunately, an extra 30 minutes a day in bed adds up to an extra 3.5 hours/week of complete inactivity. To help get you going in the morning: use motivating music as your alarm, turn on the light next to your bed, and/or concentrate on all of the things you want to get accomplished.
  • I have noticed that when the weather cools, I tend to choose easier workouts.  When my drive is waning, I am not as likely to create workouts that will push me.  In order to combat this, try creating your weekly workout schedule in advance.  Incorporate a few harder workouts like boot camp classes, long runs, indoor cycling and interval workouts.  Include as much detail as you can in your workout schedule (amount of time, distance, reps) to keep you from taking the easy route.
  • Resist the urge to always wear your comfy clothing. Spending as much time as possible in sweat pants may sound appealing, but it will only work to further decrease your motivation.  
  • If you really can’t seem to get moving, you may need to add a bit of extra caffeine into your diet during the cooler months.  If you are not a coffee drinker, green tea makes for a great afternoon pick-me-up.  If you can’t tolerate caffeine, I have found that peppermint gives me a little boost(try tea, mints or gum).

Once November rolls around, I usually find that I am back to my motivated self.  By this point I have recognized the upward movement of the scale, have been through my whole rant and realize that it is time to kick back into gear.  In all reality, just thinking about Christmas cookies is typically enough to light a fire under me.  If winter is tougher on you than Fall, it might help to take a look at my post on avoiding hibernation.

Happy Halloween Everyone :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling with October weight gain. I'm hoping I'm now into November weight loss...we'll see.