Effective Praise (Delete the “I Never Will Be Thin” File From Your Brain)

Effective Praise


I just did my taxes. Big sigh of relief.  I dread this time of year like I dread doing laundry after vacation. Every year I get out my big box of the previous year’s paperwork and invoices and sort through them. I put all the various pieces, receipts, papers into piles and folders in their own little informational universes where utility bills never meet trip expenses.

My son helped me this year, for pay of course – grrr. What 12-year-old helps with something so mundane for free out the kindness of his heart? No such luck, however, he was very helpful in exchange for some cold, hard cash. And he got into it – the sorting, that is – helping me file away, the art of putting things into little neat folders, creating order and consistency of the chaotic universe of bills and invoices.


Doing all of this sorting and filing got me thinking about the inner files that we keep in our minds. Did you ever notice that when it comes to our weight, our brain tends to have this one very thick and heavy folder called “I WILL NEVER BE THIN”? It likes to collect evidence for this folder and it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

In this thick and heavy folder,  you will find such beliefs as, “I have a slow metabolism”, “I get bored with healthy food”, “I need food to cope”, ” I am a sugar addict!” and many other beliefs that we keep filed away.  Unfortunately, we usually have very little evidence collected that we will succeed at long-term permanent weight release.  In fact, where in the heck is that file folder marked “I CAN LIVE MY LIFE AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT”?  It’s kind of hard to find at all, huh?

Just like my son and I with my taxes, our brain needs to file things away in mental folders in order to make order of the chaos of life. Unfortunately, once it gets in the groove of filing things into one folder like “I WILL NEVER BE THIN” it’s hard to get it to change course and file things into a different one called “I CAN LIVE CONFIDENTLY AND PEACEFULLY AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT.” This makes it very hard for us to believe that we can ever be successful.

Let me teach you a powerful cognitive tool called EFFECTIVE PRAISE Effective praise can help you move the evidence from the “I WILL NEVER BE THIN” folder, to the “I CAN LIVE CONFIDENTLY AND PEACEFULLY AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT” folder.

Effective praise is simply the act of observing all the behaviors that you are implementing that take you closer to weight mastery (no matter how small and insignificant they may seem).

Effective Praise: I noticed I took the stairs this morning – that was a healthy choice.

Note that I said observing your behaviors and not evaluating them?? Evaluative praise is a whole different thing, and actually sabotages our attempts at changing our beliefs about ourselves.

Evaluative Praise: I was good because I took the stairs!

Evaluative praise is when we make what we are doing “good” or “great” – rating ourselves for doing the behavior.

Evaluative Praise: “I was soooo good because I pushed the plate away!”

Evaluative Praise: “I was “soooo awesome because I exercised!!!”

While it’s nice to acknowledge ourselves positively, what happens when we label our behavior as “good”, or any other evaluative type of praise on an unconscious level we just do not buy into that we have been “good” because we have a whole file of evidence that says the opposite – so our subconscious mind tends to reject the sing-songy “I was good” praise as white noise and nothing gets stored in the positive evidence folder. REJECTED!  says our unconscious – you aren’t “good” says our Inner Critic, “who are you trying to kid?”

However, if we instead just take notice of the behavior itself without the “good” then things begin to sink into the murky depths where those evidence files are stored:

Effective Praise: “Hmm…I am noticing that I pushed the plate away and there was food left on it, maybe I don’t need as much food as I thought before – I am noticing I don’t need to eat everything to feel full”.

Our unconscious then perks up its ears and takes note, “That’s interesting – you actually left food on the plate – that is different and moving in the direction of being healthy.  Let me store that in my file folder “I CAN LIVE CONFIDENTLY AND PEACEFULLY AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT “.

Effective Praise: “Hmmm I am noticing that if I just get up and put my feet right into some sneakers and stand up, I can get out of bed in the morning and go out for a walk first thing and it feels wonderful!”.

“Aha!” the unconscious mind says, “things are changing a bit, we can follow through on exercise – let me go take that “I hate exercise” belief out of the I WILL NEVER BE THIN file folder and put “I enjoy exercise into that “I CAN LIVE CONFIDENTLY AND PEACEFULLY AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT” folder.

