8 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Is adding a little padding absolutely necessary during winter? Is winter guaranteed to weigh you down? Not if you follow these eight tips for how to avoid extra pounds during the colder months.   

1. Eat more...veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and regular meals.  Fill up on the good stuff and don't let yourself get too hungry, especially if you're going to be anywhere near a buffet.

2. Drink less...cocoa, eggnog, alcohol and soda. Choose water and tea to stay hydrated without adding calories. 

3. Switch up comfort foods. The selections that make you feel right at home don't have to be loaded with calories, fats, and empty carbs. Switch to whole grain, high protein, low-fat ingredients and find ways other than food to get comfy and cozy.

4. Exercise more. Even though it's dark, drizzly and cold, push yourself to get outside and walk, bike, or jog. Encourage yourself to go to the gym or pool. But there's no reason why fitness has to be a chore. Take a couple new exercise or dance classes.  Enjoy winter sports like skiing and skating. Aim to engage in moderate exercise at least five days a week.

5. Ditch the sweatpants and bulky sweaters. It's easy to let a few pounds add up when you're avoiding regular waistbands and fitted clothes.  Don't let yourself off the hook that easy.  Wear clothes that fit at your normal weight. If you notice they're feeling a little snug, take measures to fit back into them again.

6. Go "old school." Even though calorie counting seems a little old fashioned, there are lots of great apps that make it tech-friendly and easier than ever. But a pad and pen does the trick, too. Count those calories, stop eating when you reach the number that's best for your weight and metabolism, and make sure every bite counts. 

7. Clean out your pantry. Toss the chips, white pasta, cookies, processed foods, and everything you know is no good for you. Then, restock it with whole grains, healthy snacks, and foods that will nourish and scratch the snacking itch without piling on the pounds.

8. Indulge yourself. You're not expected to say "no" to everything, but just be strategic. Keep portions small.  Fill your plate with healthy options and fill in the blanks with your favorites. Enjoy just one high-calorie drink, then switch to sparkling water. And if you overdo it at one event, that's OK.  Just increase your exercise level and take it easy at the next party.