HELPFUL: Pre Social Event Hypnosis to Avoid Overeating


Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays—

I hope that you are all enjoying the best of the season with family and friends.

Many of you told me how helpful the Pre Social Event Hypnosis Session was for abstaining from refined foods and eating too much. I love to hear that it was helpful—THANK YOU!!


Because it was so helpful for many, I am offering up a second helping of this hypnosis session for you to use these next couple of weeks along with a few tips to stay focused and feeling fabulous over the holiday.


Here are a few helpful and easy tips to follow with the free 6 minute pre-holiday party hypnosis session to help you succeed in staying in line with your health and weight management goals these next few weeks.

CREATE A VISION: Take a breath and visualize how you want to feel New Year’s Day. Really imagine yourself feeling light and healthy and proud of yourself for staying mindful with your eating this weekend.  This helps get your brain excited about achieving the goal and will help you overcome those many moments when you might be tempted to overindulge.

TAKE A MINDFUL BREATH BEFORE EVERY MEAL: Before you begin to fill your plate, take a breath, look at your fist and register that this is the size of your stomach! Fill your plate with healthy choices and a few holiday favorites in very small portions—after 3 bites your experience diminishes so a little is enough—really.

EAT, THEN TALK—DON’T DO THE TWO TOGETHER: I learned with my own 40 pounds weight loss over 20 years ago to focus on eating and enjoying the food and noticing how full I was and then to switch my attention to the conversation. When we do both at once it is easy to ever eat.

TAKE A MOMENT EVERY MORNING TO THINK YOUR HEALTH GOALS THROUGH: The holidays are busy and distracting and it’s easy to let our mind get focused on other things and away from your health. The 6 minute Healthy Social Gathering session I am enclosing will help you prepare for those gatherings these next couple of weeks.

1 Minute Intro Track
6 Minute Social Eating Hypnosis

Listen to this session on the morning of or right before social events. DO NOT USE WHILE DRIVING!

Feel free to share the download and tips with your family and friends so that everyone can share in a healthy, light and mindful holiday.  Also, if you have a moment, last week the New York Times wrote about the growing popularity of hypnosis, especially for weight loss:  You Are Not Getting Hungry…Using Hypnosis to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Finally, I am so grateful for this inspiring and supportive community. Thank YOU!

ox Rita Black
Director, Shift Weight Mastery

5 Easy Mind Hacks to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain



Research shows that in that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s a.k.a. “The Holiday Season”, the average adult will gain a not so magical 3.5-6.7 pounds. If you are fretting that one of those people might be you– keep reading!

As a clinical hypnotherapist who is an expert in the psychology of weight management, I have spent years in my practice observing the mental side of setting yourself up for success at this time of year. I have also been a victim of holiday weight gain when I struggled with my own weight over twenty years ago—one year gaining 25 pounds during this time!


Why is it that so many of us head into the holidays with the best of intentions to “be good this year” and yet by the time the tinsel has hit the tree we find ourselves hitting the peppermint bark and eggnog?

Both the challenge of holiday overeating and the solution to lay in one place—your mind.

THE CHALLENGE: The holidays put our already overwhelmed minds into a mental tailspin.

  • Running around stressed trying to get everything done
  • Holiday parties with the social pressures of “tis the season to be jolly”
  • Comfort foods with emotional ties to the past crossing our paths

THE GOOD NEWS: I know that you can have an amazing holiday and either maintain your health, mental peace and your weight—and even release weight if you decide. All it takes is making a few specific mental shifts.

I am sharing with you 5 MIND HACKS that you can easily implement over the next few weeks and not only survive the holidays with your current weight intact, but when you use these easy techniques you can actually THRIVE during the season.

BONUS: I am offering you a FREE Curb Your Sugar Cravings Hypnosis download (see below).  Use it to prevent getting hijacked by sugar cravings this year.



Challenge:  Hoping or Trying To “Be Good” Means Nothing to Our Minds
Often our best attempt at dealing with the holidays is to make a knee-jerk attempt at “trying” or “hoping” to be good with no specific strategy or motivating outcome in mind. This only engages the conscious mind—which sorry to say—is only about 12% of our mind’s brain-power.

“Be good” means nothing to our minds.  Our brain needs clear directions with specific goals otherwise all the temptations and stresses of the holidays will quickly run our friends “hope and try” out of town on a train with a one-way ticket to the North Pole.

Solution:  Start Your Holiday Season with an Emotionally Charged Vision and Keep It Going
Our mind loves creating. When we create an exciting and emotionally desirable and exciting vision of ourselves feeling light, healthy, and proud of ourselves on January 1st it engages our imagination which lives in our subconscious mind—the more powerful 88%.

Research shows that a powerful vision of a healthier slimmer you in the future helps you say no to temptations in the present.

Start Now: Take a moment and imagine yourself somewhere specific on January 1.
Imagine how good you will feel for having maintained your weight (or even released) this holiday. Experience the feelings of pride and happiness of achieving your goal now. Take a deep breath and lock this feeling into your vision—this is your inner script for the holiday season.

Daily Practice: Bring your vision to mind in the morning before rising into your busy day. Ask yourself “what do I need to do today to move myself closer to this goal?” and think through your day in your mind. Doing this helps leverage the power of your vision.

