Sophie Lui’s Tips to Surviving Winter

Sophie Lui shares her strategies on how to get enough sleep, keep active and eat well to stay healthy all winter long

Global BC Morning News anchor Sophie Lui knows better than most how hard it is to stay motivated during the cold season

Do you hate the sound of your alarm clock going off in the morning? Don’t let Sophie Lui hear you complain – she wakes up at 2:30 and, like most of us, hits the snooze button several times.

With such an early wake-up call, it’s difficult for Lui to get to bed early enough for a full night’s rest. “I usually don’t get to bed before 9 p.m. Lately, I have been trying harder to go to sleep between 9:30 and 10 p.m., which gives me five hours. Last night I didn’t get home until 11 p.m. since I was dining out with some girlfriends; I can’t do that often because it meant I got three hours of sleep before work.”

So how does Lui manage? Here are her tips for making it through the long winter days.

Find the Time to Sleep

“I get used to sleeping in different blocks of time throughout the day, napping from five to 90 minutes to catch up, and mustering energy to be productive whenever needed,” says Lui. “For example, I’m leaving the newsroom now, and going straight to the gym, running on adrenaline to get me there. And if I have a few minutes before [my personal training] appointment, I nap in my car.”

Stay Active and Get Outdoors

While some are driven indoors by shorter days and foul weather, Lui gets outside. “Lack of sunshine affects me, but exercise really helps my state of mind. If I don’t work out, I’m more irritable and less optimistic.”

Lui completed the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Vancouver First Half ½ Marathon this year; she has done the Sun Run twice, and the Tough Mudder, a hardcore 18-kilometre obstacle course, three times in Seattle and Whistler. She also walks or runs the Seawall. “I don’t run or cycle well, but I find it motivating to have a goal to train for.”

And rain and snow don’t keep her inside. “If you wear the proper gear, it’s not difficult to cycle or run outdoors in winter. Once you’re going, it gets easier, especially if you train with friends who motivate
you along the way.”

Eat Well and Prep Meals in Advance

Breakfast is an important meal to kick-start the day, but it can be a logistical nightmare for Lui with her early mornings. Her solution: she makes a smoothie the night before with banana, frozen mango, plain yogurt or almond milk, hemp or Vega protein powder, and ginger.

Since she is usually cooking for one, Lui prefers no-fuss one-pot meals that include lots of vegetables. “I make up recipes; this week it was a pan of broccolini, chickpeas and Italian sausage, and I made enough for lots of leftovers. It takes five minutes to chop everything and throw it together” (recipe here). Her weakness? “Anything that has potatoes, including chips and French fries. It’s comfort food. I try not to have them at home because I’ll eat them all.”

BCLiving asked Vancouver nutritionist Haley Barton to create recipes inspired by Sophie Lui’s healthy, easy-to-prepare meals. Check out Barton’s recipes for a simple one-pot veggie and sausage stir-fry, a comforting curry and a delicious breakfast smoothie.