It can be easy to get caught up in winding down a little too much over the weekend, only to discover that by Monday morning, the needle on your scales isn't pointing in the direction you might have hoped for. Especially during the winter, when it's dark outside and many people find their fitness regimens begin to disappear, it's easier than ever to gain weight without even trying. Eager visits to the gym quickly turn into distant memories, and on average, most people gain anywhere up to five pounds over the winter period. However, before you turn to a crash diet, it's important to remember that looking great and eating healthy is a life-time commitment, not just something that can be done on a daily basis. Instead of starving yourself or exercising too hard, try these five easy tricks to avoid gaining extra weight.

1.) Be consistent in regards your routine.

A study that was published by an international journal on obesity discovered that the people who successfully lose the weight they don't want and keep it off long term are generally consistent when it comes to exercising and eating routines. Participants in the study were found to be around 1.5 times more likely to maintain their ideal weight to within five pounds over the next year. Regardless of which day of the week it might be, your diet should stay the same.

2.) Don't go hungry.

If you usually eat out on weekends, then don't try to skip other meals throughout the day in an attempt to save on your calorie allowances for later. Most of the time, this kind of thinking backfires, as you will generally eat more and binge on unhealthy food. Instead, try to have a couple of lighter meals throughout your day to keep you going until your food later. This should help to take the edge off your hunger without allowing you to over-eat.

3.) Leaving the house early and walk to work.

This is a great way to exercise a little more and boost your fitness levels. If walking to work is too much of a big task, try walking part of the way by taking a train or bus and getting off a station early. Walking has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, and a good stroll can burn about five calories a minute. Remember to wrap yourself up if it's extra cold.

4.) Don't overdo your alcohol intake.

It's well-known among health experts and nutritionists that alcoholic drinks are generally full of calories, so if you're going to drink, keep the amounts moderate. Sometimes, cutting one drink out of your weekly routine can help to save you more than 150 calories.

5.) Stock your cupboards with healthy food.

By purposefully buying healthy, you'll avoid the temptation of eating poorly and binging out on junk when you've got some time to kill and an empty stomach. If possible, check your fridge on one morning a week and see if you can drop by a local produce store on your way home to re-stock.