Try effectively praising yourself 10 times a day this week when it comes to behaviors around your weight management. It’s easy.

1)    Observe the positive weight management related behavior
2)    Resist thinking “I was good!” with evaluative praise
3)    Instead try out acknowledging the healthy behavior and how your engaging in the behavior allows you to capably move the needle on your weight mastery

This way the brain doesn’t reject GOOD but starts to accept seeing you in a more capable light and shifts some of those papers in the I WILL NEVER BE THIN evidence folder into the I CAN AND WILL LIVE MY LIFE AT MY IDEAL WEIGHT.

So, even though taxes will still be a burden next year you can lift the weight burden this year from the I WILL NEVER BE THIN file in your mind with effective praise and find that it translates not only into a lighter mind but a lighter you with a much lighter heart!!!


ox Rita Black
Director, Shift Weight Mastery


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

Break On Through To The Other Side



Weight Loss Plateaus – Part 3
Break On Through To The Other Side

Welcome to week three of the Plateau Buster series!  Plateaus have a nasty reputation in the dieting world.  In the dieting world, a weight loss plateau is hated, feared, and cursed because it represents a stopping of success–the glamorous loss on the scale. It means that your weight loss is stagnant and you are unsuccessful.  In the dieting world, plateaus often lead us to give up on our plan and gain the weight back.   Sorry plateaus– that’s a tough gig over there in the dieting world.  Read:  Week 1 / Week 2

When we make the Shift and learn how to use our minds more effectively—to think, strategize and assess as a weight release master–we can have a much more powerful relationship with a weight plateau. In fact, often plateaus are opportunities to learn more about ourselves, our thought processes, our eating patterns and our environments.  When we take back our power and cultivate a powerful and lasting foundation within ourselves, the number on the scale becomes only one indicator of the progress we are making.  We can then see a plateau not as a scary force, but a natural part of a weight release journey.
Over this three week series, we have explored the nature of weight loss plateaus.  Week I focused on the mental game of mastering and busting a plateau.   Last week I explored the physical part of mastering and busting a plateau.  This last week I will focus on how our environment may be contributing to our weight plateau and I will ask your Inner Coach some leading questions that may help you to drill down and find some en”light”ening answers..


Often, when we begin a weight release journey, we are focused and our vision is strong.  We easily track our foods, tune into portions amounts and are very clear on what is going into our mouths.  But over time, as we get further down our journey and further down the scale, it is easy to lose the focus that we had in the beginning.  Sometimes not every calorie gets written down.  Am I right?

Let’s face it– we often forget what we eat 15 minutes after eating it.  There have been days when I have not been on top of my tracking and I will get to the end of my day and my calories seem a bit low and then I will realize that I had conveniently forgotten a cookie that I had eaten.  Sometimes, if I have not been on top of it, I could have consumed up to 300 calories more than what I had written down.  I call this “under the radar eating” and this is often what is going on when someone is experiencing a plateau.

Brian Wansink, in his book “Mindless Eating” discusses the fact that most overweight people underestimate the amount of food they eat by up to 100%.  If you are not writing it down, chances are you are making yourself a victim of distorted, under the radar, thinking.

“But I am not eating anything!” my client will say.  But when I have them write down EVERY lick, bite and nibble, the light bulb will go off, “Ooooohhh now I get it” and they see that those extra little “bits and bobs” can add up fast and fill in any sort of deficit hole that they may have thinking they were creating.

I recently had a new client who was eating only about 900 calories a day in “real food” and was baffled by why she had been gaining weight.  She admitted to eating a little chocolate here and there over her work day. “How many calories are in the chocolate?” I asked.  “I am not sure but it can’t be much”.  She called me the next day having checked the chocolate wrapper and said she had been eating about 650 calories a day in chocolate!!!  She was shocked and relieved at the same time—now she had her answer. Mystery solved and plateau—broken!!  She still eats chocolate every day BTW, but just a lot less!!

