Am I Going To Eat Over This?

Eat over this - blog header

AM I GOING TO EAT OVER THIS?
Guidelines to Avert an Emotional Eating Episode
I was so pissed off!  How dare they? My two best friends couldn’t make my birthday party. Why weren’t they coming? Didn’t they love me? Wasn’t I cool enough?
I was angry and I was eating, chomping away as I processed my hurt. I came to as I reached the bottom of the icing bowl. Without realizing it, I had just demolished all of the chocolate frosting just hours before my birthday party.Now on top of angry, I felt sick and sad. My friends hadn’t ruined my birthday, I had, with my response to finding out they couldn’t come.

WHY DO WE EAT WHEN WE ARE EMOTIONAL?

Have you ever been in a situation when something in life happened and you just ate over it because that just seemed like the thing to do at the time? The only response that your brain would allow you do?

Emotion, Stress, and The Brain
Our mind and body evolved to move from 0-100 milliseconds to get us out of danger as fast as possible. This fight-or-flight response enhanced survival back in the day. When fear or danger happens today, that same amazing survival mechanism occurs. The hormone cortisol floods the system, and the reptilian brain literally shuts down the conscious, rational-thinking brain. It says “Hey, there’s no time to think –JUST MOVE THOSE FEET!” Almost instantly, every bit of energy goes to preparing us to flee as fast as possible.

The problem is that the reptilian brain does not know how to differentiate between a lion and bumper-to-bumper traffic, the yelling boss, or friends not coming to your birthday party. The mind interprets any change in “normal” as a threat, triggering release of cortisol to prep the body for a lightning-fast get-away.

Stress also shifts the brain into a reward-seeking state, because it associates the reward state to “feeling better.” Eating may be a calming reward, but eventually it also makes us feel bad about ourselves. I know because I did it for years myself and it never helped and only made things worse. When I finally overcame the habits and behaviors that allowed me to release 40 pounds and keep it off for twenty years, learning to avoid emotional eating was one of the key changes that helped me create lasting change.

In my work with clients, I help them understand that when they feel angry, sad, anxious or even really happy, they cannot use willpower to avoid the desire to eat for comfort because during emotional surges, the impulse control part of the mind is not available to us—it is literally shut down!

3-STEP SELF-COACHING TO SIDE TRACK AN EMOTIONAL EATING EPISODE

A strategy I teach my clients to avoid comfort-eating teaches them to stop the automatic response and calm themselves down, sort of as you would a small child coming to you in distress.  You can develop the ability to be your own Inner Coach calming your Inner small child who needs comforting.

Here is the 3 step process to calm yourself and move through any emotional episode while staying connected to you what you really want.

1. Notice your feelings and acknowledge them, “I am hurt! Those Bit%3s aren’t coming to my party.”

2. Allow the feeling and say—“it’s okay to feel the feeling that I am mad at my friends”. So often, we try to push away uncomfortable feelings—if you allow them in and label the feelings, you begin to have power over them versus them having power over you.3. Ask yourself the question “Am I going to eat over this? Because if I am, I had better come up with another solution.” This allows your stressed and emotional brain a big pause, a real self care moment and a chance to shift gears from the thought of eating to the thought of truly taking care of ourselves. If we eat to numb, we not only add unneeded calories to our bodies but we lose the chance to find something that will truly take care of us. Using food as a ban-aid doesn’t take care of us it leaves us feeling worse than before.

