5 Easy Mind Hacks to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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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 DO WE END UP ON THE NAUGHTY LIST EVERY YEAR?

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.

5 EASY MIND HACKS TO AVOID HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

MIND HACK #1: PROGRAM IN A SPECIFIC AND SEXY VISION FOR JANUARY 1

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.

MIND HACK #2: OVERRIDE SOCIAL SELF SABOTAGE WITH “MENTAL MOVIES”

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.

MIND HACK #3: HIT DELETE ON THE “I BLEW IT—SO SCREW IT” IMPULSE

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.

SHIFT TECHNIQUE
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.

MIND HACK #4: PUT A FIREWALL BETWEEN YOU AND THE CARB ZOMBIE

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 

MIND HACK #5: HIT YOUR “MENTAL REFRESH” KEY EVERY FEW HOURS

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

Who Are You Voting For: Fat or Thin Thinking?

seize-the-day

Hi everyone!

 In honor of next Tuesday’s election, I wanted to discuss the two very different  platforms that we have running against each other — inside of us!!  We must decide which of these inner platforms will run our relationship with our health, weight, and ultimately, ourselves.  And, yes, just like we are seeing in this year’s election, this can be highly contentious. Which candidate and which platform are you voting for?  Which candidate are you listening to? Who is going to be your leader?  The choice you make will lead you on two very different paths.
Platform 1:  Fat Thinking
Here at the Fat Thinking campaign headquarters we have the 2 candidates:
The Inner Critic and the Inner Rebel

These 2 candidates join forces and work together seamlessly to

-Create a chaotic mindset that takes your power away from you

-Keep you struggling in that ‘good or bad’, ‘on or off’, ‘all or nothing’ kind of thinking.

The Inner Critic believes inherently that you are broken and need to be fixed and also that you need to be restricted and must only eat what is on the diet or else you are a failure.

The Inner Rebel will look for reasons to blow your plan.  They push hard for you starting again on Monday because “what the hay…you already blew it—so you may as well eat them all…”

The weight loss goals of the Fat Thinking platform are dodgy to say the least.  There doesn’t seem to be any clear documentation of how the Fat Thinking Party will make decisions in your favor with regards to healthy food choices, getting exercise or ever reaching weight mastery.

But, they have a lot of familiar sounding beliefs and slogans and often we get hoodwinked into voting for Fat Thinking.  And then, instead of the change they promised, we end up feeling frustrated, demoralized and bloated.

So this time around why not vote for something new??

How about casting your vote for Thin Thinking and the Inner Coach?

Platform 2: Thin Thinking

Here at Thin Thinking headquarters, things are looking powerful.

-There is only one candidate: The Inner Coach and one clear message—Show Up for Yourself!

That’s right:

-Your Inner Coach knows that you can achieve weight mastery.

-Your Inner Coach has a very specific action plan to create a healthy lifestyle that will take you to the vision you have for your health.

– Your Inner Coach is ready to solve the problems and create new solutions and doesn’t  believe in magic pills or diets.   Your Inner Coach believes in you!  They believe that you can achieve your ideal weight and stay there because you have made the Shift from the inside out.

How to Change Platforms

If you are stuck in the Fat Thinking Camp, never fear—you can always change parties.

The good news is that we all have a strong and willing Inner Coach inside of us, ready to take the lead!

Get Started:

1) Start to tune in and get conscious to the rhetoric of the Fat Thinking Party.

Start by tuning in to the way you speak to yourself. When you really tune in, you can begin to hear how false the Critic and the Rebel sound: impulsive, negative, emotional.

  • You can separate yourself out from the BS and begin to Shift. Take a breath and separate yourself out from the negative self speak and see it as separate from you.  In fact, imagine the negative inner voice sounding like the candidate that you are voting against–that will start to poke holes in the power that the negative voice has over you.

2)  You can begin to get very clear on what it is you do want versus what you don’t want.  The more you focus on a clear and definable outcome, the more your Inner Coach can begin to take clear and actionable steps and the less the Inner Critic will pull you to the dark side.

