How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Don’t wait until winter is over to spring clean your diet. Try these tips to avoid winter weight gain by staying active and eating well during even the coldest months.

As our friends up north prepare for shorter days and cooler weather, those of us in the southern hemisphere are looking forward to summer. Well, most of us anyway. For some (namely me), the prospect of exposing my winter padding to the world is a little daunting.

Having spent the last five months on the couch eating Oreos, it’s now evident that thinking about eating well and exercising doesn’t count. It turns out you actually have to do those things if you want to avoid winter weight gain. Who knew?

What I should have done was head into winter with my game face on, ready to tackle whatever the cold weather had to throw at me. Instead, I saw it as an excuse to eat like a bear preparing to hibernate.

I’m suffering the consequences of my actions with an overall feeling of heaviness (and clothes that look like they shrunk in the wash), but with some small adjustments to your habits and mindset, you can avoid a similarly uncomfortable fate.

Reframe How You View Cold Weather

spring clean your diet

For Jill Homer —extreme adventurer and author of Into the North Wind —winter represents a playground of opportunity. For the rest of us, it’s a sign to stock up on family-size bags of M&Ms and batten down the hatches.

Cycling a thousand miles across Alaska for fun is a little nuts, but then again, exiling oneself to the couch for months on end isn’t that smart either. For one thing, it won’t help you in your mission to survive winter without gaining weight. (Look what happened to me.)

What you need to do is find a way to view the season in a more favourable light. Look for the good stuff winter has to offer. It could be bundling up and going for an invigorating walk with friends or going ice-skating with the kids. Maybe it’s a solo hike to blow out the cobwebs after a long day at the office.

When you’re happy, you’ll be less inclined to seek out comfort food to make yourself feel better. Having a bunch of stuff you really enjoy doing in the winter months is a great way to keep those happiness levels elevated (and you out of the snack cupboard).

Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin Feels

It’s true. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. No matter how amazing those Oreos tasted at the time (and they were delicious), it wasn’t enough to offset the fog of pudgy lethargy I’m experiencing right now.

Rather than use winter as an excuse to consume everything in sight, see it as a challenge to welcome summer in even better shape than you are right now. (If you manage, please send me some photos so I can be inspired when my turn rolls around again.)

Healthy Eating Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

spring clean your diet

Spring cleaning your diet isn’t simply a case of tossing out all your old favorites and replacing them with a bunch of underwhelming staples. In fact, opting for the all-or-nothing route will soon have you reverting to your old ways. Rather, focus on outsmarting the season by instituting a few small-but-smart adjustments to your eating habits.

1. Ditch the Processed Foods

Processed foods are high in sugar and full of dodgy ingredients you shouldn’t be eating anyway. Instead, make a point of cooking from scratch. When you make your own food you control what goes into into. Plus, there’s something really rewarding about preparing a meal together as a family. If you’re single, get together with friends.

2. Delay Gratification

When you’re feeling unhappy it’s easy to make excuses about your eating habits. But constantly ‘rewarding’ yourself with tasty treats takes away from the overall enjoyment. Whereas, when you delay gratification and only allow yourself the occasional treat, it becomes something to look forward.

3. Eat More Plant-Based, Whole Foods

By eating a plant-based diet with plenty of whole foods, you’re loading your body with the nutrients it really needs. This eliminates cravings and helps avoid the hunger pangs that invariably arrive an hour after tucking into a drive-thru cheeseburger.

These are just some of the ways you can spring clean your eating habits, there are plenty of other things you can do, such as cutting back on salt and sugar, avoiding drinks that dehydrate you and adding probiotics to your diet.

However, it’s important to remember that surviving winter starts in the mind, not the fridge. Waiting until it’s warm out is only going to compound matters. Start making small changes now, and you’ll reap the benefits come spring.

Related at Care2

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago


Greta H
Past Member 8 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago


Glennis W
Glennis W8 months ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W8 months ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W8 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

David C
David C8 months ago

thanks, noted

Ellie M
Ellie M8 months ago


Ian Crory
Ian Crory8 months ago


Janet B
Janet B8 months ago