Soon the winter months will be upon us…I got out my weighted winter blanket just the other night and said to myself “it’s that time.”

Like bears, humans seem to head to our caves and hibernate for the winter months.

It’s the season of binge watching, and binge eating. And can you blame us–mother nature has set our survival biology in this way.

However, bears do stop eating after putting on enough weight and sleep all winter–emerging from their cave in the spring thaw looking gaunt and thin–like they used all of their stored hibernation blubber.

For us humans–more times than not–we emerge in the spring–looking heavier than we did when we entered the cave… we somehow missed out on that sleeping all winter part!

Many of my clients and students in my online courses express concern about winter weight gain. They fear that the dark and cold will impede their progress or halt it altogether.

Never fear–this week, 87th episode of Thin Thinking, I dive into how to make some thin thinking shifts so that you can manage your weight easily during the dark and cold days of winter.

We also will do a vision exercise to inspire you to emerge from your cave this spring looking slim and confident.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

Subscribe and Review

Have you subscribed to the podcast yet? If not, go ahead and click the ‘subscribe’ button for your favorite podcast platform! You don’t want to miss a single episode.

If you enjoyed this episode, it would be very helpful to us if you would leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. This review helps people who are on the same weight loss journey as you to find us and soak up all the wonderful insights and lessons I have to offer.

If you aren’t sure how to leave a review in Apple Podcasts/iTunes, view our tutorial by clicking here.

Subscribe and Never Miss an Episode


Rita Black: The cold wind is blowing outside and the eating challenges increase inside our head. Have you ever noticed how the colder months bring with them special weight challenges? Though this can be trying, it doesn't mean your weight mastery needs to be left out in the cold. Come in and get thought out as we explore thin thinking for winter challenges.

New Speaker: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, best selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long term and live your best life.

Rita Black: Hello everybody. Come on in. As this is airing, it is early in November and I am starting to see my winter crop of lettuces and turnip greens and colored greens start to emerge. And I know I'm lucky to have a winter garden, but I realized that if I didn't have a winter garden, if I was a gardener in the northern part of the country where it's colder, or in Canada, I would have a break in the winter time. Some of my winter gardener friends say what fun it is in the spring or in the winter, in the dead of winter, to look through the seed catalogs and just fantasize about the spring and the summer flowers and vegetables. But they get that little break. So here in Los Angeles and California, we don't get that winter break. We are, well, we could take the winter break, but I choose to plant because this is a very exciting time of year because it's when we eat greens and lettuces and all those leafy things that really wouldn't stand up in the summertime.

Rita Black: So it is a different challenge here and I love it. And now I'm gonna move on from gardening, because I can hear some of you rolling your eyes and you know, I get sidetracked. But I was gonna share with you my morning drink that does include greens. So once the greens grow up, last year we had a huge crop of colored greens and turnip greens, and I'm hoping for the same this year. And because I put them in my morning shake and people have asked me, well, what's in your morning drink, Rita? So I'm gonna share it with you. It sounds a little weird, because I put a lot in this shake is really for longevity. So I've got lots of things in here, and it keeps me, I feel like it keeps, it's really great for immunity and energy. So I put in greens, like a big handful of greens.

Rita Black: I go out into the garden, I snip the greens. Now in the summer, I don't, I have a bag of kale or I have a bag of you know, turn of greens or collored greens, but I don't have my own greens in the summertime. But, so a handful of greens. I have freshmen that for my garden too. So I pull a handful of that. I take half an orange and I leave the peel on because actually a lot of the nutrients in the orange peel are the best phytochemicals for your body and for immunity. So I know it sounds a little weird, but I do put the half of an orange in there and it makes the shake kind of thick because it's the pectin in the orange with a whole lemon. So I cut a whole lemon in half, I throw it in there, I throw in fresh ginger, I throw in fresh turmeric with a little pinch of pepper, which activates the chemicals, the phytochemicals in the turmeric.

