Skip dieting? You’re probably thinking I’m joking, right? But, no, hear me out on this!
This time of year many have audacious goals surrounding their health. Either you want to
- lose weight
- exercise more
- get back on track
- or some combination of those
This is all great!
The problem is how we typically go about it for the new year. We tend to think about an all or nothing approach. We either want to get all of our ducks in a row and get everything set up perfectly for the new year. Or, we think, this is all hype. I’ll just wait until I’m ready sometime later.
Both provide challenges.
Starting the year with a “diet” that includes lots of dry salads, carrot sticks with ranch dressing, and chicken breasts is setting you up. It’s very hard to sustain that type of eating, especially in the winter! Winter is time for gentle cleansing, warming foods and healthy fat. Your body was designed to “store up and warm up” right now, it’s part of it’s building process. Ad, when we don’t give it what it needs, that sets us up for some intense cravings that can kick in now or later.
Our society has made the new year almost seem like spring which is the time for growth and renewal. And as much as I love spring, I’ve learned that when I give my body what it needs now, spring is SO MUCH BETTER! I feel better, more in tune with my body, and I’m more on track with my goals. When we allow ourselves to embrace what winter offers which is time for rest, reflection, and building, we become in harmony with those principles and our body responds.
So instead of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and guilty right now, you can feel grounded, peaceful, and energized from within!
How do you get in harmony with the winter?
1) Eat seasonally — seasonal foods provide your body exactly what it needs to be nourished from within. You’ll find more root vegetables, squash, hardy greens, and citrus at your local grocery stores. An easy way to know what’s in season is to notice what’s on sale in the produce section. These vegetables and fruit will keep you grounded, warm, and will build your immune system. And don’t forget to eat your healthy fat! Practice the low and slow cooking method (crock pots are great for this) and you’ll enjoy some delicious meals.
When you eat this way — adding in the good stuff — you will automatically begin to crowd out the bad — excess sugar and salt. And then you’ll be on track to achieving your weight loss goals!
2) Introduce gentle exercise — this time of year we think we need to exercise very intensely in order to see the results we want. That sounds good, but unless you’ve been exercising intensely consistently, that level could be too much too soon. Going against nature by working out too intensely too often will drain and compromise your immune system.
Include less intense workouts and gentle exercise into your routine. You will be able to sustain your workout regimen longer and your body will have time to rebuild in between intense sessions.
3) Embrace rest, reflection, and building — embrace winter! Allow yourself to slow down and spend more time in prayer and meditation, connecting with those you love, and nourishing your body with good food and gentle exercise. This time is invaluable for building and strengthening our mind, relationships and body.
Operating in harmony with nature is not being lazy and you won’t be behind in achieving what you want. In fact, chances are you will be more active (in different ways) and the chances of you still being on track 3 months from now is multiple times greater!
And lastly, the challenge with doing nothing and maintaining your status quo right now means a few months from now you’ll be exactly where you are today! Is that what you want?
Think of the beautiful spring tulips. Right now, they are dormant and appear to be lifeless. But come spring, they will burst into beautiful blossoms! So much work is being done beneath the soil that we cannot see!
As with you, as you embrace your environment this winter, come spring, you will blossom!