A Simple Mind Hack to Empower You Over Holiday Sugar

How to Keep Hungry Away All Day

Halloween is over and it’s the official beginning of the holiday season–the season of sweets, parties and comfort eats.  My treat to you today is sharing with you the POWER OF NO. No? Yes, NO!


It must be the candy corn (which many of you know is a major trigger food for me), the nostalgia of childhood, or all the Pumpkin Spice everything; as soon as Halloween and those bite size candies come around, so does this mental phenomena called “it’s the holidays”.  We find ourselves much more vulnerable to all our trigger foods, eating more calories, exercising less,and believing we have no choice but to surrender to the spell.

We emerge sometime after January 1  when the bell chimes and the spell of “it’s the holiday’s” recedes. We are left in the wake of the aftermath with weight gain, more struggle, and the disappointment of “how did I let it all go?”.

But, in this season of YES, we can start using the POWER OF NO.

FANTASY OR REALITY??In case you have not realized it, the mind can’t really separate fantasy from reality.

Have you ever found yourself watching a James Bond film where James is being chased by the bad guy and realize that your heart is beating faster, your breathing is elevated, and your stomach is tensed up — just as if you were being chased right alongside 007?

Have you ever watched someone watching an intense sporting on TV stand up and begin yelling at the players on the screen as if they believed the players could really hear them?  We can tap into this very phenomenon and the power of self hypnosis to help you resist trigger foods.


I am going to give you a subtle but easy and effective cognitive technique that you can use in a relaxed (self-hypnotic) state to help change your relationship to a particular trigger food (usually sweets or starches) that you have a vulnerability to over eat or binge on.

I have used this with some of my trigger foods (frosting, Wine Gums, and candy corn) in the past and it works well.  You will want to practice this exercise a number of times for it to have a real impact.

-Find a place to get comfortable and close your eyes.


-Now imagine your trigger food in front of you.


-Now practice saying “No” to that trigger food in many different ways and times.


(IMPORTANT:  Not “No” as in, “You can’t have it.”  I mean “No” as in “I choose not to have it.”  Making this distinction between –you can’t have and I choose NOT to have is huge.  The former engages the Inner Critic and the latter engages the Inner Coach.)


-Practice saying “no” to your trigger food politely—Pause and take a deep breath between each time you imagine yourself saying “no” to your trigger food.

Thank you, but no.

No thanks.








-Now imagine saying no to the trigger food firmly the same way.



I said no!






Repeat this polite no and firm no with the trigger food in the circumstances that you might encounter it; at the grocery store, at the party, in the office, in your kid’s goody bag, in a restaurant, in your cupboard (hey, what’s it doing there?), at a drive through etc.


-Now imagine someone else is eating your trigger food and telling you how delicious it is and offering it to you.


-Imagine many different ways of saying no politely and then firmly to them.

You can even yell at them if you wish( in your imagination that is!).

Now, still in the relaxed position run this exercise again but now add your voice.  Practice really saying no politely at first and working your way up to a resounding firm “No!”.  Make sure you take a breath in between each “NO!” and align yourself with that feeling that you are saying “No” because you choose to and not because you have to. You can do this part while you are driving in the car—just say no!!

I recommend that you start with the food that is your strongest trigger and repeating down the list of trigger foods.  And repeat a few days or before you go to a party or event where you know you’ll be tested.

Please let me know how this works for you.

xo Rita


Shift Into Clean Eating October

Avoid the Fattening Good Time Trap

Hi there,

Welcome to autumn!


After the free-for-all looseness of the summer, it is a great time to get back to basics and structure.  For me and many of my clients—this means starting with our eating. The relaxed mode of summer can cause even the most focused of us to stray off the path.

One of the easiest ways to get back to basics with food is to focus on a healthy plan that eliminates processed foods and focuses on whole foods.  I find that doing this for a month just helps to bring awareness to what exactly we are eating – and it feels great.

