Beat those Winter Body Blues!


Winter is definitively here again, at least in NYC and once again I am somehow surprised by the fact that I am craving heaps of carb-loaded comfort food.  Every year it catches me unaware; my jeans start to get just a little tight and I am forced to realize that I am unconsciously using the weather to justify moving less and eating more!  I walk our dog a lot faster and for less distance than during the rest of the year.  I’m tempted by the idea of hot chocolate because somehow I try to tell myself that it’s a drink, rather than several melted down candy bars!!  And now that the festive season is officially underway, I have to fight the urge to write off the entire 5 weeks between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.  It’s not a good situation 😦

So here are my own personal body maintenance tips for surviving Jack Frost without completely busting out of my skinny jeans!

Soup, soup and more soup!  It’s got to be the ultimate cold weather friend; done right it fills me up and warms me from the tip of my toes to the tip of my Rudolph red nose 🙂  And by “done right” I mean no “cream of” type soups.  Yes they might have vegetables in their names but they pack a right-hook full of calories without us really noticing.  Much better are any and all tomato or stock based soups; I just had a yummy carrot and artichoke one 🙂  Also wining major points for that warm and cozy feeling without breaking the calorie bank are the Thai soups such as Tom Yum, or the Japanese Miso soup bases.  Just avoid the coconut milk that some Thai soups are laden with…as delicious as it is, it’s basically like adding heavy cream to our food.  I eat some kind of soup at least once a day in the winter….either as an accompaniment to my meal (which really fills me up fast), or as my meal itself if it’s a lovely thick, chunky soup with loads of vegetables and beans in it.

When I’m craving a hot afternoon pick me up from Starbucks (or whichever coffee shop is available) I could give in to one of those scrumptious sounding concoctions which contain more calories, sugar and fat than you really want to think about.  Like the aforementioned hot chocolate, eggnog, or a pumpkin spice something or other, each and everyone rocking a cute little hat of whipped cream.  Now I’m not saying NEVER but EVERYDAY is going to do some damage to my goals. So instead I try and sample all the different herbal teas that are available; some of which are so sweet that I have to double check to make sure there hasn’t been sugar snuck in there; any of the fruit teas and especially those containing berries or passion fruit. They really take the edge off my sugar cravings and warm me up at the same time.  Another favorite trick of mine is to just order a large extra hot steamed soymilk: warm, cozy, a nice dose of good protein and virtually no sugar. That’s what I’m talking about! 🙂

I don’t like to weigh myself; partly as a hangover from my days of body obsession, and partly because I don’t think it gives me the most sense of how my body’s doing.  I workout hard and consistently and I have a lot more lean muscle on my body than anyone ever thinks! So I weigh more than I think 🙂  So instead of getting upset because my ‘number’ isn’t what I read about what some celebrity weighs in some magazine I have this pair of jeans with absolutely ZERO stretch in them.  I don’t even wear them out so they never get baggy, they just sit in my drawer and from time to time I get them out and try them on.  If they’re on the snug side I know I’ve got to shake my booty more in the gym; run with my dog more, and get honest about whether I’ve been lazy about my eating. This works SO much better for me than the scale; muscle WEIGHS a lot more than fat, but it takes up much LESS room on the body. So you can get heavier but your size can get smaller as you replace fat with lean muscle!  It’s fun 🙂

The other thing I notice about winter and my body is that it’s a LOT easier to ignore what my body’s doing when its covered from head to toe with lots of warm layers of clothes all day every day.  So if I ever find myself all comfortable on the couch under a blanket and telling myself that I don’t really need to go to the gym because ….”it’s just sooooo cold” guess what I do?

I get myself up and I put on my bikini and I stand in front of the mirror.  This never fails to work as a last ditch attempt; if I think I look good I want to KEEP looking good. And if those work holiday parties and Hors D’oeuvres are starting to catch up with me; and my body then nothing tells me the truth faster. I get a visualization of the warmer months ahead and how I want to feel good then and I GET TO THE GYM!

Silly as it seems it never fails for me 🙂

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions that you have found to work for you in surviving the long cold days of winter?



8 Responses to “Beat those Winter Body Blues!”

  1. 1 Rebecca
    December 4, 2008 at 1:21 am

    I think if you work hard and go to bed really EARLY like 9 PM works. I tend to get hungry late and the longer I party or stay out I crave all the garbage. Drink lots of tea especially green tea & soup sounds good.
    Also for most chewing gum increases their hunger attacks but for me it is just a miracle empty meal 🙂

    Best thing is to invest in a treadmill. Now that it’s so cold I find it easier to work out at home. For you it’s looking in the mirror that reminds you to stay in shape for me it is your blog that makes it heavy on my heart that I need to get moving REALLLLLLYYYY fast!

  2. 2 monika
    December 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I so identify with this, craving hot chocolate and other comfort foods right now. Thanks for the reminders on how to deal with these winter weather afflictions. I am planning a beach vacation next month so it’s really important not to succumb to all those guilty pleasures and get motivated in spite of the desire to just sit on a couch wrapped in a blanket (great tip about trying on your bikini instead!). Thanks to this post, I’m going to opt for an herbal tea today instead of a hot chocolate 🙂

  3. 3 ariela
    December 4, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Pleats! I love that picture. And I kind of want those pants…

    I’m certainly not a good example of someone who successfully beats the winter blues, BUT one thing I like to do when I’m feeling particularly “blah” is to make sure my apartment is tidy, then take a loooong hot shower, getting as clean as possible, exfoliating, etc., and taking proper time to dry off, moisturize, and put on some crisp clean clothes. Afterward, I always feel like I’m ready to kickstart my regular routine, like the winter hasn’t totally knocked me back.

  4. 4 Stephania
    December 4, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    (this comment was for the last post (lacey’s music) sorry!)

  5. December 4, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    HA! Ariela I love those pants too 🙂

    Sooo beating the winter blues eh? I try to go with the flow during The Holiday Months… accept the fact that it’s incredibly hard to maintain a routine when I’m being pulled in 1000 different directions. Parties, Tree, Presents, etc.

    I accept the fact that the Holidays are the perfect time of year to reflect on all the good things that have happened… I try to spend time with people I love and let them know the positive impact they’ve had on my life. Instead of pushing against the Holidays and beating myself up for eating bread. I accept that I will probably gain 3-5lbs from November-January 1st.

    Towards the middle of the month of December I begin to write out all my goals for the New Year – Personal and Professional. Then when things die down for work because everyone goes home for the Holidays… I visualize what life is going to be like next year… I visualize my goals in action. I get myself soo pumped up I usually start working out like a fiend again! 🙂 I get myself ready for 2009 and the Magic that’s coming!

    The Holidays are a special time of year… It’s not a time for being hard on yourself… YOU worked hard this year. It’s a special time because of the music and the people… It’s a time that adults allow themselves to dream again… It’s a time of year we should try to hold onto all year round.


  6. 6 six8eight6
    December 5, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I love your beanie! 🙂

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I must say, you guys are amazing!!! Thank you for all the tips you share!

    This entry caught my attention in particular because I’ve been trying to keep healthy in this weather where it’s too cold to go jogging… and desperately trying to get back in shape after a loooong period of slacking off and eating whatever my eyes fancy.

    I must agree on the soup – it’s filling and it keeps me warm so it’s great… I prefer soup with either peanuts or beans in them just so I get my protein fix… or I just munch on some almonds when I get hungry not long after! I swear, the cold makes me hungry every hour which is bad especially when I walk pass all the yummy boulangeries.

    I try to still walk more even if it’s cold… foodwise, I cook some veggies with peanuts and make cucumber-apple juice. What do you think? 🙂

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