Summer seems to have ended, the academic year is about to start – and so its time to start thinking about getting back into good habits! Here are some tips to make the transition into autumn a little easier.
1. Love your routines. Routines can be boring, but can also be helpful for sticking to initiatives. Work-gym-commute-home may not be scintillating, but will make sure you fit some activity into your day if your job is largely sedentary. If you truly hate routines, come up with a few different ideas for getting activity into your day, and alternate between them
2. Think about your food. Eating to support your body and to encourage fat loss does not have to mean deprivation. What are the foods that your body needs? Do you eat enough of these, and if not, how can you make them more interesting? What are the treats that are worth waiting for, and that you might want to have once a week or so – such as home made cakes – and what are the throwaway “treats” that you could do without, such as milky, flavoured coffees? Prioritising the foods your body needs, working in some real treats and cutting down on thoughtless consumption will go a long way to improving how you look and feel – without counting calories or worrying about carb intake.
3. Go local and seasonal. Now is a great time of year to explore local and seasonal produce, as there is a fair bit of it around. This does not have to mean going to farmers’ markets, or buying strange and expensive vegetables. If you live in a city, look out for local organic and farm fresh delivery services, which save you the hassle, and can also be reasonably priced, as the cost of long distance transport, fancy packaging, etc. is cut out. If you live in the country, look out for farm shops. Once you start eating fresh, seasonal food, you might never want to return to the mass produced variety, and even if you make little effort to cut down on calories or carbs, eating more “real” food can lead automatically to weight loss and improved energy levels. See “Seasonal Eating” by Paul Waddington, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig for inspiration and recipes.
4. Start planning for autumn. Do you suffer from SAD or winter blues? Does autumn always bring coughs, colds and low energy? Start thinking now how to combat these problems – invest in a SAD lamp, and look into which foods and supplements may be supportive as the weather gets colder. Also think about how your exercise programme might need to change – if you have been exercising outdoors during the summer, this might need to change.
5. Make a commitment. Many people find it easy to exercise during summer, and are also drawn towards lighter foods when the weather is warmer. Once autumn approaches, though, comfort is sought in heavy dishes and desserts, and exercise seems much less appealing. Think about how you can increase the chances of sticking to your good intentions throughout the autumn – sign up to a class, book some PT sessions, or work towards a sporting event.
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