  • Don’t try “not” to do something like “not eat chocolate in the afternoon”.  The mind doesn’t hear the negative, focuses on the action, and leaves us feeling tempted and deprived so that we often fall back into the old pattern.
  • Instead, set a doable goal that you know is achievable and focused on the outcome that you want. “I will have a pear and some almonds as my afternoon snack”.  Imagine how good you will feel when you accomplish that goal–this gets your mind excited to achieve that goal.
3)  You can begin getting your facts and budget straight with precise data and logical thinking.
Track your food to see what you really are eating, what you crave, where are the trouble spots in your environment (that car ride home from work? the office parties?) and what habits are not serving your healthy wishes.
  • Once you have real facts, and can view it simply as information. Instead of using it to judge yourself for not being perfect, you can begin to solve the problems and seek new workable strategies.

4)  Practice showing up for yourself every day in these small ways, making the one healthy decision at a time and you will quickly begin feeling more powerful and confident.

VOTE FOR THIN THINKING

VOTE FOR YOUR INNER COACH

Be sure to check out the newly relaunched Shift Weight Mastery website.  We’ve added Free Hypnosis sessions including a 5 Day Night Eating Program that will tackle the mindless grazing so many of us do in the evenings.  www.shiftweightmastery.com

Good luck at the Inner Voting Booth—I know you will make the Shifted choice!

Oxox Rita

Stop! Thief!!

Stop! Thief!

As you head out for your summer travels, I want to warn you about two thieves that are out there waiting to rob you blind and ruin your summer holiday experience.  Those thieves are your Inner Critic and your Inner Rebel.

That’s right– these two mental criminals work together masterfully and catch you by surprise.  First, the Inner Rebel appears—disguised in such fun time holiday thoughts as…

-“It’s my holiday I am going to let my hair down and drink three Pina Coladas with the umbrella!”

-“I have to try the local fudge…and pastries…and bread and cheese…it would be wrong not to since I will never get to taste this fudge again and I am sure it’s waaaaay different than the fudge I can get at home.”

-“Exercise?  Ha!  Lifting the beers to my mouth while I lie on the beach is all the exercise that I will be doing!”

Next, the Inner Critic swoops in spoils your fudge buzz …the Inner Critic is not so disguised and can really hit you hard with such thoughts as…

“Ugh, why did you eat that fudge, you didn’t even like that fudge, now you feel gross and it’s all your fault—you have no self control!”

“You said you were going to exercise on this vacation and you haven’t even gone on a walk, no wonder that’s why you feel so flabby!  Lazy bones—you blew it!”

“You can never manage being away—you are as out of control on vacation as you are at home!”

You can see when these two vacation thieves work in tandem, things get grim fast!  I remember when I struggled with my own weight, I would spend many vacations letting my hair down and then beating myself up, letting my hair down again and then beating myself up again.

I paid good money to be in a gorgeous holiday setting but it all looked like the prison of my own FAT THINKING too me.  That is why I urge you to plan ahead to be successful on your holidays.

Here are a few things to remember to stay in THIN THINKING:

1.  Remember to HAVE A VISION of feeling light and vibrant the day following the day you get back from your vacation. (not sluggish and bloated).

2. Remember to HAVE A PLAN as to how to make that vision a reality—
-Exercise (how much will you try to achieve on a daily basis?)
-Focus on getting lots of fruits and veggies, keep the starchy carbs to a minimum as they trigger the “eat more-I’m more hungry” valve in the brain.

3) MAKE A DECISION ABOUT YOUR OUTCOME— about how to stay within your calories budget for release or maintenance (make the decision early whether you are going to release or maintain this week).

4. Remember to show up for yourself with power thoughts by staying connected to your Inner Coach.
Here are some powerful Inner Coach Travel Thoughts:
-“If I eat that now how will I feel three hours from now?  Will that really make me feel good?”
-“If I walk for an hour I can treat myself to a local treat.”
-“I know I am going out tonight so I will eat more light and protein based meals earlier to save room for the calories.”