Of course, there are a lot of levels of processed foods and a lot of questions about what is really happening to food before it gets into our shopping cart (or market basket).  Good news—I have a great resource to help make this easy.  My friend Andrew Wilder has a great website and blog dedicated to this healthy whole food eating.  It’s an amazing resource and keeps things simple.

And this October, you can join a free community challenge on his site Eating Rules.  Each year, Andrew hosts the challenge to not eat processed foods for the month of October.  If you sign the pledge, you’ll get an inspiring email daily with great recipes and helpful tips.  More good news—the challenge and all the resources are free!  And you can still eat chocolate!  Here’s the link to the site and the challenge: October Unprocessed Challenge here

Andrew started October Unprocessed in 2009 when he decided to cut out processed foods for an entire month. The challenge has grown each year and since then, more than 30,000 people have taken the pledge along with him.  I did the challenge last year and found it to be a great experience, helping me:

* Overcome carb and sugar cravings

* Feel healthier and more energetic

* Get some great new healthy meal and snack ideas

* Release some weight and feel fitter heading into the holidays

I hope you’ll consider joining me this year– it’s a great way to get support and get healthy.  Here’s the link again: Enroll here 

Also, I interviewed Andrew about why he started the challenge and he gives some great tips for getting started. Please listen here.

One more piece of good news—I was asked by Andrew to contribute a guest post for the challenge.  So, I have created a new clean eating hypnotic meditation session designed to keep you motivated to stick with the challenge and to keep enjoying eating in the way nature intended. You’ll be receiving that from Andrew on the first day of the challenge!

I am excited to start a month of healthy eating before heading into the holiday season.  I do hope you’ll join me.

Happy eating!

Alone we diet, Together we Shift
Rita Black

PS – I know people often think that eating unprocessed is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. And to help you get started, Andrew’s scored some great discounts from Bob’s Red Mill, Mighty Nest, and Olisio to help make the challenge easier and more affordable than ever. He’ll be passing along coupons to us to take advantage. So join us today!

eating rules

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

BACK TO REHAB or Take Back Your Power From Sugar (with FREE HYPNOSIS)



Good news!  Checking into rehab these days is no longer seen as a sign of weakness.  In fact,  it is the “in thing” to do!  So, let’s take this opportunity to RE-HABITUALIZE your relationship with sugar, one of the most addictive substances around.  Back in 16th century France, when sugar became a rare and coveted delicacy, it was call “Crack”!  And in the last 25 years, the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup has risen 10705%!!

As we finish out the summer and head into Fall, with all it’s sugar tempting holidays, there is no better time to break our addiction to sugar and carbs. That’s why I’m adding a special treat this month, with a free “Curb Your Sugar Cravings” hypnosis session that will help you detox, rehab and stay sugar sober. The benefits are numerous– the long list includes weight maintenance, lowering diabetes risk to full body wellness and even anti-aging!!  So, let’s quit this drug now!


When we consume too many refined sugars and carbohydrates, it throws both our mind and body out of whack.  Our bodies are not built to eat high levels of carbohydrates so over time consuming to many can throw off hormonal function, exhaust our adrenal glands, over tax the pancreas and liver, and make us prone to insulin resistance.  It also just makes us lose our power and become what I call a CARB EATING ZOMBIE.

So, why are carbs and sugar so addictive?

Body Addiction: Our blood sugar levels spike and drop with excess sugar consumption.  When we experience a blood sugar drop, we then feel tired or hungry or light headed or all three.  What is our impulse to do to fix this unpleasant state?  Eat more sugar of course and the process starts all over again.

Mind Addiction: Our mind also becomes imbalanced with excess sugar and carbohydrate consumption because our pleasure/reward centers are tickled when we eat too much.  The mind says “oooh that feels good– let’s keep doing that—let me get some more”.  We continue to eat the sugar overriding our signals of homeostasis (stop eating I have had enough calories) and eat too much.

