Guest Post Series: Staying Fit in the Cooler Months (Part One)

For the first time in the one-year history of my blog, I have invited a guest to share with you. This awesome lady and I have known each other since second grade. Our journeys have taken some unexpected twists and turns. Charity Stewart will be posting the next four Mondays in December on fitness. But know that is about so much more than fitness. Caring for our physical health is just the beginning. But I’ll let her tell you about that:

I glanced over my shoulder this morning to look out the window into the backyard. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and a few inches of snow fell overnight, carpeting the ground with an (as of yet) undisturbed layer of white. This wintery weather, coupled with the upcoming holiday, makes me want to sit around covered with a blanket eating plenty of comforting, warming foods.

Go back just a few months and this is a far cry from summer, where I’m naturally outside more, moving more, eating fresh veggies and fruits from the farmer’s market. We naturally tend to move less and eat more during the cooler months. Blame it on the cold or the holiday feasts if you must, but hibernation mode seems to want to set in as we ready ourselves, like a big brown bear and her cubs, to nuzzle in for the winter.

Winter tale

Unfortunately, this comfy, cozy approach to food and fitness usually leads to a 5, 10, even 15 pound weight gain over the course of a few months. For those of us who worked so hard to get fit and healthy over the summer, this can breed both frustration and disappointment.

The GOOD news is there are ways to prevent this weight gain and instead maintain – or even lose – weight over the holidays without feeling restricted. Yes, it takes work on your part – but living life is an active endeavor anyhow, so let’s be active choosers this winter and not passive ones, listlessly letting our health slide. After all, this body is the only one we will have, and we need to care for it if we are to care for the ones in our lives who depend on our well-being to thrive. I have six steps for staying “FIT and FED” during the cooler months. My wish for you is, as you come back into spring may you find yourself healthier and closer to your goals than ever!

 FORM : Set Goals

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Back in July, maybe you set a goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of December. Why? To be healthier, sure. To get your pre-baby body back. That’s common. Longevity. To feel better. Those are other common answer to the “Why”, and they’re not bad answers really. But when it comes to setting our goals and giving us reason on this journey, they’re not quite enough. Asking “WHY you want to feel better” or “Why do you want to be healthy” can get you a bit further along, but the answers eventually start being a bit less clear. And when it’s 19 degrees outside and 5:30 in the morning, you’re going to want a clear goal to get yourself moving out of that bed.

So what’s wrong with our July goal then? Well, perhaps our goal was to get our “pre-baby body back”. Maybe we felt better then, more confident. Maybe we had more energy, were stronger, leaner… happier with ourselves. By setting this goal to get something back we used to have, we’re wielding a dangerous sword. We may get the body back, but all of those other things, the energy, the happiness… the nostalgia of yesterday isn’t something we can recapture. So be clear when you set a goal based on something you “used” to have or be – because even if it was only a year ago, you’re not the same person you were, and losing weight won’t summon the feelings that hindsight says you had at that time. If that is all you are using to move toward your goal, there is a chance that either this reality will hit you and you slowly begin to give up, or you reach the goal only to find not much in you has changed. It wasn’t what you thought it would be. And you go back to the habits before your goal began.

That’s not to say getting back to your pre-baby weight is a bad goal. There is no goal that’s wrong. But goals need to be something you can pull from when the going gets tough. Having a goal that’s too broad or based on something retrospective is going to make your motivation lessen as time draws on and the journey requires more effort.

Setting Goals Quote

When you set goals, you need to sit down with a pen and paper and plan to devote some time to them. Write out one big fundamental goal. And maybe it is “to lose that baby weight” or “to get healthy again” – but then start asking “Why”. WHY do you want to lose the baby weight? Answer it honestly. Then to that answer, ask “WHY” again. And to that answer, ask “Why”. Go through “The WHY process” at least 5 times during this exercise. It will become more difficult each time, but it will help you make clear your goal.

Once you have a few reasons and their “Whys”, write them out on separate pages. These aren’t your actual GOALS yet. These will become the overview for your goals. We’re still forming goals! To take these fundamental “Whys” and achieve them, we need smaller, more attainable goals to get us there. Envision this notebook as a cookbook. It’s divided into chapters or “Whys”, and under each chapter we’re going to have a recipe for how to get there. And each recipe – is going to have ingredients, different parts that we need to put all together to achieve those grand ideas we want to accomplish in the first place. These ingredients are simple, reasonable goals that we can claim daily, reach for, and accomplish.

So now we have our “Why” chapters. Under each, it is time to create your recipe. These need to be small, measurable, specific goals, and they need to have a time limit. Use pictures if you need to, but keep them realistic. If weight is a goal, use before pictures of yourself and take a new picture every couple weeks to check progress. If health is a goal, write the steps you need to achieve that. Then break those down to smaller steps. By the time you finish goal setting, you should have more than one goal – many more – and plenty of things to pull on in daily life that move you towards your fundamental aspiration in a way that will bring success with less stress.

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Charity Stewart is a married mom of 2 boys and  uses her own weight loss journey to motivate others to health. After shedding 85 pounds and gaining a whole lot of confidence, she went back to school and became a  certified personal trainer and group instructor. She uses a “whole you” approach to set, reach and maintain lifelong goals. For more information about goal setting, check out her upcoming classes https://www.signmeup.com/site/online-event-registration/97028,

or contact her by e-mail or on Facebook:

mrscharitystewart@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/definingfitnesswithcc

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