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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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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!! Report
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! Report
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, Report
fall is my favorire time also but how true that we can hide under them fall and winter clothes Report
A great post, but what especially caught my eye was the picture because that is surely what I want to look like and - more importantly - feel at that age. Just yesterday I thought what a bliss it would be to be able to ride piggyback or let my husband lift me up without me feeling like I'm going to kill him that way. I used to when I was some 30+ kilos lighter but not for years now. Report
Fall is my favorite season. I will reinvent my walking routine. Report
Fall has always been my favorite season also. Just like you, I loved school and couldn't wait for the new school year, new clothes, brand new notebooks, and the smell of a new Crayola box, with its rainbow of colors. Fall is a great season for revaluate and make changes. Great blog, Coach Nicole! Report
Just wanted to say I enjoyed the article and felt I could relate. Thanks for the ray of sunshine and the feeling of hope. Report
I joined the Lose 10 by 10/10/10 Team and the 28 Day Boot Camp just for an added incentive to stay on track with my goals. I've made a chart tracking each 5 lb. loss. Just seeing my goals achieved on a chart helps me feel motivated.
I measured my arms, legs, thighs, calves, neck, etc. and recently recorded them on SP. It's motivating to see that the numbers have all gone down. I have been buying smaller size clothing. Last year I got by with most of the clothes I had but recently filled bags to send to St. Vincent de Paul (like a Goodwill). That is very motivational. Plus now I can't regress or I'll have nothing to wear. Ha! Report
Love this. Thank you! Report
Fall is my favorite time of year also, I agree with you about the smell in the air and the fall colors on the trees. I never thought about baggy clothes hiding me, I just wore them more for comfort. I will keep it in mind now and I will try other exercises too. Report
You could be writing for me! I absolutely think Fall is the best season. The heat of Summer is leaving and the wonderful holidays are just around the corner. Since I am just starting back on SP today, I am going to take your advise and reevaluate my goals and priorities and start fresh. Report
Perfect timing fo rthe article. I am going on a cruise in about 5 weeks. The cruises are known for feeding you way more than you should be eating. Learning to exercise while on vacation and don't forget to bring your seat belt to say on the wagon and don't fall off. Report
I absolutely love this post! I find that I often need to recommit to things regularly. I start slipping.... And a little pep is needed. Report
I've been scouring thrift stores for clothes that fit me better and I'm planning on cleaning out my closet this weekend to evaluate what fits and what doesn' the fresh start fall gives us! Report
The timing of this article is perfect. I just got home from a three week vacation, and while I managed to be active every day, I certainly didn't always make the best food (and drink) choices. I promised myself that I would rededicate myself to my healthy lifestyle, and this really increased my motivation. Report
You know, there's a link (presumably for more information) that says "Look no further."

Just saying. Report
way ahead ya coach nicole! i decided to experiment for breakfast yesterday and cooked a packet of plain organic oatmeal and used sweet potatoes to "sweeten" it. delish!!! i plan to do THAT again. Report
I live in Florida will not experience the fall leaves but cooler temps should encorage me to get up and move to the grove on a long beach walk.i am able to swim all year long so The Aqua devias will be doing water aeorbics. thanks for reminding us we can just jump back on. Report
I absolutely looooooove fall. Up here in VT, fall is absolutely the most beautiful time of year, with stunning changing foliage, apple picking, outdoor craft festivals, and crisp air. It's the perfect time to go hiking, since the views from the summits of the Green Mountains are ablaze with oranges and reds and yellows, and there's none of that summer haze to limit how far you can see!

So, as you can tell, it's pretty easy to get motivated to go outside and get moving. And coming home to a cup of hot, freshly-pressed cider and a bounty of autumn vegetables (squashes, pumpkins, apples, potatoes, hearty greens, brussels sprouts) makes it pretty tempting to eat right, too! Report
I live in Ohio and love the changing seasons. I love to walk and miss it in the winter. Until then, I can enjoy the changing colors and the briskness in the air. Report
I can't believe I've slacked off so much! A year ago I was working out everyday. I was very active playing volleyball, lifting weights, running or taking some kind of class (krav maga, kickboxing, dance) sometimes 2-3 hours a day. I enjoyed feeling energized, in shape and having fun doing it. It's time!! Time to get moving again, time to stop feeling so out of shape, time to enjoy all of the wonderful activities that made me feel so happy and good about myself! I guess I just needed to reflect on my life and realize what it was that made me stop. Fall is going to be great! Report
This was a great article! I love the season in PA, there is such a wonderful difference and I am always ready for the change. I love the tip about clothes. Maybe I'll clean my closet today! Report
This is me. Time to put the nose down and make it happen. No more fudging and mental arguing. Time to be serious and hit my next goal by Nov. 1st!

