Despite the late snowstorm that hit the east coast a couple of days ago, I remain optimistic that spring is just around the corner. Spring signifies a simplification of sorts – melting snow, de-layering of clothes, and of course shedding the extra pounds accumulated over the winter. My ideal cold weather night this year included a movie, a cup of hot chocolate, and a handful of mini marshmallows – hence the extra pounds.
Winter is a new experience for me. I grew up in Los Angeles where winter temps barely drop below 50 degrees. I’m used to being outdoors year-round enjoying the sunshine. Now I go to school in upstate New York where the thermometer typically hovers below the freezing mark. While snuggling up and keeping out of the cold is wonderful, the warmth that accompanies spring will be equally – if not more – rewarding this year. As flowers begin to bloom, I am inspired to get some fresh air and detox any negativity left over from the winter gloom.
During the winter months it became increasingly harder to bundle up and trek across campus to the gym. And when the temperatures dropped, so did my motivation. When I did make the effort, I would oftentimes reward myself with a baked good of sorts. I realized how this essentially cancelled out my hard work, but I didn’t realize the effect it had on my psyche. Working out and eating healthy go hand in hand, and actually fuel each other in some sort of symbiotic relationship. By eating healthy, I have energy to go to the gym, and working out gives me the motivation to pick better food options.
Image Credit: Muffit via Flickr cc license
Learning how to eat healthy is key. For the most part, I’m pretty aware of my nutrition and actually grew up in a fairly healthy household. There are certain key things that I have ingrained into my diet. For example, I never drink soda of any kind. Going on “a diet” doesn’t make much sense to me; it is temporary and often leads to worse eating habits afterwards. However, reforming everyday diet and food choices is a healthy and permanent solution to staying fit.
Beginning each day with a well-balanced breakfast is key to warding off hunger later in the day. Another trick I’ve found helpful is to eat smaller meals and snack in between. Some snacks I like include a handful of almonds, a bowl of garbanzo beans with light salt and pepper, or banana and peanut butter. Another good addition to my everyday diet has been about an ounce of chia seeds added to water, yogurt, or really any type of food. Since it is high in fiber it keeps me feeling full longer.
My track season is starting up and while I may have slipped into complacency during the off-season (note to self: never a good idea), I’m going to be hitting it hard in the weeks ahead. I’ve already begun eating better and am getting back in shape with pre-season runs and workouts in the weight room. Those of you in other spring season sports can now enjoy getting outside, going for a jog and eating high-energy foods packed with carbs such as whole-wheat pasta or toast. With the warmer weather, it’s also important to stay hydrated so I have a refillable jug with me all the time.
There is still snow on the ground – yes, even though it’s technically spring – but I’m encouraged that it will soon be gone. I always crave foods in season and am looking forward to the farmer’s market with all it’s seasonal fruits and vegetables. My favorite post-workout snack – fresh cherries – are a super fruit rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
When I feel good, I run better. When I run well, I feel satisfied. And I’m so looking forward to feeling great this spring. A change in season and a change in attitude. Bring it on.
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Aveeno via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Aveeno.