Question for your Inner Coach: Are you absolutely clear on the number of calories you think that you are eating per day??


Another environmental issue is that as we lose focus, we also start assuming calories in portions. This is fine—I don’t think you need to weigh and measure everything that goes in your mouth your whole life—that would be a little excessive.  This point is, if you are experiencing a plateau, you could be under assuming the calories in the portions you are serving yourself.  Once a month I get out my Kitrics Scale and weight portions of chicken, vegetables and fruit—just to keep my eyes honest.  I crack up at how, even though I have been maintaining my weight for fifteen years, my estimates of what 150 calories of chicken is grows to about 250 calories every month!!!

Question for your Inner Coach:  Are you sure that the energy values of the foods you are putting in your mouth are really what you are assuming that they are??


As I say again and again, and again and again, and even again—weight management is 80% stimulus control.  Having helped thousands of people release weight and seen many weight release journeys, the main thing I hear over and over when trouble start brewing is—oh yeah that “thing” appeared on my plate or my desk or in my fridge and I just had to eat it.  The other one is “well I thought I could have it in my house” or “I just bought it for the kids”. If you are stuck on a weight release plateau, it is time to take charge of your environments and get rid of any foods that may lead you to taking those extra bites, licks and nibbles.

Restaurant eating is also a plateau creator because we are really not on top of what’s in the food. We could assume that salad is 350 calories and it is really over 1000!!  That is what happened to a client of mine who was stuck on a plateau for 2 months until she discovered his innocent salad at lunch was 850 calories—no wonder the spin classes weren’t allowing him to release weight!  If you eat out a lot and are experiencing a plateau—the best thing to do is find out calories from the internet ahead of time or to order food, prepared simply so that you know how many calories are in them.  This doesn’t have to be forever—just until you break through your plateau.

Question for Your Inner Coach: Are you allowing disempowering foods to enter your environment and sabotage your weight release efforts?  Why?  How can you Shift those foods out of your life for now?

Here is the exercise we have been focusing on over the last few weeks.  Now you can create a powerful vision using all of the mental, physical, and environmental components that we discussed in order to create an amazing breakthrough on the scale and with yourself.

Exercise for Plateau Busting:

1)  Create a vivid representation of your present state with all of the challenges the plateau represents.

2)  See yourself the way you want to be when you get through all of the challenges. Be clear on the specifics—how you would be behaving, how much would you be eating and exercising, what do you look like, how do you feel?

3)  Place one image in each of your hands outstretched in front of you with a space separating them.  This space represents the unexplored territory and unspecified steps that lie between the plateau state and the plateau busted state.

4)  Begin to make a series of images or movies of the logical steps from one state to another, adjusting each frame until each is a fully representational stage of the process of change.

5)  When you have between 5-8 stages in front of you, begin slowly to close your hands, collapsing all of the stages into a single process.

6)  Bring your clasped hands toward your body and pull the new state into your body,making a new feeling that represents action and success—PLATEAU BUSTING!

7)  Spin that feeling faster and faster. Intensifying it and allowing it to spread throughout your body so that it saturates every muscle, every organ, every nerve, every cell.  As you do this, look at what you need to do (or think) first. Then see yourself taking the second step and then the third etc. and keep spinning and intensifying that feeling until you feel excited and energized and ready to make the mental and/or physical adjustments and go bust that plateau!

Give Yourself a Break (through)! Weight Loss Plateaus: Part 1

Considering Her Weight

Give Yourself a Break (through)!

March is the month of the year where I seem to get more grumbles about weight plateaus than any other time of year.  Weight loss plateaus, like death and taxes (something else we face in March) are pretty much guaranteed.

During the many years of my practice as a clinical hypnotherapist specializing in long term permanent weight “release” and helping thousands of clients in that time period, I can pretty much assure you that most everyone hits a plateau at some point during the journey to their ideal weight.  The difference in who is successful breaking through this perceived barrier and who is not, is based entirely upon how the person deals with it mentally, physically and environmentally.