FOODS TO PACK AND BRING:
Personally, when I travel, it’s important for me to keep my blood sugar levels stable not only for my weight maintenance but for my brain.  I have happier saner thoughts and feelings when I keep away from the refined foods and keep my body and brain nourished with healthy fiber-filled and protein based foods.  I don’t know what is going to be out there on the road and gas stations are notorious junk food palaces so here is a list of what I always bring:

-Zen fiber cakes from TJs (80 cals each and full of fiber—great snack on road)
-Munchy veggies like carrots, peppers, sugar peas
-Mozzarella cheese sticks
-Little bags of almonds (portion control)
-Hard boiled eggs (great easy road protein source)
-Greek yogurt
-Apples
-Air blown popcorn
-Turkey jerky

Also, I bring my workout clothes and make a point to move somehow—somewhere, if I can, because exercise =happy body= happy brain.

How are you going to set yourself and your brain and body up for a sane, shifted, enjoyable holiday??

Have a great and restful August!
Oxox Rita

The 9,658 Calorie Tic Tac

The 9,658 Calorie Tic Tac

I remember this Tic Tac like it was yesterday, though it was almost 20 years ago.  The story of the 9,658 Tic Tac begins when I was on a diet trying to lose the same frustrating 40 pounds I had gained and lost over the previous fifteen years.

This time I was on some sort of juice fast which restricted any food other than fruit and vegetable juices.  I had been “juicing” for about a week and had lost 6 pounds and I was excited—only 30 pounds to go!  The French bikini that I had fantasized about wearing that summer, while eating chocolate the week before, was just around the corner!!!

JUST DON’T EAT AND YOU WILL BE FINE

While I was doing this juice fast everything seemed fine and dandy. In a weird way, fasting was easy because it meant not dealing with food. I didn’t think I could trust myself with food so this fasting thing worked for me because it removed food as an option.  It was very black and white.  Juice or water and that is that—eat any food and “you blew it”. So don’t blow it!

I nervously knew in the back of my mind that food would have to come back, but I assured myself that I could figure out how to deal with food at some other point when the summer is over and the French Bikini has been put away until next year. So, I pushed those thoughts aside and enjoyed how “good “ I was being–right now I was the superstar Queen of juice fasts.  That is until that Tic Tac crossed my path.

Do you remember the Tic Tac lady? 

Do you remember those commercials where this blonde, super skinny lady dressed in white comes on and seductively says, “Tic Tacs are only 11/2 calories each” and then pops one in her mouth?  She made them seem so easy, so light, and so fun!!

DAY 7 OF FAST

On the morning of the seventh day, everything started out fine. I drink my morning juice of cucumber and apple and pack my next lunch time juice of spinach and apple and I head out the door, get in the car, and head out for a long day of running errands all around town.

About two hours into the day, I get back in my car and head out on the freeway to my next appointment and I get into some very slow going traffic.  I sit there and start getting stressed, this is bad—I may miss my appointment.

I also notice I am hungry so I reach down for my juice container and that’s when tragedy occurs—the juice container falls over and juice pours out all over the floor of my car. Shoot.  Now I am stuck in traffic and I am really hungry and my precious juice is gone.

The traffic continues and I did indeed miss my appointment.  Now I am frustrated and starving—my stomach is growling!  Then out of the corner of my eye I see a canister of Tic Tacs on the passenger seat. I grab them.  At first I hesitate—a part of me says—“no!  a Tic Tac is food—juice or water and nothing else remember?  The other part of me says, “Eat the damn Tic Tac.  It’s a mint.  Mints aren’t food.  Just eat one—it will calm you down and remember like the lady says, only 1.5 calories.”

Guess which voice won?  I ate the Tic Tac!  For a second I felt wonderful as the little white sugary bliss entered my blood stream. But then the Tic Tac was over and so was the little relief from the traffic and my stress.  So, without thinking I ate another—bliss– and another—bliss– and within a minute I was ripping off the little white plastic dispenser and DUMPING ALL OF THE TIC TACS FROM THE CONTAINER INTO MY MOUTH AT ONE TIME!  But did that make things okay?  No!  Now the fire was fueled and I wanted more.