If the answer is yesthen try one of these 3 more slimming alternatives:
a. Forgive Whomever Wronged You (even if it was you who wronged you.) Resentment is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die. My two friends were off living their lives oblivious to the fact that I shoveled 2000 calories worth of icing down my throat. To forgive is divine and it’s damn slimming too. Do what I call an “Insta-Forgive”. Don’t forgive them for them, forgive them for you—just let it go. If you need to take an action later, like speak with the person, you can do that too, but ‘insta-forgive’ them upfront so they don’t cause you both anger and an additional pound of wiggle in the back.
b. Rest In Peace Often when we are feeling extreme emotions that would cause us to eat, we are tired and our brain is overwhelmed. Sometimes, just a quick 10 minute lie down is just what you need to pull yourself out of fight or flight eating mode and into thinking more rationally about how to really deal with an issue. if you can get some zzzzs all the better. Research shows we need many respites through the day but our fast-paced culture breeds it out of us. Try to give yourself the love of a good nap. Scarlett O’Hara said “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” We say, “I’ll think about it after my nap.”
c. Get Some Coaching From a Friend Calling someone or reaching out to process your feelings is a great way to connect with people. People love to help—so take advantage. Let someone contribute to you! Chances are your friend has been through what you are experiencing or can just hear you out and let you process what happened. Sometimes, it helps to ask specifically for what you need, like—“I need your opinion, what would you do?” or “I don’t need your opinion, but I would love for you to hear me and let me process. Is that okay?”

This tool has been one of the best ways I’ve used to grow my ability to break out of emotional eating situations. It has also helped many clients gain confidence in their ability to handle their emotions without eating over them.

I hope you will try this powerful tool out soon, although I hope it isn’t because your friends don’t show up to your birthday!

oxoxRita

I am excited to announce that I am publishing the book version of my successful hypnosis based weight mastery program (The Shift Weight Mastery Process).  The book is called From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss and will be out in a few months.  I am currently creating a group of people who will be a part of the book’s launch.

If you enroll you will receive:
-Special bonuses created only for book launch participants
-Sneak peaks from the book
-Savings– launch day discounts and more!

Please sign up here to be a part of our exciting launch.

5 Master Tips to Keeping Lost Weight Lost

5 tips

5 Master Tips to Keeping Lost Weight Lost

We often hear inspiring stories about people losing weight, but so often these inspiring tales have an untold ending when the pounds start coming back.  For most dieters, the maintenance of a desired weight is far more challenging than the initial weight loss.  And, a weight plateau — staying at a steady weight for a period of time — isn’t associated with success the same way as taking pounds off.

But, isn’t this actually the goal we all want — lose the weight….and keep it off!!

I recently caught up with a client of mine who lost — actually “released”, as she has no desire to re-find the weight — 33 pounds over a decade ago after struggling with her weight her whole life. I talked with her about her maintenance success–what actually works on a “day in, day out” basis to keep lost weight off without thinking about it.

In a world of dieting and starting over again on Monday, Janet might now seem like a super human, but in the past, she was like many dieters, “I had lost and gained weight so many times it was embarrassing.” Janet shared with me how she made a few key shifts in her thinking and behaviors that allowed her to lose (release forever) the unwanted weight, and once she got to her ideal weight, made maintenance easier than she expected.

Janet, like many people who have long term weight success, develop new ways of thinking and behaving that shifts them out of “weight struggling” and into “weight mastery”. Please listen to my interview with Janet where she goes more deeply into the mental shift she made that was a game changer, some specific daily habits, and more about how hypnosis helped change her old thinking.

Here are some insights from my interview with Janet along with research from many people who have taken weight off and kept it off long term:

5 Keys to Long Term Weight Release

1) Focus on changing your life for the better and not just the number on the scale. Our minds are powerful and where we choose to focus creates our reality. Really committing to yourself and  your health in order to make your experience of life a happier and freer one is more seductive than restricting yourself in order just to make the numbers on the scale go down.

2) Bring in the coach and put the critic and rebel on the bench. Janet mentioned a huge part of her mental shift came from really changing her inner dialog. When she started coaching herself instead of criticizing herself, she noticed that the need to rebel disappeared. Many Weight Masters notice this shift in inner self speak is the ticket to lasting change and confidence.

3) Never start over. Ever. The heart of long term weight release and maintenance is about consistency and not perfection. Starting over tomorrow becomes a nasty habit that is hard to break. Make a commitment to yourself to get back to healthy eating at the next meal and learn from your mistakes—don’t start over because of them.

4) Pace yourself –don’t race down the scale. In all of my years of coaching weight and keeping off 40 pounds myself I have never seen a super speedy weight loss stick.  Research shows that releasing weight slowly allows your mind to really adapt to a healthy change in lifestyle.  Remember the way of eating that allows you to release the weight is going to look a lot like the way of eating that allows you to maintain the weight.  Create a way of eating that you love that allows you to maintain your ideal weight.