Rita Black: I throw in about a teaspoon of powdered grape seeds that are, it's a very bright red, It looks like wine, but it's grape seed as extract because it has [inaudible] in it. I put a big scoop of pea protein powder. I put a little bit of cranberry, unsweetened cranberry juice that also has a special chemical property. I wish I knew it right off the bat, why? But all of these things are, oh, this either promotes immunity or a longevity or a better brain. And then I put some stevia in. What am I missing? No, I think that is it. I put a little, oh, I put a little egg white into with ice, some water and this, and I blenderized it all up. And it's this really weird color, but it, it is a very interesting tasting drink. I love it.

Rita Black: And it keeps me full for hours and I really do feel healthier drinking it. And so I keep doing it. So that was, I was never a smoothie smoothie person. And then I grew the greens. And so the greens came first. What came first? The chicken or the smoothie? Well actually the greens came first. And, and I said, Wow, I have so many of these. Let me put it in a drink. And then the drink evolved from there. Do you have a morning drink? If you do, I would love for you to share it with me. Just email me or DM me. I'd love to hear what you're doing for your morning drink.

Rita Black: Okay, so let's move on to this episode. It's brought to you by my free online master class, How to Stop the Start Over Tomorrow Weight Struggle Cycle, and Start Releasing Weight for Good. And check that out in our show notes. So I realized that even though we do have listeners here who are heading into the summer, because we have our friends in Australia and New Zealand and other parts of, you know, other, the other side of the world for a lot of us, we are heading into the winter months. And that can be a big challenge for our weight management. Can it not? Yes. Yes. Again, so I wanted to walk through some mental shifts that you can make to stay on track because the winter can get tricky for obvious reasons and for not so obvious ones as well.

Rita Black: So first of all, here's the thing that I see year after year after year, helping people with weight management. People will head into the winter hoping to do good because they've been maybe getting some speed, some steam from the summer and into the autumn months. The longer days. They've been working out, they've been eating the healthy salads. So they're feeling good. They've released some weight and they're like, Okay, I'm gonna go into the winter and it's gonna be the same and I'm gonna just do so great. But what I would recommend is, because I see this happening, is we head in, but we aren't really, we're hoping for more of the same rather than really acknowledging we're going into a whole other season. Our brains are changing, our bodies are changing with the seasons. And we really do need to adapt a whole new mindset around the winter. So instead of hoping to do good, but not really creating it, we wanna create a fantastic, healthy, continuing our weight release journey, or our weight maintenance journey, our weight mastery journey. We wanna do that. So as if you've worked with me or know me or you know, been listening to this podcast long enough for creating any sort of change, the first place we usually start is identity.

Rita Black: And because identity is at the top of the subconscious mind. Now, you might have this identity of somebody who struggles in the winter, Oh, it's hard for me to manage my weight in the winter, The days are shorter, I don't exercise, I don't do this, I eat too many carbs, blah, blah, blah. Right? So we wanna start to shift how we see ourselves around, because when we have a limiting belief, identity about ourselves, that tends to, we tend to create that reality. So I'd like to invite you to create a different winter identity. Here's some suggestions.

Rita Black: I am a healthy person who manage my, manages my weight in the winter. I will repeat, I will repeat that. I am a healthy person who manages my weight in the winter. How is a kind of a tongue twister? Or here's another tongue twister. I am a winter weight mastery warrior. I'll say that again. I am a winter weight mastery warrior. So what we're doing is just flipping our brain over, right? We're really re-seeing ourselves from a different vantage point. We're using language. We aren't lying to ourselves, but we're, we're starting to just like cultivate a new idea of ourselves from the inside out. And that's where most change happens from. So start with an identity. I am creating my winter weight release. So start to have also - so once we finish with identity and we get our identity down, then we wanna move on to vision and have a vision of where we're, where we are going. But again, what we want to create now, we're gonna do a vision at the end. So, you know, hold on, that's gonna be exciting. I'm gonna do a vision exercise with you. But as we head in to the winter months, we also wanna create where we're headed to, which is the spring, and then have a vision of where we want to be in the beginning of the spring and have that vision pull us through the winter time. Does that make sense?

