Is winter really the time to focus on getting ripped? Tiffiny Hall explores the pitfalls of this statement.
Puffy jacket season is well and truly upon us (for Melbourne especially!) but with all of this rain and grey cloud blowing in, it’s likely that your wardrobe isn’t the only thing changing with the season. Motivation dwindles with the daylight, boozy dinner invites increase and vitamin D is scarce, maybe even leaving some of us with a case of the SADs.
It’s natural also for your eating habits to get flipped on their head in the colder months – I know mine do! Out of nowhere I’m craving hearty vegetable soups, tray bakes and aromatic curries… that’s just the healthy stuff. Also on my mind are flaky pastries, decadent cheese boards, hot chocolates and just about anything fried. Sound familiar?
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
If I had to guess, I’d say your workout routine is taking a hit too. As our summer digs go into hibernation, we tend to as well. More rain equals less walks and jogs; less daylight means less time to fit everything in; and on those chilly mornings, less motivation to jump out of bed and take on your gym sesh.
Turtlenecks, oversized coats and mum jeans also mean less skin on show, and this out of sight, out of mind comfort triggers an empathy gap of sorts – a cognitive bias that makes it difficult to understand or act based on future feelings or needs outside of the present ones… future feelings like the desire to look and feel fit and confident in bathers come summer, perhaps?
And so it goes, the winter ‘blowout’ occurs. We’ve all been there: 2 weeks out from December, heck, 2 days out, and frantically Googling, “how to lose belly fat fast” or “quick bikini body workout plan”. So is it true then? Are summer bodies really made in winter? Yes… and no.
It’s not rocket science. The reality is that you can’t undo 6 months (or more) of bad habits in 2 weeks. And while the crash diet, summer cleanse, workout fad communities will promise you you can, the results are often unsustainable, the advocates uninformed, and the means and methods unhealthy.
Furthermore, while it’s natural for your weight, shape and mentality to waver throughout the year – your mood and lifestyle are to a degree, affected by the seasons – yoyo-ing from winter to summer not only affects your chances of success in the short term, but can make it harder for you to lose weight in the long term. Starting earlier or maintaining a healthy base level of fitness and wellbeing not only alleviates the pressure come summer, but achieves better results overall.
There’s a caveat. There is no such thing as summer bodies, bikini bodies and beach bodies. There are just bodies. And boy are they all different. Labelling our goals and our selves in such a way buys into a damaging culture built around body shaming; a culture that suggests that health and fitness is seasonal and should be driven by these unrealistic social standards. In order to get results – results that last – we need to stop focussing on summer and looking instead at lifestyle; mindful eating, active living, enjoyable exercise and healthy intentions.
The best results I’ve seen in clients and members on my TIFFXO program have been from those who set out on a lifestyle transformation, rather than a body transformation, and who are in it for the long run from the get go. It isn’t about fitting into a bikini in time for Bali, or chasing a body type (that is not your own) seen being promoted on social media. It’s about finding that balance and aiming to feel fabulous year round. Such a transformation doesn’t happen overnight, which is why I created my online health and fitness program TIFFXO.
The TIFFXO meal plan is seasonal and takes all of your cravings into account. I’m talking sausage rolls, chicken soup and shepherd’s pie. Plus it’s family friendly so you don’t have to cook multiple meals – my son Arnold (3 years old) eats TIFFXO with Ed and I and loves it! And workouts? You need something that will get you results without sending you out into the cold or eat into these shorter days. My TIFFXO workouts are coached by me, they go for 20 minutes, they’re for all levels, and the best bit is you can do them at home!
Setting a fitness goal is great, whether that be for summer, an event, or even to fit into a clothing item. But with great goals, comes great responsibility. Set out with healthy intentions, go about it in a nourishing way, and remember that health isn’t seasonal, nor is your body.
Tiffiny Hall is the founder of online health and fitness program TIFFXO.