I often see many patients exercise diligently during the warmer months – walking, biking, swimming and other outdoor activities, but as soon as it gets cold and dark, the exercise falls off the map. I get it — getting dark before 5 pm and plunging temperatures do not make for a great exercise atmosphere, but the cold reality is – IF you don’t exercise or exercise enough, you will not reach your weight loss goal, and even worse, you will start to regain! So what can you do to make sure your exercise is consistent all year round? Below are some tips to get you through the winter and beyond!
- Have options.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If your only form of exercise is walking outside – weather and lack of daylight will limit your ability to exercise consistently. Think about other physical activities you can do regardless of the weather or time of day. Join a gym, look into your local recreation center for exercise classes or invest in exercise equipment for your home that you can use any time. There are also smart phone apps and exercise videos on line to use as well.
- Make time for physical activity.
Plan your time around your exercise. Make sure you block off time or schedule your physical activity into your daily routine so you stay consistent.
- Bring workout clothes and gear to work or school.
Take what you need so you can go directly to the gym or recreation center to take a class or workout on your own. If you go home after work or school, you most likely will not go back out for physical activity.
- Post your progress on social media.
If you need accountability and motivation — posting your workouts and progress on social media can help. When you share your physical activities with others you can motivate them and they can motivate you, plus you can start to see your progress. If you start to slack off, people will notice!
- Keep things interesting.
Try a new class at your gym, make a new playlist, join a recreational sports team or change the type of exercise your do. Change is a good thing – it makes things less boring, may increase your physical fitness and is motivating!
- Set goals!
Working towards a goal can help make physical activity more consistent. Many of our patients sign up for 5Ks or charity walk/runs and set goals to prepare for these events.
- Use the “buddy system.”
If you work out with a friend or family member it can make you more accountable and consistent with your physical activity. It’s one thing to miss your workout or exercise class, it’s another thing to have to explain to your exercise buddy that you’re not going to the gym or for the walk you promised to do!
- Non scale victories!
Make sure to take your measurements and body composition to mark your progress. It’s motivating to see the inches disappear as you lose body fat. Sometimes the scale does not always show your progress!
- Hire a personal trainer!
Personal training can be costly, but it also can help you stay on track during the winter months. If you have made a financial investment in personal training and set time aside to meet with your trainer, you are more likely to consistently work out.
- See what Prime Surgicare has to offer!
We have a Bariatric Wellness program at the CentraState Fitness and Wellness Center. This program is designed for bariatric patients both pre and post-surgery. During this 16 session program, you work with a personal trainer along with a small group of bariatric patients to learn proper form, set fitness goals and monitor your progress. The sessions are twice a week for an hour. In addition, you can take a group fitness class for an additional hour each week. This is a great way to stay on track over the winter and feel more comfortable in a gym setting. Call 732-812-0825 for more information.
Regardless of how you approach your physical activity, the important thing is to stay motivated and consistent throughout the year. Exercise is a critical part of weight loss and an essential part of maintaining the weight you worked so hard to lose!
What do you do to stay on track with your physical activity during the winter?
Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education.