You want to lose weight. Again. You’re trying to get to spin class 3 days a week and squeeze in a weekend yoga session. You’re in the salad line for lunch everyday and they know your order before you say it. You got the pumpkin latte last weekend but skipped the whipped cream.
I want you to think about this time last year, when the five pounds you worked so hard to lose and keep off all summer began to creep back on.
And here were are again. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this cycle and struggle, and it’s indeed hard to lose weight in the fall.
But this year, let’s do things differently. Let’s turn up the action now and plan ahead so you don’t repeat your mistakes next year.
Here are 4 reasons why it’s hard to lose weight in the fall, and what you can do about it:
1. Marketers are really good at what they do. All summer long we’re bombarded with reminders to stay on track. The swimsuit ads, produce-pushing recipes and beach vacation reminders motivate us to toe the line. It’s easy to choose the unsweetened iced green tea or pick up the light and refreshing salad for lunch.
But then autumn comes along. The sweaters come out and rather than seeing Instagrams of your friends’ toes on a beach, you’re seeing snuggly socks in front of a fireplace. Fall advertisements push comfort foods and hot sweet drinks and pie. Lots of pie.
Don’t fall for the fall marketing! Stick to what you know works for you all-year-round, making simple substitutions here and there, but without too much deviation from the track.
Instead of the berries on your morning yogurt, toss in some diced apples. Go for 1 ounce of cheese on a high fiber cracker with a thin slice of pear instead of the harvest danish you might otherwise go for. You get the idea?! Don’t swap your morning oatmeal and walnuts for a pumpkin muffin, add pumpkin pie spices to your oats instead.
2. Holidays overstay their welcome. Doesn’t it seem like the candy jar is just emptied from Halloween and you’re already cooking your Thanksgiving bird? Do turkey leftovers feel like they linger into Christmas and you’re still eating Valentine chocolates daily when Easter rolls around?
Sometimes it feels like a big blur of holiday foods, sweets, treats and free for all from Halloween until Easter. It’s hard to lose weight in the fall (and winter) when you’re surrounded by holiday foods and festivities. PLAN FOR THIS.
Decide how you’re going to handle the holidays before each and every one creeps up on the calendar. At Halloween, allow yourself 5 pieces of candy (eat them all at once, or one a day, it’s up to you!). At Thanksgiving, make a no leftovers rule (except for that cranberry sauce). Whatever your plans are, tell them to a buddy, so they can help you stick to it!
3. Coats and sweaters do a great job at hiding things. Maybe you’re thinking that nobody can tell that you put on a few pounds, because you’re layered up and coated in outerwear. Maybe they can’t see it, but YOU can. It makes you feel lousy and less fit and it messes with your head.
Keep yourself in check here by actively not hiding. Maybe you have a pair of summer shorts or a dress or a swimsuit that you’d typically hide away in the fall. Keep one item that you feel great in, in some place where you can see it all year long.
Try it on from time to time. Maybe even wear it underneath your long johns to remind you that there is no hiding from yourself. Or just go ahead and sit in front of that fire in your bikini. Yes, you can wear socks, and no, we won’t laugh.
4. Nobody wants to put Baby or pie in the corner. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it stinks to deprive yourself. There isn’t a lot of immediate glory in not eating the caramel apple pie. Nobody is going to give you a prize for not having the pumpkin spiced latte with whipped cream.
Instead of having that yucky deprivation feeling, focus on what you CAN have and you’ll find great satisfaction. You can have a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on your ricotta with diced apples. Pumpkin (straight from a can, who needs to put in all that work?) can be a super healthful and delish seasonal ingredient in everything from soup to muffins to pancakes. Even cocoa can be healthful if you indulge consciously.
Keep lacing up those sneakers, every season of the year. Keep drinking the same green tea throughout the year, and just add ice cubes when necessary. Keep eating the oats for breakfast, and switch up whether they come out of the microwave or the fridge before hitting your mouth. Stick to what works, and learn to indulge consciously, rather than constantly.
Cheers to a great fall and congratulations on preventing those five pounds from finding their way onto your body this season.