Over time, our mind’s amino acid balance is thrown out of whack and this also causes us to feel “addicted” as we seek more carbs to restore the balance.  What we should be doing is restoring balance with the amino acids in protein.


How can our Inner Coach use certain strategies to keep us out of that addiction cycle? Here are some weight master’s CARB RE-HABITING strategies to put into place today.  Remember,it’s consistency, not perfection, that is going to keep you on your journey to long term permanent weight release.

1-Eat more fiber, whole foods and protein: In order to physically “unhook” addictive eating, it will serve you to make sure you are getting enough high fiber fruits and vegetables (5-10 servings) and lean protein( 50 grams)

2-Know your refined sugar and starchy carbohydrate “ceiling”:  Ever heard of the glass ceiling—well there is a daily carb ceiling too.  Every “body” is different and can tolerate a certain level of starchy or refined sugars and carbohydrates on average on a daily basis.  If you are consistently consuming more than your limit, you start feeling “hooked”. It will be your mission to discover what your ceiling is and to make sure that you stay under that ceiling on a daily basis. A good place to start is 2-3 servings or less than 150 grams of carbohydrates a day.

3-Tune into your body after eating refined foods and sugar:  Some foods have a worse impact than others and for many, the rule of thumb is to avoid eating sugar on an empty stomach because that sets off raised blood sugar levels and also creates a bigger impact on the brain, which starts looking around for more sugar.  It is best to eat sugar (if, and when you do) with other food.
4-Think of refined starches and sugar like cocktails—only to be had after 5pm!  The earlier in the day we eat refined food, the earlier we begin wanting more!!!

5-Learn trigger times and emotional triggers for compulsive eating.  Use your Inner Coach to come up with ways of comforting yourself other than food. Find healthier alternatives for those times when you have gotten used to reaching for the more “addictive” foods.

-Sit and grant yourself permission just to close your eyes for 5 minutes.
-Listen to the Curb Your Sugar Craving hypnosis session.
-Take a walk.
-Call a friend.
-Sit down and write your feelings or just sit with them and let them move through you—they won’t eat you alive (and you won’t be eating them!)


If you find yourself eating too many carbohydrates and getting “hooked” do not fear—you can bounce back quickly and escape the grip of “addiction”.  Learn the lesson and move on.  Take action as quickly as possible and engage in the following strategies and you will become unhooked in no time:

1-Forgive yourself:  Hey, life happens and this world is full of sugar and junk. The idea isn’t to be perfect, the idea is to learn the lesson and move on.  If you beat yourself up—you lose the lesson. If you learn the lesson now, next time you don’t have to fall prey to the same old useless habit—this is what re-hab is all about.

2-First, take a break from all starchy and refined carbohydrates for three days.

3-Next, up your protein intake. This will stabilize your blood sugar and stunt the false hunger that is being caused by your out of whack blood sugar levels. Up your intake to at least 70 grams of protein for the next 3 days.

4-And up your intake of vegetables and whole food.  The more healthfully you eat,the less your body craves the junk.

5-Drink water which flushes it all from your system.

6-Try supplementing with L-Glutamine—a natural occurring amino acid (you can get it at Whole Foods inexpensively) that will help cut carb cravings.

7-Move your body and exercise.  In fact, take action on this step as soon as you can.  It immediately makes you feel better about yourself.  Even if you only walk around your block—just do it!!!

Note:  Starchy Carbohydrates can range from whole grain bread to the most refined sugary candy and alcohol.  Even though starchy carbohydrates from whole foods give you more nourishment than candy and donuts and more refined carbs, some people have such a low tolerance level and can overeat even these “healthier” foods. Part of what we learn at Shift about being a “loving scientist” with ourselves is finding out what amount is right for you.