  5) Surround yourself with supportive people and supportive foods. No weight success story happens in a vacuum.  You have to create the people in your life as a weight support team—people who join you in healthy lifestyle activities.  Also keeping healthy foods in and tempting foods out of your environment has been shown as a key to long term success. Find friends who will exercise with you and enroll family and friends in choosing healthy restaurants and healthy meals to eat when at home. Janet says her husband and friends are a support and know to keep her trigger foods—bread and desserts out of the house.

Just remember:  Long term weight mastery isn’t about being good or perfect. It’s about making a decision to really make a change in your life FOR YOU so that you can be your best you and life your best life.

Rita

I am excited to announce that I am publishing the book version of my successful hypnosis based weight mastery program (The Shift Weight Mastery Process).  The book is called From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss and will be out in a few months.  I am currently creating a group of people who will be a part of the book’s launch.

If you enroll you will receive:
-Special bonuses created only for book launch participants
-Sneak peaks from the book
-Savings– launch day discounts and more!

Please sign up here to be a part of our exciting launch.

3 Mindset Shifts to Help You Achieve (and Keep) Your 2017 Goals + Gift

resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

I hope that you all had a fantastic and memorable holiday season! I had a great time visiting my siblings in Seattle with my family and am now back getting into the groove of our New Year 2017. If you are like me, the holidays gave you some time to reflect on this last year (both the good and the bad) and in that pause you thought about some things you would like to change in your life to make it better.

Maybe in the past it has been hard for you to stick with the goals you made and you might be feeling a little pessimistic about your actual ability to achieve this year’s goals. Maybe you even say to yourself, “Why bother, I haven’t been able to…
…lose that last 20 pounds and keep it off..”
…be more productive with my time…”
…get back to the gym on a regular basis…”

You are not alone.

DID YOU MAKE A RESOLUTION BUT ARE DOUBTFUL YOU WILL ACHIEVE IT?

I want to share with 3 SPECIFIC MINDSET SHIFTS that will help you achieve (and keep!) your goal(s) this year…

Plus, I am giving you a FREE Mp3 download to help you create a VISION OF REALIZING YOUR GOAL.

Did you know that 92% of people making 2017 New Year’s resolutions will fail at realizing their New Year’s goals?

I know that statistic may seem depressing but it doesn’t need to be. It just means that the way we all have been going about “making change” isn’t working the way we wish it could.

The key is to change the way you make changes—BEFORE creating the change you want.

SHOCKING: 88% OF YOUR BRAIN COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS!

As a hypnotherapist, my soul mission in life is to help people achieve their goals in order to make their lives healthier and more productive. The main challenge that I see people struggle with isn’t that they are hopeless, or lazy, or a failure at life. My clients are highly functioning, smart and intelligent people!
The main challenge you face with successfully achieving your resolution and keeping it going long term is getting the 88% unconscious part of your mind that resists change on board with the 12% conscious part of your mind that made your New Year’s resolution.

REVOLUTION VERSUS RESOLUTION—Use 100% of your Mind

You can easily learn to use your mind more effectively and engage 100% of it in making the changes you seek for the New Year. Don’t just create a resolution—go for a REVOLUTION where you are engaged deeply in creating a powerful breakthrough in your life. SHAKE THINGS UP—don’t just achieve the goal—keep it once you get it.

In order to take action, we need to start where action begins—IN YOUR MIND. I would like to share with you 3 mental shifts to engage your unconscious mind (the stubborn and resistant 88%) and make your resolution a REVOLUTION in personal achievement.

3 MENTAL SHIFTS TO HELP YOU
ACHIEVE AND KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

MIND SHIFT 1: DON’T “DO” YOUR GOAL—BECOME IT

Challenge: 12% vs 88%:
Chances are that when you made your New Year’s resolution, only your conscious mind (the 12% part) wanted the change. Your conscious mind was thinking:

  • “Losing weight” — great idea!
  • “Be more productive”  — awesome thought!
  • “Get to the gym 5 nights a week”—sure, love the concept!
  • “Don’t smoke anymore” —  totally makes sense!

