How many of you are the New Years Resolution types? I’m not a huge fan of them, although I recognize that many people are. I started and re-started this post a number of times: Do I write about resolutions? Given I’m not particularly prone to them, do I just ignore it? But the reality is, most people do participate in resolutions…
And then I went to get groceries. Staring me in the face at checkout were lines and rows (varying wordings) of: “New Year, New You!”, “How to make your weight loss resolution stick!”, “Lose that weight this year”, “Tricks to keeping that weight off”…and so on. Alright, mass media, let’s talk weight loss!
I don’t think it comes as a surprise that many women use New Years resolutions to set weight loss goals. Weight loss is funny since the number on the scale is truly not the entire picture of a person’s health, it’s merely one measure. A few medical issues aside, the reality is, the tactic to losing weight and keeping it off is actually fairly easy: eat better and move more. I don’t mean to oversimplify the process of weight loss (there are internal and external issues people need to face) but if you condense all the information and advice, it comes down to eating healthier and moving more. By limiting all of the information that can creep in (Don’t eat carbs! Running is bad for your knees! Paleo diet!) and keeping those two key points in mind, you will see longterm success since you are building in healthy habits.
Which brings me to one of the goals for Active Women – encouraging women to get outside! There’s a reason that treadmill you bought last New Years is now a laundry drying rack: it didn’t motivate you. How about instead of dropping thousands of your hard earned dollars on a fancy piece of gear you go grab a pair of snowshoes from Canadian Tire (heck, with the money you’re saving, buy 4 pair so you can invite 3 friends!), hit up the thrift store for a few sets of cheap-o ski poles, and go for a walk outside! Do you know how great a hot chocolate tastes after an hour or two spent tromping around the bush with your friends? Seriously, the muscles you’ll be using and the calories you’ll burn because you’re outside, using supporting muscles to help you balance, and enjoying the sun will do way more for both your body and your mindset than chugging along on that treadmill, alone, in your dark basement. And it’s still cheaper then the gym membership you’re debating about purchasing. Simply moving more in our natural environment will help stimulate that healthy lifestyle you’re seeking.
As for the food side, not being a dietician or nutritionist, I won’t to wade into the various arguments as to what constitutes “healthy” eating. Ask 4 people, get 4 different answers. I subscribe to the concept of moderation. I eat well the majority if the time and try to not to beat myself up when I make poor decisions (cheezies, anyone?). My dietary preferences are based on my own research, review, and experiences. I know when I eat well I have energy to perform better. I know I perform and feel better on a fairly vegan-based diet but I don’t eschew meat (or other animal products) completely. I tend to balance out those meat choices by purchasing local and organic products which equates to smaller meat portions and greater veggie portions. In turn, I feel great and want to get outdoors…which also makes me feel great…which allows me to come home and eat a gi-nourmous portion of homemade chili that’s been in the crockpot all day.
So this December 31st, instead of focussing in on that number on the scale, why not commit to getting outside just a bit more? Increase your outdoors time incrementally: if you don’t go outside at all, a 10 minute walk is a huge achievement.
Can you eke out one more run when you hit the slopes? What about trying out a new activity every month? Why does tobogganing have to be relegated to the kids? It’s fun!
Here are some of my additional ideas to get you moving outside, what are yours?
- Take lessons for skiing, snowboarding, or telemarking! Committing to a few weeks of lessons makes sure you’ll get out (I just did!) and will instil you with more confidence which will result in more fun. Already a pro skier? Then learn a new way to get down that hill!
- Cross-country skiing, either on groomed trails or backcountry (lessons often available for this, also).
- Running! Yes, you can run in the winter, don’t use it as an excuse – get your base now and run that marathon later 🙂 Just get out…but perhaps invest in some reflective clothing!
- Fat biking – I can almost guarantee that there’s a fat bike rental somewhere nearby.
- Tubing! Hello, such a blast! Just like tobogganing – this is not just for kids!
- Grab that pedometer and walk to get groceries, to the mail, to your friends.
You are your biggest hurdle. Congratulate yourself when you get your feet off the door, it IS an effort and there IS a decision making process that occurs. You do have to choose to get outside and it’s up to you do make that choice.