Rita Black: So we're gonna work on that later, but just hold that idea. So I'm gonna go through three main winter challenges as I see it, and then we'll give you some tools, some thin thinking tools to work with that. So obviously up here where we are, the days are getting shorter. I'm, you know, going out in the morning, my morning hikes. I usually start hiking maybe at 6:30 or 7 in the morning. Now when I do that, it's dark. And so we have to push that back a little. Makes it a little more time challenged. We get up to, I, I hike in this beautiful place called Bronson Canyon in Los Angeles. It's in Griffith Park, and it is, you know, there are coyotes, there are owls hooting when it's dark outside. So me and my hiking partner we're, we're brave, but there are people up there in the, at four o'clock in the morning hiking up there.

Rita Black: I was like, Wow. How did these people do? They have the little flashlights on their head? Maybe you're one of those people. I certainly am not. I I get a little creeped out in the dark, but it's just turning right now. So we get up there and by the time we're an eighth of the mile in it, the sun is rising and it's beautiful and it's amazing to watch the sun rise in the morning as you're hiking. And I always had this dream that that's who I would be as this person who would wake up and go hiking in the morning. And my dream came true. Isn't that cool? I had this vision many years ago before I even lived in southern California, a place where you can hike all year round, which is quite extraordinary. You know, in the morning all the time. It's cold in the morning, in the winter, but it's doable. It's not icy. It's not foggy. It's not raining every day, unfortunately. But so we, we are really, really spoiled in that way. But as you probably are noticing, the days are getting shorter and that does become a challenge. So the first big challenge is exercise. We can't get out like we used to in the summertime. It's too dark, it's too cold, and it may be too dangerous, whether it's icy and snowy or it's just, you don't feel safe in the neighborhood that you live in. It just, it, it gets different. So have a winter plan for exercise, because what people tend to do, I don't wanna generalize, but I see this a lot, is that they try to go for the same thing and like me, oh gosh, it's dark at 6:30 in the morning.

Rita Black: I can't do this anymore. And you know what, a lot of times what I do is I change my exercise time when it does get too dark and I, you know, I have to get to work. So I can't get back in time to get to work in time. I change my hours around to the degree I can and I hike in the afternoon. And so I swap it around if I can with my hiking partner. But, but yeah, we have to kind of rethink things through. Now I know you might not be able to do that, but here are some ideas for those of you who are living in dark, darker climates where it gets, it stays dark until seven or eight and then, you know, it gets dark again at 4:30. My one thing would be is you can break up your exercise time. Like let's say if you get up and go walking in the morning or walking in the afternoon when you get home and it's too dark to do that, what about breaking up that half hour, 45 minute walk over your workday, over, do 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunchtime, or half hour at lunchtime and maybe two 10 minute walking sprints. You're expending the same amount of energy. It actually is awesome because you are breaking up your day and your brain actually needs a brain break in your day. And it's a perfect thing to do. I have had many clients who get a cohort of fellow workers to go walking with them. They inspire other people to do that. So that might be something that you can do. Another thing that I love, love, love to do is to have a dance party with myself or with my kids, or even with my husband, if I can get him to do that with me. But I will put on a playlist and I will just dance straight for half hour for 40 minutes if it's raining outside, if it's too dark to go outside. If I have, there is a concept I call plan B exercise. Like let's say I have planned to go hiking, but it rains, which is rare, but you know, it does sometimes rain here in LA. So if it's raining or if there's a hurricane outside or if you know, whatever sort of climate disaster happens and your local vicinity, as long as your house isn't washed away and as long as you, you know, aren't blown away by a tornado, you could shut the windows, Make sure you're safe, turn on the ra, the, not the radio, but your iPhone or your phone and dance your buns off. You might need to.