The key is to look at plateaus in a way that gives us power rather than takes it away from us.  We want to start seeing a plateau as an opportunity for deepening our mastery of long-term permanent weight release.  In this 3 week series of blogs, I will explore the nature of weight loss plateaus and offer you coaching on how to master them.

This week I am going to focus on the mental game of mastering and busting a plateau. Once your mind can SHIFT around and through a plateau, your body will follow.


First of all, let’s be clear on our definition of a weight loss plateau.
Definition: A weight loss plateau is a period of time where your weight does not change.

Hmm, a period of time where our weight does not change?  Well that seems innocent enough.  So why do those words strike such fear, anger and frustration in the heart of many???

Let’s look at our FAT THINKING around weight loss plateaus.
I don’t deserve this (plateau)
This is unfair
My body is broken
I will be fat forever
I am working so hard and nothing is happening
Nothing works
Plateaus suck
Plateaus are hard
If I was better, smarter, richer, prettier, this wouldn’t be happening

[BTW, “Fat Thinking” is the term we use at Shift to define the ‘all or nothing’, ‘good or bad’, ‘on or off a diet’ thinking that we get into when trying to LOSE weight.  Fat Thinking includes the negative beliefs that keep us stuck in our struggle with weight.]

When we SHIFT, we are Shifting our mind into “Thin Thinking” which comes from a vision of what we want to achieve, which is not only weight “release” (because we never want to find that weight again) but a vision of finding a way of connecting and communicating with ourselves in this area of our lives that allows us to feel nourished, vibrant and masterful.

As a dieter stuck in Fat Thinking, we hate and fear plateaus because they keep us from our main dieter goal—seeing results on the scale.

Diets focus on the external—the results on the scale—following the diet “plan” perfectly– but usually never focus on making the changes internally that created the weight struggle weight in the first place. So plateaus form a huge threat because the positive feedback a dieter has received for restricting themselves on the diet is gone.

When we start a diet, there is a daily loss on the scale.  It’s great!  It’s fun!  It’s glamorous and cool—sexy!!  But what happens when the scale stops dropping and there is no more positive reinforcement on the outside—only the diet plan and restriction with no apparent pay off?

We start to get upset.  Our inner mindset,which has not been altered at all by the diet, and which is still stuck in “fat thinking” begins to come back full force. Our Inner Critic who has been lying dormant while the scale dropped now wakes up and begins to analyze the scenario—

“What’s wrong with you?  Why aren’t you losing?  You are doing something wrong!  You picked the wrong diet.  The scale should be lower now.  Your body is broken. Your head is broken.  This plateau equals failure.  You are a failure.”   Yikes—not so fun now –right?

As the days pass and the Inner Critic continues the rant about the flat line scale, we feel another Fat Thinking part of us kick in.  Yes—it’s our friend the Inner Rebel.

“Weeeeelll since you aren’t losing any weight maybe you can just eat that cookie.  This diet sucks, obviously.  You worked so hard, let’s just take a break—maybe we can start another diet—the best diet—next week?

The Inner Critic and the Inner Rebel—those parts of us that drive our Fat Thinking– love to come out and play during a plateau and usually what happens is we give up. We become a victim of our limiting beliefs about the plateau, sabotage the diet, abandon the plan, and with no internal Shift having occurred, gain the weight back.


When we Shift, we make the decision to begin to use our mind differently about how we approach our weight.  We recognize that the mental thought systems and strategies that we operate from will need to be “Shifted” in order to have lasting, long term permanent weight release.  Success comes not from a diet on the outside but from engaging the Inner Coach within you, (and at Shift we use hypnosis and cognitive techniques to help us) to unravel the faulty wiring that keeps us struggling and to re-wire ourselves with a powerful mental foundation that supports our living our life at our ideal weight.

A weight release plateau becomes less threatening because we understand the physics side of weight release (to be discussed next week) and we also know that a plateau can be an opportunity to connect with our Inner Coach and grow from the experience.  Just because there is no movement on the scale externally, does not mean there can be no movement internally. Many weight release masters even say that their biggest mental breakthroughs came during their weight release journey plateaus—because they were forced to turn within—to learn to stretch themselves past where their current thinking was stopping them (which was being reflected on the scale).

