Late September and early October mark the start of cooler days and often the arrival of chilly nights. As many of us reach into the closet and dresser to find that comfy sweater we haven’t worn for months, we’re also tempted to reach for a second helping hot apple pie perhaps with yet another hot cocoa.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. The days get shorter, the nights get longer and we begin to spiral down from the peak of our summer fitness into an autumnal haze.
It’s easy to do. After all, a T-shirt and shorts do little to hide the true state of your body. But with a loose sweater and pants that offer more give than take, it’s easier to hide that pinchable inch…or two.
Sadly, your fitness slide comes at a price—particularly when early autumn rolls forward into November (thanks, Thanksgiving), followed by December, which is the calendar’s toughest month for the diet conscious.
Imagine for a moment if New Year’s Day fell in the summer as it does in Sydney, Australia, or Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s a lot tougher selling gym memberships to people who are out living an active summer life. But here in the Northern Hemisphere—where the shortest and often coldest days of the year are bookended by a two week series of holiday parties—gym memberships are having their best weeks of the year come January.
It’s all part of the yoyo diet and fitness pattern that most of us fall into as autumn leads us into winter. Here are four quick steps you can take to better prepare for this and every seasonal challenge:
1: Acknowledge The Obvious
Autumn is a tough time to keep your level of fitness where you thought it would stay just eight short weeks ago. Okay, so you’re human! Like all living creatures you too are affected by seasonal changes. Solution: don’t ignore this truth. Embrace it and make positive changes.
2: The Fitness And Diet Routine You Follow Should Change And Evolve Throughout The Year
For instance, autumn can be a good time to plan some smart diet changes. You’re going to want something warming, so investigate your soup options. Be a label reader. Check for calorie and fat content. There are a lot of tasty options, so practice some patience and see what options you like. Do the same for warming low calorie snack options.
3: Know That This Seasonal Turn Challenges Your Willpower
It’s just easier to indulge in the food options you want to avoid, so don’t let yourself forget that temptation.
The battle of the fall bulge is fought and won with each passing day. If you’re like most of us, you’ll do a good job one day and a not so good job the next. That’s okay! If you want fitness to be an ongoing part of your life never give up on the fact that it’s an ongoing process. You’re doing the wrong things for a day, a week, or a month, does not mean you can’t do better starting today.
Never forget: each and every one of us is a work in progress!
Martin Brown is the author of Fit in 50 Days: Creating the Habits that Will Keep You Lean for Life. He is also the Health Channel Editor at SingleMindedWomen.com.