Tips to avoid winter weight gain

In an ongoing series on health, nutrition and becoming a better you, Modern Mississauga has teamed up with local fitness and health enthusiast Julie Cropper to provide tips, advice and inspiration to help you become the best you possible. Got a question for Julie? Send it to

The winter holidays are quickly approaching. It’s getting colder and darker outside, which for many, means getting cozy under a blanket and reaching for your favorite comfort foods. Shorter days can sometimes lead to lack of motivation, less energy and increased moodiness. Some of us may even develop something called “SAD” (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is brought on by winter’s shorter days.

Weight gain during the winter is common, but it doesn’t have to happen. The key to avoiding this weight gain is prevention. Here are 3 things I do to help keep those extra pounds off.

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

It’s dark at 5 PM and cold out, making it more difficult to get outside and move. Find a winter sport that you enjoy, like ice skating or skiing. Put on some warm clothes and go sledding (it takes a lot of work to climb those hills, trust me!) or start a snowball fight with the kids. Have fun and make the process enjoyable. Getting sunlight is vital to your mood on these shorter days too. A lunchtime walk will work wonders for both your mood and weight. Make a decision to get more steps into your day by taking the stairs or parking the car a little further from the entrance. If the cold is too much, move it indoors and try something new, like indoor rock climbing or hot yoga. These are fun ways to move and stay warm. Remember, fitness is a lifestyle and shouldn’t be forgotten during the winter months.

Party season has arrived

Never go to a party hungry. Eat healthy before you go so you feel somewhat satisfied and won’t overeat. At the party, I always choose some veggies or protein packed shrimp instead of those high calorie apps. At a sit-down dinner, reach for the meat and vegetables first before the mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. Eat until you’re satisfied and not stuffed. Eat slowly and wait before grabbing seconds. The quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register “fullness.” And, beware of booze! Alcohol puts the brakes on fat loss, so limit sugary cocktails and have a glass of water before and after every drink. Both your waistline and head will be thankful the next morning!

Weigh in

It’s easy to hide those extra pounds under track suits and sweaters. Keep an eye on your weight before it gets out of control. The scale does NOT define you, but it can be a helpful tool when you need a little motivation. Weigh yourself regularly and keep tabs on how your clothes are fitting. When we lounge in loose fitting clothes, we don’t see subtle changes in our bodies, so keeping an eye on it will help!


Don’t give yourself psychological permission to gain weight during the cooler months. Your body might be covered up for winter with extra layers and chunky sweaters, but that shouldn’t give you the excuse to pack on a few pounds.

I know this time of year can be tough, but stay positive and try using these few simple tips to make the battle with the winter bulge easier to win!

Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.