Rita Black: Here's another idea, is you might need to push more of your exercise to the weekend, which is something that is a very valuable tool, so if you maybe didn't exercise on the weekend, or you only exercised 20, 30 minutes, maybe you work out an hour on Saturday, an hour on Sunday, and then that takes the onus off of you to have to exercise more during the week, you're moving your body, you're expending that energy. Is it ideal? It would be ideal if you could have move your body a little each day just to keep your limbs limber to, you know, exercise isn't just about weight release. It really is about your body and engaging with it and moving it and keeping yourself mobile, your balance, your core, all of those things. So engage with it to the degree you can. Something I try to do everyday, and this only takes 10 minutes, sometimes 15, is when I wake up in the morning and it's dark outside, really dark, I put the tea kettle on and the amount of time that it takes for the tea to boil, I do my flexibility exercises, I do my balance exercises, I do my stretching, my mobility. I move through it really quickly. And then once I have my tea, I do a little more. But what that does is it creates a habit in my brain and it's called habit stacking where you're put tea on, then do this next thing and then do this next thing. And creating a habit of exercise like that or stretching like that. It's much easier when you anchor it. It's called anchoring to something that's already established, like waking up and putting the kettle on. So maybe you're somebody who wakes up and makes a pot of coffee. You could go and do some stretches and some mobility exercises, do some sit-ups, whatever you wanna do.

Rita Black: You could say, Okay, I'm gonna put the coffee on and for the length of time it takes for my pot of coffee to happen, I'm going to do some stuff that's gonna take care of my body before that one cup of coffee or your first cup of coffee in the morning. So that is something else to think about is habit stacking. That's something else that you could do with your exercise at work as well. You know, have lunch. Go for the walk, go for the walk, have lunch. These are your lunches anchored into your day or your morning break. I mean, not that any employer is giving anybody a break anymore, but you know, if you're working from home, if you have little rituals, set aside putting the laundry in, then I do some stretches, get up after my zoom meeting, do some stretches, do 10 minutes on the treadmill if you have a treadmill at your house. So, so anchoring it to something that is steady and consistent in your week, especially if you're gonna do most of your working on the weekend. You just need that 10, 15 minutes to move your body. Stay mobile, stay connected to yourself. Very helpful.

Rita Black: Another thing, and one of my clients just was blew us all away. She bought a cubi, I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's this thing that is like a little treadmill that you can have under your desk. And she has one under her desk. She has one in front of the TV or maybe she moves it, but she does that thing all the time. She's really 70 pounds. I mean, it's made a huge difference in her life because she's able to work. In fact we do these monthly meetings and she's sitting there doing it and talking to us and she's like, I'm doing it right now. Like, whoa, that's pretty cool. I haven't checked it out myself personally, but maybe check it out as C U B I. But that might be something, especially at night if you sit and watch TV instead of snacking, do the cubi. Okay. So yeah, and this idea of plan B exercise, I love it so much because if I don't get my exercise in, then that just means I've got that plan B, which is usually my dance party, which is usually doing a half hour yoga session or high intensity interval training session on YouTube. If I can't get to the gym, if I can't do my hiking, that will be my plan B for that day.

Rita Black: Okay, so that's exercise covered. We're all going to exercise this winter, right? Okay, thumbs up. Okay, so next is challenge is our brain goes into hibernation mode in the winter time. Our brain and body actually. So I think I've shared about this, but I'm gonna share it again because it was just so astonishing. My husband, I, I watched a documentary about bears getting ready to hibernate for winter up in Alaska. And there was literally these skinny old bears who had been like rummaging around all summer long doing whatever bears do. And now it was the salmon run. And literally these bears went from being skinny to big, big old, big old bears probably gaining, I don't know how much bears gain, but I think a thousand pounds, 500 pounds, I don't know. But they said each of those salmon that they're chomping on is about 5,000 calories, which is wild, but they're eating a bunch of them and then they're going up into the mountains and eating a bunch of berries and then they go and they hibernate for the winter.

