Lifehacker.com spoke with Club Pilates instructor Karen Tickner. Read more here.
Nothing feels less sexy than a giant hoodie layered under a big coat, but that’s winter fashion for you. When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to fall into a seasonal funk, but you don’t have to fall into a simultaneous round of insecurity. Your body is covered up and you might be inclined to treat it a little less kindly than you do when you’re on top of your look for summertime, but you should still love it.
You might gain weight or fall behind on your fitness routine as the weather gets colder and your body is less visible when you do go out. That’s fine, actually. You need periods of rest and relaxation. You are not defined by how you look, but if you feel like your body’s appearance is a reflection of who you are, remember that you still look wonderful. Don’t let your brain play tricks on you during the dreary, dark months.
Your body gets you through the cold, the bad times, and so much than we realize. Celebrate it all year round however and whenever you can. Winter has a way of making us all just a little sadder and more self-critical. Fight that urge. You’re doing great.
Again, you’re not defined by how you look. However, if wearing baggy, warm clothes gets you down or makes you feel dowdy, why not do a little style overhaul? You can be warm and fashionable.
One secret weapon for our more femme-presenting folks is a good pair of fleece-lined tights. They’re cozier than regular tights, but allow you to wear dresses in even chillier weather than the plain old stretchy ones do. They’re cheap and ultra-comfortable too, so even though you look more put-together than you would in a regular sweater-and-pants combo, you’re secretly comfy—maybe even comfier. Cutting a cute silhouette can be empowering and give you a confidence boost, which is a major necessity when the weather and late-afternoon dark skies feel like they’re conspiring to bring you down.
Incorporate style into your outerwear, too. Instead of wearing that big, formless coat for the fifth year in a row, try some unique ones. Think faux fur, unusual finishes, belts, or funky patterns. You’ll feel excited by the prospect of heading out into the bluster if you know you’ll be looking fierce, even in the snow.
The onset of winter doesn’t mean you have to give in to boringness and drudgery. You can add pizzazz to your wardrobe and still stay warm, giving yourself extra oomph in the process.
In the summertime, you could be invited to a party or a beach day at any moment, and the prospect of being called upon to show out can keep you on your toes when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. In the wintertime, there are fewer sudden opportunities to go out looking like a rock star—though they obviously still exist—so you might not find yourself, say, having a salad for lunch because you know you’re going to eat an unhealthy meal at a friend’s birthday party later in the evening.
The thing is, though, that regardless of if your healthy habits are aesthetically-motivated or not, they’re just as important to keep up during the winter. First of all, think of Elle Woods’ famous line from Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
I’m not saying you should work out to prevent yourself from hurting anyone, but I am saying that it’s no secret winter is a huge bummer. Exercise does give you a spike in motivation and good feelings all around; science proves it. Making healthy choices is empowering and can keep your spirits up.
Plus, we’re all familiar with the springtime panic about re-attaining our “summer” body, whatever that means. Your body doesn’t have to look any certain way for summer, of course, but you’ll feel less frantic about getting back into whatever shape you like to be in for the warm months if you maintain healthy habits during the cold ones.
“Attaining the level of fitness you want takes time. Sometimes, longer than the spring—especially if you do it in a really healthy way,” said Karen Tickner, NCPT and Instructor for Club Pilates.
“Starting your planning early will help you also create lasting healthy habits that will help you maintain that summer body once you reach it. Once you have those habits in place, looking great all year will be a breeze.”
Caley Crawford, Director of Education for Row House, added, “I think it’s important to acknowledge that your body is your body regardless of which season you’re in. If you’re looking to get what people refer to as a ‘summer body,’ I would recommend starting, at minimum, six months before. Now, if you’re looking to maintain what people refer to as a ‘summer body,’ you’re looking at a year-round effort.”
We keep saying this, but it’s important: You don’t have to change yourself at all if you don’t want to. That being said—again—sometimes you do want to, and winter is the perfect time to set and reach image-related goals. Think about it: When you’re all bundled up, no one will notice right away if you’re losing weight or even undergoing a few cosmetic enhancements. You can work on yourself for yourself without anyone asking nosy questions.
We checked in with Dr. Dmitriy Schwarzburg, MD, of Manhattan’s Skinly Aesthetics to find out if there are any treatments he recommends especially for the cold months. There is a new, FDA-approved treatment for cellulite that fits the bill. It’s an injectable called QWO which, he says, goes after “fibrous septae or fibrous bands that exert pulling pressure on the skin, presenting in classic appearance of dimples.” It’s great for winter, he added, because it can take two to three months to see results and also causes major bruising—and a purple behind is not ideal for the beach.
Why not treat yourself to the confidence boost of a procedure you’ve always wanted during the gloomy days of winter? There’s no shame in wanting a pick-me-up, as long as you always remember you’re perfect as you are.
Most of all, know that you’re a stunner and a superstar in your own right. No baggy clothes or temporary regression away from healthy habits change that. You owe it to yourself to work on your confidence and health, whatever that looks like for you, because it’s brutal out there, especially in winter.