Tackling Winter Like a Boss

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I was going to say something way more inappropriate in the title.
Like making Winter my bitch.
Oh look there, I just said it.
Oops.
I hate winter.
I truly hate it.
The sad thing is I used to love winter when I was growing up.
And there was one sport that I cherished that had everything to do with winter.
Skiing.
I downhill skied from the time I was 12 until I was a young adult.Snow Trails was the great Ohio ski resort where most of my tween/teen memories were made.
I was lucky enough to have a pass for a few seasons and skis so that I could perfect my hobby.
Thank you mom and dad. 
I would ski five times a week at my “peak” which was in high school.
Yes, I peaked in high school.
Bu I loved everything about skiing.
From how it made my body look to the amazing friends I skied with to the amazingly greasy ski lodge french fries.But after graduation, I just didn’t have time to ski.
I was working full-time and skiing is expensive.
All of a sudden when mom and dad aren’t footing the bill, skiing seems a little unnecessary.
So I maybe skied once to twice a year if that.

If I had to guess, my disdain for winter probably began after I became an adult.
In that I had to drive to work in it and be a big kid and pay the bills in it and not get to dress up in snow pants and roll around in it.
And it’s all cold and icky.
And it gets dark at four in the afternoon.

I think it was after my youngest was born, in January no less…. who picked that due date?……when I started to notice it getting worse and worse and worse.
Add in no family within a four-hour drive, a new baby and a husband who worked 80 hours per week?
It was ugly.

So this winter I have decided to take measures in my own hands so that I don’t sink into the abysmal pit that is my winter blues.

1- Get Help.

Fast.
I think I need more than a happy lamp to get me through winter.
Let me tell you how I feel going into winter each year:

 

-Like I have to warm up for a prize-winning fight.
-Like there is this huge piece of furniture on my chest.
-Like I might burst if I think about how long winter is.
– Like if I hear one.more.time how the flu is gonna kill us all, I might dig a hole in the ground.

 

And for a long time, I thought….oh well, most people hate winter and have the blues. It’s normal. Well, yes that may be the case for most people but I believe the winter blues I have aren’t the healthy kind.
I am thinking that wanting to hole yourself in your house until March isn’t normal and could be the verge of something even worse, so I need to take measures to help myself and that help is going to be in the form of therapy.

2- Exercise.

As I write this, I have been power walking 4-5 days a week.
I have been lucky lately because it has been 40 degrees + but I have done a few walks where it was 20 degrees and I had icicles on my boobs.
But let me tell ya, it has improved my mental state of mind so much, I will take the frostbite on the girls just to get out of the house January through March.
And I feel so much better after walking.
Now, I still love to run ( I even run walk at times) but with my asthma and knee problems it was always a struggle.
It would take everything I had to run 3 miles in 45 minutes.
Now I can walk 5 miles in 40 minutes.
Power walking!
I swear I don’t look like those crazy people swiveling their hips at the mall at 7 am.
Just walking but fast…and helping me out is the Map My Walk app on my iPod.
It was free and it shows me my pace, how far I have walked and calories burned.
I used the Map My Run app when I ran and I will use it again when I run in the summer but they both are great for giving you motivation.

 

3- Watching what I eat.

I have this app on my iPod called My Fitness Pal and basically you enter info like your starting weight, goal weight etc..and it tells you how many calories you can have each day to reach your specific goal and then you enter all that you eat each day.
It even has a scanner so you can scan your foods in the pantry for easier entry.
This single-handedly changed the way I eat each day because for the first time since I started my healthy eating journey in 2011, I can finally see how many calories I am consuming, where I need to watch and where I could be.

It also tells you at the end of the day where you will be in 5-6 weeks if you eat the way you did that day every day.
I will tell you a tip for “dieting” that I have used for two and a half years and it will help you too: have a cheat day.
A day of the week that you eat whatever you want and don’t even look at the calories.
That day for me has always been Sunday.
And I look forward to that day more than any other.

 

4- Happy Place

I am no psychologist but I do know that to get through any storm in your life you need some happy place items.
Things that are comforting.
For some, it’s food but since I don’t wanna be 300 pounds in 2013, I can’t turn to that to help me through winter.
My happy place is and always has been music.
I love music.
Since I was a child.
I would make mix tapes when I was little like it was my job.
So in getting me through another Chicago winter, I created a mix tape.

 

So in getting me through another Chicago winter, I created a mix tape.

I know.
You are jealous of my musical stylings.
This is just a teaser.
I have 150 songs on this “mix tape”.
These are all songs that make me happy inside, remind me of a happy time, or just make me smile.
Everyone should have a playlist like this on their iPod.
I listen to this every single day.
All day long.
My husband and kids know that winter is my challenge and they know that if mommy has her music on, mommy is a nicer person.
And a little Barenaked Ladies is a small price for them to pay.

 

5- Challenge Myself

I do like a challenge.
Why else would I start running at age 41 with asthma and a bum knee?
Or maybe I don’t have common sense.
But I do like to challenge myself.
And when I read on my blog friend Brandy’s blog Windy City Wilson’s that she was gonna start the 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels, I was curious.
I can do anything for only 30 days.
Shred?
I love shredded anything.
Especially cheese.
Yes, cheese!
WAIT!
Focus!
So when I learned that this is a workout DVD from 2008, I knew it was meant to be.
Because I can never start a trend when it is trendy.
No sir.
So perfectly me that five years after this came out, I would be trying it!
But I am a little afraid.
Of Jillian.
Something tells me she won’t go easy on me.
And understand if I have a Charley horse or I am outta breath.
Or need to get a sandwich.
But that’s okay.
I hold the power to shut her up with the pause button while I recover.
Which is exactly why I would never do well in an in-person workout class.
For some reason, those instructors don’t take lightly when you tell them to shut up.
Or that you are heading out to get a snickers from the vending machine.
Geesh.

