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Get Back on the Wagon: 5 Tips to Start Fresh this Fall

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/21/2013 6:00 AM   :  109 comments   :  41,830 Views

Summer is winding down and now my favorite season of the year is here: fall. I have always felt nostalgic and dreamy this time of year. I think it's because I enjoyed school as a kid and still associate the autumn season with the start of a new school year that promised good times, good friends and even better memories that still live with me today, like the smell of bonfires, Friday night football games, donning my favorite new back-to-school clothes, and my feet crunching on leaves in the crisp weather. Fall even smells better, if you ask me.

Why not harness the magical power of this new season (which begins officially on September 23) to recommit to your healthy living goals and weight-loss program? You may not be heading back to school like you did in years past, but that doesn’t mean that you can't reinvent yourself all the same.

A strong re-start is just what you need right now, before October turns into a month-long celebration of Halloween and then the holidays are all around us. Don't wait for that to happen to you, or for January 1 to eventually roll around, finding you several pounds heavier and lacking in motivation. Here are five tips to help you get back on the wagon this fall.
  1. Reinvent your fitness program. Fall weather is the best weather, as the risks of heat- or cold-related emergencies plummet and the weather is especially tolerable. Try a new fall fitness activity, like trail hiking, mountain biking, or a recreational flag football league for grownups. Sometimes a new workout is just the ticket to get you excited again. Need more ideas? Look no further.
     
  2. Refresh your meal plans. So many delicious (and nutritious) foods make their debut in the fall, from squash to sweet potatoes to figs to apples. If your diet is starting to feel a little "blah," then spice it up with seasonal fall foods to bring a little excitement back to your plate.
     
  3. Reevaluate your priorities. OK, so maybe you no longer have an upcoming swimsuit season or vacation to light a fire under your butt when it comes to losing weight. Write a journal entry or blog listing all the other reasons you have to take care of yourself. Here's a hint: They're not all about appearances. Your health, your family, your hobbies, and your ultimate life goals are all reasons to be in your best shape ever, too. This list will serve as motivation later when you need help staying on track.
     
  4. Return to your goals. When did you last explore the goals you set a few months ago and assess how well you're taking steps toward reaching them? Now is a great time to look back, see how far you've come, and decide what you can do today to continue moving forward.
     
  5. Rejuvenate your wardrobe. As you pack up your summer essentials and let oversized hoodies and bulky sweaters return to your closet, don't let your body get lost underneath them. Remember that stretchy, elasticized and oversized clothes can make it harder for you to grasp whether your weight has gone up or down. They can also allow you to hide your body underneath until next summer's arm- and leg-baring styles make a comeback. By sticking with well-fitted clothes (not too tight, not too big), you'll keep weight gain in check and also notice more easily when you do lose a few inches!
How will you recommit to your program this fall to get a jump on the holidays and keep your program fresh and exciting?





