AIM: Winter Maintenance

logo: Adventures in Maintenance with photos

We’re excited to kick off another year of Adventures in Maintenance. We’re also pleased to offer a new way you can ask any questions you might have about weight management. But first, our topic of the month!

road signs: no winter maintenance; travel at your own riskOur first AIM topic of 2014 was inspired by this lovely photo provided by Lynn. The setting is gorgeous, and the plan might be the most effective for road maintenance, but it really doesn’t work so well for weight management.

At the time this post is published, the temperature in Memphis will be in or approaching single digits with a wind chill below zero. That’s cold for Memphis, lemme tell you, and it’s not scheduled to get much better after that. When the temps do pop above freezing again, several days of rain will move in. I get depressed just thinking about it.

And that brings me to my only serious winter maintenance “issue”. While our winters are fairly mild in the mid-south, we do have spells of cold, gray weather for days at a time. When that happens, I get a serious case of the blahs and just want to snuggle under the covers and watch HGTV instead of popping out of bed and heading to the gym. I know I’ll feel better with a good workout, but my blah-mind says, “I’ll go later.” And sometimes I do…

But sometimes I don’t, which means I don’t get the mental and emotional benefits of exercise, which I sorely need to combat my gray mood. Do you see the circle? (I never said I was logical.)

I have two antidotes for the blahs that seem to be working well this year:

  1. Any day that’s sunny and above 40°, I’m getting outside in the sunshine for some form of exercise, usually walking or raking leaves.
  2. I try to keep my early a.m. workout commitment simply because I like the sparse crowd at that hour, but on the days I convince myself that only a later workout will do, I tie the gym visit to a treat of some sort. Most days, the treat is a stop at McD’s for a cup of coffee and a half-hour or so of reading. It’s a great mid-afternoon break, especially if I remember to tuck a juicy apple in my bag for post work-out savoring.

These may seem silly to some, but one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes silly works. :)

My diet stays pretty steady during winter. Mostly. My favorite entrees (Mexican chicken, flatbread pizza, and more recently, Lentil Chili) are great cold weather meals. I’d rather have those dishes than some of the more typical cold weather comfort foods…

UNTIL we get ice or snow. Can anyone explain to me what it is about a little snow or ice on the ground that makes me want to eat everything in the house? Or why I would think that a snow day is a good day to bake? (Boredom is my best guess.)

Given that the current weather system moving through might be bringing a bit of snow and ice with it, I’ve come up with A Plan:

  1. Instead of exploring the kitchen when/if I’m feeling restless, I’ll pick one of the 30 house projects on my to-do list to tackle.
  2. Maybe an ice/snow/frigid day is a good time to indulge that urge to snuggle under the covers and channel surf or read. At least it’s far away from the kitchen.

As a back-up, since I live about a half-mile from the gym, I can probably bundle up and slip-slide my way over there to occupy my time. :)

That, in a nutshell, is my approach to winter maintenance. Healthy, flavorful meals and a scheme to complete my exercise commitment. I think the combination helps fight off the worst of the seasonal blahs, at least enough to keep me in check until warmer weather blows in.

Speaking of warmer weather, I sometimes wonder how much of my success in losing the weight was due to the fact that I started the year making itty bitty changes and didn’t really start ramping it up until around May when it was easier to get out and about and fresh fruits and veggies in abundance. Sure, I only lost about 10 pounds in the first few months of that year, but at least I stayed committed!

Does winter weather affect your weight management goals? How do YOU keep yourself on track?

Or are you focused on simply holding on until warmer weather?

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other AIM bloggers to learn their winter maintenance experiences and strategies:
Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debby @ Debby Weighs In
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!

To help advance (and organize!) the conversation about weight maintenance, we’ve created an easy peasy form for you to ask your questions about …whatever you’d like to discuss (except, perhaps, the meaning of life, to which we will refer you to the Monty Python movie). Enter your question directly in the box below or you can open the input form in a new window.

Every one of us (that means ALL of us, not just the AIM group) experience weight-related issues differently and, as you well know, we all benefit from sharing ideas, struggles, successes, and most of all questions. We will address questions in this space each month. We look forward to your input!

10 thoughts on “AIM: Winter Maintenance

  1. INTERESTING POINT about your journey and making small changes (#wycwyc yay!!!) and then ramping up when the hot weather hit.
    this is my firstISH colder winter in ages…so Im a curious to see what it brings for me cocooning and maintaining-wise.

  2. Part of my reason for not wanting to leave the house in the winter is that I have to scrape the car windows and get all the snow off much of the time. The cold just hurts, too. Gets me all the way to my bones. That may be why I crave “comfort” foods when it’s cold. While my body certainly doesn’t need the excess calories, my ancient DNA says I do.

    I love your “reward” of a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of reading. I never think to do that, just read for 30 minutes. I’m going to add that to my rewards!

    Oh….and what you and Carla said is so true. I started losing weight when it was cold and did no exercise. But in May, I couldn’t wait to start and I spent the summer really dropping weight. Here’s hoping for that kind of motivation again when it warms up!

    • I hear you on the cold-pain, Lynn. My whole body aches sometimes, and I finally figured out that it was because I was tensed up to ward off the cold. I’m working on being aware of that tension and relaxing.

  3. Eek! Single digits–that’s COLD!!! I start getting reluctant to go outside when the weather is below 50 LOL. I guess its all perspective, isn’t it? Oh, and how I would love for my gym to be a half mile away! That’s another of my winter excuses–its too far to drive in the cold (13 miles…)

    • LOL I wear my base layers when it goes below 50.

      If my gym was 13 miles away, I’d have a whole bunch of missed workouts, I’m sure. In any kind of weather. :)

  4. We do the same thing when a hurricane is on the radar…bring on the junk food! I wonder why that mindset is so strong during a storm? I like your idea of sanctioned snuggling under the covers (instead of baking) during a storm. Guilt-free, and saving yourself from yourself, lol.

    And I bet that getting out in the sunshine, even when it’s cold (let’s face it, 40 degrees is no picnic), does wonder to get some Vitamin D into your system as well.

    • Sunshine is my #1 cure-all. I actually sat on my (covered) patio in the sunshine this morning. It faces south and with the garage door closed, the north wind is blocked, so it was an enjoyable 5 minutes. :)

  5. I so wish we would see 40 degrees LOL! After below zero, John and I went for a walk in sunny 28 degree temps on Sunday and it felt glorious (relatively speaking). I don’t mind the cold as long as the sun is out. Those days were it is dreary and gray and really cold sap the energy out.

    • The clouds and the wind get to me. It actually felt nice out today if you were in the sun but out of the wind. As long as I was wearing three layers of clothes, that is. :)

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