Note: If you chose to lose weight over the season, I find it helpful to be specific and realistic:

  • SPECIFIC: Choose a specific goal and ask yourself—“what are the actions that I need to take to achieve this?” (example: Exercise 4 times a week, stay within 1500 calories a day, etc.). The more specific you are the more your mind can help you follow through on your goal.
  • REALISTIC: The holidays pose a challenge for weight loss because of all the extra social activities. Be realistic with yourself and your weight goals. Trying to lose too much may just add “brain strain” and cause you to give up all together and overeat. Give yourself the option to reduce your weight loss goal or to focus on maintaining your weight through the holiday.


Challenge:  Holiday Event Habits Are Wired Deep
Some of the fattening holiday party habits that we have acquired may have been going on for years:

  • -Mindlessly eating too many refined party foods
  • -Drinking more than you intended and then eating more
  • -Bending to social pressure from others— “Have another!”

These habits are wired into our subconscious—88% of our mind’s power (mentioned above). So even though our conscious mind wants to make healthy choices at the party and keep it light our subconscious mind wants “business as usual” even if it is fattening and may wind up making us feel bad and bloated later.

Solution:To override deep habits we need to work with the power of our mind and not against it.  The reward neurotransmitter dopamine plays a big role in creating that sense of excitement about having fun at a party and all the delicious holiday foods that we are used to indulging in.

We can use dopamine and the sense of reward to bypass the fattening habits by creating a mental movie of being at the party and bypassing the fattening foods that leave us feeling bloated for the lighter and healthier options. You can then imagine yourself at the end of the movie going home feeling light and proud for having truly had a wonderful party where you got to connect with family and friends but also stayed true to your bigger reward—your health and peace of mind!

Start Now: Try making a mental movie “Coming Attractions – Party”
Before you go to your next holiday party event take a minute and imagine the party experience ahead of time. Imagine both the business as usual party experience and how you will feel afterwards and then the healthy behaviors party.

In your imagination experience both party experiences from the moment you walk in the door to the moment that you leave.

HORROR MOVIE PARTY EXPERIENCE: Imagine yourself going to the party and you: -Eat all the holiday foods laid out on the buffet a feeling of fullness is coming on

  • Drink too much and begin to feel a head rush
  • Take the sugary dessert the hostess is offering.
  • You don’t really want it but eat it anyway since it’s there in your hand…it takes you over the edge. The horror music begins to play.

Now imagine leaving the party—bloated, imbalanced, and wishing you hadn’t eaten all that food. Any enjoyment of the food and party is being blotted out by feeling bad about yourself and out of control.

Now your mind has a negative feeling related to the overindulging and now you are ready to ignite the dopamine in your mind to be excited about a different outcome.

FEEL GOOD FLICK PARTY EXPERIENCE: Imagine yourself going to the party and you:

  • Make healthy choices at the buffet—allowing yourself some small tastes of the special holiday foods but you choose mostly lighter foods.  Your meal allows you to feel fed but not full.
  • Stop at one drink and switch to water…feeling more even keeled…more relaxed.
  • Say ‘no thank you’ to the hostess when dessert is offered but you make her happy anyway by offering to help her clean up some plates. That feel-good movie tune begins to surge

Now see yourself leaving the party feeling good, confident and in control. What a rewarding feeling that is. Feel how your mind begins to get excited about this scenario instead.This is how we can begin to bypass old behaviors—by showing our deeper mind how much more satisfying the new healthy habits are.


Challenge: Addicted to ‘Being Good—Being Bad—The Being Good Again’ Cycle 
Many people who struggle with weight have gotten into a habit of that goes something like this:

  • Starting the week in “being good” mode: We drink the smoothie with kale, we eat the salad with chicken, we exercise and drink water. The halo shines above our head.
  • Somewhere along the way we blow “being good”: We eat something “bad” or get stressed or go to a party and eat something we didn’t intend to and we think “I blew it!”
  • We think since I already blew it—SCREW IT!: This is when we decide that—what the hell—I have screwed up so I will just let go and eat whatever until tomorrow (or Monday) when I will be good again. We trade the halo for the pitch fork and eat, and eat, and eat.

This cycle, my friends, is where most of the holiday weight is gained.

Solution: Interrupt the ‘Screw It’ with the Shift Technique
Here is a technique I teach in my Shift Weight Mastery Process. It is a cognitive shifting technique that takes you out of the impulsive instinct to give up and overeat and allows you to stay consistently moving forwards with your healthy eating plan.

When you feel like you are about to say “screw it” and overeat–

  1. Take a deep breath—This interrupts your “screw it” impulse and opens you up to have a more mature and healthy interaction with yourself.
  2. Forgive yourself—say “wow I ate that brownie—how human—I am still a good person and this doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Often we shame ourselves when we eat something bad which of course stresses us out and makes us want to eat more. Forgive!
  3. Get out your Inner Coach and SHIFT into problem solver: We all have an Inner Coach that is the rational and wise part of us. This is the part you want to be speaking with right now—not your Critic or Rebel—they are the ones that run the good—bad—good cycle. Get your coach and get real about what happened. “I just ate three brownies without thinking.” Assess in a non-judgmental way, then solve the problem. Shifting like this puts your mind in a rational state rather than an impulsive and emotional one.
  4. Assess and recover: Whatever you ate, you can move on from and recover, it will be much better for you and your waistline than keeping on eating.

