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Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Summer is still months away, which means many of you haven’t begun thinking about your summer body yet. But if you’re the kind of person who realizes every April that you have mere weeks before beach season hits, and then hit the gym in a desperate flurry of cardio and weightlifting to drop those love handles before you break out the bikini, then it may be time to consider a new tactic.

A short, month-long burst of exercise and portion control will not transform your body, and if you have loftier goals than losing an easy five to ten pounds, then you’re going to need much more time to get the results you want. Fitness is developed through lifestyle changes, not short challenges or temporary diets and fitness regimes. If you want to get that rocking summer body, you need to get started several months in advance. You need to start in winter.

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Cold weather helps you lose weight faster

The colder weather may encourage bundling up instead of swimsuit season, but it turns out cold weather encourages your body’s fat burning ability to kick into gear. The chilly temperatures force your body to expend more energy to preserve your body’s internal temperature, which means your body is burning through more calories just to stay warm in the winter.

Your body has white and brown fat tissue. The two have different purposes; white tissue is stored energy, and it’s the fat you accumulate from consuming excessive calories. Brown fat tissue, on the other hand, functions more like muscle and actively burns white tissue. It’s found more prominently in babies than adults, but as an adult you still have some brown fat in your body. The cold weather encourages brown fat to kick into gear and start burning white fat tissue.

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Temperatures don’t have to be very low to activate brown tissue. Even a brisk 66 degrees can produce significant fat-burning activity, which means exercising outside in the winter, even for the friendlier climates, can help your fat-burning goals more than hot weather.

Exercise can beat the winter blues

Colder weather is likely to bring about the winter blues. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a common diagnosis around this time, a depressive episode caused by gloomy days and a lack of sunlight. However, exercise has mood-boosting properties that can ward off the negative vibe that winter may bring you. Exercise releases endorphins that help give you a short-term mood boost, but it also helps stabilize your mood long-term, making it a natural antidepressant that’s beneficial to your mental and physical health.

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Rather than letting winter get the best of you, start a regular fitness regime that can help you sort through emotional stress and struggles in the coldest time of the year. It will also help your immune system and cravings for food, making it helpful to keep you healthy and keep your portions and meals controlled and balanced.

Weight loss is a long-term commitment

The most important reason to get started on your summer body in winter is because quick weight loss is notoriously temporary. Just like your bikini wax or that fancy laser hair removal you got, you will have to continue to maintain your body in the months ahead. A regular, gentle introduction to a fitness regime and new diet can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, generally accepted as the most reasonable and realistic amount of weight you can lose without resorting to unhealthy habits or dropping weight that will come right back as soon as you slack off.

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Most people regain the weight they lose, regardless of how they lose it, but those who adopted a gradual lifestyle change versus a sudden dive into a fitness program are more likely to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off long-term.

Rather than a pre-summer hustle, get your fitness goals ready now, before the cold weather transitions into spring. The head start will give you a better chance at success and help you rock that bathing suit with confidence in July.

Featured photo credit: Jakob Montrasio via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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