The snowy days of winter, what does it mean for you? To most folks winter means a time of slippery sidewalks, nasty roads, flu season, and something that can be much worse for others, the Winter Blues. The winter blues does not generally happen to someone who is busy all day with things to do in the winter, because they keep active and energetic, as night time approaches, they relax and go to sleep. Now, since you have enough extra time on your hands in the winter, that it causes you to get the winter blues, lets discover a great little hobby that can help fight against it, tying flies.Now, I am not talking about rounding up a bunch of house flies and tying them up with string, what I am talking about are making your own fishing flies, for mainly trout and panfish fishing. Most people that tie flies are fishermen that actually use them, but like any hobby it’s not required. Folks often get into fly tying because they lose many flies while fishing, due to getting them snagged on rocks, or into trees and not being able to retrieve them. The cost of losing many flies or some unique ones that are difficult to replace, is often a reason to start tying flies. Another great reason to get into fly tying, is you can make some nice extra money with them by selling them online on your own website, or eBay, or even at actual sportsman shows and events.If your not familiar with fishing and using flies, you should start familiarizing yourself with them first before attempting to tie or make some. Go to any store that sells fishing lures and they will usually have a pack of assorted wet and dry flies. Wet flies are basically flies that are made with materials and are designed to sink once they hit the water, while Dry flies are made to float on the surface of the water. Once you purchase a pack of flies, you can carefully examine them to get an idea of the materials you will need to recreate them, and to make your own style flies.Some of the materials will be hooks, and a nice fly vise which is a desk or table top mounted device that holds the hook, and allows you to easily create the fly instead of trying to work on it while holding it with some pliers or your fingers. You will also need a bobbin, a bobbin is a little device that holds the fly tying thread and keeps tension on it while you tie the fly, there are a few other things you will need like fly tying thread, dubbing and other material. Do not worry about buying all the items I have listed, because it would be a nightmare for a beginner to know what is actually needed, your simple way to get started is to buy a nice complete fly tying kit, which is available from many sporting goods stores and online sources.Once you become familiar with tying some basic flies, and creating clones of some that you have purchased, you can start adding new designs, items, colors and whatever the imagination can think of, to create your own brand or style of flies. You can give each unique fly you have tied, a name or style, and sell them for some great extra money, or try them out at the local stream or pond, to see which ones seem to attract the fish the best. Fly tying is a very fun and rewarding hobby that anyone can do, from age 13 to 89, as long as you have good use of your vision and fingers, you will find it makes the cold months seem warm and pleasant, and it makes time pass by so quickly that it help fight the winter blues.You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.
Weight gain in winter is not an uncommon phenomenon. Most people will gain 0.5-2 kilograms during the winter season and some of us don’t lose it afterwards. This can lead to gradual weight gain and obesity issues down the track, according to some recent research. Read this article on how to keep off the winter kilos and start spring with a strong, healthy body.When autumn rolls around and the bathers and shorts get put away until next year, some of us breathe a sign of relief. Glad to not have to show off our bodies during the next 6 months and be able to enjoy our favourite winter comfort foods. But spring comes sooner than we expect, as does warm weather and singlet tops. And we panic and hit the gym!But what if I told you that keeping the weight off should be easier in winter than in summer and it only takes a few simple strategies to achieve. It is true that in colder weather, our appetites are increased and in extremely cold weather, your body has to work harder to keep warm and therefore you do burn more calories (5-20%) however this is in extreme cold so not applicable to most of the world.Here are some suggestions for your diet and exercise suggestions for winter:Exercise:Exercise to keep warm. Better than hot showers and layers, getting your heart rate up makes you warmer than anything else.
Ask any runner if the cold weather makes them run faster and I bet that they would say it does! When it is so cold and you have adrenaline pumping around, you are likely to be more productive when you exercise. Just make sure you warm up properly!
Instead of exercising in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are lower, try going for a walk or run at lunchtime. Rain? Then take out a three month membership at the gym closest to your work and do a session three times a week.
On weekends if the weather is dry, try to be as active as possible. Walk, cycle, join a winter team sport etc. Often in summer some of these activities are off limits in the middle of the day due to the heat, but in winter it is more achievable.
If the weather is not so good, make a “date” with your gym at a set time, three to four times per week. You wouldn’t break an appointment with your doctor or best friend so don’t break a date with the gym either. The results will be worth it.