Remember, long term permanent weight release is not about being perfect.  It is about embracing imperfection and consistently finding solves and strategies that allow us to stay connected to ourselves and moving forward.  It’s important to “show up for ourselves” rather than hitting the “eject” button on ourselves and our weight release when we get off course.

Your Valentine’s Sugar Addiction Intervention


Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

Did you know that sugar was called “Crack” when it became a rare and coveted delicacy in 16th century France? Even back then, sugar was thought of as a drug, known for its powerful addictive potential.

As Valentine’s Day turns the world outside into a big candy dish full of chocolates and sweets, how can you walk through the week of love and sugar without becoming a sugar pining fool? Let’s do a little pre-Valentine’s weekend sugar addiction intervention session shall we?


Back in my un-Shifted days, when I yo-yoed up and down the scale 40 pounds, my “crack” during Valentine’s Day was not chocolate but those sugary sweet “sweet hearts candy” that came in the little box. I never stopped at one box though—I powered through multiple boxes in one hedonistic sitting.

Sugar then was not my sweet heart but my enemy—taking my power and leaving me feeling like a cheap, easy date. I’d feel guilty, but at the same time craved more sugar. This was the impact it had on both my brain and my body after the initial sugar high. Valentine’s Day was never a day time of love but a time of self defeatist loathing.

When I made my own SHIFT 20 years ago, I began by creating a powerful boundary around the sweet heart candy. Those sweet hearts can say “Be Mine” and “So Cute!” all they want but they do not seduce this wise and Shifted mama into letting one pass over her lips.

I may treat myself to other Valentine’s Day treats—such as chocolate—which does not hook me—but I stay clear of my danger zone. And for me, Valentine’s Day now is not about the candy (as it always used to be) but for being grateful for all the fabulous people I have in my life—including you!

How about you—do you worry about going down that dark alley of Valentine’s Day treats?

For you to SHIFT your relationship to sugar, you need to understand that it isn’t about being “good” or “bad”. Your addictive relationship with sugar is divided into three sub relationships—physical, mental and emotional.

PHYSICALLY: Our relationship with sugar is physical because excessive use can create addictive neural patterns in the brain similar to heroin addiction. Over time, eating too much sugar literally blows out our brains drive for homeostasis and our reward center gets triggered. That leads to what Dr. David Kessler calls “hypereating”—eating when we aren’t even hungry, eating excessively, because the reward center of our brain just says “More! More! More!” People who struggle with their weight tend to be more sensitive and become “hooked” more easily to sugary foods.

MENTALLY: Our relationship with sugar is mental because if we habitually eat certain sugars at certain places and at certain times of the day, the brain comes to expect the sugary food and becomes agitated when it doesn’t get it. We typically call this need to do the same thing at the same time place “habit”.

When we expect something habitually we become agitated until we get it and when we get it –it creates a sense of relief. Even though it seems like it, it’s actually not the sugar, but the satisfying of the expectation that feels good. But our unconscious brain is hooked and is going to make sure we get that cookie at the same time tomorrow.

So you can see why habits form quickly and die slowly.You can also see why we feel addicted—we feel agitated like a junkie does when he expects his next fix. That cookie at 3pm becomes the fix and 3pm is our fix time.

EMOTIONALLY: Our relationship with sugar is emotional because from an unconscious level, comfort food isn’t the food, but what the food represents to us symbolically from an unconscious perspective.

Our unconscious mind speaks to us in symbols more than language and when we are young we become imprinted with our own food symbol language. For me, brownies symbolized nurturing. I noticed during my own Shift that when I craved brownies and I took the moment to dig deeper—I didn’t really need the brownie, I needed nurturing. Baked sugary goods equaled my mother’s love.

The good news is that your Inner Coach can use key strategies to keep you out of that addiction cycle and change your relationship to sugar.


1- Eat More Fiber, Whole Foods and Protein: In order to physically “unhook” addictive eating, it will serve you to create a food plan that is low in sugar, salt, fat and refined floury foods and high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and lean protein.