For example: I had a client who went to a Christmas Party and felt like she overate and was about to say “I blew it—so screw it” but she stopped herself took a breath and reviewed the items that she overate. She realized that even though the two cookies and the couple of handfuls of chips were not what she intended to eat they also were not going to ruin her waistline or even her weight loss for the week it she got right back to her healthy eating at the next meal.


Challenge: Overindulging in Sugary, Fatty and Salty Foods Wakes Up Our Inner Carb Zombie
One of the challenges with the densely caloric, sugary and fatty foods that abound during the holidays is that eating too many refined carbohydrates over a number of days tends to awaken a craving/fake hunger force within us that begins to demand more carby food.  I call this force THE CARB ZOMBIE.

Physically eating higher amounts of refined foods spike our blood sugar and when it crashes we get a feeling of being hungry—even though we may have just eaten! The sugar, fat, and salt dances in our head like the sugar plum fairy –stimulating our reward neurotransmitter dopamine and creating a mental craving to have more sugary foods.

When our carb zombie is awakened we:

  • Feel hungrier even though we are eating plenty of calories
  • Crave more refined foods—thinking about food a lot more
  • Feel like an addict

Solution: Create a Firewall Between You and Carb-y Food for the Holiday Season
Our mind does much better when it is focusing on doing something rather than resisting something. “Trying not to eat sugar” seems hard to the mind—but abstaining from sugary foods except for a few special specified holiday treats gives the mind a clear boundary without shutting down the idea of treats altogether.

  1. Create a “not an option clause” in your mind for all holiday foods except the few selected A+++ holiday treats that you will enjoy in modest amounts after a meal. Haven’t we tried all of those holiday foods before anyways—enjoy the memories of the holidays and the pleasure of the season—you don’t have to eat to enjoy—in fact you will enjoy more when you eat less.
  2. Eating enough protein 70 grams per day—also helps balance the amino acids in the brain responsible for allowing us to feel stable and even keeled—less vulnerable to the carb zombie. Start your day with protein like eggs or Greek yogurt with fruit and not the carby bun or roll. You will feel better and have more energy. If you are doing a smoothie—make sure it has protein!
  3. Eat your holiday treats after a meal or when you have some protein n your tummy. Eating sugar and starch on an empty stomach triggers the brain and body both—stirring the carb zombie from his slumber. We want to keep him in deep hibernation this season.
  4. Listen to the FREE Curb Your Sugar Cravings Hypnosis session: This session helps wire your deeper subconscious mind to be more resistant to the idea that sugar is a treat—learn to be in charge of your relationship to sugar.

Curb Your Sugar Cravings Here 


Challenge: Stress Shuts Down Our Willpower
Our lives are very stimulating. The holiday season is stimulation on steroids. When we get over stimulated our mind gets stressed. When we get stressed the hormone Cortisol floods our system shutting down our rational neo cortex –the impulse control part of our brain.  Guess what also happens when we are stressed—we reach for food to soothe ourselves and there is no willpower there to stop us.

Research shows that every two hours we need to give our mind a little break or we become overstressed and overwhelmed.

Solution: Hit Refresh By Taking a Deep Breath and Closing Your Eyes For a Minute
Give yourself the gift of self-soothing every two hours this holiday season. It won’t take long, you will feel better and chances are you will become a lot more mindful when it comes to those mindless nibbles at the office and home.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Shut your eyes
  3. Tune into your breathing and count 20 breaths
  4. As you are counting send breaths to any part of your body that feels like it is holding tension
  5. Open your eyes and enjoy your lighter, more mindful, holiday season.

There you have your 5 Mind Hacks.  I hope that they serve you well. Don’t forget to get your FREE copy of the “Curb Your Sugar Cravings” hypnosis session.

Click Here for Your Free Sugar Cravings Hypnosis

Have an amazing mindful and healthy holiday where the sweetness comes not from sugar but from how sweet you are to yourself.

Cheers everyone,
Happy Healthy Holidays to you all!

Oxox Rita Black
Alone we Diet
Together we Shift

Get Mindful and Avoid the Belly-Full this Thanksgiving



Did you know that the average person consumes over 2,000 calories during the Thanksgiving meal alone?


No one mindfully plans to over eat on Thanksgiving or the weekend that follows, but often, we haven’t mindfully planned to stay light and healthy either.

As an expert in the psychology of weight management, I have heard many people head into their holiday weekend with intentions of “trying to be good” only to report that their wishes to keep it light were swept to the wayside by the second glass of wine or third round of pumpkin pie.


The key to preventing this is to use your mind more effectively than trying or hoping to “be good”.  This is especially important since holiday gatherings often trigger deeply rooted reactions and habits that engage us in overeating.

In order to avoid the belly-full which winds up making us feel bad about ourselves and takes away our energy for really enjoying all we are grateful for, we need to intercept those old deeply ingrained holiday eating patterns.


Here are a few helpful and easy tips to follow with the free 6 minute pre-holiday party hypnosis session to help you succeed in staying in line with your health and weight management goals this weekend.