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Comments

  • DELLMEL
    109
    Great article. It's so beautiful at this time of year. - 11/20/2013   9:40:22 AM
  • 108
    I LOVE Fall! ( And Winter, And Summer! But Fall is my Favorite ) My favorite thing to do in Fall is to Cuddle up and Read a Book or Watch a Movie! - 11/16/2013   6:50:42 PM
  • 107
    A great, timely read! I am preparing to restart my health and fitness program on Nov 1. I've been planning and setting things up so that come Friday, nothing is left to vagueness or indecision. I'm ready to rock it! - 10/31/2013   1:27:20 AM
  • 106
    Renewal is always a good thing. - 10/27/2013   9:53:19 AM
  • 105
    All through the hot, sticky summer, I anticipated running through crunchy leaves in the chilly air, surrounded by beautiful Autumn foliage. Sadly, allergies made every run and post-run a miserable experience. I had no choice but the rejoin the gym and switch to the treadmill. But now my distance is improving, and the allergens should be gone by my next 5-K race in late November. - 10/26/2013   11:50:19 AM
  • 104
    Unlike many of you, I have not been exercising as I should. I plan to take control of my eating habits and begin an exercise regimen that fits my sometimes hectic lifestyle. - 10/25/2013   1:02:15 PM
  • 103
    : ) good advice - 10/22/2013   8:34:01 AM
  • BELLRETIRED
    102
    It is 4:45 am and I was just reading my emails, when I came across this site. I have been trying to lose weight for some time now. I just love the beginning of this article. Fall is my favorite time of the year also. I always feel like going to Coles for school supplies. I do go in and buy a new journal, just to address the feeling. I always think of Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail", when she says that fall makes her think of bouquets of sharped pencils. But fall is also the time to look at comfort food. Fattening food. I can cook them all. So I am looking to find healthy low fat recipes and stick to a weight loss program this time. - 10/14/2013   4:51:08 AM
  • MOMABRE
    101
    This article was for me. Everything from reevaluating my priorities to returning to my goals. I returned to Sparkpeople after visiting my doctor on Monday. I realized that I need some accountablitly. In just the past week, I've totally revamped my diet. I've always exercised 2-3 times per week, but have been slack on my diet. Well, I'm back and eager to meet my goals. Not only for the weight, but I need to get my cholesterol in line. Bye bye fast food french fries (weakness). - 10/4/2013   12:16:36 PM
  • 100
    Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love opening my windows and hearing the rustling of the leaves and seeing the colors change. It is also the start of many family gatherings for my family. College football, many birthdays, and the holidays of course. I really enjoyed reading this post. I really need to make healthier fall food choices. - 9/25/2013   12:30:04 PM
  • 99
    Dreamy is exactly how I feel when the fall comes, too. Except that I live in Central Texas where "seasons" are more subjective than other places. Still, I do everything I can to make my house feel like fall. I've also started to walk with my best friend, which has been wonderful since the weather is cooling down. This article is exactly what I needed as I use the autumn season to try to make healthier choices for both mind and body. Thanks so much, Nicole! - 9/22/2013   11:08:25 AM
  • 98
    Fall is such a lovely season! My family and I love to be outside and the break in the weather is such a nice change. Football season always gets us moving around the stadium and then we also start up at the YMCA after taking the summer off. I really appreciate the paragraph that talks about not waiting for January 1st to roll around. I can appreciate that type of logic. Thank you for the great article! - 9/22/2013   8:25:42 AM
  • 97
    Aging article -- but good idea to re-print it because the timing is perfect for me: I need an attitude adjustment, and I think changing things around will be just the right ticket!
    8-) - 9/21/2013   9:22:11 PM
  • 96
    Fall is my FAVORITE season. - 9/21/2013   9:20:27 PM
  • 95
    I am trying to get excited about Fall..Summer is my favorite season. But I do have a plan in place. I am looking to buy an indoor bike. I am going to take the Group Core class (ab workout) at the gym. I am also looking for new recipes to try. I have an electric roaster I want to use...... - 9/21/2013   8:06:52 PM
  • 94
    Stay consistent in working out. Continue to revamp my meal plan to get the best results and satisfaction. Embrace the changes already happening in my body! Thanks for the blog! :) - 9/21/2013   5:00:01 PM
  • 93
    To get myself reset for fall, I have signed up for the Fall 5% challenge. I love the 5% challenges as they keep me focused on my program while introducing new healthy habits each week. The competition and social aspect makes it fun, and team mates keep me accountable! - 9/21/2013   1:35:53 PM