2-Know And Honor Your Sugar Ceiling: Every “body” is different and can tolerate a certain level of starchy or refined sugars and carbohydrates before they start feeling “hooked”. It will be your mission to discover how much “sets you off” to make sure that you stay under that point on a daily basis. For many this is about 2-3 servings a day.

3-Tune Into Your Body: Check out how you feel after eating refined foods and sugar. Some foods have a worse impact than others (think “gateway food”) and for many the rule of thumb is to avoid eating Valentine’s Candy on an empty stomach. This quickly raises blood sugar levels and creates a bigger impact on the brain causing it to start looking around for more sugar. It is best to eat sugar (if and when you do) with other food.

Note: Starchy Carbohydrates can range from whole grain bread to the most refined sugary candy and alcohol. Even though starchy carbohydrates from whole foods give you more nourishment than candy and donuts and more refined carbs, some people have a low tolerance level and can overeat even these “healthier” foods

4-Think of Refined Starches and Sugar Like Cocktails: The earlier in the day we eat refined food the earlier we begin wanting more!!! Save the sweets for after 5pm!

5-Learn Your Triggers: Recognize your trigger times and emotional triggers for compulsive eating and use your Inner Coach to come up with other ways of comforting yourself other than food.

6-Find Healthier Alternatives: Find a replacement for those times that you have gotten used to reaching for the more “addictive” foods.

7-Sugar and Valentine Candy Addiction Intervention:

Remember long term permanent weight release is not about being perfect. It is about embracing imperfection and consistently finding solves and strategies that allow us to stay connected to ourselves and moving forward –“showing up for ourselves” rather than hitting the “eject” button on ourselves and our weight release when we get off course.

If you find yourself eating a sugary “gateway” food or candy and getting “hooked”, take action as quickly as possible. Use the following strategies and you will become unhooked in no time:

-Take a break from all starchy and refined carbohydrates for three days (or limit to one).

-Up your protein intake. This will stabilize your blood sugar and stunt the false hunger that is being caused by your out of whack blood sugar levels.

-Up your intake of vegetables and whole food. The more healthfully you eat, the less your body craves the junk.

-Drink water which flushes it all from your system

-Move your body and exercise.

Just remember this holiday that your biggest Valentine is showing up for yourself in a loving and respectful way. There is really no one who can nurture you as much as you can really nurture yourself. Don’t give up on yourself—you are worth the fight against sugar slavery!

oxox Rita

Candy Craving Rehab


Natalie felt like she was addicted to candy, chocolates, and cookies when she came to see me. She had always been thin through her childhood and early adult years, but since starting a new job, her craving for sweets had escalated and she had gained 25 pounds over the past 2 years.

It started with grabbing candy in a fellow sales reps office while discussing sales strategies, but she now craved the sweets and had a drawer full in her office.  If her stash was gone, she’d roam the office looking for more.

“I am an addicted freak”, she told me nearly in tears.  “I know how to eat. I ‘juice’ for breakfast, eat a kale salad for lunch, and always something light for dinner, usually vegetarian. I even work out four days a week. But it’s this candy thing, and cookies too, and it’s getting worse.  I feel out of control.”

Do you fall into this trap?


PHYSICALLY: Excessive (and it doesn’t have to be that many servings) amounts of sugar, fat and salt (and even cheese and dairy products) can create addictive neural patterns in the brain similar to heroin addiction.   People who struggle with their weight tend to be more sensitive and become “hooked” more easily to foods containing these ingredients.

MENTALLY: If we habitually eat certain foods at certain places and at certain times of the day, the brain becomes literally “wired” to expect the “food event” and becomes agitated when it doesn’t get it. We typically call this doing the same thing at the same time place “habit”. We feel agitated like a junkie does when he expects his next fix. That candy at 3 p.m. becomes the fix and 3 p.m. is now our fix time.

