Every year I hear the same story right about now.  We’re a couple months into winter and someone says to me “I’ve put on about 10 pounds since I last saw you!  I gain it every winter—you know, it’s just too cold to exercise outside”.

This statement is damaging in more ways than one.  Remember, the two most important things you can control are the way you think and the words you say.  If you think you’re going to gain 10 pounds over the winter months, you will.  And if you TELL someone that you always gain the weight, well guess what?  You will!

Follow these 3 simple steps and you won’t gain weight in the winter anymore.

Step # 1:  I know it sounds too simple to be true, but you really must begin to think about the things you want—not the things you don’t want. If your goal is to lose weight, tell yourself over and over that it’s easy for you to lose weight.  Write this affirmation on a card and repeat it many times throughout the day.  The most important part of this exercise is to read your affirmation card before you fall asleep.  You are telling your subconscious brain exactly what you want.  The funny thing is this:  your subconscious brain will believe whatever it is you tell it—whether its good or bad.  So why not tell your brain only great things about yourself?  If you take this stuff seriously and really work at it, you’ll definitely see a shift in the way you see yourself and others.

Step # 2:  Choose your foods wisely. There are so many fantastic books on the market that teach you how to do this.  I personally love Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Ultrametabolism. He discusses why low fat diets are bad for you (even though cardiologists recommend low fat to all of their patients), and explains why it’s so difficult for certain people to lose weight.   By incorporating more whole real foods, organic fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, good fats and carbohydrates, it can not only help you lose weight, but it will help re-set your metabolism.  By staying away from what Dr. Hyman calls the “white menace” (white flour, white sugar or variants of these) you will definitely notice that many of your cravings slow down or maybe even stop completely.

Step # 3:  MOVE! As Nike says, Just Do It.  There are many beautiful days in the winter and they deserve to be appreciated.  Bundle up and go outside for a brisk walk or jog.  If it’s just too cold outside, go to the gym for a spin class or pop in your favorite exercise DVD.  If you don’t have any DVDs of your own, most cable companies offer free exercise classes on demand.  Jump rope, do push-ups, do anything….just move.

If there’s a lot of snow outside, go shovel!  If you have hills and a sled, go play!  Carrying a sled up a hill then zooming down is not only FUN, you’ll burn a bunch of calories.  Remember, exercise can be fun. It doesn’t have to be torture.  A simple rule of thumb to remember is this:  try to break a sweat most days—your body AND your mind will thank you!

Smile and Have Fun!