At this time there was enough of a break in the traffic that I got off the freeway and headed to the nearest 7-11. I went in and got some juice. After all, I hadn’t really cheated had I?  Tic Tacs are just mints not food.
GO ON, YOU ALREADY BLEW IT

As I was waiting to buy my juice I stare at the pastry display and saw a shiny, tantalizing chocolate muffin.  My stomach growled some more.  A part of me said “no—just the juice—juice and water—juice and water!”  But the juice and water didn’t seem so good anymore and the other voice welled up from within, “You know you blew it with the Tic Tacs today so you might as well screw it and just eat the muffin and start again juicing tomorrow.” Guess which voice won?

I grabbed the muffin…and then a bagel with cream cheese.  And oh, heck why not—a bag of Cheetos and let’s rinse it all down with the juice! Oh wait, chocolate, yes a few chocolate bars too.

Do you remember the Tic Tac lady? 

Do you remember those commercials where this blonde, super skinny lady dressed in white comes on and seductively says, “Tic Tacs are only 11/2 calories each” and then pops one in her mouth?  She made them seem so easy, so light, and so fun!!

DAY 7 OF FAST

On the morning of the seventh day, everything started out fine. I drink my morning juice of cucumber and apple and pack my next lunch time juice of spinach and apple and I head out the door, get in the car, and head out for a long day of running errands all around town.

About two hours into the day, I get back in my car and head out on the freeway to my next appointment and I get into some very slow going traffic.  I sit there and start getting stressed, this is bad—I may miss my appointment.

I also notice I am hungry so I reach down for my juice container and that’s when tragedy occurs—the juice container falls over and juice pours out all over the floor of my car. Shoot.  Now I am stuck in traffic and I am really hungry and my precious juice is gone.

The traffic continues and I did indeed miss my appointment.  Now I am frustrated and starving—my stomach is growling!  Then out of the corner of my eye I see a canister of Tic Tacs on the passenger seat. I grab them.  At first I hesitate—a part of me says—“no!  a Tic Tac is food—juice or water and nothing else remember?  The other part of me says, “Eat the damn Tic Tac.  It’s a mint.  Mints aren’t food.  Just eat one—it will calm you down and remember like the lady says, only 1.5 calories.”

Guess which voice won?  I ate the Tic Tac!  For a second I felt wonderful as the little white sugary bliss entered my blood stream. But then the Tic Tac was over and so was the little relief from the traffic and my stress.  So, without thinking I ate another—bliss– and another—bliss– and within a minute I was ripping off the little white plastic dispenser and DUMPING ALL OF THE TIC TACS FROM THE CONTAINER INTO MY MOUTH AT ONE TIME!  But did that make things okay?  No!  Now the fire was fueled and I wanted more.

At this time there was enough of a break in the traffic that I got off the freeway and headed to the nearest 7-11. I went in and got some juice. After all, I hadn’t really cheated had I?  Tic Tacs are just mints not food.
GO ON, YOU ALREADY BLEW IT

As I was waiting to buy my juice I stare at the pastry display and saw a shiny, tantalizing chocolate muffin.  My stomach growled some more.  A part of me said “no—just the juice—juice and water—juice and water!”  But the juice and water didn’t seem so good anymore and the other voice welled up from within, “You know you blew it with the Tic Tacs today so you might as well screw it and just eat the muffin and start again juicing tomorrow.” Guess which voice won?

I grabbed the muffin…and then a bagel with cream cheese.  And oh, heck why not—a bag of Cheetos and let’s rinse it all down with the juice! Oh wait, chocolate, yes a few chocolate bars too.

I head out to the car and just sit in my car and eat it…all.  After I am done, I feel a few seconds of remorse but those feeling were quickly pushed down by the voice telling me, “C’mon you will be good tomorrow—live it up. Let’s hit the drive-thrus and then let’s go get some ice cream. Let’s really party because tomorrow it’s back to boring juiceville.”