  • 92
    The most motivational post I've read in a long time! Thanks! - 9/21/2013   1:25:31 PM
  • 91
    I love summer and I love hot steamy weather so I am not so excited about the season change, but I am working on transitioning into fall as far as my wardrobe goes. I don't like baggy clothes (but I do like sweaters!) and I love fall veggies. And I am looking forward to being able to go for outdoor workouts without losing two pounds of sweat. So even though I will cling to the last remnants of summer for as long as I can, I think that fall won't be too bad. - 9/21/2013   10:51:07 AM
  • 90
    I love this post and I'm going to do what it says... I need to get back into my groove and this sounds like a plan to do just that. :) - 9/21/2013   10:44:19 AM
  • 89
    I love the Fall season. But not for the same reason(school was a nightmare for this fat teen!) Fall means I can get back outside and work in my garden and yard. For me this is the best workout. As far as goals I still have the main one- Lose Weight! But how to do it is still escaping me. I've tried so many different things that I'm burned out. Have been since March. There's got to be a better way. If other people can do it and the lbs "melt" off so to speak, then there's got to be a way for me. - 9/21/2013   9:00:12 AM
  • GENERIC-FIT
    88
    Squashes and cauliflower and pears! I love it when the season comes back. Great tips as I do need to rejuvenate myself. - 9/21/2013   5:08:41 AM
  • 87
    rejuvenating my wardrobe might help. I don't remember the last time that I actually bought new clothes that I was confident and comfortable in. I try not to buy clothes because I feel stuck but don't want to waste money if I do lose... It's all a mental game for sure! - 9/20/2013   12:51:07 PM
  • 86
    Great article for the season changing and keeping with our goals. My goal, getting in shape before a baby, hasn't changed with the seasons. Therefore, I don't think the temptation of the holidays will affect my progress as much. I care about being healthy for a baby far more than I care about extra helpings, pumpkin pies, or holiday cookies! - 9/19/2013   9:49:21 PM
  • 85
    Thanks for the blog. It is interesting even though i am in Australia so even though the seasons are different, the goal setting etc. is great! - 9/14/2011   3:29:58 AM
  • 84
    I love this post as well! I just went back to work (teaching) and I've been really tired, gotten off track with my fitness and need a boost! These are great ideas to rejuvenate myself this fall! Thank you!!! - 9/13/2011   10:18:54 PM
  • 83
    Thanks for posting this, Nicole. I have been off the wagon for about a month and a half now. I am lacking motivation. However, after reading this article, it pumped me up in regards to taking my exercise outside to enjoy this beautiful weather. So, that is one thing I will change. Also, I am going to look into the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Lastly, I am going to journal the things that are important to me. - 9/13/2011   2:00:30 PM
  • 82
    Fall is my favorite time of year too. I love apples, pears, winter squash & yams, bowls of chili or soup, hot cider, anything that warms in the crisp autumn air. I'm much more likely to exercise in cooler temps than during the heat of summer. I loved school too, & can relate to the idea of using this season as a fresh start. I still buy on-sale notebooks to journal in!
    Thanks for a great blog! - 10/21/2010   4:04:26 AM
  • 81
    Loved this blog! I also love the fall, and am so ready to go outside and play! - 9/22/2010   5:21:13 PM
  • 80
    In addition, this is a great time to reduce sweets and desserts, and to find tasty alternatives in preparation for the holidays. I did this last year about this time, and by Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, I had a handle on portion control and I wasn't interested in desserts either. I was able to choose just one dessert and leave the others. And I didn't stuff myself. - 9/21/2010   4:29:40 PM
  • 79
    This is my favorite time of the year and I like to re-commit to my overall health plan this time of year. Exericise too which is alot easier in Fall and Winter. I'm a home body during the summer, I hate the heat, but I'm ready to get out and play in the Fall. I love walking through the woods then too and just alot more walking in general. This is also when we go take a trip for our anniversary every October, so we have alot of options, and the weather is great for activity, and generally, the crowds are low. Sometimes we go to the Coast, sometimes to the Mountains. This year it will be the Coast with alot of beach to cover, trails to explore, and abundant wildlife on the island. Not to mention all of the fresh seafood available and the farmer's market's around as well. We can bring alot home with us too.

