Every year at this time I find myself scrambling to get back into a routine with the kids activities and school and finding a balance with work, diet, exercise and down time. This is the time of the year that will either make or break your healthy habits heading into winter. If you start a routine of poor eating habits and lack of physical activity you can be assured that you will put on a few extra pounds of weight over the winter; it’s almost inevitable. Before you know it spring will roll around and you’ll be realizing that those summer clothes are tight on you. There is a way to prevent this from happening and it happens at this time of the year! As you’re figuring out your schedule take some time to look and find ways to bring balance to your life.

        The first thing to do is to figure out when you can work out. The workout doesn’t need to be hard. It can be something as simple as dedicating 20-30 mins a day to go for a walk. An easy way to get activity in the day is to break it up in chunks.  I’ve had some patients that were so busy that they literally would do squats during their breaks at work, push-ups before bed, sit-ups when they wake up. It doesn’t have to all be done at once and it doesn’t have to cause you to sweat. The most important thing is to find time to be active. When you’re making your schedule make activity a priority. Make sure you’re making it a part of your regular routine because if it’s part of your routine then it becomes much easier!

       The next thing to focus on is healthy eating habits. This one can be very hard because of the lack of time most people have after school and before activities start. A few things to try to make this easier are using a crock pot (check out our recipes on our website) or meal prepping on a Sunday. The benefits of both of these are that the food will be ready to go when you’re at home and not having to struggle to make something quickly. What I have found is that many families are doing fast food or processed foods to have a quick supper. These fast foods and processed meals are devoid of many essential nutrients and full of empty calories. This coupled with the stress of always being on the go and a lack of physical activity can result in substantial weight gain over the winter months.

       The next important healthy habit to focus on is finding time to de-stress! This can come in so many forms. Everyone is different in how they de-stress but one that gets used a lot that I will discourage everyone from is in the form of watching tv. The average North American is watching between 5-8 hours of tv per day. It’s an alarming amount. While many people feel this is helping them get rid of stress the reality is that it’s more of a distraction than anything else. It usually doesn’t allow the brain to go through the process of eliminating stress. It also has a tendency to cause poorer sleeps because of the amount of blue light that is emitted from the tv. If you want to properly eliminate or reduce your daily stress here are my top 5 ways of decreasing stress: running, walking, reading, chatting with a loved one and hanging out with friends. Find something that resonates with you and bring balance back to your hectic schedule!

       If you follow these simple tips you’ll start to bring balance back to your life and ensure your winter doesn’t get the best of you.

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