Thanks for the push in the right direction! Report
I'm reading Judith Beck, PhD's wonderful book "The BECK DIET SOLUTION" since she teaches how to THINK like a THIN person and it certainly is the help I need to stay on track. We have a great Spark Team for support. Report
I'm looking forward to the weather cooling down and for the humidity to lessen so I can truly push myself on the 'hills' of my neighborhood. Report
Aha, the 5-Re tips for fitness, food, priorities, goals and (my favourite) wardrobe! I guess we can do this for other season or in my case, for every 3 months, it's nice to do these to make life more interesting, hehe Report
My favorite thing in the fall is to walk the trails through the woods of the U.P. It is so quiet and peaceful. It is especially nice when the leaves are changing color. Report
I love fall . am not a hot weather kind of girl . love the crisp air and do not like snow so this is my favoritie season . Report
I love the fall weather! I don't do so well in the heat, and so my exercise routine is next to nothing! I do bike alot in the summer, only because the breeze feels so good as I go along....however...when I stop, I just about want to die from the heat! So the fall is even better for biking, because I don't collapse, and I can do way more exercising and whip myself into shape. I like to bake more in the autumn weather and take advantage of the summer gardens that people have grown. I am blessed with many people who share the bounty with me! So it's all good! Report
Fall is my favorite time of year and thats why I am getting married in 3 weeks! Love getting to go outside and do things this time of year, it just makes me happier! Report
RLPPHD and I have a hike planned for the first Friday in October, followed by a healthy picnic lunch, massage, and tickets to a play! Report
We are preparing to buy a small condo in the city with some spectacular views, especially from the roof gardens. However, my biggest anticipation is for the exercise room just downstairs from my unit. I won't need to drag all my equipment along, though I may still use the stability ball around the house and use bands and hand weights now and then. But, having everything else nearby will be a real blessing. I will hear it calling my name and I am eager to begin a broader program soon. Report
I love this. I so need to get back ON the wagon. Report
I just finished packing away all my summer clothes and unpacked the winter things only to pack them again and gave them to the local charity for abused women and children, they were all to big, so with only a few clothes in my closet that are transitional garments I will be heading to the mall and getting a brand new fall wardrobe. Thanks to Spark people I have lost 119 pounds and have gone from a size 24 to a size 4, need I say more. Happy Dance here!!! Report
i'm looking forward to it too here in new orleans we only get about 8-10 weeks of real fall Report
Here in the south we are still in partial summer. The highs are in the 90's and the lows are getting down into the 60's. The good thing is that the humidity is much lower. Looking forward to some cooler weather! Report
I was empowered by buying some sweaters for myself yesterday. Sized-medium never looked so freaking good! Even the arms weren't tight like they have been in the past. I love colder weather for the types of exercise and clothes I get to have!

Keep sparking! Report
"Wonderful" article! I love fall as it is so pretty. I love to take long walks in the fall and check out the changes of the leaves and how people decorate their yards for Halloween. Report
Coach Nicole you are a jewel. Thank you for another great post. Report
Great article...I will use this plan as a reminder and motivation on my next blog.
Thank you so much for sharing! Report
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it, the cooler weather, the colors, Halloween, fall scented candles. And it also means the holidays are right around the corner. I'm recommitting myself this fall by reinventing my exercise program. I've found myself in an exercise rut lately because I've become bored with my usual exercise routine. Time to switch it up and find something that I enjoy! Report
I have a second gym to go to this fall and pool and I also like hiking and taking fall landscape pictures. Report
I guess I'm one of the few that actually hates fall. I get depressed when I see all the plants and growning things turning brown and going dormant... It just screams de-motivation to me. So that makes it an especially hard uphill climb. I like the tip about well-fitting clothes. You are so right about having things that fit well which makes you look even better - as you say, no matter what the size! Report
Perfectly timed and just what I needed! My birthday is in early Sept, and football and Labor Day get-togethers are huge in my city, so I've had a 3 week stretch of social events and splurges. I need to get back on track ASAP, including getting back into Couch to 5K before it gets too cold and dark to do it. Thanks for this article! And to piggyback on #5, not only does wearing well fitting clothes keep you motivated to stay healthy, they are also the most flattering no matter what your size. :) Report
I love fall season! I tend to be more motivated once summer season is over because I have always hated the heat and humidity of Missouri. I'm looking forward to sweater season and bonfires!! Report
Great info...reassessing and refurbishing our goals is ALWAYS good! Report
Love, love, love Autumn! Usually it is because of the return of sweatshirts, crisp morning air, football weather. This year it is because my husband and I are committing to our healthy weight goals. This is the first time for him and the countless time for me but this time we are doing it right: together! We have been planning for the past week and will be cleaning out the kitchen and restocking with the "right stuff" this weekend. Report
Fall means that Pink Lady apples will back at the Farmer's Market - yahoo!!!! They have officially ousted the Granny Smith as my favorite! Report
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