The best coaches create a powerful vision and ask powerful questions that help keep one focused on moving forward towards mastery, rather than becoming a victim of the perceived plateau on the scale.
If you are experiencing a weight release plateau right now, try engaging your Inner Coach and ask yourself these questions:

-Is my vision of what I want to achieve with my weight release journey as powerful and visceral as it was when I began?  If not, how can I up the stakes and power of what I want to achieve until I feel reinvigorated and engaged again?

-Do I really believe I am going to be successful?  If not, what are the limiting beliefs that keep me from feeling 100% certain?  I can begin to get conscious that these beliefs are a block and need to be Shifted and move towards that—(seek support, hypnosis CDs, reframe the belief in a positive way)

-Do I need to sharpen our focus my efforts externally?  (If the answer to this is yes we will be exploring this in the next 2 weeks)

-Am I at a mental plateau? Do I need to shift my thoughts more? Are there thoughts that are holding me back such as:

“I am afraid to be seen or be seen as attractive to others”
“I am afraid to feel vulnerable and small”
“I am not willing to exercise more or focus on calories, or write down my food.”
There are many other thoughts or beliefs that may be mentally keeping you at a plateau. Can you get curious about them and then begin to get conscious about them and then begin to Shift them?
Rather than allowing the dieter Fat Thinking mindset to assume something is wrong during a weight plateau, can you keep your power and stay on course moving forward?


1)  Create a vivid representation of the way you are right now in your plateau(your present state) with all of the challenges the plateau represents.

2)  See a vision of your self once you get through all of the challenges.  Be clear on the specifics—how you would be behaving, how much would you be eating and exercising, what do you look like, how do you feel??

3)  Place one image in each of your hands outstretched in front of you with a space separating them.  This space represents the unexplored territory and unspecified steps that lie between the plateau state and the plateau busted state.

4)  Begin to make a series of images or movies of the logical steps from one state to another, adjusting each frame until each is a fully representational stage of the process of change.

5)  When you have between 5-8 stages in front of you, begin slowly to close your hands, collapsing all of the stages into a single process.

6)  Bring your clasped hands toward your body and pull the new state into your body, making a new feeling that represents action and success—PLATEAU BUSTING!

7)  Spin that feeling faster and faster. Intensifying it and allowing it to spread throughout your body so that it saturates every muscle, every organ, every nerve, every cell.  As you do this, look at what you need to do (or think) first. Then see yourself taking the second step and then the third etc. and keep spinning and intensifying that feeling until you feel excited and energized and ready to make the mental and/or physical adjustments and go bust that plateau!

Have a great breakthrough week and next week we’ll look at the physical side of weight plateaus!

Oxox Rita

Powerful Tricks to Master Treats This Halloween


In my experience as a hypnotherapist and weight release expert, I have seen many people head into the Halloween season with the intention to “be good” only to succumb to the massive amounts of treats that one finds everywhere.

When I struggled with my weight, Halloween was always a disaster. I would head into the Halloween season with the firm resolve to be perfect and avoid eating candy altogether. I would hold out for a while, trying to be “good” on whatever diet I was on at the time, but then somewhere, somehow, some candy corn (which is one of my top 5 trigger foods) would cross my path, and I would eat some and would turn into a sugar sucking vampire both physically and mentally.


Physically I turned sugar sucking vampire because my trigger candy, usually eaten on an empty stomach, triggered me to eat more and more—even when I got physically full. This kind of eating, called “hyper eating” is when we feel compelled to continue eating even when we are full. Itt is usually triggered by eating foods that are full of sugar and/or fat. “Hyper eating” — a term coined by Dr. David Kessler in his book “The End of Overeating” — is excessive eating “driven by motivational forces that we find difficult to control—ie. “zombie-like” behavior.

Mentally I turned into a sugar sucking vampire because I had made the decision to be “good” over Halloween and not eat one single piece of candy. Therefore, once I had been “bad” by eating a bit of candy, my fat thinking turned on and I thought,“ah go on, you already blew it you might as well eat the whole bag of candy corn.” This kind of thinking lead to excessive eating, feeling bad about myself, and basically missing any of the fun of Halloween.


