Would you believe that we’re less than two months away from the end of the year? Crazy right!? The summer is well and truly out of here and the nights are drawing in. As the days grow colder and shorter, human beings experience a curious phenomenon. We can become sad, depressed, moody or irritable. Our bodies feel heavier, exercise seems more difficult and our bellies seem never to be sated, crying out constantly for the exact kinds of salty, fatty, sugary convenience foods that we know to be damaging to our bodies.
This, my friends, is perfect example of human nature being at odds with the demands of modern living. As the fall settles in, it triggers our hibernation instinct which tells us that we need to load up on calories, find somewhere warm and dry and wait out the winter, away from the reach of predators. As useful as this may have been for our paleolithic ancestors, it’s nightmarish for contemporary human beings, and can cause them to fall into a lot of poor lifestyle habits. Moreover, many of us experience a seasonal depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can cause us to feel depressed and lacking motivation which increases our likelihood of making poor dietary choices and sleeping in instead of going for a jog or to the gym in the morning.
We have a tendency to roll with the poor choices we make and tell ourselves that this is just temporary and that we’ll completely turn our lives around in the new year. Unfortunately, for many reasons, this kind of thinking is utterly counterproductive and these poor habits will be much easier to kick today than if you wait another couple of months. Here’s why.
The New Year’s Resolution fallacy
The notion of the New Year’s Resolution is not new. In fact, the tradition dates as far back as the days of Ancient Rome, and it was as much of a fallacy then as it is now. Be honest with yourself. How many times have you made the same resolution two, three or more years in a row? And how did that work out for you?
Don’t feel too bad. You’re only human, and the notion of the New Year’s Resolution is completely contrary to human psychology. As strong as your willpower may be, your brain does not want you to keep your resolutions. The trouble is that they’re easy enough to make and we tend to make them without considering how difficult they will be to keep. Bear in mind that January is one of the coldest and most inhospitable months of the year, and if you struggled to eat healthily or hit the gym in October, it’s only going to be much harder at the start of the year.
Moreover, given the inevitable seasonal indulgence of Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ll have that much more damage to repair with your newly formed good habits. Whatever your intended resolutions for the new year, there’s no better time to start than now.
Although your every instinct may be screaming at you to load up on calories when the days start to grow dark and grey, the importance of good quality nutrition is more important than ever now, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the way. The longer we spend bingeing on ready made comfort foods, the more damage we do to our metabolisms and the less our bodies are able to cope with the onslaught of calories that always come with the end of year festivals. The good news is that there are many warming, comforting meals that can keep you feeling satiated without piling on unsightly pounds or creating a damaging nutrition deficit.
There’s never a bad time to get into shape, but putting it off until January when you can start today is to create a giant rod for your own back. The fact is that fall is a great time to get on a health kick. Setting your alarm a half hour earlier and starting your day with a visit to the gym or a brisk jog may seem unappealing now, but it’s only going to get worse when the nights grow longer and colder (and let’s be honest, how likely are you to look out the window, see rain and think “Ah well, I tried!”). The good news is that starting your day with a workout will give you the endorphin spike you need to keep SADS at bay while improving your metabolism so that you start losing weight and keep it off all year round.
You don’t need this blog to tell you about the dangers of smoking, but it’s important to remember that each and every cigarette you smoke has a cumulative effect in damaging your health. Each and every cigarette you forego makes a difference (they don’t call them coffin nails for nothing). If the idea of quitting outright is too much for you, then you can mitigate the effect by loading up on vaping supplies by Ecig Wizard. A recent study has shown that vaping is 95% safer than smoking cigarettes although it’s important to be wary. You may just be substituting one addiction for another. If you’re looking to quit outright, evidence shows that most people who switch from cigarettes to vaping don’t find quitting any easier.
The holiday season can be a boozy time, but if you’re worried about your alcohol consumption, there’s no good reason to put off cutting down till after the new year. A little willpower goes a long way and cutting down on your alcohol intake now by going Sober for October will make things a lot easier in the long term than waiting until after the new year (not to mention being a whole lot easier on your liver).
Cutting down on caffeine
Many celebrate fall as being synonymous with the rise of the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte. Aside from the fact that those bad boys clock in at up to 420 calories each (most of that, pure sugar), relying on caffeine to get you through the dark days may seem like a perfect solution, but it can do your body way more harm than good. Excessive caffeine intake can aggravate anxiety as well as increasing blood pressure and potentially leading to cardiac arrhythmia.
So, why wait for the new year when you can start laying the foundations for a happier, healthier new you right now?