So 9,568 calories later, I ended my day and that was then end of the juice fast too because I did not wake up and go back to juicing, I said, “It’s the weekend.  Start again on Monday”. 

FLABBY BITS ON PARADE THIS SUMMER AND FOREVER?

That Monday came and went and so did all the other Mondays of the summer.  And you guessed it–that was another summer that I had to spend cleverly figuring out ways to cover my flabby bits YET AGAIN.
However, worse than hiding flabby bits behind a towel was the fact that I was still struggling and beginning to think that it was always going to be like this. I was always going to have to struggle with not just my weight but MYSELF in this area of my life—FOREVER.

I look back on that story now—having now maintained my Shifted weight release for nearly two decades—and I see many places where I let myself down with FAT THINKING.  Fat thinking is the all or nothing, good or bad, on or off way of thinking that we get into when we struggle with our weight.

BREAKING “BAD”

For me, the key to consistency and long term success, after helping thousands of clients shift from fat to thin thinking, weight struggler to weight master, is not so much about being “good” it’s about losing the “good” and “bad” labels that define us and keep us in the on or off Fat thinking Cycle.

The key is to break “bad” and pull yourself back from that desire to disconnect and just say screw it and eat everything else after you eat the first thing that takes you off the rules of your “plan”.

As you can see in this story, my eating the Tic Tac wasn’t what was damaging to my weight loss, it was my impulse to get out of my feeling guilty about eating the Tic Tacby focusing on starting tomorrow and being “good” at that time. That opened up in my mind the permission to be bad again.

Here is the weird thing about the brain: when we promise to be good in the future, the brain immediately starts feeling good about that decision and so you can do a lot of questionable (and fattening) behavior in the time leading up to “starting over tomorrow” without any backlash.

Making the promise to “start over” is the most fattening thing anyone can do. You delay refocusing your weight release effort and you eat a bunch of calorically dense food with the “last party” attitude that tomorrow you are going back to diet prison.

This habit of “I blew it”, “so screw it” is persistent because the brain perceives it as a reward, fun, letting go. It doesn’t remember all the guilt and shame we feel following this cycle.

SHIFTING OUT OF “I BLEW IT”

A lot of my work with people is all the different ways we can escape this cycle and re-wire our brain for Thin thinking. I want to share with you one quick mind technique that can begin to intercept the “I blew it, so screw it” habit.

1. Whenever you hear or feel yourself saying “I blew it” when you eat something questionable—STOP AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH. This will get you present and in your rational conscious mind rather that your habit driven subconscious.

2. Label the “I blew it” thought. By labeling the thought you separate it out from you. It is no longer something you are but a thought you had, and an irrational thought at that. Labeling it allows you to see it from a different perspective. “Oh there is the thought that I ate a Tic Tac and it wasn’t on my juice fast, so I blew it”

3. Reframe and refocus yourself. You aren’t releasing weight to “be good” you are releasing weight because you want to be healthy and take care of yourself. Start now by treating yourself with respect even when things don’t look so good.

Take that “I blew it thought” and swirl it away by replacing it with a rational, self respecting viewpoint. “I didn’t blow it, I got hungry and ate a handful of tic tacs. It was a few hundred calories which isn’t going to spoil my commitment to what I am doing and myself. I now need to eat something nourishing and really take care of myself at my next meal or snack. Even though I ate the tic tacs, I am still on my journey to weight mastery.”

See–now you have not only avoided another 9,000 calories but you gave yourself a little love and respect and can feel good about yourself right now in your mind.  The more you do this, the more that old pattern weakens and your confidence builds.

Try playing around with this technique this month. You will definitely see a difference and feel more in charge of the moments when your behavior around food goes arwy and the old you who used to blow it, gives way to the you who stops, stays connected with themselves and keeps moving forward on their journey of weight mastery.

Have a great, but not good or bad, month!
oxox Rita

What Do I Want? Ask, Don’t Tell!

WHAT DO I WANT? ASK, DON’T TELL 

Do you ever tell yourself to do something like, “I am going to get up and exercise tomorrow morning!” and you really, really mean it and your intentions are so good, and boy!  oh boy! tomorrow is really going to be the start of a new life of exercise and then your alarm goes off and …you hit the snooze and go back to sleep?

