Nutrition Articles

8 Ways to Ward Off Winter Weight Gain

Be Slimmer and Healthier by Spring

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Imagine that it’s April. The weather is warming up and it’s time to pull your spring clothes out of storage, including the bathing suit you shoved in the back of your closet in September. While doing your spring cleaning, you start to try on your warm-weather clothes and…they’re a little more snug than you remember.

No, the magic clothes-shrinking fairy didn’t go to town on your wardrobe over the winter. You remember now: the holiday cookies, the workouts you skipped due to the cold, all that hot chocolate you sipped. And, come to think of it, when was the last time you actually noticed your body shape underneath all those bulky winter sweaters and baggy flannel pants?

Clothes-shrinking fairies may not be real, but winter weight gain certainly is.  Between the colder weather, shortened daylight hours, and seemingly endless indulgent holidays (from Christmas to Valentine's Day), there's no question that winter creates a perfect storm for weight gain. Even the most motivated people become side-tracked during the colder months. But don't let the odds get you down! A little motivation and willpower can get you through this rough patch of the year without derailing your healthy lifestyle efforts. Here are some tips to help you overcome the most common winter hurdles.
 
Make Fitness a Priority
Although frequent physical activity should be a year-round goal, try even harder to put exercise at the top of your to-do list during the winter. Not only will it keep the pounds from creeping on, but it will also get your brain circulating feel-good endorphins to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the months of cold weather and sparse sunlight. (And let’s face it, feeling down or depressed isn’t going to do anything to help you motivation to eat well or exercise.) You can also seize this opportunity to switch up your workouts and enjoy the winter sports (think skiing and ice skating) that aren't available during the rest of the year. As a bonus, many wintertime activities tend to be group-oriented and family-friendly, so participating in them is a great way to bond with friends and loved ones while keeping fit.
 
Create a Realistic Eating Strategy for the Holidays
You may think that the holidays end on January 1, but you still have to face Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day and even St. Patrick's Day before spring rolls around. Diving headfirst into the holiday feasting season without a game plan is a recipe for added pounds. Prepare to avoid the "all-or-nothing" mentality of the holiday treats by allowing yourself to savor small amounts of your absolute favorite dishes. As you eat, be mindful of your food and of the moment in which you're enjoying it. Eat until you are satisfied (but not stuffed!), and then focus on the company and conversation; after all, that's what the holidays are really about.
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About The Author

Melinda Hershey Melinda Hershey
Melinda has a bachelorís degree in health promotion and education and is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. Before working as an editor for SparkPeople, she developed and taught health programs for several non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing, interval training, yoga, and cooking with friends.

Member Comments

  • nice article and so good for this time of year. I am so mindful of what I eat and my workouts. It's just not worth the stress to gain weight. - 11/18/2014 10:21:24 PM
  • Great article. - 11/23/2013 11:44:33 AM
  • Great article. Will reread once a month as a reminder! - 11/21/2013 1:40:30 PM
  • Starbucks holiday beverages are notorious for being high in sugar and calories... but guess what! They have a "short" cup which is only 8 ounces (one actual serving size of any liquid). I always get a double shot of espresso in a short cup, 1 pump of whatever I'm feeling into (a short usually comes with 2), and ask for extra foam. All this adds up to less than 100 calories! Also, be wary of the drizzles they like to add onto their drinks, which are PACKED with empty calories. - 11/21/2013 10:30:01 AM
  • There are some excellent ideas in this article. I'm going to try to use a lot of them this winter because I don't want to lose the gains I've made so far.

    As a knitter, I can definitely say that knitting really does help. You can eat while both your hands are busy. Plus, you don't want anything on your hands that will make the yarn dirty. - 11/21/2013 10:15:13 AM
  • My trick is loads of vegetable soups.

    You get your veggies in, the soup is low calorie (and can be low-sodium if you need it), and is a bit more substantial than just tea so if you're really craving food, have a cup of soup first and see if the urge doesn't go away.

    My favorite right now is pumpkin soup. Can't get enough of it. - 11/21/2013 6:23:10 AM
  • indeed this article says it all. during the winter i gain some weight and i hate it. now im still struggling to loose it and is training hard to be able to wear my bathing suit for summer!
    thanks for the post. if you have time try to check out my website www.telekomxchang
    e.com - 6/12/2013 4:40:18 PM
  • Great advice - 6/12/2013 10:00:40 AM
  • great advice - 1/2/2013 9:58:29 PM
  • Good article. I have a hard time getting out during cold weather. Yet once I convince myself to dress warmly and go for a walk, I thoroughly enjoy being outside. It will be a bit tougher this year if there's snow because I just had a hip replacement. But I can still walk outside when the roads are clear and I will try the treadmill indoors when I just can't get out. - 1/2/2013 9:59:38 AM
  • JOSIE2013
    I hate the cold, so it is always a struggle to get myself to go on my daily walks. But I have been doing very well lately. - 1/2/2013 2:23:08 AM
  • SALVYNC
    Great article and on point. Winter is the hardest time of the year to workout, you body will also try to storage fat, for those cold days. But if up to us to stop that process. more info: http://www.freefi
    tnesstrainer.net - 10/10/2012 9:11:14 PM
  • I enjoyed this article. I weigh-in daily to stay in control of any upward weight gains more than a pound or two in the same week. Its peace of mind, that counts. I like to walk outdoors, but if I cannot, workouts indoors with DVDs and SparkPeople videos are perfect. No excuses! - 10/5/2012 9:37:44 PM
  • I try and find something to train for, say a spring 5k, long bicycle ride or just a small goal of a long hike. I always try and get my friends on board so I have accountability. - 4/11/2012 6:40:58 AM

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