EMOTIONALLY:  We become reliant upon certain carb based “comfort foods” because from an unconscious level comfort food isn’t the food but what it represents to us symbolically: food becomes reward, love, security, power, entertainment, success, celebration, a break etc.

Your life doesn’t don’t have to be run by your Carb seeking Junkie. The key is for your Inner Coach to have some strong strategies to keep you from awaking the Candy Craving within you in the first place.


1.  AVOID THE SALAD AND CANDY TRAP – Natalie spent a good amount of her day eating carbohydrates without much protein or healthy fats. Even her juice in the morning, without protein, turned to sugar in her system and began turning on her candy junkie brain.

Many of my smart female clients fall into what I call the “salad and candy trap” —  they eat lots of greens and fruit but little protein and that creates a carb imbalance that drives the addictive feeling and need for sweeter things like candy.

2.  AVOID A CARB BASED BREAKFAST- Try starting your day with protein versus just carbohydrates. This has been a key shift for many people who feel addicted to carbs. Try eggs, Greek yogurt or chicken or veggie protein sausage rather than toast or cold cereal.

Sometimes even oatmeal or a 400 calorie bagel can cause people to feel hungriersooner and lead to craving for something more to eat.

3.  WEAVE PROTEIN THROUGH YOUR DAILY FOOD TO KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS STABILIZED: Blood sugar stabilization is a huge tool of Weight Mastery.  Make a new habit of weaving protein and healthy fats throughout your day to keep your hunger at bay and blood sugar peaks and valleys smoothed out.

Make sure you are getting about 15-20 grams of protein a meal helps. Healthy fats like almonds make a good snack, and you don’t need many, maybe 10-20, to really stabilize your hunger levels at that 3 pm dip versus a refined carb that will spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling more tired and hungry as you head into the night.

Think of refined starches like cocktails, only to be had after 5 pm! The earlier in the day we eat refined food the earlier we begin wanting more!!!

4.  AVOID EATING SUGAR OR REFINED CARBS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH:  Nothing drives false hunger more than eating refined carbs on an empty stomach. Make a point not to eat your 15% GAKKY refined foods on an empty stomach.  Have your treat at the end of a meal or a few hours after dinner as that “end of day” treat.

5. EAT MORE FIBER:  Fiber also stabilizes blood sugar rises. You will find fiber in beans, high fiber whole grain breads and pasta (still keep in mind it is a serving of carbs), fruits and vegetables.

Eat 30 grams of fiber a day along with protein and healthy fats fruits and vegetables and keep that candy  zombie in hibernation for a long time.

6. BE A LAB RAT –  LEARN WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND WHAT DOESN’T: One of the biggest Shifts for me was to learn to use myself as an ongoing science experiment. I became curious how the food I ate interacted in my body at certain times, with certain combinations etc.  This is what we call being mindful—you are getting a “mind ful” of facts about yourself just by tuning in.

FYI – Every “body” is different in what level of starchy or refined carbohydrates it can tolerate before feeling “hooked” and craving more. Usually that amount is about 150 grams of carbohydrates a day but find your personal “carb ceiling” by observing your body’s reaction over the day.

7. FOCUS ON REPLACING CANDY WITH COMPETING REWARDS:  Next time a craving hits, notice what the deeper need is. Often we don’t really need the candy but the craving is for true self care, like the need for a break or to refresh ourselves with some water.

Dig deeper and find the true need—it’s like discovering gold. Now you don’t need candy to take care of you, you are taking care of you.


Once you understand that you are not a hopeless addict, but that there are mental, physical, and emotional steps to removing yourself from the habit of eating too much candy, you can begin to take charge and recover. The prize isn’t just feeling free but the confidence that comes from knowing you can always pull yourself out of the trap when you fall in.

I hope you enjoy using these tools this upcoming spring holiday season—don’t let the Easter Bunny be the candy drug pusher!

You are prepared!