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Get Ready for Spring & Fight the Winter Blahs

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES March 2, 2016Pearls of Wisdom Blog

Are the short winter days affecting your mood? Does the cold weather leave you stuck in the house? Have you given up on your New Year’s Resolutions? Don’t worry! You’re not alone if you did. Some surveys say 46% of people who make those January resolutions don’t keep them after the first month. If you need help getting back on track with those fitness goals, here are some quick ways to jump start your fitness and beat the winter blahs. Since spring is right around the coner, now is the perfect time to start. Just remember the three R’s!

Rev up your metabolism.

Have you become a couch potato? Do you feel sluggish even on non-treatment days? Maybe it’s time to increase your metabolism. When you increase your metabolism or the rate at which your body burns calories, you often feel more energetic, your alertness may increase, and you may find it easier to manage your weight. Quick strategies like adding strength training to your day, walking 5-10 minutes 3 times a day, adding more intensity to your usual workout, drinking enough water, eating lean meals with protein, adding spicy seasoning like peppers, or sipping green tea can help you achieve a temporary boost in your metabolism. Don’t forget be sure to ask your health care team before starting any exercise program.

Refuel often.

Do you find you miss meals when you have a busy day of medical appointments? Are healthy snacks the first thing you skip when you don’t feel well? Going long periods of time without food (fuel) can make you tired, trigger unwanted weight changes, bring on fatigue, and lower your metabolism. Food is the energy that fuels your immunity, strength, and recovery. Having regular meals and snacks can also support healthy blood sugar and blood pressure. Use this winter time to be better at meal planning. Start today by planning your meal and snacks times. Space each meal/snack 3-4 hours apart. Use the alarm on your smart phone, watch, or a kitchen timer to help you remember to eat. Keep healthy snacks and meal ingredients on hand that are easy to take with you to your medical appointments on long treatment days.

Reach for Omega 3 food sources.

Are you giving your brain all the nutrients it needs? Do your food patterns support healthy mood and circulation? During the cold months your groceries may not be as bright and inviting as in the summertime. You may forget to include healthy brain fuel. Focus first on getting healthy amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids for brain health and mood. Omega 3 fatty acids are EPA and DPA, which your body can’t make on its own. Luckily, they can be found in tasty foods! Reach for foods rich in these fatty acids such as salmon, cod, halibut, lake trout, and albacore tuna, just to name a few. When your brain is well nourished, your cognitive abilities such as memory and decision making may improve. Ask your healthcare team if seven ounces weekly of these fish is a healthy goal for you and your brain.

The three R’s can help you jumpstart your fitness and beat the winter blahs as a cancer survivor. Choose one strategy today to put into practice. Small steps to improve your health will help you feel your best and support wellness wherever you are on your cancer journey.

Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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