Fall is upon us. I personally love Fall, especially in NYC. But Fall also means colder weather and shorter days, which makes working out more challenging for a lot of people. Furthermore, the holidays are also around the corner–and seriously, who can resist pumpkin pie and ginger nutmeg cookies? Fitness challenges combined with tempting seasonal treats make for a double obstacle when it comes to maintaining our fitness goals.
Most notably, with the seasonal changes, our habits risk to change, and that can mean weight gain. But there are some easy ways to avoid unwanted extra Fall pounds–so let’s talk about some no-fail steps you can take to stay on track:
1. Focus on seasonal produce–not holiday foods.
Baking and heavy holiday dishes can become tempting when it’s cold out, but instead of overdoing it with the tempting treats, focus on getting enough seasonal fruit and veggies on your plate. Kale is in season, and so are all kinds of winter squashes as well as sweet potatoes. Speaking of sweet potatoes, starchy veggies are natural anti-depressants thanks to their slowly burning sugar, which will give you a happiness boost; plus, sweet potatoes also help to regulate insulin production and weight. Go to the farmers market or do a trip to a nearby farm and stock up on all the fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit instead of going for the pre-packaged holiday goodies. (Here’s a great resource for figuring out which foods are in season in your area.)
Keep in mind that seasonal-inspired treats (vs. seasonal whole foods) include drinks–like sugar-laden hot chocolate and, yes, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Sadly, liquid calories can add up like crazy if you’re not careful! (A tall, soy Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is 240 calories vs. a regular tall soy latte, which is 150 calories. Where do all of the added calories come from? The sugary syrup that gives PSLs their flavor.) See tip #3 for alternative beverage ideas!
Why not try these vegan chili-stuffed sweet potatoes for a healthy, warming meal?
2. Don’t stop moving.
Just because it’s getting colder out doesn’t mean you should stay inside. Invest in some outdoor workout clothes you love and put on your running shoes. (Check out these ethical activewear brands if you need a little motivation to get sporty!) Or go on a day hike to a nearby mountain and get your sweat on. If you don’t like being outside when it’s cold, get a seasonal gym membership and workout indoors. The most important part is not to totally drop your workout routine–instead, adapt it so you feel comfortable. Fall and Winter should not mean that working out is put on the back burner. (Put these cold-weather running tips to the test!)
3. Sip some tea.
And if you really have crazy sweet cravings that will lead to weight gain, check out some seasonal herbal tea flavors like apple cinnamon or gingerbread. With no added sugar, herbal tea is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and get some extra liquid in your body–all without the added calories. Here’s how to brew tea like a master. Alternatively, if you’d like something a little richer but still healthy, try your hand at a DIY turmeric latte with only a touch of unrefined, natural sweetener.
4. Get light, every day.
A lot of people suffer from seasonal mood swings or even depression when it gets darker out. That can lead to eating too many calories in order to compensate for emotional stress. Make sure to get enough light to beat the winter blues. Try to take a walk during lunch time or get off the bus/subway one station early so your walk outside is longer. And if that doesn’t do it, invest in a sun box for some light therapy.
What are your tips for staying healthy during seasonal transition?
Also by Isabelle: Why You Should Never, Ever Eat Fake Sugar (Hint: It Can Make You Gain)
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