When summer comes around, and those winter-spring months are fading away, women particularly seem bombarded with glossy magazines promoting 'bikini season' and instructing us how to 'be beach body ready'. But, it's not often we hear of any articles helping us to achieve and look after our winter bodies.
Winter is the season of endless indulgence, with chocolate, pies, cake and cookies flowing in abundance. Let's be honest, on Christmas Day, you're more than entitled to help yourself to seconds, thirds and then dessert, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that the calories aren't going to make that much of a difference!
Whilst summer magazines offer you weekly means of shedding the pounds, and often promote unhealthy and unsustainable 'flash diets', may I suggest taking a rest from that this winter. It's more important to be fit, healthy and having fun than it is to just look thin.
Why not switch a thousand calorie diet, for a mile run, or do some indoor exercise to avoid the nasty weather: yoga, rock climbing or swimming are fun and active ways to counteract those Christmas calories.
Mammals are well known for packing on pounds and wearing weight for the winter, and just because we have winter knits and Ugg boots, why should we be any different?
Some may argue that weight is nothing but a number - in one sense that's true, but it's also great insulation. In the winter, it's sure going to be a lot colder and a few extra pounds will help to keep you extra warm and snug while the snow falls and the wind blows.
If you're anything like me, you don't have to put in much effort to pack on a few pounds, but if you're one of those fortunate souls who can't seem to gain a little weight then I have three suggestions for keeping warm this winter: chocolate (lots of it), layers (lots of them) and High Intensity Training (none of it).
Just make sure to keep your weight healthy and manageable. It's not so much our outer size that matters but the condition and health of our internal bodies and organs.
Believe it or not, it's just as important to be well hydrated in winter months as it is in the warmer seasons of the year. In summer, it's easy to dehydrate, as our bodies are exposed to glorious sunshine and work overtime to cool us down and use up our energies, so we drink much water. In the winter, it's completely different - it's cold, and our bodies struggle to drink as much water.
Because we drink less in winter months, this poses a problem to our general dehydration levels. My very British solution to this is tea! Tea has a lot of detox benefits but is easier to drink than cold water as it warms you through to the bones. It's around 95% hot water, keeping you hydrated, and a much healthier option than hot chocolate or coffee. Fruit teas, herbal teas and flavoured teas add excitement.
During the summer people are always complaining about busyness and lack of sleep. Days are longer, warmer and simply more exciting. But the good thing is with winter and getting winter body ready is there's no such thing as getting too much sleep! Tuck in for an early night, lie in through the dark mornings, and nap for goodness sake. I'm pretty sure that the benefits of a power nap have been scientifically proven...
So, whilst the winter months come in, and the temptations to stay in, sleep and snack are stronger than ever, perhaps you can give yourself a break. Allow yourself to enjoy the season, enjoy your holidays and enjoy indulging in those treats that the 'bikini body workout' robbed you of. Realise that a little bit of weight and a whole lot of sleep is good for you. Exercise a little, stay hydrated and manage your health, but when you look in the mirror and hate the winter body before you, just think... It won't be long till I'm getting "beach body ready".