So this is what’s gonna get me through this winter.
Well, this and a little wine.
And when you see me at the end of winter, I hope I am a little happier and a lot smaller.
And not in AA.

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16 thoughts on “Tackling Winter Like a Boss

  1. B. Wilson @ Windy {City} Wilsons

    I vote for the other title. Winter is a jerk. Sometimes I wonder if the winters are worth it. Geez.

    We started the Shred two days ago. Today is day 3 and I'll tell you, it's rough. But, it's only 20 minutes a day. Okay, let's be real. The only reason I made it past day 1 was having a very motivational husband who is grunting through the workouts with me. That helps.

  2. Running Mama

    I love this! You'll LOVE the 30 day shred. Is love to strong? Ok you'll enjoy the 30 day shred. Is enjoy the word I'm looking for here? Ok, you'll survive and be proud of yourself at the end. Maybe I'll do it with you. Did you already start?

  3. Nicole Helak

    Winter in West Michigan is pretty hard for me too. January in particular. So after a 24 hour meltdown I finally called my mom who yanked me out of my mid-winter funk with a "You know better" tone in her voice. I went out, got myself some vitamin D, decided to learn something new, and vowed to go outside to walk daily. So far so good.
    Good Luck. This winter stuff just sucks.

  4. nothingbythebook.com

    That's a great plan. I live north of 51, and struggle with winter — November to February especially (although March and April are still effectively winter here!) — and even though it comes every year, my struggle with it catches me by surprise when the depression hits in the third week of November. Good for you for recognizing the problem and tackling it.

  5. sadderbutwiser

    I need something to get me moving. I suffer from anxiety and depression as well as my lovely ADD. The winter is not kind to me-I want to go hibernate like a BIG bear! Yet today was warmer than it has been, and I got out and walked and at least for awhile I felt better. I always think when I get back-why don't I do this EVERY DAY???

  6. TJ Falletti

    I loved this post!!! You motivate me to do something other than just think about and complain how much I loath my post baby body. Change it!!! So what if its winter. Winter can suck it! ( I say that now as I lay in my toasty bed and not power walking in it) Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your goals! I need to find that Jillian challenge!

  7. Cindy Haw

    Hi! I have another thing to add to your list. Try a HAPPY light. It simulates sunshine. You can buy one on Amazon; the price range varies. Try it for 30 minutes a day. I used one when I lived in the northern England– the lack of sunshine was unending, so I got the light. It really helped.

    BTW, love your other suggestions! Have a great winter.

  8. Vanessa

    Hi, Kari

    Great post and good for you for doing something about those winter blues. I am like this and this is why we don't like anywhere cold. I love the sun, but if you ever feel like ugh, tweet me baby and I'll get you out of your blue mood. LOL, talk to you soon and don't be a stranger.

    Vanessa

  9. jdeneen.com

    Great list. I wish I could say I was exercising and eating right, but alas, my urge to hibernate is stronger. 🙂 Fat, happy, eating, and sleeping are my winter pleasures! LOL

  10. Kathy

    I am impressed Kari! Way to go! Looking forward to hearing how you are doing with all of this so far.

    1 – I hope that therapy will be a wonderful experience for you. I went back a year ago, after a 5 year hiatus and it has been really good for me. I was planning to stop in December, but then realized I needed PT and would be meeting the deductible fast enough that it was worth it to stick with it, at least once a month.

    2 – Good for you power walking that often! I can totally relate to what you said about how you look when you run… I run/job really slowly, but like what it does for my cardio, so I still do it.

    3 – I use a similar app called My Net Diary Pro and also have had success with it. I love the scanner function and my controlling personality likes keeping track (most of the time) of what I eat, what I weigh and my exercise. The cheat day is a great tip! My only problem is half the time when I cheat I negate the work I have done earlier that week and sometimes end up back where I started! 🙁

    4 – Oh, happy places… They rock and I totally was a mix tape maker too! They were the ultimate gift I could give to or receive from a friend. When my husband and I first dated we made multiple mix tapes for each other, which we still have. I love that you made a mix/playlist to help you through Winter! I have a number of playlists that I love from my Cleaning Mix (to motivate me to get things done) to my Healing Mix (when I want a good healthy cry) and more! 🙂

    5 – So proud of you doing the Shred! As I have told you before, I did it a lot in 2009-2010 after having my last child and it really worked for me! I like Jillian's style and the 27 mins. start to finish were great for my busy life. I always said on days when I "didn't have time to workout" that surely I could spare 27 mins.! What do you think so far? I also had to laugh reading about you not going to live fitness classes, since I am a group fitness instructor! 😉 You are right, you can pause us! But I do love the contagious energy and enthusiasm in a group class!

    Anyway, I know this was a super long comment… But I am really proud of and excited for you and look forward to following your journey through the winter blues to hopefully the superb spring and helping to cheer you on! 🙂

  11. Kari at A Grace Full Life

    Thanks for the great comments ladies! I think I definitely hit a nerve with a Winter Sucks post.
    Because it truly does.
    I wish for all of you to get through this winter without punching anyone in the face.
    Especially the weatherman. 🙂