Rita Black: And the females who are usually impregnated and they will not, the pregnancy will not go to full term unless they reach a certain weight and can sustain a pregnancy. It's so very fascinating how nature works. But during the winter, she will give birth without even waking up. Isn't that wild? Wouldn't that be wonderful to be all just wake up and go, Oh yeah, got a baby? Okay. And the baby's already been nursing and is already a toddler. It's, it's really crazy. So anyway, long story short, the bears obviously gain weight really quickly. Their brains and bodies are going into gain weight really quickly. Get into hibernation mode. We're gonna move less, way less, and eat more and have this fat to live off of. Research shows that we are driven biologically to eat more heavy comfort foods in the winter time to store weight. And that shutoff valve for eating just gets a little less cut offy in the winter time. So, and haven't you noticed that that salad that you just thought was the best thing in the world in July just ain't so tasty seeming in the cold winter days of January? It seems kind of silly and ridiculous. So I want you to think of creating healthy hibernation foods and also creating your own shutoff valve. You know, make your cave a healthy one mentally. Think of your house as your cave and be protective of it like a mama bear, even against that inner rebel in your head. You know, be beware when you go to Costco, right? There's this whole Costco study that says, you know, we, it's kind of like that. It goes along with that hibernation mentality where like, stocking up and our brain knows all that food is there, so it's just gonna keep grazing and grazing and grazing.

Rita Black: So one way to kind of create that shutoff valve is to create a not an option food list of foods that you will not allow in your house no matter what your trigger foods, right? These are foods that you're always snacking on that are really low in nutrients, high in gawkiness. Gawki meaning non-nutritive value that we tend to get addict into, addictive eating cycles with them. And, and really not to look at this as you're depriving yourself, but you are thriving because you choose to. You're not a victim, you're not sad, but proudly being a fierce mama bear advocating for that vision of that healthier, slimmer, free, confident you in the springtime. You really want with this mama bear image of yourself as to also see your inner rebel as sort of a child and a mother with a child saying, you know, I, I want, I'm having a bit of a tantrum. I want this, I want this, I want this. Well, you know, a mother kind of watches her child and it's like mm-hmm. mm-hmm. Kind of waits for the tantrum be over. And it's like, okay, are you done now? Okay, we're gonna move on. So really have that image of that inner rebel is like also childlike part of yourself and say, Oh, that sounds really yummy, but we're, we're not gonna go there. We want to be healthy and strong and free. So really guiding yourself powerfully through those moments.

Rita Black: So look at your pantry and get out the stuff that doesn't serve you the trigger foods. Why would you have them in there? I'm talking fierce advocating for your, your vision and for you your health, how you feel about yourself. Because let's face it, when we're over eating those gawki refined foods, we feel like crap. We feel like about ourselves. Pardon my french, but don't we? We're mad at ourselves, we're beating ourselves up. I want you to feel good all winter long and feel proud and to feel confident about the way that you are taking care of your body. So get the crap out of your, the stuff that takes the power away from you. Why would you have it in your house that puts you in that hyper eating mode? You know, I, I'll tell you my own little quick story about my own having to just say no. There were two foods when I was living in England that were my trigger foods. Marmalade and McVitty's. And if any of you are British, you know what the hell I'm talking about. So British marmalade is the best. Sorry, everybody else who makes marmalade, but it just rocks and I can never eat it. Because if I do, I will eat it all and then go and find another jar and eat that too. We were staying, my husband and I one summer, were taking care of this house. We were I guess housekeepers not, I mean, we weren't servants, but my best, well, one of my buddies from London he, his dad owned this estate out in the country, and the people who were the, keeping, taking care of the estate, they had to go back to Australia for the summer and they needed somebody to take care of this 16th century big estate. And my husband and I were like we'll do it. Why not? Little did we know, Oh my gosh, there was every, how many bathrooms did this place have? And I was cleaning them. Oh my gosh, I would've never taken that job had I known how much work was truly involved.

