Tips to Avoid the Fattening “Good Time” Trap + free hypnosis

Summer food

It’s official– the summer is now here. I can feel a part of me relax just by writing that. There is nothing like the idea of summer to bring back the kid in all of us—warm sunny days, letting our hair down and relaxing.  Unfortunately, it also is a time when we too easily relax into unhealthy habits, especially with the abundance of social outings of the season.

Being social is a very primal core part of who we are as descendants of cave men (and women) and our wiring to “let down our hair” runs deep. This primal wiring can create definite challenges to our desire to stick to a healthy lifestyle, especially if we are working to lose weight. We don’t want to feel deprived and “on a diet” when we are hanging out with others–and we don’t have to. To help keep summer on track, I am including a free 6 minute social eating hypnosis session.  This is to be listened to prior to going out to whatever social event may be challenging. Please give it a listen and then read the tips below. With just a few painless adjustments, you can stick with your healthy intention and learn to enjoy going out–from the inside out.

SUMMER FUN

When we think about going out and having fun with friends, family, or co-workers, our brain sends out a shot of the neurotransmitter dopamine which immediately excites and arouse us. “GOOD TIME!” our mind thinks. Being with others in a social way is one of our deepest needs, but the challenge is that we also tend overeat when we are with others, sometimes almost twice as much, research says.

The other night, I went over to one of my oldest friend’s home for dinner. I had been looking forward to this night out all week as I knew it was going to be the weekend and we would be relaxing and having a good time.  When I was thinking “Good Time”, what did I mean? Did I mean the food was going to be good? Was it going to be good to drink some wine and relax? Was it going to be good to connect with my friends and share about our ongoing lives? What was going to be so good? It turns out the meal was burnt and the wine was warm but we sat out under the stars and talked and had a most wonderful time.

WHAT IS A “GOOD TIME” REALLY?

Often when we go out, our mind thinks “Good Time” and we fall into the trap of letting the food and drink be responsible for the good time rather than the deeper experience within ourselves.

When I struggled with weight, I would look forward primarily to what we were going to be eating and drinking before thinking about the people I was going to be with—my good time was defined by the food and not so much about the people. Therefore, I tended to overeat, always looking for the bite of food that would fulfill me and often I never found it—I just ended up feeling full but not “full-filled”. Consequently, most of my social eating added to my waistline but not my true inner satisfaction.

When I began to Shift to a healthier mindset and life (what I call the ‘Shift to Thin Thinking”), I knew that for long term success, I would need to change my social eating priorities. Maybe it wasn’t really about the food so much as the people I was eating food with. When I could change my focus from people first, food second, I could get more pleasure for less calories.

Here are some questions I learned to ask myself before any social event that help prepare my mind for social eating success by allowing me to get clear of what my specific needs are for the event—what “having a good time” means.  By getting clear up front, before the stimulus of the event, I am able to keep my focus on what is important to me. I end up feeling less FULL and more FULL-FILLED.

PRE-SOCIAL EATING INNER COACH SESSION

1.  WHAT IS THE FULL-FILLING PART OF THE EVENT FOR ME? WHAT IS MY TRUE GOAL?  Are you meeting with a friend? Is your family coming over? Is this a work party? How do you want to leave this gathering—what would you like to feel as you leave? Like you spent some quality time speaking with the people you were with? By getting clear on your true social goals, you focus your mind on other people rather than your stomach.

2. IS THE GOOD TIME IN THE FOOD OR DRINK? In our minds, food can mean “fun”. Social celebrations often have wonderful food to indulge in but the problem is when we over-indulge we end up actually feeling bad. Getting mindful about the food you will be eating beforehand also allows you to be more mindful about your choices and amounts once you are in the middle of the event.

Get clear on:
a. Taking small portions and eating mindfully and slowly. The 3 bite rule is especially useful for this. After 3 bites, your mouth experience diminishes greatly.

b. Think about how you can feed yourself in a way that allows you to stay within your weight goal needs but also have a bit of pleasure. We don’t need to gorge in order to have a good time. Take a moment to think about how eating lightly can be more fun—especially when heading home and not feeling like you over did it.

c. Think about alcohol and how much you need. Do we really need to drink in order to have a good time?Often, we socially associate drinks with getting the “party” going. It really helps to decide upon how many drinks you will have ahead of time before the first bottle is opened. Again, the more you focus on bringing your inner party, the need to rely on drinks to have a good time greatly diminishes.

3. HOW CAN I “BE” THERE? When thinking about going out, I think about the way I can connect with people, often it’s by listening and really hearing what people are saying and responding from the heart. Just being there. By being a true friend, I am bringing more to the social experience than a homemade dessert! I am giving of myself and allowing people to give to me. It’s these types of exchanges that are sweeter than any cake!

4. HOW CAN I LEAVE FEELING FULL-FILLED? Think through to getting home from the social event. What would you like to feel like?  Like you ate well but not too much? That you gave yourself a treat but not a tummy ache? That you brought something of yourself and shared it with others while you are bringing home a bit of the people you were with by letting them and who they were in to yourself—allowing yourself to be full-filled.

SOCIAL EATING HYPNOSIS

I encourage you to listen to the following short hypnosis session. This is to be used prior to going out to any social event that may be challenging for you.  If you have not experienced hypnosis previously, please listen to the Introduction track first and read more about hypnosis here.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN:
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 summer.

Keep working on the full-filling practice of shifting your focus in social situations from food to full-fillment. Taking the time to really think through your social events and ask yourself these inner questions can go a long way to shifting the amount of true pleasure you get from all of your social  events.

ox Rita

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HELPFUL: Pre Social Event Hypnosis to Avoid Overeating

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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!!

PLEASE SIR, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE?

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.

EASY TIPS AND PRE SOCIAL GATHERING HYPNOSIS

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.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN:
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

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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

Get Mindful and Avoid the Belly-Full this Thanksgiving

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TIPS TO 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?

TRYING TO “BE GOOD” DOESN’T WORK

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.

USE YOUR MIND MORE EFFECTIVELY

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.

EASY TIPS AND PRE-SOCIAL GATHERING HYPNOSIS

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)

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JULY 2016 – RITA BLACK’S WEIGHT MASTERY BLOG

D.U.I.
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.

THE POWER OF PLANNING AHEAD

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!”

MASTERING THE SOCIAL EVENT
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.

AFTER THE PARTY

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!
oxoxRita