Pretty soon we will see magazines in the grocery store checkout aisles claiming swimsuit weather is coming…and while that may be true, there is more to it than that. Winter months can sometimes bring the blues and we can lack motivation. For many of us, winter is a time of comfort food and big clothes. Today I am wearing a long skirt and a sweater, for instance. It’s easy to hide ourselves in winter clothes, and oftentimes (although I hate to admit the magazines are right), spring and summer seem to sneak up and surprise us.
So with 100 days before the start of the summer months, it is a good time to check ourselves so as not to be taken by surprise when the warmer months suddenly show up! The following are six tips to make sure we are getting ready for the approaching summer months:
1.Stay Hydrated … Remember to drink enough fluids to stay well hydrated. It’s easy to drink less in the winter because it’s cold, but our bodies still need water to function properly. As a guide, we require approximately 1.5 litres to 2.5 litres of fluid from food and drink sources per day and an additional 500mls per 30 minutes of exercise. Upon waking, drink one full glass of water, and then drink one full glass before each meal, and after exercise. Before bed, drink one more full glass of water!
2. Start an Exercise/Food Diary: Keeping an exercise and food log for a few weeks can really expose some of the habits that we have developed in the winter months. As I write this, I am dipping into my two year-old’s bowl of vanilla wafers. I would have to write that down if I were keeping a log instead of ignoring the now 12th wafer that I have wolfed down (he is playing a game where every time he eats one, he gives me one…I’m a softy for toddler games). Keeping track of exercise is also a great way to stay accountable in the colder months!
3. Detoxify. There are plenty of ways to do this, but I am speaking of the fairly simple way of eating only fruit and water for one day. I haven’t done this in a long time, and frankly I recall that the last time I did, it was more difficult than I had anticipated. But by the end of the day, I felt great. While summer is a great time to do this because of the many varied kinds of summer fruits available, winter is a perfectly fine time to do it as well. Make sure you are stocked up with bananas, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, and strawberries (to name a few fruits available this time of year) and eat a piece of fruit any time you are hungry. I promise that when you wake up the next day, you will feel refreshed!
4. Go swimming! This is a good exercise for many reasons this time of year. It is a full-body workout that can really bring your heart rate up (especially if you aren’t used to it). It also forces us to put on a bathing suit…and there is nothing like a reality check to keep us honest! Most YMCAs have pools, and there are local pools that don’t require membership, just a one-time fee. A 45-60 minute swim is an awesome workout…try swimming some of it a little faster, and use a kick board to mix things up.
5. Act on your Resolutions. Lets face it, many New year’s resolutions are a distant memory, but setting goals is often the first way to achieve them. While depression can be a common feeling during winter months, a recent study from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), showed a strong link between healthy behaviors and depression. Women who exhibited healthy behaviors (like exercising, not smoking, etc.) had less sad and depressed days than those whose behaviors were less than healthy. Although researchers studied women, the results are likely similar in men. With 100 days left before summer is upon us, now is the time to really get serious about resolutions. If you didn’t make any…now is a great time to write a few down. Maybe it is to lose five pounds, start taking supplements, avoid eating sugar, or to add another day of exercise to your routine. Other studies have shown that goals are often extremely helpful motivators.
6. Try on your favorite sundress. A friend of mine told me that she always tries on her favorite summer dress halfway through the winter months to help keep her on track and not get lazy…yikes! Again, motivation comes from lots of sources…figure out what motivates you!
Do you have other ways to give a spring boost to our winter moods and get motivated for summer?