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


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



Dining Under the Influence (of Thin Thinking)

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

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

Fat Thinking Crime Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to SHIFT into THIN Thinking in Social Situations

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am allergic but sorry that looks great!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Downton Flabby (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

summer meal

DOWNTON FLABBY (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to a great healthy summer!

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.”

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
-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