It’s Time to Shape Up

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Exercise on the Beach

Winter is all about food: Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas cookies, New Year’s cocktails, Super Bowl wings and beer, Valentine’s chocolates. Late February is the time when I look at the calendar and panic. I only have five weeks to our annual spring break vacation, and the scale is showing the appalling results of a sedentary season filled with rich, heavy foods. Like it or not, it’s time to shape up.

If, like me, you are looking at your spring wardrobe and thinking, “uh-oh,” then it’s time to come up with a plan. I’m beginning by switching up my menu of winter comfort food (beef stew, meatloaf, hot chocolate with marshmallows) and bringing in healthy spring dishes, such as spinach salads and grilled chicken. It’s time to put away the bakeware and break out the steamer.

After I switch up what I’m eating, it’s time to focus on how much. It seems as though pig-out season begins with the acres of candy from Halloween and spirals downward into stuffing, turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pies at the most gluttonous of all holidays, Thanksgiving. And then, it’s an easy slide into an ocean of holiday treats that wrap around you in a decadent buoy of candy canes and gingerbread men. During the long, cold days of January, we entertained ourselves by watching the playoffs, and eating is my favorite part of football. And finally, just to add insult in injury, it’s a big box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Sure, I could just eat one, but they’re all for me, right? Getting portions back under control is critical to any good diet plan.

And finally … exercise. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan. Sure, I like the results, but the process is a drag. I never understood people who live to work out, spending hours upon hours in a gym, then bragging about the sweating they’ve done or the marathon they’re training for. If your apartment complex has a gym, now is the time to go and check it out – even if you hate the idea. Many apartment communities now offer 24-hour gyms, eliminating my favorite excuse of, “too busy, no time.” And as the weather finally breaks (soon, please!), walking or jogging at a nearby park trail could make the “shape up” process more enjoyable. Warmer temperatures, sunshine, and the first wink of daffodils should make exercising a little more palatable…right?