I’m writing this post as a note-to-self as much as I am writing it for you guys. I know it’s not officially winter yet, but in just a few more weeks we’ll be wrapped from head to toe in scarves and coats and lucky to see 8 degrees on the weather forecast.
Even though Ireland has experienced some good(ish) weather the past few weeks, I’ve found myself slipping into a cycle of eating not-so-healthily and as for the gym, lets just say that exercise has gone as far as walking to college. I don’t want to slip into this routine for winter, because I know too well that all I’ll be left with is feeling pretty crap for the whole season. Winter is hard enough as it is without feelings of tiredness and slugishness from not eating well, and chocolate-induced breakouts every two days.
So I came up with a list of some tips that I’m going to adapt to these next few weeks to make sure that I stay on track with eating healthily and exercising. Hopefully they’ll be of some help to someone else too – ’cause staying on track in winter is not easy!
1. Don’t buy bad foods – Simple. Don’t buy sweets, treats and foods full of saturated fat when you go shopping. If you don’t have them in your press, you can’t eat them. Do your food shopping on a full stomach to save you from tempting to stray to the biscuit aisle.
2. Make a weekly shopping list – I love doing this every Monday. I go through my cookbooks and pick out recipes that I’m going to make that week, and go through my presses to see what I can use. Doing this means your fridge will be full of everything you need to make hearty, delicious meals and you won’t be tempted to ring the Chinese due to lack of food in the press.
3. Plan your meals – This doesn’t have to take ages. Sit down and look at your schedule for the week. If you know you’re working late on Thursday night, plan to make something quick and easy to eat, or make extra on Wednesday so you’ve left overs. If you’ve a spare few hours on Monday, maybe put a bit of extra time into making something new. Having a rough idea of what you plan to eat during the week is one of the best ways to stay on track.
4. Try new recipes – Being healthy doesn’t mean being boring. Root through your cookbooks to find new recipes, or try a different take on an old recipe. Look online for inspiration, there are endless recipes available on different websites. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration too. Trying new foods keeps you from getting bored of having the same thing every week.
5. Get out and about – This is easier said than done when it’s dark and freezing outside, but plan in advance to go for a walk or to go to a fitness class with one of your friends. Involving someone else means you’re less likely to let them down, and you can have a good catch up along the way!
6. Bake healthy treats – This is something else I love doing on a Sunday or Monday. Bake a big batch of healthy treats for you to snack on during the week, to grab on the go or to have with lunch. I love making flapjacks, banana oat cookies and chia seed every bites. Again, look online for loads of different ideas! This is one of the most important steps for me because it stops me from eating bad food for the sake of it.
7. Set a goal – Having something to strive towards is a sure fire way of staying on track. Whether it be hitting a certain weight or signing up to run 5k by Christmas, having a goal means you’re less likely to slip off the bandwagon. Paying to participate in a fitness challenge will keep you training even through the cold, because you don’t want to waste money, right?
8. Write out the benefits – Make a list of the reasons why you want to stay on track. Mine are because I don’t want my skin to get bad from eating sugary foods, I want to have more energy and I want to feel good in myself. Remind yourself why you’re choosing a homemade fake-away rather than an Indian take-away, why you’re putting time and effort into planning your meals and why you’re trudging out into the cold to go on a walk. Everyone has their own reasons, big or small, but they’re equally important when you’re making a lifestyle change.
I’ve my food shop done, got my walk in for the day and have a gorgeous Deliciously Ella pasta dish in the prep for dinner – here’s to hoping the rest of the week stays the same!
What do you think of my tips? Obviously they won’t be for everyone, but they work pretty well for me! What are your tips for staying on track?