  1. CREATE A VISION: Take a breath and visualize how you want to feel Sunday evening after the weekend. Really imagine yourself feeling light and healthy and proud of yourself for staying mindful with your eating this weekend.  This helps get your brain excited about achieving the goal and will help you overcome those many moments when you might be tempted to overindulge.
  2. TAKE A MINDFUL BREATH BEFORE EVERY MEAL: Before you begin to fill your plate, take a breath, look at your fist and register that this is the size of your stomach! Fill your plate with healthy choices and a few holiday favorites in very small portions—after 3 bites your experience diminishes so a little is enough—really.
  3. EAT, THEN TALK—DON’T DO THE TWO TOGETHER: I learned with my own 40 pounds weight loss over 20 years ago to focus on eating and enjoying the food and noticing how full I was and then to switch my attention to the conversation. When we do both at once it is easy to ever eat.
  4. TAKE A MOMENT EVERY MORNING TO THINK YOUR HEALTH GOALS THROUGH: The holidays are busy and distracting and it’s easy to let our mind get focused on other things and away from your health.

D.U.I. Dining Under the Influence (of Thin Thinking)



Dining Under the Influence (of Thin Thinking)

Research shows that we nearly double our consumption of calories while in social situations. Social Eating is a huge part of summer life when weddings, graduations, weekend BBQs, picnics and group restaurant events abound.

How can we navigate these social scenarios with mastery so we can continue our weight release journey or maintain our healthy weight?  Here are some key thinking and behavioral strategies to help!

Fat Thinking Crime Report

It all seemed so innocent in the beginning.  Mary got invited to a friend’s summer BBQ and was excited.  She had been losing some weight and hoped to keep going over the summer.  In her mind, she briefly thought about the party and the impact that it might have on her “diet”.  “Oh, I’ve been so good recently” she thought, “it will be easy to be good at the BBQ—I’ll just have some chicken and a little salad and that will be that.”

Mary stops at the store to pick up cupcakes for her friend Nancy, the hostess, who had asked that she bring a dessert. “I won’t eat any of these, but I am sure other people will like them,” she says to herself as she walks in the front door of Nancy’s home.

Mary heads into the backyard where the BBQ gathering is going full blast.  Nancy’s husband, Jim, immediately hands Mary a cocktail.  Mary refuses, “no thanks” but Jim insists, “C’mon Mary I made up the recipe—try it!”  Mary, not wanting to let Jim down, tries a sip.  Even though it really isnt’ her type of drink and even though she didn’t plan to drink anything Mary continues to drink it, “I’ll just have this drink and some chicken and salad and that will be that.”

Pretty soon the sugar and the alcohol in the cocktail begins hitting Mary’s empty stomach and does two things to Mary:

1)  It makes her all of a sudden very hungry as her blood sugar spiked and then dropped.

2)  Because of the sugar on her empty stomach, she also wants “something more”– more sugars—more carbs—the little carb monster has been awakened and of a sudden Mary is a little more interested in all the food that is on the buffet table—all of it except the chicken and salad, that is.

Mary now heads over to where her friends are standing by the chips and guacamole.  As they chat, Mary is compelled to munch the chips along with her pals.  She mindlessly eats quite a few and realizes what she has done.  Now a voice goes off in her head, “you blew it Mary!  This party is a write off so you may as well hit the buffet and have at it.”–which she does.

Two hours later Mary has been through the buffet table twice and has eaten her fair share of some pies and cookies from the dessert table.  She had to try that lemon meringue—her friend Sue insisted– and the cookies, well they just ended up in her mouth somehow…. Mary’s intentions of just eating that chicken and salad is now a faint memory in her distant past.  Her head is spinning as she leaves Nancy’s house.  Nancy manages to hand Mary the leftover cupcakes that she brought as she heads out the door. Nancy says, “you take them Mary, I’ll just eat them if they stay here.”

Mary heads home ready to crash, feeling mad at herself for not being good.  So mad at herself she manages to eat a few of the cupcakes from the party as she stands at the kitchen sink thinking about her behavior until she heads to bed feeling like a failure and knowing that she will never be thin.

It’s an all too familiar crime scene—dining under the influence of fat thinking–and one that could have been avoided if Mary had just SHIFTED into some thin thinking instead.

How to SHIFT into THIN Thinking in Social Situations

Mary was guilty of a number of Fat Thinking misdemeanors in the story above.  Let’s break the social eating crime scene down and offer some Thin Thinking alternatives.


In the story above, Mary did very little planning before the party. Because she was on a “diet” she assumed that she was going to be “good” and eat only a salad and chicken.  Her lack of preparing, both mentally and physically, was the main reason that she ended up losing control and overeating.

Planning ahead is the cornerstone of weight mastery.  Why? Thinking the day through allows your brain to recognize potential challenges and practice strategies beforehand before you find yourself in the overwhelming stimulation of an event and all the social pressures that go with it.

Here are some things you can do to prepare to succeed at a social event:

1-Create a vision: Know what you want to feel like at the end of the event— what you want to feel like in your body, in your clothes, and in your mind.  Create a specific picture. make it so real you can feel it and get excited about it.  This engages your brain in going to work with you to achieve your vision.

2Bank (save up) calories ahead of time with less food or extra exercise  This way you have some room in your calorie budget to eat more than just chicken and salad, which is more realistic and enjoyable.

3-Bring a salad or vegetable instead of a dessert:  Even if no one else wants it or eats it –you can!

4-Practice responses to food pushers ahead of time:  It’s hard to say no to zealous hosts, but sometimes you have to in order to achieve your desired outcome. Sample responses below:

“No thank you.”‘I am already full, but thanks.  You did a great job with this party…(change the subject fast).”

