Three Reasons There’s no Time like the Present to get Fit for Fall

Summer is sadly over, and your vacation might seem like a long time ago, but there’s no reason to let your health and fitness regime slip by the wayside this fall. As the nights draw in, your mental and physical states are also affected. Increased levels of fatigue, a lack of vitamin D and long hours in the office combined with increased social events are all factors that can have a big impact on your mood. Not to mention the increased temptation from Christmas goodies and baked goods, to test even the most strong willed. Higher levels of sugar, fat and alcohol are not only detrimental for your waistline, but they can also cause an imbalance with your hormones and blood sugar levels too.

Sugar controls one of the body’s most important hormones: insulin. The crazy highs and crashing lows you experience after eating too many sugary foods are a direct result of sugar wreaking havoc with the insulin levels in your bloodstream. Too much insulin in your blood can lead to decreased levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), an important protein that binds your key hormones: estrogen and testosterone. Too much insulin, however, and your other hormones will become unbalanced, increasing the body’s production of testosterone, which is converted into estrogen – fatty tissue around the belly and waistline. These fatty deposits, often a result of holiday season overindulgence, can be tough to shift in time for celebrating the New Year, causing increased stress and pressure on your body in the short term.

Hormone imbalance also affects the ratio of estrogen to progesterone in your body. Progesterone is the key to calmness and happiness. A lack of balance across your hormones will result in anxiety, insomnia and irritability. As if that wasn’t enough, women in the menopause will experience an increase in night sweats and hot flushes too. While it’s definitely worth indulging in sugar occasionally, and having the odd blowout, it’s worth keeping an eye on your sugar consumption during the colder months. Remember, as with everything, moderation is essential – so do enjoy that odd glass of red wine and piece of chocolate.

Having an increased awareness of your diet and lifestyle will keep you happier and healthier this fall, and it doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice on all your invitations to celebrate with family and friends. Just making a few small changes will keep you in shape and prepared to enjoy the holiday season.

Hormonal balance

Diet and hormones are intrinsically linked. An easy to follow, tasty diet will keep your stress levels lower, reducing cravings for sugar-laden foods and unbalanced hormones. Before drawing up a complex meal plan, check your stress levels. Why not draw a list of current factors that you find difficult to cope with, or sign up for a local pilates or yoga class? Be realistic about what you can achieve, and identify the factors that trigger your stress and see you reaching for the cookie jar.

Look to introduce more ‘good fats’ into your diet to reduce sugar cravings. Consider introducing an omega-3 too. The omegas in fish oil reduce inflammation and can help control insulin sensitivity. Mix up your diet with protein and fiber – the odd treat is allowed too. Switch up and choose brown rice over pasta, introduce avocados as a dip rather than sugar-laden salsas and choose sweet potatoes over the traditional variety. You could even introduce your changes in your Christmas oatmeal recipe, swapping chocolate chips for dried fruit and nuts. Just making a few changes will help your overall well-being and keep mood swings at bay. Always on the go? The Nutrisystem diet offers delicious and convenient portion controlled meal. Plus, if you sign up now, you could get an extra $20 off promo code.

Mix up your workout

You might already be a dedicated gym goer, but mixing up your work outs will not only assist weight loss this fall, but it can also help you to build muscle and tone up. Consider attending a weights class to improve your body’s definition. The instructor will be more than happy to discuss your needs and to make sure that you work with a weight to suit you and your fitness levels. Lower reps and exercises that include squats are great for toning up stubborn areas.

High-Intensity Training (HIIT) classes are also a great way to burn calories, reduce inflammation and tone up in a shorter period of time. Rather than focusing purely on cardio, a HIIT class will combine stretching, weights and short bursts of exercises to burn fat and increase your heart rate.

Even if you don’t have time to attend the gym, simply taking the kids out to the park for a brisk walk, building a snow man or even a few hours of cleaning the house are ways of getting active during your daily routine. Getting a sweat on with friends and family is a fun way to exercise and keep your entire brood in shape.

Get your vitamins

Feeling sad, sleepy and generally slower than usual? These could all be signs that you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Essential for strong bones and for muscle maintenance, failure to consume enough vitamin D can result in a whole host of health issues. If you spend long hours indoors or follow a vegan diet, then do consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

As winter draws in, check your vitamin C levels too. This antioxidant acts as a natural collagen, giving your skin elasticity, glow and strength, while boosting your immune system against those nasty seasonal bugs. Vitamin C is great for maintaining strong, healthy locks, while it’s also great for nail strength, boosting energy levels and anti-ageing too – so what are you waiting for? Pass the citrus fruits!

Don’t let the winter blues get you down! Be sure to take time to chill out, eat well and mix up your usual fitness routine – your hormones and waistline will thank you for it!

Thanks to Lauren

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