As the sun fades on Toronto it won’t just be the bears going into hibernation mode. We’ve all been there — as soon it gets cold outside and your summery outdoor adventures are over, it gets harder to reach your daily step count.
With shorter days and less motivation to go outside, you may need to make a few adjustments to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We spoke with Dr Shelly Reitkop, ND from the Toronto Weight Loss and Wellness Clinic, to get some easy tips for keeping healthy through the colder months.
If you’re in the dating scene and using apps, crank up that distance range! Try chatting to someone farther away instead of the same people who are always nearby. When you want to invite them over, don’t! Not only are you increasing your exercise for the day by leaving your home, but you also get added benefit of not needing to clean your apartment. Either walk over to their place or set up a date at a restaurant outside of your immediate area.
Review menus online
See if the restaurant provides nutritional information, which can help you make healthier choices before you even step into the restaurant. Some restaurants, including many in the Church-Wellesley Village, offer their full menus and nutritional info on their websites to help you make an informed food choice. Nutritional guidelines are important because sometimes foods that sound healthy are very high in calories, salt and fat. If no nutritional info is available, ask your server if there are healthier options available for items on the menu.
Skip appetizers and dessert
They’re typically filled with extra calories and are often high in carbohydrates and trans and saturated fats. To help stay clear of appetizers and desserts and to keep you full without the bloat, choose proteins and vegetables for your meals over carbs. If your sweet tooth is really acting up, avoid the impulse of ordering that cake in front of you and walk to get your dessert somewhere else.
Limit alcohol consumption
Especially sugary drinks. If you plan on drinking, choose something lighter like vodka soda with lime, gin on the rocks, or an extra dry martini. Just make sure you burn off those extra calories on the dance floor!
And while you’re at it, ensure you’re drinking enough water too — at least 10–12 glasses of water a day. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between hunger and thirst, so people who don’t drink enough water are more likely to overeat.
Prepare more meals at home
Home-cooked meals allow you to make healthier choices and be in control of the ingredients you use as well as how you cook them. Eating out should be looked at as a treat as oppose to a daily occurrence. In addition, grocery shopping itself can be a bit of a workout. Remember, the fresher and often healthier foods are often kept around the perimeter of grocery stores.
Focus on weight training exercises
Cardiovascular fitness is essential, but if that’s all you’re focusing on then it can lead to a loss of muscle mass. If weight loss is your goal, weight training builds muscle and increases basal metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even while you rest.