“No more please, but hey, let me help you clean up a bit”

“I have a metabolic condition and that keeps me from eating that. Sorry, but it looks delicious!”

“I have noticed that sugar and flour causes blood sugar issues for me so I am going to pass.”

“I am allergic but sorry that looks great!”

“Wow that looks tasty but I am sugar sensitive and if I overindulge I feel awful the next day (you don’t have to tell them awful means guilty or regretful).

“That looks amazing—did you make that?  Wow.  I am going to pass but thanks for offering!”

Mary got to the event and immediately fell prey to external circumstances.  Because you will have prepared, you will do much better but here are some more strategies to employ while at the party itself.

1-Focus on people and not on food:  Have a goal to speak to 5 people at the party or to help out the hostess.  If you do not have a plan, the world has one for you and it probably means overeating—so ask yourself what is your people mission for the party and carry it out—allow the food to be in the background of the event.

2-Steer clear of the buffet table and have conversation away from food.

3-Have a plan if you plan to drink and keep it light:  Drink water in between and never drink on an empty stomach!

4-Move: Help out the hostess, get a game of ball going with the kids, ask some people there if they want to go for a walk before or after eating.

5-Scope out the buffet table before eating and focus on the greens and lean proteins and fruits.  For the more densely caloric comfort foods –use the 3-bite rule of thumb—especially at the dessert table.

6-After eating, help clean up—it’s a great way to help your hosts and to mingle—and you will be too busy to go back for seconds.


Mary also failed to take care of herself when she came home and ended up eating even more.  Here are some tips on the post-party head game.

1-Do not bring food home:  Hostesses love to give out dessert to take home—don’t take it!  Better it ends up anywhere else than in your mouth.

2-Plan your coming home strategy so it doesn’t end up being you in front of the fridge.  Many people eat after social events not out of hunger but because it’s an automatic response to unwinding from social stress.

3-Record what you ate at the party to keep yourself out of the “I blew it head” Chances are you didn’t go over your calories and if you did, you can now strategize a way to compensate or to be okay with going over (which is not the end of the world).

4-Review: Learn from the event.  What worked well for you? What didn’t? And what solutions can you create for next time?  See this as a learning curve that you will master.

Now you are set and ready for the social season! Here’s to a great healthy summer!

Downton Flabby (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

summer meal

DOWNTON FLABBY (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

Have you ever tried to lose weight living on an English country estate?  Well, if you haven’t, let me tell you from personal experience, it can be quite a challenge.

Many fans of the Masterpiece Theatre series “Downton Abbey”, based on the lives of both the aristocrats and the servants who live in an English country estate at the turn of century, watch the series and marvel at the amazing costumes and set design, or the romance and the historical storyline.  I watch the series and marvel at how those women with the 18 inch waistlines can eat 7 course meals every night and not gain weight!

Over 20 years  ago, I spent the summer living at a 16th century estate in England and gained one pound for each century within an eight week time.  Talk about period drama!

How did I gain 16 pounds so quickly and, more importantly, how can you avoid the summer weight gain blues?  Read on!


It was the summer of 1991 and my husband and I had been living in London for about 2 years.  I had been struggling with my weight while living in London and for over 10 years before that.  Struggling with weight in England is pretty much the same as in the states except you weigh in stones instead of pounds.  There are 14 pounds in a stone so the one good piece of news is that you weigh a lot less number wise on the scale!

In the Spring of ‘91, a friend of ours asked if we would like to come and take care of his dad’s estate out in the countryside east of London.  His father, who was a wealthy businessman, owned a 16th century home with 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms set on over 20 acres of picturesque and pastoral land and needed someone to “house sit” Hall Court (the name of the estate) while the caretakers were away.

Our friend assured us it would be easy and that his dad only visited from London on occasional weekends so we would have the vast place to ourselves to pretend we were lord and lady of the manor.  Well yes, we did have to clean up a bit and keep the grounds tidy a bit, but really nothing, assured our friend.

My husband and I were longing for a change from the dreary London flat we were living in.  So we said yes!! I was also secretly happy because I had gained a bit of weight during the winter and needed to lose it.  What better way to lose weight than to go to the country? My thinking was it could be a kind of Fat Farm where, since I was on break from work, I could eat healthy food and exercise by running through the country fields every day. Losing weight this summer will be a cinch, I thought, as we boarded the train and left London behind.  Little did I know what weight gain horrors awaited me!


Things started going south the minute we arrived at Hall Court.  As the caretakers showed us around the placed and filled us in on our “duties”, it quickly became clear that the expectations of the chores we were supposed to do around the estate on a daily basis were a lot more than what our friend had told us to expect.  Its great living at an estate with 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms until someone expects you to clean them all once a week!  And as for the stately grounds—have you ever tried taking a run-of-the-mill lawnmower to them?  In addition to those tasks, I was expected to cook when our friend’s father arrived on the weekends.

My husband and looked at each other and considered fleeing but we had given up our flat and had told all of our friends to come and stay over the course of the summer. So we decided to stay on and make it an adventure.


I took up the house duties and my husband became the gardener.  Instead of my luxurious days spent running through the fields and then luxuriating in the gazebo with a good book, I spent my days scrubbing toilets and endlessly dusting and polishing the endless amounts of priceless antiques.  Grrrrrrr.