Recruit a gym buddy: you are more likely to go if there is someone expecting you.
Work your legs: not only do your legs contain one of the biggest muscle groups in the body but by focussing on squats, lunges and other leg exercises, your legs will look great in your new pair of jeansDiet:- You might find yourself eating less “cold” foods like fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats etc and instead craving hot, heavy meals. Try to still get in your three serves of dairy and two serves of fruit however but stick to seasonable fruit (i.e oranges, kiwi fruit, pears). Here are some healthy snacks that are warming for the body:Low fat tinned soup (watch the sodium) or a cup of homemade soup
“lite” hot chocolate using real cocoa powder, ½ tsp of sugar and hot skim milk or a skim cappuccino.
Warmed low fat custard with stewed fruit
For your main meals, instead of heavy meat dishes or cream-based meals, try some of the following dishes:
Soup soup soup! And not just plain soups either. Homemade soup with vegetables plus any of the following additions: barley, chickpeas, lentils, chicken, ham, split peas. Season it with different spices i.e. try a Moroccan edge to your standard sweet potato soup by adding chickpeas and Moroccan spices
Use ricotta cheese instead of white sauce when make lasagna and always use lean mince
If you eat a lot of beef heavy dishes, like roasts, goulash, stroganoff etc make sure it is still a lean cut of meal or trim all visible fat off before cooking. With roast chicken, remove the skin then cover in spices and olive oil before wrapping it in metal foil and roasting it. You will still get juicy chicken without the fat from the skin having soaked through, adding extra calories
Instead of using mashed potato as a side dish, try boiled or roast jacket potato with some lite cream cheese to flavour. You generally eat more of something if it is blended up as not needing to chew something stops the signalling to the brain that you are full. Chew foods thoroughly to get the most flavour and fullness out of them.Other suggestions:- Take your holidays in the winter, finding warmer destinations overseas or in a tropical area so your body forgets it is winter.
- If budgets permit, try a skiing holiday! 1 hour of skiing burns about 500 calories so you might return from your holiday lighter than when you left!Most of these suggestions are not difficult to implement and maintain through a winter season and the result will be a beach ready body when the hot weather returns.
It’s tempting to wear the same winter woollies and coats year in and year out, but there comes a point when you risk looking like a raggedy little boy. If the last time you got a new hat was when your aunt knitted you one for Christmas 2005 and you find yourself hitting the winter months at a loss for what to wear, it’s time to stock up on the winter wardrobe essentials. Once you’ve got the basics under wrap, you’ll be able to minimise your shopping time and be sure you’ll have a suitable outfit for all chilly occasions.Start at the very beginning, and get some thermal underwear on the go. Banish the thought of saggy long johns and old man vests, there are plenty of modern, sporting versions on the market that will keep you roasting even as it turns Baltic outside. Even if you’re not convinced about the vests and shorts, at least make sure you’ve got plenty of pairs of thermal socks in the drawer.Jeans are great for chilly days, but once they get wet they are hard to dry off, leaving you dragging around damp denim all day. Try mixing up your wardrobe with a nice thick pair of grey chinos or flannels instead, and you’ll find they fare better on rainy days. On your top half, layer it up a little, by combining a t-shirt, casual shirt and cardigan for a flexible and warm look, or add a down vest to your normal favourites for the ultimate in easy heat.We all know how comfy trainers are, but there comes a time when they just don’t cut it – normally when you’re sliding around on the ice. Swap your comfort shoes for a decent pair of mountaineering boots and you’ve got your footwear sorted right through the winter months. Keeping your feet dry, offering plenty of grip and looking good with everything from jeans to suits, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better winter option.There are plenty of accessories for helping you keep the chill at bay, and by choosing classics you can guarantee they’ll last you more than one season. So instead of reaching for cheap woollen gloves, why not consider a pair of nice sheepskin ones? Not only will they keep you warmer, but they’ll last much longer too. For your head, stick with something timeless, such as a flat cap, bowler style or basic ski cap.When you’re deep in the throes of winter, there’s no item of clothing that’s a better friend than a decent outdoor coat. Take your time choosing a winter coat, because ideally you’ll want it to complement as much of your existing wardrobe as possible. Buy a winter coat that’s slightly bigger than your normal fit, so you know you’ll be able to wear a jumper or two under it, and go for cosy offerings such as a mens duffle coat or a greatcoat for the best all over coverage.