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How To Prevent Winter Weight Gain

So long, holiday weight gain
For most, winter means holidays, endless parties, cold weather, layers of clothes and zero motivation. This can cause your diet and exercise routine to come to a screeching halt, leading to dreaded holiday weight gain. Don’t let the winter blues stop your progress, try some of these ideas to keep the pounds off and still enjoy the festivities!

Let in the light
Less daylight makes you feel more tired, explaining why people are less active in the winter. Early morning light is the most potent energy booster, so leave your bedroom curtains open or head out for a morning stroll, says Michele Stanten, fitness expert and author of Walk Off Weight. Sunshine also increases levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which may help calm your food cravings.

Find a fun winter sport
Explore winter snowy sports such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or ice-skating, suggests Lawrence Cheskin, MD, founder of Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. Even a chore like shoveling the snow out of your driveway can burn around 200 calories.

Set motivational plans
Plan an active spring vacation to get you through the cold winter months such as a hiking excursion or a road trip to the coast so you can do all sorts of outdoor activities. Or plan something motivational such as a half marathon, so you’ll be forced to start training ASAP.

Choose healthy alternatives
It’s hard to eat right when you don’t have access to fresh fruits and veggies like you do in the summer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t delicious alternatives—winter’s low-cal gems such as oranges and acorn squash are delicious and filling, according to Dr. Cheskin. Also try oatmeal and low-calorie soups as well.

Don’t stress
Holidays come with stress—over-spending and hosting in-laws and family members; and in return stress comes with stress eating. When it comes to weight loss, stress reduction is extremely important, according to Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, and author of The Hunger Fix. Dr. Peeke suggests making a plan: be aware of the stress factors in your life (or one’s you deal with during holidays), make note of them, and decide how you will handle them before they get the better of you.

Stay entertained inside
Not thrilled that there’s a foot of snow on the ground? Don’t worry; there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy during winter. Take your family and friends bowling; or play with your pup, which helps people emotionally, physically, and mentally, according to Marty Becker, DVM. Go to the mall for some retail therapy or simply window-shopping and you’ll be walking laps without even realizing it!

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