6 Ways to Get Back on Track for a Healthy Fall - SignedM

6 Ways to Get Back on Track for a Healthy Fall

 In fitness, goals
healthy habits
healthy habits

My jeans have proven to be a harsh reality check, as these temps have started dropping…

Between COVID, Derecho, & a summer full of never saying “no” to myself, my healthy habits have definitely slid to the side… & the reality of my lifestyle has become apparent – can you relate?

 

If 2020 has left you with extra unhealthy habits or you’re still in laid-back summer mode, don’t worry: it’s not too late to get back into a healthy routine. Here are six ways to eat better, move more & make an effort to get back on track for fall:

1. Set attainable, incremental goals.

I’m a “go hard or go home” personality type, so when I find myself in this place of needing to get my *ish together fast, I’m inclined to purge the fridge & pantry, commit to working out twice a day, & giving up drinking alcohol except for the weekends. None of which is sustainable … in case you were wondering.

 

While lofty goals can challenge you to be your best, hard-to-reach goals can actually prevent you from making progress when you’re trying to get back into a healthy routine. Instead of setting ourselves up to crash & burn, our odds of successfully sticking with our reinstated healthy habits are much higher if we start small & make our efforts measurable.

 

For example, lately I’ve been finding myself turning off the alarm & skipping my morning workout at least once (if I’m being honest, twice) a week. My goal will be to get back to workouts five days a week.

2. Get more sleep.

Sleep can be the most crucial ingredient for a healthy routine, so prioritize it above anything else. Which should be easier to do this time of year, with the days getting shorter & the nights getting longer … it’s like the universe is even telling us to get more sleep! More sleep equals waking up refreshed, which leads to more energy throughout the day, which means you are likely to make better decisions for you & your body. We’re entering into hibernation season, Friends.

 

Because my morning workouts are like therapy for my mind, body & soul, I’m using daylight savings time as the perfect excuse to get to bed a little earlier. And to stop napping – which while be quite challenging for this Nap Queen! I know my afternoon power naps – a habit I’ve developed during Covid – lead to me scrolling social media into the wee hours of the night, & it’s time to reel it in.

3. Make small tweaks to your diet.

Here’s some good news: you don’t need to completely transform your diet to be healthier. {Phew! Because snagging take-out or having dinner delivered has become a shameful habit in our house…} Much like setting attainable, incremental  goals, the most sustainable & effective way to eat healthy (without hating life) is to make small tweaks to your diet.

 

So what’s your weakness? Has pasta become your go-to dinner most nights? Eating ice cream straight from the container while binging tv at night in bed? Or are you like me, & the pizza delivery guy sees you so regularly he’s the first to notice when you get your hair done? Start small: add some kale & extra veggies to your pasta sauce, or switch to spaghetti squash for noodles. Scoop out just a few spoonfuls into a separate bowl, instead of taking the pint to bed. My goal? No DoorDash, GrubHub or any other meal delivery service during the week. Even if/when D. travels. {Pray for me.}

4. Stretch – before & after – workouts.

I’ve suffered through a few injuries over the last few years: a tweaked disc that, when tweaked, gets inflamed & angry … hip flexors so tight, my legs are noticeably different lengths … shin splints from poor running form … etc. You know what my chiropractor says to me every.single.time I limp into her office? STRETCH, M.!

 

Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong, & healthy. Without stretching, the muscles shorten & become tight, so any strenuous activity meant to strengthen them could cause joint pain, muscle damage, or strains. There’s also a wide variety of other benefits to stretching, including mental health & curbing restless leg syndrome. It’s become my habit to spend 15 minutes laying on the floor with my legs straight up in the air after my workouts, & my RLS has been significantly lessened!

5. Get outside.

With all this WFH & being encouraged to stay home as much as possible, the indentation in my couch has gotten significantly deeper. While it’s important for us all to do our parts to protect ourselves & each other during this cold/flu/covid season, it’s imperative that we also take care of our mental health – & fresh air + fall foliage is a pretty perfect combo for boosting moods!

 

Other ideas for ways to get outside to soak up the season? Take a walk to look at the changing leaves, rake leaf piles, go apple picking, & enjoy all the fresh seasonal foods like apples, sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash, & pumpkin.

6. Give yourself grace.

On average, studies have shown that it takes 66 days to form a habit. This isn’t easy! Our bodies crave what’s comfortable – if you find that you struggle to adopt healthier routines & stick to these new habits, you’re normal! 

 

To get through the tough transitions that come with forming new habits, remind yourself why you want a healthier routine. Is it because you love your body enough to treat it as well as possible? Is it so you can feel more confident, vivacious, or happy? Remember that self-judgment, criticism, or shame are not going to get you to that end goal any more than your unhealthy habits. Lead with self-compassion & give yourself grace – I promise you’ll get to your goals quicker & easier!

 

 

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