And so the next night you say, “Tomorrow morning I am not going to be lazy!  I am going to do it.  I soooooooo mean it!  I am so getting up and exercising!” and tomorrow morning comes and your alarm goes off and …you hit the snooze and go back to sleep..AGAIN???

Ever wonder why that happens?

Do you remember the cartoon Charlie Brown where the teacher speaks in the classroom and all you hear is “Wah, Wah Wah”?

Or the FAR SIDE comics with the hilarious drawing of the dog and its owner saying, “Go get the ball SPOT, go on SPOT get it!” to the dog and all the dog hears is “blablahblahblah SPOT blahblahSPOTblah!!!

That’s kind of how your unconscious mind hears you when you tell it to do something that it is not used to doing.  It really doesn’t hear you because it is way too busy keeping things just the way they have been, exactly the same.

WHAT DO I WANT?

Employing a tool I call THINK OVERS is a way to activate your unconscious mind more effectively to make a change.

THINK OVERS are simply thinking through a challenging food or exercise situation in your imagination before you actually are in the situation—imagining the specifics of the outcome you want to create instead and asking your mind, “how do I create this new outcome I want instead of the old outcome that does not serve me?”

What this does is it  helps your conscious willpower mind and your unconscious habit mind to work together to create a new behavioral map ahead of time.  This is particularly helpful for situations where we find ourselves in Inner Rebel reaction mode—acting out unconsciously with behaviors that cause us to struggle with our weight–situations like parties or restaurants.  Even thinking though getting out of bed in the morning to exercise are great places to use THINK OVERS ahead of time.

I DON’T “THINK” SO

Let’s look at the example:  “I am going to wake up tomorrow and exercise for an hour!”  When we say “I am going to exercise tomorrow!”  nothing at all happens in the unconscious neural pathways—nothing is engaged because what you are commanding is change and our unconscious resists change!

The Inner Rebel in your unconscious mind raises his or her head and says, “What?  I don’t think so!” and goes back to sleep.  There has been nothing to seduce the Inner Rebel to be on your team– to take the contrary action of hopping out of bed and getting physical instead of hitting the snooze button which is what usually happens.

EMPLOYING A THINK OVER

Let’s look at using a THINK OVER in the same situation:

1.  As I head off to bed with the intention of waking up to exercise,  I start with a question—“How am I going to make exercise happen tomorrow morning?”

2.  Next, I visualize myself in bed in the morning—I imagine the alarm rings –and ask myself the question—“What am I going to do when the alarm rings?”  Answer:  “I will stop it and put my feet on the floor”.

3.  I visualize myself actually taking the actions that I want to occur. I put my feet on the floor, “What am I going to wear?”—I see myself getting my walking outfit on.

4.  Next I get more specific with myself, I want to know everything I expect to happen,“How long am I going to exercise for?”  Answer: “An hour”-What if my unconscious retorts, “An hour doesn’t feel doable” I can negotiate with my unconscious to make something that might not seem so overwhelming at first. Revised answer, “How about 45 minutes?” My unconscious agreement: “Okay, we can do that”

5.  Lastly, I market to myself how fabulous it is going to feel when my vision of exercise comes to life—I really want to focus on this as the feeling of excitement will really engage my unconscious to want to do this.”

6.  I visualize myself heading out of the house and listening to music and greeting the morning feeling good, vibrant and in tune with myself as I feet hit the pavement.

My THINK THROUGH is over and I am ready to go wake up tomorrow and really engage in some exercise.

THINK THROUGHS are very effective ways to  syndromes. Try one today. I mean, when are you going to try one today?

What will that look like when you try a think through today? You catch my drift.

So, next time you want to create a new behavior and haven’t been able to get compliance with yourself—ASK don’t TELL and engage a THINK THROUGH—you will feel the SHIFT right away.

Have a great month…I mean how will you have a great Shifted May?

Oxox Rita