    Then there's the cooking. I enjoy cooking in the fall and winter making soups, casseroles, stews, etc loaded with vegetables. I have now learned that meat doesn't need to be the main element, the variety of veggies do. So I'm especially looking forward to re-vamping my own recipes and loading up on veggie dishes.

    I have finally made my vision collage as well to help me stay on track and I have a new plan to maybe help break this awful plateau. I think this is just what I need to get more active and hopefully reach my goals by Spring!

    - 9/21/2010   4:21:41 PM
  • 78
    I want to get the kids outside and play! Balls, bicycles, etc. are great when it's not too hot. - 9/21/2010   3:26:06 PM
  • 77
    I love the fall too especially football. I also enjoy getting back in the kitchen and making soup and crock pot meals again. Looking forward to trying a lot of the yummy Spark recipes. - 9/20/2010   10:29:51 PM
  • 76
    I too love the fall. I find it rejuvenating in a way. This is the opportunity to get the ball rolling and feel good and be strong for the upcoming holidays. - 9/20/2010   6:34:43 PM
  • 75
    September and October are my "power months!!" I love the cooling weather and those first stirrings of happy anticipation that the holidays are right around the corner. I'm totally Sparking in the fall! - 9/20/2010   11:41:56 AM
  • 74
    I am totally in the category of those who are "finding you several pounds heavier and lacking in motivation." I don't like what the mirror is showing me these days, but do I want to want to do something about it enough to actually do something about it??
    (ps, More summer, please!) ;-)
    - 9/20/2010   11:14:43 AM
  • 73
    I am totally in the category of those who are "finding you several pounds heavier and lacking in motivation." I don't like what the mirror is showing me these days, but do I want to want to do something about it enough to actually do something about it??
    (ps, More summer, please!) ;-)
    - 9/20/2010   11:14:43 AM
  • 72
    I love the Fall and Winter, not much on hot weather. - 9/20/2010   11:08:10 AM
  • 71
    Fall is also my favorite time of year! Love the smells and cooler weather.
    I will definitely rejuvenate the wardrobe. I don't want to wear most of what is in my closet from previous years ( those fatter days). One of my hobbies is sewing clothes and I am going to get back into the sewing room now that the gardening season is winding down. ( and I also need better fitting clothes to wear!)
    I also need to ramp up the exercise. I have slacked in August and September, but am at a 1 year mark for starting my change over journey the end of this month. It is time to get re-motivated. - 9/20/2010   11:06:09 AM
  • OWENFSA
    70
    I am going to do it! This is the perfect time (there are lots of perfect times) to restart, refocus and reinvigorate. - 9/20/2010   10:16:00 AM
  • 69
    I am looking foward to the fall hiking-crisp air, the changing of the leaves-so excited for all of that. I am also going to try and get more outdoor time at the park near my house. This is my fav time of the year! - 9/20/2010   8:52:39 AM
  • 68
    I love the summer but it is nice to have a change of Temps, clothes and food. I really like the different types of squash. Thankyou for reminding me that there comes good things in all seasons. - 9/20/2010   8:10:47 AM
  • 67
    I really like the summer however I do like the different types of foods they have in the fall. I love all kinds of squash. - 9/20/2010   8:08:16 AM
  • 66
    Hubby and I and dog took a long walk today. It was pretty to see the leaves changing, but not yet falling off the trees. - 9/19/2010   9:59:27 PM
  • 65
    First clean out my closet! I love fall also. Here in Texas we call it indian summer. - 9/19/2010   6:39:02 PM
  • WESKATE
    64
    This is so perfect for me. I am recomitting myself to SP & my goals. I am trying to get out myself out for a walk or hike. Thank you! - 9/19/2010   6:19:03 PM
  • 63
    I live and teach in Qatar and will have to wait a little longer before it cools down to take advantage of walking and enjoying the outdoors. But I do agree about fall...for me, it's a new semester which always means a fresh start (even the second semester is a fresh start), new beginnings, new students, new friends I haven't met yet, new everything. So, why not a new, or at least improved me? I am doing many of the things you wrote about and already feel more energized which in turn makes me feel "new." :) Thanks for your blog!! - 9/19/2010   11:56:24 AM
  • 62
    I'm with you, Nicole, autumn is my favorite time of year! I am especially enjoying walks in this type of weather and love the outdoor smells - since I live in New England, it is an especially beautiful time with the change in leaf colors. I had a health issue about 6 months ago that threw me off track with regular exercise, which affected my weight, but I have been able to recommit during the past two months to regular exercise and limited desserts (!) - the results are showing good improvement! - 9/19/2010   10:16:40 AM
  • 61
    Each month I find a new habit to focus on and do three things to make it happen for 21 days. This keep it doable and gives me direction. With cooler weather it is nice to get in some refreshing walks down by the river, - 9/19/2010   7:30:13 AM
  • 60
    fall is my favorire time also but how true that we can hide under them fall and winter clothes - 9/19/2010   6:37:16 AM

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