In my mind I had been working so hard and cleaning so many hours of the day that I surely should have been burning bucketfuls of calories.  But alas every day I stepped onto the scale that was in one of the 8 bathrooms and found I had not only been NOT losing but I had been gaining weight.  How could this be?  I was working my butt off.  Of course, I was not taking into account my breaks when I would get so frustrated with the cleaning that I would go down to the huge kitchen and emotionally eat cookies along with a new addiction I found in the larder—orange marmalade.

“That’s it! I am going on a diet!” I had to lose weight this summer. Who gains weight in the summer?  Summer is supposed to be the easy time to lose weight.  What was wrong with me?  What was wrong with my body?

So I went on a diet that was very restrictive, only allowing for fruits and vegetables.  Things went well for a few days but then I got a little bored.  In my “fat thinking” mind I decided that orange marmalade was a fruit and started adding that into my diet regime.

Pretty soon, I had gone through all of the 10 jars of marmalade that had lined the larder.  Oh and in the evenings I decided that gin and tonics fit into the diet too. Heck, gin is made from juniper berries right? And tonic water, that hardly counts for anything and don’t forget there is a lime wedge in a gin and tonic and that, my friend, definitely falls into the category of fruit!  My husband wasn’t so sure of my reasoning and he told me I was a jam-aholic and that perhaps I should find a local 12-step group that specialized in spreadable fruit.  I told him he to go mow some more grass and mind his own business.

Well, do I need to even tell you that this daffy diet plan led not to more weight loss but weight GAIN.  Not only did my jam-aholism and gin-and-tonicism lead me off my weight loss plans but so did entertaining and weekends.

Soon, every week I was “on” a different diet and every weekend I was falling “off” it.  Between our friend’s father coming to stay and our friends coming in from London, it was party central at Hall Court.  We would sit down in the large dining room– reminiscent of the one in Downton Abbey– and have amazing spreads of food. It became very hard to stick to my restrictive diet.

First, there was the social pressure, “Why on earth are you on a diet?  Nonsense, you Americans love to diet and you are fatter than all of us who don’t.  Just enjoy food in moderation and you will be fine.”  Then, there was the feeling that I had worked so hard on cooking the food and cleaning the house that I should be rewarded for my efforts.  I would give in and eat, but unfortunately I didn’t know what “moderation” meant, especially after starving myself all week and I would eat so much that I filled in any calorie deficit that I had created during the week.

Every Monday morning, I would swear this would be the week I would start running every day and not eat anything and every Sunday night I went to bed feeling so full that I was going to burst.  Thank god I didn’t have to wear a corset.


By the time the eight week stay at Court had come to a close, I was desperate to get back to London, back to real life, real structure and relax from my summer “holiday”.  As I got on the train and headed back to the city 16 pounds heavier,  I looked back and wondered what went wrong?

Now, years later and having SHIFTED my thinking and released the weight and maintained it over many summers—please let me share some coaching on how I could I have done it differently and how you can avoid my pitfalls.


Fat Thinking #1: Assuming it’s going to be easy to lose weight this summer

Many people believe that summer time is an easier time to lose weight and, in some ways, this reasoning is correct.  During the summer, there are lighter foods available and the days are longer, giving us the chance to exercise more.  BUT because summer is full of holidays and travel and kids being off from school, the structure of the year gives way to a more ‘free for all’ feeling.

The Fat Thinking is ASSUMING anything is going to be easy. Weight release doesn’t just happen.  Initial focus is needed and a commitment to continue showing up for yourself is essential. If you don’t plan, set a strong vision and a road map for success, it is almost impossible to find sustained success.  “Winging it” won’t work to lose weight.

THIN THINKING: Reverse engineer your summer and start with the end in mind.  Where do you want to be by September in your weight release? Set that vision and work backwards creating defined milestones.  Keep your plan simple yet consistent so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Fat thinking #2: Food is a cure or a reward
Our culture immerses us pretty heavily in beliefs that do not serve our waistline.  From an early age, our minds are wired to hit the snack cupboard when we are stressed or want to treat ourselves for a job well done.

THIN THINKING: Begin cultivating other ways of calming yourself or rewarding yourself for getting tasks done instead of reaching for food this summer.  Keep your new “self care” strategies posted in the kitchen until you have made them habits.  Make sure you plan breaks into your day to re-boot your brain and your energy levels. This will keep you out of the stress zone and the kitchen.

My Favorite Rewards:
-taking a 10 minute nap
-sitting outside and just letting myself do nothing for 10 minutes but stare at the sky
-laying on the floor with my eyes closed listening to music
-reading People Magazine

Fat Thinking #3: All I have to do is find the right diet and be perfect on it

Life is never going to line up for us to do perfectly on a diet—especially during the summer!  With holidays and travel and socializing, being on a restrictive regime is going to lead to the “on or off” dieting mentality which leads to binge eating and “starting over” on Monday.

THIN THINKING: Stop beating yourself up and putting yourself on restrictive plans. Instead of taking away food, make a commitment to creating a healthy eating plan based on your needs.  Think about flavors and light food that you really enjoy and make a point to have those around.  Focus on eating protein which helps stabilize your blood sugar and keep you out of the jam jar and helps you feel full longer.  Add in more fruits and vegetables which are around this summer.  Challenge yourself to eating 7 servings a day and try to find some fun recipes to create new ways of eating them.

