Spring is an excellent time of year for a diet & training re-boot!
Spring is here and Summer is not far behind and I know what you’re thinking – I’m still carrying my winter coat! A lot of us naturally carry more weight during the winter months - with holiday after holiday and crummy weather, it’s really difficult to stay motivated. Personal trainers and clients alike spend more time indoors during the winter months - Who wants to create an additional wind-chill when it’s 30 degrees outside to begin with?
But fear not – you just need a kick start!
Spring is a great time to reevaluate your weight loss and exercise programs because it’s a natural time for re-growth. Just stick your head outside and smell the world coming back alive. Use this to your advantage:
- Start eating the new produce that begins to show up at the market
- Go through your recipe box for healthy seasonal staples.
- Start spending more time outside, in nature – solo or with others.
- Start a challenge or set some new goals – it’s a great time to start on a Summer weight loss goal!
- Write it down! Put it on the refridgerator, make a list and stick to it! We are here to help!
We’ve put together some tips and articles to help you make the most of your springtime health and fitness goals. And as always, don't hesitate to let us know if we can help you in any way or if you would like to take advantage of our free personal training session.
Stop and Smell the Roses—Short nature intervention can bring out the best in people.
Is it any wonder that nature is a frequent source of happiness idioms? Happy as a pig in muck, happy as a clam, happy camper.
A UBC researcher says there’s truth to the idea that spending time outdoors is a direct line to happiness. In fact, Holli-Anne Passmore says if people take time to notice the nature around them, it will increase their general happiness and well-being.
Passmore, a Ph.D. psychology student at UBC’s Okanagan campus, recently published research examining the connection between taking a moment to look at something from the natural environment and personal well-being. A recent study involved a two-week ‘intervention’ where participants were asked to document how nature they encountered in their daily routine made them feel. They took a photo of the item that caught their attention and jotted down a short note about their feelings in response to it.
Spring into health with these 8 seasonal tips
1. Rethink your drink: Replace sugar-sweetened, high-calorie beverages with flavored or sparkling water. For the ultimate healthy refreshment, infuse your water or ice cubes with citrus fruit, berries, cucumber or mint leaves. You’ll get great-tasting beverages that have added nutritional benefits.
Says Thomas: “Try combinations. One of my favorites is fresh sliced oranges with blueberries either fresh or frozen. Experiment with whatever you have on hand for different combinations. Cut up fruit chunks and freeze them for individual uses later.
Pro tip: For produce with more intense flavor, such as citrus, you won’t need as much, and it takes less time to infuse.
Hydration helps maintain your body’s primary functions and supports weight loss, she adds. Sip water throughout the day and drink more when you’re active or hot. Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Set reminders to drink every hour.
2. Book a break: Set alerts on your calendar, cell phone or activity tracker to remind you to get up and move. Short bouts are beneficial—a 10-minute walk can reduce anxiety and stress. Work for 50 minutes, step away for 10.
3. Snack smart: Keep blood sugar and energy levels steady with nutritious, satisfying meals. Pair a protein such as almonds, a boiled egg, turkey pepperoni, low-fat cheese or hummus with fiber-rich fruit like an apple, or with sliced veggies or ½ cup whole-grain cereal.
“Planning is so important,” says Thomas. “Have healthy options with you, so you’re not tempted by the vending machine or fast-food drive-through. For example, I have blueberries and mini sweet peppers in the office fridge and KIND ® protein bars and grape tomatoes at my desk.”
4. Freshen up: Step outside to regroup and recharge. Being active in the sunshine and breathing in fresh, spring air helps us feel rejuvenated and gets positive emotions pumping. Time outdoors boosts vitamin D levels, and studies show it’s a natural antidepressant—it can lift our mood and improve brain function.
5. Eat a rainbow of colors: One of the best things you can do to boost your overall health is to eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits every day. They are important sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and are low in calories and fat.
The more colors and kinds of vegetables and fruits you eat, the more nutritional benefit you receive. Brightly colored veggies are the richest in nutrients. Make a point to choose a variety of dark, leafy greens, and yellow, orange and red vegetables.
For a balanced plate, fill half with vegetables, one quarter with lean protein, and one quarter with whole grains or other starches. Try serving on salad plates instead of full-size dinner plates. If you’re still hungry, help yourself to extra sides of veggies or some fresh fruit for dessert.
6: Keep moving: Whether you’re on the couch, at your desk or in the car, find ways to burn a few more calories and tone your muscles. During your favorite TV program, you can use hand weights for an arm and shoulder workout, and do standing leg extensions, lunges, crunches or squats during commercials. Even if you’re in a meeting or are driving, you can tighten and release your glutes and abs.
7. Get peace of mind: Make time to treat yourself by doing something special that makes you happy. Get a mani-pedi. Play with an animal. Listen to music. Try a yoga class. Catch up with a friend. Meditate. Plant some flowers. Write down five positive things that happened today. Volunteer.
“Try making a habit of enjoying mid-morning tea time,” suggests Thomas. “With just 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and a cup of herbal tea, you can create a calming experience to help set the tone for the day. Having a mindful, positive habit as part of your routine can help you relax and focus.”
8. Eat mindfully: Turn meal time into a relish-worthy retreat by slowing down to savor the moment. Turn electronics off, serve yourself with a plate and napkin and sit down at the table. Engage your senses—notice the colors, aromas, and textures. Eat at a leisurely pace and put your fork down or take sips of water between bites.
“Create an enjoyable experience that’s something to look forward to. Even if you’re at home alone, put on some nice music and light a candle,” Thomas says. “Make it a mental break, a time to relax and reflect on your day.”