As winter nears, resist urge to hibernate | TahoeDailyTribune.com

As winter nears, resist urge to hibernate

Rhonda Beckham

Fall in Tahoe is absolutely beautiful; traffic is low, and grocery lines are short. There are fall season TV premieres and holiday events to look forward to. But it’s my least favorite season.

I started asking myself, why am I a little more irritable than usual? Is it because my birthday is this month, and I’m feeling just a bit older? Not at all. I am pleased with who I am and all that I have at this point in my life.

The reasons I am edgy this time of year are all physiological. I am convinced I am a human hibernator. During late summer and fall my energy level wanes, my appetite is out of control and my body wants to hold on to fat, water and whatever else causes my clothes to get tight and uncomfortable.

Maybe I’m just part bear. Or maybe it’s my Nordic ancestry.

Before hibernating, bears enter a “food-eating frenzy” known as hyperphagia. During hyperphagia, a bear may eat 20,000 calories and gain several pounds or more per day. That would make me really crabby.

I get moody when my usually comfortable and fashionable clothes don’t fit. Perhaps my not-so-easygoing temperament is a primal instinct to keep invaders away from my diminishing food supply.

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For years, each fall I seem to spend too much time shopping for food, cooking and washing dishes in preparation for the harsh, cold winter.

I believe we are programmed at the cellular level to conserve what we’ve gained and slow our metabolisms this time of year for survival. Is it coincidental that most of the produce in season like squash, pumpkins and apples are ultra-high in carbohydrates?

So how do we battle the forces of nature?

Stay active. Don’t let the drop in temperature keep you from moving your body. We have several great gyms in the area. Sierra Athletic Club has a new group fitness lineup. (You can always try the first one for free.) I’ll be teaching an intro to kick box/stress relief class on Thursday mornings. Check out the Tahoe Rim Trail or Old Meyers Grade for free alternatives. Don’t forget about the swimming pool and ice skating rink at the city recreation center.

Eat small: Keep your metabolism fired up by eating every few hours, even if you’re not particularly hungry. A small, nutritious snack such as a protein shake, raw almonds or anything green will do.

Journal: Get a notebook and write down everything you ingest, including liquids. It keeps you in check and may be an eye opener.

Weigh in: Get on a scale at least once a month. Many of my new clients are shocked by their number because they haven’t weighed in a while and have been in denial.

Be kind: Give yourself a break and don’t judge yourself too harshly. It’s normal to put on a few pounds during the colder months. Just don’t let it get out of control. Start thinking summer season now, and how you want to look and feel then.

— Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing, and teaches at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Help Me Rhonda

Rhonda Beckham is owner of Help Me Rhonda Personal Fitness Training. She is a nationally certified personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and a Pilates instructor at Emerald Bay Physical Therapy. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, http://www.TahoeTrainer.com and rhonda@tahoetrainer.com.

If you go

Sierra Athletic Club is at the corner of Tahoe Keys Boulevard and Venice Drive in South Lake Tahoe. Call (530) 542-4426.

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