Rita Black: We thought, Oh, we'll have our friends over. We'll have some parties, whatever. But so in this house, there were all these jars of marmalade. I don't know the guy who owned the house. The dad was way, he was overweight actually, and he was way into food. And there were just so many jars of homemade marmalade. And then McVitty's, that was the thing I would get. And I would always be like, because I was struggling with my weight, I'll be like, I'm only going to eat one mc bitty, and that will be my treat. You know, I, but I can't eat one. I I will eat the whole sleeve of McVitty's. They're these sort of, for those of you who don't know what they are, they're this amazing chocolate covered biscuit. I don't wanna call it a cookie, but it's a biscuit. And they're addictive.

Rita Black: I mean, anybody who eats them is totally addicted to them. So they're, yeah, they're, they're radical. So anyway, that was the summer where I went through these jars of marmalade and I, it was the summertime, but I was recognized like this at it, it brought me to my knees. And so I had to literally say you know, no more marmalade. I got it out of the house, I put it in back in the stable. You know, Yes, this place had stables and all this stuff. And I, I just took it. I moved it. I couldn't be with it anymore. And I, I had to say no to McVitty's. I had to because my brain wouldn't shut off about them. So the, I'm sure that there are foods, if you're struggling right now in your cupboard that you think maybe one day you're gonna be able to manage it, and maybe you think it's the winter and I'm going to, I'm just only gonna have one. Don't kid yourself if it's a trigger food, if it's something you eat one of, or you eat one and then you eat the whole thing, chances are you're not going to heal your relationship with it, at least right now, at least in the winter. But most trigger foods are your trigger foods for life. So do yourself a favor. Get the foods that take your power away from you, out of the cupboard and put in foods that work for you, that stabilize and nourish you. Okay? and you never have to go through all those jars and marmalade again. And with regards to bringing healthy foods into your house at the store, before you even walk into the store to go buy your foods, whether it's you're going to Costco or whether you're just going into Whole Foods or you're going into your grocery store, focus on that idea of yourself in the spring as healthy that, and think about your winter healthy identity. You know, I'm a winter warrior, a winter weight mastery warrior, and ask yourself, what is the Winter Weight Mastery Warrior going to have? You know, what, how are you gonna leave that store with healthy foods? And maybe you're gonna take some time out to create some or find some online or in recipe books, some healthy recipes that are gonna work for you this winter. Really arm yourself. Take the time, make the time to do the research and find healthy snacks at the grocery store. So take that time at the grocery store to walk through and find healthy winter snacks that are gonna work for you. To things that aren't chock full of sugar or flour. The white foods, you know, keep things wholesome and whole and nourishing and stabilizing because again, that winter brain can get triggered a lot more easier. A lot more easily.

Rita Black: Some things that are great are soups. Roasted vegetables are great snacks. I like to put on a Sunday, I will put, I will buy a bag of broccoli that's already cut up. It's not a big deal. I will sprinkle some olive oil over it, some sea salt, some pepper, maybe chop up a garlic and mix it in. I'll shake that all up together. I'll put it in the oven at 3:50, 3:75 and I'll just let it roast. And then what I'll do is I'll put it out on the counter and we kind of just snack on that. It's so good and yummy. Or I'll do peppers and onions. That's not so easy. That's not really finger food, but that's definitely something we have in the fridge. So think roasted veggies. Think salads with hot, I make in the winter time hardier salads with kale and lettuces that are a little more substantial.

