We’ve all heard it before - if you want to look good in that bikini over the December holidays, you have to put in the work during the winter months. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done. Waking up long before the sun rises, getting out of your warm and cosy bed, changing from pyjamas into sports clothes and actually leaving the house to workout is TOUGH. It’s even harder if you are leaving behind a warm body still in bed, who sneakily suggests you stay in bed and snuggle a little longer. Harder still, is the fact that gym clothes are normally made of lycra – and let me tell you, lycra is cold when you put it on!
The other winter challenge is the food. Hot soups, warm stews and curries, moms comfort food, some sherry in the evenings, it can sometimes feel like the only possible way to get warm some nights is to fill your belly with all of that deliciousness. Some people say they are hungrier in winter, that their body needs more calories to keep warm. Some believe that it’s just ridiculous to even think about eating a salad on a winter’s day.
I’m here to put you straight.
Your body does not get hungrier in winter. Your body does not need more calories in winter. Food is not going to warm you up in winter. Sherry is not going to warm you up in winter. You will not burn any calories if you stay in bed. You will not reach your goal if you stay in bed. You will not fall asleep at night feeling proud and satisfied, if you ate the creamy stew and skipped your workout. If you want to see results, you need to cut out every single excuse. Everything you have ever told yourself before in order to get out of a workout or to justify a cheat is now null and void.
Below is my list of tips and tricks to help you get through the last few months of cold, so that you can start this summer feeling fit, healthy and proud!
• If you are cold – put on another jacket! Do not expect a warm meal or sherry to keep you warm. Put on a scarf, buy some gloves and pull on a beanie. Using “I’m cold” as an excuse to eat is nonsense.
• Battling to drink your 2 litres of water every day because it’s too cold? Try a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh ginger. Problem solved.
• Salad is not meant to be eaten in winter? Pick a warm one. Done.
• If you are too tired to get up for gym in the morning, go to bed earlier. If you still find yourself skipping workouts, go to gym at night after work. Don’t have the time? Make the time. If you want this badly enough you will find a way to make it work!
• If the lycra is too cold to put on, leave it in front of a heater or use your hair dryer to warm it up before you put it on. (I do this regularly!)
• Find yourself hitting cancel instead of snooze on your alarm, and waking up an hour later in a panic? Set your alarm and leave your phone on the other side of the room. When you get up to switch it off – simply do not get back into bed. Once you’re up, you’re up!
• Failing to plan means planning to fail. The key to eating healthy foods is to pack them yourself. Either spend 15 minutes the night before prepping your meals for the next day, or give yourself an hour every Sunday evening to prepare your meals for the week. Expecting yourself to choose a salad at the staff canteen or take away is just ridiculous. 9 times out of 10 you won’t do it, so avoid the internal conflict over what to choose and take your lunch with you.
• “It’s my BFF’s birthday and I can’t not party with her”. You are right, you should definitely go out and party with your friend. But friendship is not about caramel vodka and cake. It’s about time spent together. There is no reason why you can’t have an amazing time with your friend without touching a single drink or eating the cake and unhealthy snacks. If you don’t believe you can relax and have fun without alcohol, then I’m afraid your problems are about more than just food. You should get that seen to.
• Worried about how awful you will look in those skin tight clothes at the gym? So is every other woman there, relax. The only wobbly thighs they are thinking about are their own. Put on the pants and go smash a workout!
There are a few other tricks I have learned along the way, that really do help you feel a little less like a dry skinned, fat and lazy hippo through the winter months.
• Get hold of a good body scrub, and use that all over your body once a week. Make sure to spend a few extra seconds on the problem areas like elbows and knees.
• Soak in a bath with a luxurious bubble bath and a few drops of bio oil. It really helps you unwind and relax, and nourishes and softens your skin.
• Start a gratitude journal – write down 5 things you are grateful for each night before bed. Not only is it good for the soul, it also helps highlight the good choices you made that day and helps you recognise your progress.
• Keep your toe nails painted! If you can afford to go for a pampering pedicure do so. If you’re like the rest of us, you can do it yourself at home. Scrub, buff, paint and polish those feet once a week – with all that exercise you’re doing your feet will enjoy the TLC.
• Shave!!!!! Just because we wear long sleeves most days doesn’t mean we can turn into a gorilla. You want to look down at your new body taking shape and not be distracted by 6inches of body hair everywhere!
• Lather on a quality self-tan. Brown bodies always look better than white!
My most important tip of all though, is to choose a routine that you love. Don’t force yourself to go running if you know you hate it. (Unless you’re training for an Ironman like me, in which case I don’t have a choice!) If you expect yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, you will always come up with excuses to skip it. Try all the group classes at your local gym, try a running club, ask around in your neighbourhood if there are any group cycles you can participate in. find likeminded ladies and get to know them. Pull off their enthusiasm while you are trying to build your own.
And if all else fails, look at your before photo and remind yourself why you started this process. You don’t ever want to be THAT girl again. Refocus, and concentrate on building the best body of your life while you are covered up in layers all winter, and prepare to reveal the strong, fit, healthier you when summer (finally) arrives!
From one summer to the next – my winter transformation!
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