In Winter Part I…

Winter is almost here.

Bears hibernate in Winter; shorter days, colder temperatures, less food to prey upon, and so-on.

Bears lose weight when they hibernate — lots of weight.

People gain weight in Winter when they hibernate — often times too much weight.

Why are people different than bears?

Bears sleep while they hibernate, and though their metabolism slows way down, they are still able to lose weight because they don’t eat (at all) during their hibernation season. Bears are smart, and know to be gluttonous in eating only when they are gluttonous in their activity.

People stay awake during their hibernation season — they hibernate from activity only, but not from life – and certainly not form eating.  During the human hibernation season the human metabolism may slow down a bit due to the lesser activities pursued during the colder and darker cycle of the year.

We humans gain weight though, because unlike bears, we’re gluttons even when we are inactive. Even with less activity in our lives, we continue to eat, and often times eat more than we do during our active seasons of Spring and Summer, because we have little else to do – and more to celebrate.

Yes, with Winter at hand, it is hibernation season yet again. I’m hopeful though, that we can all remember to keep active – even if it means indoor exercise during these darkened times. I’m also hopeful that we remember the example set by the bear as he keeps his dietary intake consistent with his activity level during the Winter. I’m not suggesting we starve, but it is a good idea to be dietary intake relative and proportionate to the energy output of the season.

In Winter Part II

I have been living in a state of denial for the past several weeks – denial that Winter is butting it’s cold steel shoulder up against the boundaries of my beautiful Autumn. I had to let that denial give way to acceptance this morning when I turned my cars’ heater on for the first time since March.

Winter; the season where even the best laid fitness intentions most frequently fall to the ground like the dry brown leaves from the sleeping trees around us. Winter is the time of year when we cover up with more clothing and we eat more calories. Cover up more? Eat more? After all, we are covered more so we rationalize the action of eating more because we can get away with carrying a few extra pounds under those heaver clothes, right?

Winter – where shorter days, longer nights, and cooler temperatures make the very thought of exercising… well, uninspiring to say the least, right? After all, we are pretty warm and cozy under our woolly sofa blankets, and in front of our fire places watching all those fit looking actors and athletes on TV entertain us.

Winter – when the new TV season is full-on at its prime, holiday parties are the weekend norm, and new hot food & hot drink recipes are floating around the office and the family to be shared, tried and embellished upon, to then be re-circulated some more.

Winter – where 90% of our annual calories are consumed, and 90 of our annual excuses to not burn those calories are created? After all, Winter is the time to celebrate our favorite basketball and football teams, celebrate our Religious beliefs, and ring in our New year, share our chocolaty Valentines, and bathe in Easter candy.

Yes, between these built in excesses and the excuses we use to carry them with, Winter is where a lot of damage gets done to the waistline, the digestive organs, the heart, the pancreas, and most of all, the ego, right?

No, I have no special “Winter” plan for staying in shape – none. No secrets nor special Winter-only tricks or workouts to keep those clothes from shrinking and to keep us motivated. Motivating ourselves in Winter is our individual job.

Simply, this is to shout out and remind us all that exercise and mindful eating matter more in the Winter than in other times of the year. It is discipline and fortitude, however, which matter most in the Winter – when there are so many more excuses and excesses, and more reasons to forsake our fitness agenda.

Discipline is as functional a utility as a Swiss Army Knife, and just as portable — it can be carried with us everywhere we go, even in Winter.   It’s time to start loading up discipline once again, because the Winter is upon us. Be well. rc

One response

  1. I always find it interesting how animals are so in sync with nature, something that we, as humans, must have had once in our history. Even my cat, left to her choices, stays fit and active, a credit to her sensibility. I’m sure somewhere in our legacy, the ability to tune in to our natural instincts must still be intact, challenged, of course, by the menu at The Cheesecake Factory 🙂

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