Rita Black: And then all saute an onion, a pepper, some broccoli. And I'll throw that on top of the salad and then I'll put some protein on top. And it's just, it's such an easy meal and so delicious. But think comfort food. Yogurt, like Greek yogurt with pumpkin pie, spice over a roasted apple, which you can literally slice up an apple, throw it in the microwave for three minutes. Voila. There's your roasted apple or a sweet potato. All this stuff, it's oatmeal with there's a, a recipe I love. It's so easy. You make oatmeal, just oatmeal. You can throw oatmeal with some water in the microwave and make oatmeal and then take that oatmeal and add if you get a carton of egg whites, you'd add some egg whites, maybe about a half a cup to a half a cup, or three quarters of a cup of cooked oatmeal. And you mix it together and you put it with cinnamon, maybe a little stevia and you put it back in the microwave and in a cup maybe that's been spritzed a little bit. And it for three, four minutes. I think I've got the time right here. You might have to experiment a little. And it's like a little cupcake. It's like a little coffee cake. It's so delicious. But it's really wholesome. It's just the oatmeal and the egg whites. It's got the protein in there. It's a great snack, it's a great breakfast. It's a great dessert. So I hope those are, and and also tea, tea is so comforting and awesome. Me and my shifters, we are so into tea. I mean, because we talk about tea and our groove. We're like, Okay, what tea are you finding? You know, there's the pumpkin pie spice tea, there's a peppermint tea. There's all the different amazing tees that are comforting and warm and are so great when you're stressed out or feeling emotional and or distracted or it, you know, you just wanna be, find things that are hot and filling, but, but nourishing and not going to fill you up, you know, overfill you up.

Rita Black: So it's one thing that you can do also is just create that shutoff valve. One way you can do that is to fast after dinner, right? So that's an easy shutoff valve because again, the winter is a time where we're maybe snacking a lot at night, watching TVs, comfort foods. So dinner ends and then begins the, Okay, then I'm gonna do popcorn, then I'm gonna do sweet food, then I'm gonna do a crunchy, salty food. So breaking that cycle by focusing on fasting is your own sort of inner shutoff valve. And rather than trying not to eat, focusing on fasting because it's active, it's something that you're doing. And again, keeping that vision and being that mama bear of your cave.

Rita Black: So the last one I wanna discuss with you, the third and final thing that can be a challenge in the winter time is sad, right? S A D. Seasonal Affective Disorder and I have SAD. Like that is just my genetic makeup. I, and if I live in darker climates, when I lived in London, I was really depressed from January until late March. Symptoms of SAD include abnormal lack of energy, sadness, like consistent sadness, excessive sleepiness, increased appetite. Yes, yes. Increased cravings for sugary and carb rich foods. So, needless to say that some people don't even know they have SAD. If this sounds like something you might have, you might wanna check it out with your doctor or talk to somebody about it. Here's some treatments make include, and this is something my sister does because she lives outside of London. And she's got the same genetic propensity as me. She's managed to live in England a lot longer than me. I was like, I have to get outta here. I love this country, but I can't take it. And same with when I was growing up in Seattle. Now I know I ate all winter long. I, I couldn't take it. I was just, it was crazy. So light therapy, light therapy is very, very helpful. Exercise. Awesome. Very, very good and very impactful for this. And of course, I wasn't exercising when I was living in London. Not really. And exercising, walking to the store and getting food and back. But vitamin D is something but you, it's something if you're feeling, if you think you have SAD and you're feeling vulnerable, here's something else that you can do.

Rita Black: You can spend some self care time each day. Tuning in, reflecting. You can light a candle, especially when you're feeling like it's too dark. And take a bath. Journal and get your feelings out and focus on what you have to be grateful for. This is really, really great to do at night or in the morning especially in these dark winter months. Get social, maybe make you know, since we don't go out as much, and I know I have clients who live in places like Minnesota where sometimes the snow is on the ground and is a lot harder to get together or have group gets togethers in the winter. So why not do socials? Like, kind of what we did in the pandemic was, you know, just had a weekly get together with our friends on Zoom and why not do that in the winter as well, especially when it's hard to get, you know, out with other people in the evening, especially when it might be the roads might be too icy, it just might be too hard.

Rita Black: Volunteering is another great way to give back. We feel good about ourselves when we're volunteering. It always feels good to be good Samaritan. We can pick up trash in our neighborhoods. We can feed the homeless. That's something that we do every Saturday night as we make sack lunches for the homeless. And then get, get some comedy. You know, have some comedy on standby. This is something I do. I have Saturday Night Live or my favorite comedians on YouTube ready to go. So if I need a little pick me up in my day, instead of going and getting a snack, I'll, I'll just binge watch 15 minutes, 10 minutes of Saturday Night Live or one of my comedians. I laugh, I get a little brain break, I refresh myself and it's comfort laughing instead of comfort food. And it feels so good. It actually feels way better than going and getting a snack, especially if I wasn't hungry.