You don’t have to be a victim of Downton Flabby this summer.  You can show up for yourself and create the summer of your dreams—

1)  Create a Vision and specific milestones defined by time and goals.

2)  Create a daily break plan so you have a structure and a plan to reward yourself in ways other than food.

3)   Evolve a way of eating that includes lots of healthy foods but allows for fun and flavor—and definitely protein to stabilize hunger.

Here’s to a great healthy summer!

Forget Resolution and Try a Deeper “Evolution” Instead


Happy New Year!  I hope that you are planning to bring in the infant 2016 with a healthy BANG!!!  As you are trying to wrap your mind around writing 2016 on everything instead of 2015, I thought I would just remind you not to get too caught up in starting the New Year with a resolution to be perfect on a diet now that 2016 has rolled around.

It always puts an ironic smile on my face when I shop at Trader Joes over the holiday season. They put the most tempting and decadent foods  in your eye line up until January 1: peppermint stuffed Oreos, caramel and truffle filled chocolates, chips and dips.  But by New Year’s, all the hedonistic holiday foods have been miraculously replaced by angelically pure and healthy mountains of protein drinks, bags of organic kale and nutrition bars in order to cash in on the health conscious New Year’s Resolutioners.

Of course by the end of the month of January, most new health club memberships and cans of protein powder are collecting “resolution dust” in the back of a closet as life goes back to “normal”.

Have you ever wondered why New Year’s resolutions sadly go the way of the fad diet–gone and forgotten within a few weeks???  Because resolutions only engage the conscious 12% of our brain–the analytic willpower “I want” part of us.
Here are some common resolutions–

I will quit smoking
I want to stop eating crap
I will start exercising
I will yell at my kids less
I will cut down on my drinking
I will stop spending so much money!

Unfortunately the subconscious mind, the other 88%, is the beliefs and habits part of the mind. This part of the mind hasn’t heard any of your resolutions. The unconscious mind is wired to keep everything going on in the same old way—failed resolution year after failed resolution year.


When we create a vision of who we want to be, and really feel how becoming that vision would feel and step into that vision with 100% belief, it changes how we see ourselves. Instead of forcing change from our willpower mind (12%), we can use both our conscious and subconscious 100% brain to commit to evolving into the person we want to become in 2016 instead.

Why does a vision impact out our subsconscious?

-It uses our imagination-
-It engages our emotions
-It changes our beliefs of ourselves

Our beliefs, emotions and imagination all exist in our subconscious and therefore creating a heartfelt vision of who you want to evolve into for 2016 engages all of you and not just the measly 12% willpower brain. Take that resolutions!


 I am going to use myself as an example. The last two years I have been writing the book version of my hypnosis based weight management program called The Shift Weight Mastery Process.

This year I am evolving into the author who launches that book to the world!

Just “publishing” the book in my mind does not excite me too much. In fact, the idea of publishing can be quite intimidating and overwhelming. But, by visualizing myself with the book in my hand, giving it to people that I know will be served by this process that is the culmination of my life’s work, and being able to serve so many more people in this way —this vision excites me and inspires me to want to:

-Wake up at 4 every morning to work on it

-Push past old ideas of myself “I can’t write”

-Push past real life challenges “I don’t have time”

-Stay focused! (for instance I have avoided watching things like “Madmen” because it would be too distracting away from my evolution. After the book launch is when I get to binge watch Madmen and not am moment before!)

I want to offer you walk these key steps that I have been using to create my evolution:


1–Be specific.  This may be a “by when?” or “how many?” For me, I have September 20th, 2016 as the exact date that I become the author who launches The Shift Weight Mastery Process out to the world.

When we set vague goals, our mind stays unengaged– “trying to lose weight” or “hoping to exercise” will not cut it—I assure you. Engage your evolution vision by getting specific—

Who are you evolving into? (A published author)

What is your evolution about? (Bringing “the Shift” to more people who need it).

When is to going to come to fruition? (September 20th 2016)

Where is the evolution happening? (Starts here in Los Angeles and moves out from there—the moon?  Mars?)

Why is this evolution important to your and how will it evolve you?? (This evolution is part of my mission to help people out of the weight struggle and into weight mastery. It evolves me because I have to take a bigger stand, be more committed and more exposed and out there with my teachings, hypnosis and my mission)

2–Be real with yourself.  Set goals that resonate with all parts of you. Forget the “should”—this word is banned from the evolution process.

I “should have been published by now” only causes me distress and rains on my creativity. I have taken a while to write the book because I needed it to take this long.  I have been focused for almost 3 years but have never felt overwhelmed—it has been a life changing process.

I find when people set unrealistic expectations about weight loss or goals in general, it usually overwhelms and scares the unconscious and we “shut down” instead of getting inspired.

Be kind to yourself and smart about what is really possible. Slow and steady usually wins the race—think about the process of human evolution—it’s pretty darn slow!

3–Create adventure–make your vision sexy!

Creating a bland and boring vision of evolution just isn’t going to cut it—you need to excite yourself, scare yourself, inspire yourself to become MORE OF YOU! I think when we strive to become more of who we feel we were put on this planet to be, it is usually the most motivating starting point for creating an evolution and will endure.

