5 Ways to Prevent Winter Weight Gain

Baby, it’s cold outside – too cold to work out, in fact! If you’re finding yourself moving less and eating more warm, hearty meals this season, you might be starting to get worried about your waistline. Here’s how to fight the battle of the bulge and still come out on top by summer.

1. Don’t believe it’s inevitable.

If you have the expectation that you’re going to pack on extra pounds, odds are you probably will. “People expect to gain weight in the winter, so it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says registered dietitian Robyn Flipse. But it’s not fated to happen that way. You can enjoy holiday parties and homemade baked goods without abandoning all self-control.

2. Cut back on comfort foods.
During winter, we crave the comfort of the hearth, but heavy, warming foods simply contain more calories than cereals or salads. If you can’t shake your mac ’n’ cheese craving, make a lighter version with low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese. And if you did go overboard with fettuccine Alfredo at lunchtime, balance it out with a serving of wholesome cereal at dinner. (One to consider: 120-calorie Kellogg’s® Special K®. Not only does it tout 11 essential vitamins and minerals per serving, but with so many varieties -- including Kellogg's® Special K® Cereal Fruit & Yogurt and Kellogg's® Special K® Cereal Vanilla Almond -- your taste buds won’t get bored.)

3. Watch your alcohol intake.
“The first drink is not the problem,” says Flipse. “But if you go for the second drink, you lose your discretion, so you may be eating more carelessly than if you were sipping a cup of tea.” And don’t forget, alcohol itself contains a fair number of calories (especially cream-based and sweet concoctions).

4. Embrace the cold weather.
The need to remain active to stay slim is important all year long; so if you’re the type to hibernate in the winter months, make a concerted effort to exercise more. Use the snowy landscape as an excuse to try snowshoeing or ice-skating, and you may be invigorated by the change in your exercise routine. And if you really can’t handle the cold, there’s always the shopping mall (do indoor laps!) and exercise DVDs.

5. Skip the sweatpants.
Daylight savings has gone away -- making for dark, early nights -- and the temptation to get comfy is overpowering. “But clothes with elastic waistbands are very forgiving,” says Flipse. “It’s very easy not to notice you’re expanding underneath them.” Stick to pants that are belted or fitted, and you’ll be less likely to pack on extra pounds.