Rita Black: So another thing that you can do is get your bedtime regular and you maybe would really benefit from taking a nap at and just to make sure that you're getting enough rest and restoring every couple of hours. So here's the thing I want you to know. We can create a powerful winter, right? Are we together on this? We can create a healthy, powerful, fulfilling winter where we go through it, staying on our weight release goals, feeling empowered, learning stuff about ourselves and our relationship with food showing up for ourselves like a mama bear. We can really do this. So let's do a little vision exercise. We'll, we'll do it and I'm going to give you, so we'll create a vision and then I'll give you some mantra. So, or I'm gonna say a sentence and then you can repeat it back inside your own mind. Okay? So this is sort of meditative and it's just to create that vision of the you that you're taking out into the spring.

Rita Black: So just take a nice deep breath in and let that go. And just begin to tune into your body. Just notice all the sensations that are going on in your body. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get into a deep, relaxed state. This is just a, a visualization for you to do at any time in any place. So just noticing that body of yours slowing down. Tune in to your heartbeat, the beating of your heart. Good. And tune to the rising and falling of your diaphragm and chest as you breathe in and breathe out. And notice that the surface that you are resting upon is supporting you fully. And that can signal to your subconscious mind that you can relax even more deeply. Notice the texture and temperature of the shoes or whatever's up against your feet. And notice the temperature and the air in the room around you. And as you continue to relax, allowing each relaxing breath to follow the next relaxing breath, I'd like you to bring to your mind a vision of you in the spring, maybe around the end of April, a number of months from now, about six months from now. So imagine yourself somewhere you enjoy being in the spring.

Rita Black: Imagine what you might be wearing in the spring. How much weight have you released? So get a vision of that. Or if you can't see it, feel it. Are you in a meadow? Are you with friends? Are you at the beach? Maybe it's too cold to be at the beach yet, but maybe you're hiking or walking somewhere you enjoy. And as you are creating this vision of you, think about the way that you have moved your body over the winter to create this vision of you. Think about the exercise that you've been doing, and now think about all the healthy foods that you've been choosing to have. Maybe the vegetables, maybe the healthy proteins, the fiber rich foods. No walking by unhealthy foods in the grocery store. Just, Hmm. Just imagine taking a deep breath and just walking by and being so proud of yourself. And now just imagine yourself fasting after dinner, getting up from the dinner table and just being done. Okay, I'm done with the day. Next time I'm going to eat is tomorrow. And food isn't an option between now and then. And feeling empowered by that, just like a mama bear. And imagine taking some loving self care time for yourself of. Imagine just taking that nice deep breath in. Exhaling. Feeling good. And just repeat after me. I am a winter weight mastery warrior. I love moving my body every day of the winter. I love the healthy foods I eat. The healthier the foods are, the more comforting they are. Healthy is comfortable. Healthy is warm. My cave is a healthy haven where I surround myself with self care.

Rita Black: Good. And now just bring that image of you in the spring, healthy full of life. Confidence, vital, wearing what you're wearing, feeling what you're feeling, proud of yourself for having a healthy winter. Take a deep breath in and bring that all into you as your inner blueprint for the winter. Exhale and welcome back. Good job. All right, Are we all ready for a healthy winter? Now just a reminder, my free masterclass is available to you in show notes. How to Stop the Start Over Tomorrow, Weight Struggle Cycle, and Begin Releasing Weight for Good. Check it out. It's 75 minutes of lots of tools and mind shifts. I promise you, you will find it very helpful. All right, you guys. Stay cozy. And remember that we're all here Together. Alone we diet, together we shift. Have an amazing weekend.

Rita Black: Remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it. You wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long term weight release, head on over to www shift weight That's www shift weight, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking. Unlock your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss.