By Derek Fisher ~ Ripple Effect Social Magazine
Here we are, right in the thick of it – so to speak.
It’s mid-January and the glow of the holidays is a quickly fading memory, but not as distant a concept as the Indiana spring that still lies some 60-plus days away. People like to talk about the dog days of summer, those July and August afternoons when the air is stifling soup and fall feels light years away; our current calendar location is the polar opposite of that. Pun intended.
In these days when the nights are long and diversions are few, food, drink and idle time conspire to add inches to the middle of even the most health conscious souls – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Most logical folks would point to a gym membership as leverage against lethargy, but those can be costly and let’s face it: The lengthy production that is gathering your gear, hopping in the car and commuting somewhere simply to sweat can be overwhelming at times, especially during dark and cold hours.
Instead, there are simple steps you can take right inside your home that may not turn you into a stone-carved specimen, but will at least put up a good fight against a heavier, doughier you.
Play with your Wii
Having a Nintendo Wii is crucial to maintaining your normal waistline during the doldrums of winter. There are many options to be tried on the console that keep you moving while playing – boxing and dancing come immediately to mind. I got my first Wii this Christmas (very late to the party, I know) and it’s been the clear MVP of my holiday haul. Many hours and calories have already been spent in front of my TV, and I’ll be darned if I haven’t woken up sore and happy after several nights of Wii action. And with all sorts of activity-based games to choose from and multiple-player compatibility, winter “Wii-ing” doesn’t just keep you moving; it keeps you entertained.
Soda’mn Bad for You
This one is simple: Soda is bad for you. Soda makes you fat. Don’t drink soda, especially if you’re not in a position to burn its calories off (i.e. living in Indiana during the winter). I know, I know, it tastes really good and it goes well with everything. It also makes a great mixer for booze (more on that in a minute), but avoiding any kind of sucrose carbonation will serve you well. I try to stick to this and though I occasionally break down and must have a Mountain Dew, it’s worth it. One or two a week won’t hurt you too badly, but those of you who make it a routine to stop at the gas station for a 44-ouncer on your way to anywhere? Yeah, don’t do that.
Small Glass, Small … Waist
Back to the mixer point I touched on a minute ago. I’m told it’s proven scientific fact that, if you choose a smaller plate on which to eat your meals, you will eat less food. It has something to do with fooling the mind, and so it stands to reason your mind could also be fooled by drinking from a smaller glass. Stay with me, here: I enjoy cocktails, and you probably do, too. Winter offers us plenty of reasons to imbibe: the holidays, football… Come to think of it, those alone are reason enough. In days past, I would drink from a huge tumbler filled half with liquor and half with mixer. Now, for reasons outlined in the previous paragraph, I stay almost completely away from mixer and drink from a comparatively tiny lowball glass filled to the top with ice cubes. I drink less because of it, but don’t really notice the difference. Added bonus: You look cooler with a true cocktail glass in your hand than you do with a plastic Colts cup from Rally’s. Be cool.
Long, cold evenings are perfect for lounging on the couch under a blanket with your laptop or tablet and prowling the internet in search of whatever it is that interests you. I’ve spent many a night that way. The problem is, I often drink and/or eat while I’m doing it. So not only am I not burning any calories by lying motionless, I’m adding calories with what’s in my lowball glass and the heaping plate of nachos next to me. Bad move, especially when you repeat it a couple times a week for four or five months straight. Try this: Next time you want to FaceSpace your exes, do it standing up. Stand-up workstations are commonplace in Eastern culture, and are said to increase productivity; I’ve found this to be true. Often, I will place my laptop on the bar that separates my dining area from the living room and browse the web, and I nearly always am more inclined to see what I need to see and move on about my night, than I am to simply loiter and watch the hours tick by. A lot of times I’ll mix my net surfing with cooking or other household tasks. Give it a shot, because it works.
Know the Snow
Lastly: Embrace your inner child. No, I don’t mean rush out and re-buy that Lite Brite and tricycle you had back in the day; go out and play in the snow when we get enough of it (and boy, have we been getting enough of it). During a recent snowstorm, my fiancé and I bundled up and ventured outside to play football, go sledding and generally take part in all manner of winter childlike shenanigans, and boy did we benefit from it. Not only did we show the neighbor kids how to build anatomically correct snowpersons, we got a massive workout. Think about it: We spent about three hours moving, running, falling down and getting up while stepping through six inches of heavy snow in three layers of clothes. The next day, I felt as if I’d run three miles, and maybe I had, in relative terms. Go outside and play, it’s good for you.
Again, these tips won’t overhaul your physique. But if you enter into Indiana’s cold months in decent shape and generally make otherwise healthy choices throughout the year, clinging to these simple steps – they’re minor lifestyle adjustments, really – should help you maintain your thickness through the thick of the winter.