For me, my book has been and will continue to force me to express myself and my work and to communicate to weight strugglers everywhere.  That is something that gets me up every morning.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? That is usually a good starting question.

Yeah baby—I feel an evolution coming on!!!


Here are some sexy EVOLUTIONS to try on rather than the sad resolutions stated above

-I will quit smoking EVOLVES INTO I am becoming a non-smoker.
VISION: I am finding more healthy and productive ways of self-soothing–which will give me more confidence–a feeling that I can do anything!!!

-I want to stop eating crap EVOLVES INTO I am becoming more health conscious.

VISION: The more alive and whole foods I put into my body the more alive and whole it will feel!!!

-I will yell at my kids less EVOLVES INTO I will become a more patient parent

VISION: I imagine communicating effectively with my children and truly having a family based on the word team.  I desire to be a model for them. I will respect myself and them so that they can do the same.

So, as you are making those 2016 resolution lists, do yourself a favor and “Shift” from resolution to EVOLUTION!!

May all of your evolutions create amazing Shifts in your lives, the community, our nation and the world at large!!  Start with yourself and make a Shift and see how the world changes because of it.

Alone we diet—together we SHIFT!

Happy New Year 2016!!!



Slimming Thanksgiving Weekend Mantra and Coaching Video

Fun Thanksgiving Coaching Video: Want to eat light this Thanksgiving? This coaching video I made a few years back, takes you through easy strategies to keep Thanksgiving both fun and light.

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. No pressure to buy presents, no eggs to hide, no fireworks to fight the crowds to watch, just family, friends and food—it’s just so simple and nice.

One thing I do not love, however, is feeling stuffed and bloated after Thanksgiving—and I am sure neither do you. It is one thing to celebrate all we are grateful for, to dine and connect with family and friends, but it is another to eat too much, drink too much and finish the day disconnected from ourselves in a food fog.

There seems to be a general consensus in the world of masters of long-term permanent weight release on how to get through Thanksgiving while maintaining or releasing weight. I have boiled down these pearls of wisdom down into a do-able mantra that you can repeat to yourself through the entire weekend. Unfortunately, saying the mantra doesn’t burn calories, but it may keep some extra ones from hopping onto your plate–into your mouth and down to your tummy–remember the turkey gets stuffed so you don’t have to.

The mantra is these three simple words: Know-no-know

Okay as simple as the mantra is, please read the strategies that back up the words of the mantra—

Part 1: Know roughly what you are going to eat on the big day and plan for it. This is one holiday where you can’t use the excuse “gee I didn’t know what we were going to have…”. There’s going to be turkey—right? –then there’s going to be the carbs–the potatoes–the sweet potatoes–the stuffing–the parker house rolls, then the attempts at veggies, and then there’s going to be some cranberry thing and probably some dessert-hmmmm what could that be?? I wonder…

Our mind gets over stimulated when we are in social situations for long lengths of time. This leads to a decline in willpower and impulse control and we can typically overeat 250-750 calories more than usual. If you plan ahead for what you really want to enjoy, in portions that won’t bust your weight management budget, then you have a good chance of staying on track and coming home with your belt at the same notch as when you started that day.

Sure, you can leave room for surprises but plan ahead and you will be ahead.

Another helpful “know” tip is to create your Thanksgiving vision. Yes, creating a vision of how you want to wake up feeling Friday morning and how you want to head into the following week feeling—having stayed connected to yourself all weekend long and not diving head first into the dreary and major buzz killer–food fog.

One more important “know” strategy: come prepared with a not so starving tummy—eat some protein before heading over the river and through the woods.  Bring some light appetizers to the party to nosh on.Don’t arrive starving and then spend the next hour sitting in front of a bowl of potato chips and onion dip.

Part 2. “NO”–practice saying “no” it in the mirror, visualize saying it in your head. Be kind, be firm, say what you mean and don’t be mean but say “no thank you” when you don’t want it or need it. Say it sweetly but firmly to your mom–your aunt–your friend–yourself.

Say, “No thank you–I’ve had enough, I’m pacing myself, I can’t eat sugar, I am driving no more wine etc.” Say, “that looks beautiful, but no”. Say, “Hell no!” No to extra food–yes to extra conversations–yes to connecting to others and yourself–yes to helping out–yes to having your feet rubbed–yes to watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But when it comes to food that will take you outside your body’s energy needs for maintenance or weight release–just say, “No!”

Part 3. Know–this is a big one masters. Know. Know what and how much you ate. Write it and own it. “Know” without the k = “now”. When you “know” you can live in the “now”. Many times we fall into the trap of “trying to be good” and when we eat something we shouldn’t have and “blew it” we give ourselves permission just overeat as much as we want the following day since we were so “bad”. This usually then means the whole weekend because who is going to start a diet on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Try tracking what you eat on “My Fitness Pal” or another calorie data base and tracking app. Often, when we think we “blew it” we were just fine and if we had stayed moderate for the rest of the meal, could have stayed on track. Most weight gain doesn’t happen before, rather after we say “I blew it”. Don’t label food as good or bad, but instead ask, “is eating this food going to allow me to feel good a few hours from now?” Focus on feeling good.

I hope this simple mantra really serves you this holiday weekend.  Have a wonderful, grateful Thanksgiving with the ones you love, including yourself! I am grateful for you and the Shift Weight Mastery Community.

oxox Rita