Ah, November. I just love the fall! The temperatures are cool and crisp, and it’s a welcome relief from the 90 and 100 degree temperatures we had just a couple of months ago. However, I’ve noticed that this time of year also brings other joys that can pack on the pounds if you’re not careful. For example, my husband and I have a special area in our backyard to light a bonfire on those cool evenings. I actually bought the ingredients to make s’mores!!! (We haven’t done it yet). I also find myself browsing through recipes for special holiday desserts and hot beverages, like warm apple cider on the stove. I honestly don’t want to give up these special seasonal treats just because I’m trying to stay fit. These things are part of life that can bring joy, excitement, and wonder when shared with people you love. I don’t plan to miss out on these things. Another problem with this time of year is that there is a tendency to become less physically active now that the time has changed, and it gets dark so early – not to mention that it’s often too cool to want to be outside. So, between special seasonal and holiday treats plus less activity – this could equal weight gain disaster if you’re not careful.
What’s the answer to this? I think everyone has to figure out what works for them, but to me, the key is to be intentional with your food and activity. For example, if you know you’ll be enjoying some special out-of-the-norm treats, then plan some extra exercise and activity for that day to offset the calorie consumption. You can also plan to eat VERY healthy for the upcoming days leading up to your planned splurge, as well as the days following it. It’s not that you’re on a diet – it’s just that you’re budgeting your food intake. It’s basically the same principle as what you do with your money. In order to buy all of those Christmas presents, you might need to save some money and “cut some corners” somewhere else in your spending. Also, you really need to be diligent with sticking to your exercise program during the cooler months. When the sun goes down earlier, there is a tendency for our bodies to start to slow down earlier, as well. This is something to keep in mind when planning your workouts. Perhaps you would prefer to go to bed a little earlier so that you can get up earlier (with the sun) to work out. You will definitely need those planned calorie-burning workouts to offset the additional calories consumed (and perhaps limited activity during the day) this time of year.
To summarize, I say enjoy life and all the enjoyment this season brings – just do it mindfully and intentionally so that you won’t have to “pay the price” later with extra weight.