So here in Columbus, Ohio, we have this thing called winter. It’s cold. It’s dreary. We miss the sun, vitamin D, warmth and…motivation.
As I write this, technically it’s autumn—some leaves are still on the trees in fact, and only one of the famous junk food holidays has passed round. But yet I hear winter coming. Yes, that’s right. I can hear winter. It sounds like this.
Q. How have things been going with your activity level?
A. Well, I was walking, but ever since the weather changed not so much.
Q. What is your nutrition looking like these days?
A. Well, with the holidays, I’ve been a little off track.
Do you hear it? It’s the sound of winter sucking the motivation and health right out of us! I get it. I really do. Winter hibernation is part of our culture, right? One could argue that indeed it is—there are even biological reasons that our ancestors ate high fat, high carb foods that really “stick with you” in the winter.
Let’s be honest though, just because something is part of our upbringing doesn’t mean it’s right for us now. And although we can learn a lot from how our ancestors ate, it doesn’t necessarily extrapolate to modern day. Mother cavewoman didn’t have temptations of pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies to contend with at seemingly every turn!
There are places in the world where the cold dreary weather is the majority of their year. (In Ohio, I give us a solid five months of it at least.) Are we really ready to phone it in and be “blah” for all that time? We are meant to be GREAT—not hibernate (I couldn’t resist).
So, let’s take a tough look at what we tell ourselves, what we could tell ourselves, how we want to feel, where we can get our motivation from, and the right actions to take for winter!
The Winter Wellness Challenge—How it Works
I want to share with you four areas that can create your Winter Wellness Plan, and I’ve got a challenge for you! Here’s how it works:
1. Get Your Weekly Challenge
We are tackling the first one today and I’m going to send you another one each week.
2. Put It On Paper
If you want to play along with my challenge, complete the “Put it on paper” homework for each week and share a tip for others on Facebook or Instagram. Use the hashtag #WinterWellnessChallenge AND tag @SignaturePrimaryCareandWellness in each post.
3. Join the FB Group
Join my wellness Facebook group to hang out with my crew and get more support and accountability.
4. Get Your Gift
If you complete all four posts and join the group by January 1st, you will not only feel SO MUCH better going through winter, but you will also get a gift from me. That’s right! I feel so strongly about this I want EVERYONE who does this to get a prize from me.
Winter Wellness Challenge #1
What we tell ourselves: “It’s too cold to work out.”
Try telling yourself: “Moving my body is a GIFT and I have a lot of options that I love.”
I’ve heard it all actually: It’s too cold/hot/wet/dry/humid/windy/rainy outside.
One - let’s be honest, most of us own jackets, umbrellas and various other clothing options to accommodate the weather, and we will not melt when exposed to the elements. Just putting that out there! Expand your definition of what you can do outside and when, because getting outside is a great thing for physical and emotional reasons.
Two - make a list of ways to work on your strength, flexibility, aerobic stamina, and general activity level indoors that you like (or wouldn’t mind trying out). Classes, DIY workouts in your living room, Beachbody on Demand programs, taking the stairs, walk breaks around the building at work, wearing a pedometer, weights, resistance bands, plyometrics, in-home equipment. There are SO many options - just ask Dr. Google!
Put it on paper:
1. Write out your own menu of options.
Pull out a sheet of paper and make four columns: Strength, flexibility, aerobic stamina, & general activity level. In each column, write at least 3 things that you like to do (or wouldn’t mind trying!).
2. Commit to a schedule and tell yourself you ARE going to do this for you.
This can be as small or big as you want to make it—one day a week of stretching or 6 days a week of training.
3. Share on Facebook or Instagram what you’ve learned or what you’re up to!
Don’t forget to use #WinterWellnessChallenge and tag @SignaturePrimaryCareandWellness! Don’t forget to meet up with me in the Enjoy Wellness Facebook group too: Dr. Paige – ENJOY Wellness.
See you next week!
Dr. Paige Gutheil is a board-certified osteopathic family medicine physician and advocate for a Whole Health approach to your wellness. She is on a mission to help people thrive by looking at all the influences on health...body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Paige is the founder of an innovative team-based direct primary care practice, Signature Primary Care and Wellness in Hilliard, Ohio. She and her colleagues provide comprehensive primary care, counseling, coaching, nutrition education and yoga to help people all over central Ohio and beyond make fun, achievable changes towards their healthiest and happiest life possible!