Welcome to the hardest month in fitness. If you are seriously feeling unmotivated or if you have already given up on your New Year’s resolution read on…
Deep down in your heart of hearts you want to get fit but your enthusiasm has just worn off and making it to the gym let alone eating well is feeling more are more difficult. You just want to eat what you want and hibernate until the sun comes out again. Sound familiar?
The Winter Blues
You are not alone in this feeling and it could very well be due to the winter blues. Many of us experience a lag in mood in the post-holidays cold of winter. So much so that it has been actually diagnosed as a medical disorder.
Blue Monday is considered the saddest day of the year (this year it fell on January 20, 2014). Although this arbitrary date has been picked through some pseudoscience based on factors such as weather, debt, failed New Year’s resolutions, and low motivational levels, many of us can relate to not feeling our peppiest come late January.
For some February is a challenging time of year. After a long run of shorter days and being stuck inside since the cold weather keeps people out of the sun and indoors, it would only make sense that you might not be inspired to work out.
Clinically this has been diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder , which is a mood disorder where people feel depressive symptoms due to the change in seasons occurring most often in the winter.
Regular exercise has been found to be extremely effective in fighting the winter blues. Herein lies the problem, exercise can help but getting to the gym or off the couch is the hardest part.
You have identified the challenge…starting the workout, whether at home or at the gym. Once you begin a workout you most often put in at least a decent if not all-out effort. No one ever regrets a work. The hard part is just getting started. So that’s the battle we must face.
Realize your mind is playing tricks on you. You rationalize not eating well or not working out. Have you ever said this to yourself:
“I don’t like exercise.”
“I don’t want to deprive myself (of your usual sugary or fatty indulgences).”
Maybe you even find yourself criticizing those that do exercise and eat well as being self-indulgent and self-absorbed.
You are hitting that point in time when changing a set of habits gets some serious push back. That little voice in your head is telling you anything and everything under the sun to get you to keep your old habits and old addictions going.
The body naturally doesn’t like to exert itself. It takes mental energy to get this to happen. And make no mistake junk food is purposefully design by scientists in the food industry to have addictive-like properties.
If that weren’t the case we would all easily refrain from regularly eating food we know is going to make us heavier, lethargic, and ultimately not as happy as we can be.
The solution is to realize this negative self-talk is your mind rationalizing against change. See it for what it is…then get off your butt and get on with your workout.
If you live in the land of snow and ice have fun with it. That way you’ll get way more sunlight which is a definite pick me up in the winter months.
Ski, snowboard, play hockey, snow-shoe…there are so many fun activities to do in the winter. You just got to get up and do ’em. So round out your weekly fitness plan with one or two sessions of some winter fun.
Realize that right now is the difference between making the permanent change deep down that you really, really want for your life or falling into the annual New Year’s resolution fail. This is when you’ve got to ante up and go for it. This is it.
Make it through this winter, stick to your plan and watch your body and mind transform. Live the life you want. Don’t give up what you really want for what you crave in the moment. You’ll blink and it will be summer and you’ll be asking yourself why you ever stopped working out only a few months earlier.
This is your moment of truth. You can do it. See you on the other side.
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