When I released forty pounds permanently by shifting my thinking (then shifting my weight), I realized that success over the Halloween was going to be defined by mysetting myself up to win, both mentally and physically, before the season—to have a plan—and to follow through.

I have outlined the key strategies here so that, if you wish to join me in Shifting through the Halloween season together, we can enjoy the treat of showing up for ourselves and truly having fun rather than becoming a victim of the holiday.

1)  Stay connected with your “inner coach”

People who have struggled with weight, then released weight and kept it off over time, have developed a way of communicating with themselves powerfully in the area of managing their weight. This powerful connection to their “inner coach” allows them to survey possible problem areas, think the situation through and plan for success.

Try using your own inner coach by thinking through Halloween season and asking yourself these leading questions:

a. How do I want to feel in my body the day after Halloween? Do I want to feel healthy, light and vibrant? Or weighed down, heavy, sticky and sugar zombie out? What do I need to do to achieve this light feeling??

b. How much candy do I need to have a good time? What kind of other Halloween treats are important to me? How can I make them work within my calorie budget for weight release and maintenance?

c. How can I track my caloric intake over the season? I know that when I track, I can see that even if I ate a handful of sweet tarts, I am not “bad” and I don’t have to “jump ship” and start my diet tomorrow or worse yet when Halloween is over (that would be truly ghoulish!!)

d. How can I have fun in ways other than eating sugar this Halloween season?Can I create a fabulous costume? Can I carve an amazing pumpkin? Can I make a point to walk everyday and look at all the fun yard decorations that people have put up?

e. Who can support me this Halloween season in sticking with my vision? What friend or family member can I engage in keeping my trigger candies far away? Can I get others in my neighborhood to think about healthy treats to give the kids this year?? Can I find a walking buddy for Halloween who has a similar goal?

2) Know trigger foods and avoid them while allowing yourself a reasonable amount of non-trigger candy at times and places that do not hook you mentally or physically.

I have developed a “blended” strategy with regards to Halloween candy. This “blended” idea was inspired by my daughter about nine years ago.  She was four and refused to wear a singular Halloween costume. No, she did not want to be just a princess, or just a zombie, or just a mermaid—no she wanted to be a mermaid-vampire-zombie-princess! She wanted to blend them together into something authentic to her taste that worked for her.

My blended approach is something similar. I am not setting out to be singularly good or bad-– all or nothing–on or off.  I am thinking Halloween through, staying away from trigger candies that I know will set me into vampire mode, but allowing for a few treats that I can savor and enjoy while staying present and on track with my weight maintenance goals.

I have listed my “no fly zone” candy list and then the list of treats that I may indulge in, within moderation.  As a side note, I find that any candy for me is best not eaten on an empty stomach when it is more likely to trigger “hyper eating”—but after a meal or small snack that has included some protein.

-Candy corn
-tootsie rolls
-jelly beans
-gummy worms

-miniature candy bars
-lolly pops
-Mike and Ikes
-Sugar free gum

Lynn Bettencourt from Hungry Girl was kind enough to send a link of Halloween Candy with a breakdown of calories emphasizing lower calorie choices. Click here for the list.

3) Stimulus Control, Stimulus Control, Stimulus Control

Where does Halloween candy lurk in your life?
-In your office?
– In your home?
-In your friend’s or families’ homes?

Think ahead to where you might be challenged this season and do your best to remove (or better yet, not even bring home) any tempting treats. It’s easy for the Inner Rebel to say, “it’s for the trick or treaters”. But really do you need to be buying the type of candy that is going to challenge you? Why not buy candy that you dislike or, better yet, do everyone a favor and give non-food treats or sugar free gum?

Stimulus control is a huge component of weight management—it is the silver bullet that you can shoot into the heart of the sugar sucking vampire. Win the battle this year. Be your own hero and practice stimulus control.

I hope these ideas and strategies keep both your mind and body healthy, happy and powerful this Halloween season.

Best shifting and treating! ox Rita