09/07/2016 12:17 EDT | Updated 09/07/2016 12:18 EDT

4 Tips For A Sustainable Fall Routine

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Children walking in autumn leaves

Where on earth did the summer go? It feels like only yesterday that I was putting away my winter jacket and toque and pulling out my short sleeves.

Don't get me wrong -- I love autumn and everything that comes with it! Pumpkin, squash, apples, not sweating constantly... all are among my favourite things!

But it's undeniable -- the evenings are shorter, the mornings are getting cooler, and there's a certain crispness to the air. Plus, with kids back to school the roads are busier and people are more harried.

So with everyone and everything shifting gears and the pace of life accelerating, how can us mere mortals ensure that we are set up for success this fall?

Here are some of the easiest, most concrete things you can put into action to create a sustainable Fall routine.

No coffee after noon (so that you have the best sleep ever)

I could just tell you to sleep more -- and you'd probably say, "I'd love to Kathy, but I don't have the time!" Sleep is so tricky -- we need enough, and we need it to be of a certain quality. And when it's not, we self medicate with caffeine to get us through the day. But it's that very same caffeine that guarantees that your next sleep is also going to be problematic. It's a vicious cycle!

I wouldn't dream of denying you your morning cup of Joe, but friends, that's where it must end! Avoid consuming caffeine -- especially coffee -- after noon, so that you're good and tired by the time bed time rolls around.

Protein Rich Breakfast!

Recent studies show that eating a high-protein breakfast can help you lose more weight, lower body mass index, and whittle inches off of your waist.

Experts at the University of Missouri have found that breakfasts that are rich in protein significantly improve appetite control, and reduces unhealthy snacking in the evening.

As one study found, a benefit of eating more protein in the morning is that it's likely to keep you full longer. Those who ate protein at breakfast said they felt satisfied longer than those who at the same amount of protein at other meals.

But would you believe that many people still don't eat any breakfast at all? Breakfast is a very important meal, and ensuring you eat something hearty and healthy will help to set you up for success all day!

10,000 steps a day: A small change with big results with your fitness

Okay I can admit that 10,000 steps may seem a bit arbitrary, but I've been tracking my own steps for years and I do find that 10,000 steps is a pretty reasonable and aspirational figure for those of us who are not serious athletes.

That said -- if you're currently getting 2,000 steps in, aim for 5,000! And if you're at 5,000 -- work on crossing the 8,000 threshold. More steps are ALWAYS better than NOT getting in more steps, even if you can't reach the 10,000 mark right away -- or every day.


20 minutes of resistance training 3x per week 

You don't need to reserve two hours at a time at the gym when you can get the job done in 20 minute sessions just a few times a week.

Resistance training is important because it may increase resting metabolism by about 7 percent and help minimize muscle loss. Regular strength training helps you reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss.

Furthermore, research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. This, paired with a sufficient amount of dietary calcium, can be a woman's best defense against osteoporosis.

All you need is a simple routine, and a few basic pieces of equipment to get started. If you look at it as 20 minute blocks, you'll be much more easily able to form -- and stick to -- your routine.

No technology after 8 pm

I know that you're all shaking your heads in disagreement over this one -- there's no way you'll let your smart phone or iPad be pried from your hands, right?

Hear me out. Studies have linked working the night shift and exposure to light from our devices -- which is "short-wavelength-enriched" and has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity -- suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully.

Changes in sleep patterns can in turn shift the body's natural clock, known as its circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that shifts in this rhythm can have negative health effects because it controls not only our wakefulness but also individual clocks that dictate function in the body's organs.

Connect with nature more

Science tells us over and over again that spending time outdoors and in nature has some incredible health benefits! It has been directly tied to impacts such as reduced inflammation, lowered stress levels, improved short term memory, enhanced creativity, boosting the immune system, increased concentration, and even better vision!

I personally try to spend as much time in nature as possible. I find it reassuring and relaxing; plus, if you walk, you also get in some of those 10,000 steps!

We all experience stressful moments though, even if we have the best possible habits. So what to do? When feeling stressed, pause, take a huge deep breath and then another, and don't forget: This too shall pass! 

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