So, rationally we are on board with making the change—great!  But wait, when we “try” to “do the thing”, it seems like just that—this thing that exists outside of us that we are trying to do. It may feel forced or like it’s not real or going to last and that is because the other 88% of the mind (the subconscious part) is not yet on board with the change.

You may get some short-term success with trying to lose weight, being more productive, or exercising, but because your mind is wired with beliefs, habits and self-talk that support your seeing yourself as someone who struggles with weight, wastes time, and doesn’t exercise consistently, the force of your unconscious will pull you back into what it has defined you as.

Mindset Shift to 100%:
Look at people who have really made big changes in their life.  My guess is that you will find one thing that they have in common. These people didn’t just try to change something.  They became one with their goal.  In other words, they stopped trying to make the change from the ‘outside–in’ by doing. They made their transformation by becoming the change they wanted:

  • The weight struggler became a master of weight management.
  • The time waster became a master of time management.
  • The couch potato became a man living an active lifestyle.
  • The smoker became a non -smoker.

When we become one with the goal, it changes how we see ourselves in the world. We need to change our beliefs and behaviors to embody the change and that takes imagination. Beliefs, habits and imagination all exist in our subconscious mind.  For instance, when we become a master of weight management, in a second we can let go of all our limiting beliefs that we’ve carried around as a weight struggler and become an apprentice of mastering our weight.

When we are an apprentice of releasing weight, managing our time, exercising consistently—we cannot fail—we can only learn how to get better at our lifestyle change.  This engages our unconscious in many ways:

  • Our belief system now sees us as a learner and not a struggler.
  • Our emotions are elevated because we start filtering ourselves through a more powerful lens—not as a failure but a learner becoming a master.
  • Our habits now can slowly transform as we methodically focus on improving step by step into the new year—becoming more of who we set out to become bit by bit.

Action Steps: Become one with your Goal

  1. Think of the change you would like to become.  Now instead of thinking of it as this thing you need to struggle with to overcome—think of becoming your goal. To do this you might ask yourself—“In order to make this change—what do I need to become a master of??”
  2. Commit to your apprenticeship and mastery. Commitment is a powerful force—don’t just “try”—commit to your learning process as a lifelong journey.
  3. Use a daily mantra to continue to condition your subconscious with your new role in life. Mantras are basically self-hypnosis. By using your mastery mantra you can continue to keep your new mastery mindset focused forward on change instead of reverting back to your old belief system.
  • “I am now an apprentice of weight mastery—moving in the direction of achieving my ideal weight long term.”
  • “I am now an apprentice of high level productivity—I am moving in the direction of mastering my time a little more every day.”

MIND SHIFT 2: MAKE YOUR GOAL ALLURING–NOT OVERWHELMING

Challenge 12% vs.88%:
There is nothing worse for your mind than an unreasonable goal. I look back at New Year’s goals from the past—over 20 years ago (I keep them in a box in my desk as mementos) and I laugh at my overzealous list.  Often, these goals were not only unrealistic—to achieve the goals, my life would have been a mad and crazy whirlwind of work, deprivation and a living hell–usually I would get overwhelmed and just give up and go back to my old patterns.

When a client comes to me with a goal they haven’t been able to achieve, it’s often because they have made that goal too unrealistic and too overwhelming for their mind to take on.

  • “I want to lose 20 pounds this month”
  • “I want to finish my screenplay, finish my last 3 years of taxes and clean my desk by Valentine’s Day!” (Did I mention the screenplay is an idea written on a cocktail napkin and the taxes are a heap of papers under the desk that is surrounded by more clutter?)
  • “I want to exercise 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week” (said by a client who had not exercised at all—save walking their dog—for the last three years)

Our minds are easily overwhelmed these days. Our digital, online, wired world has made a lot of things easier but has also increased the speed of life at a phenomenal rate and our poor brains are doing overtime to keep up.

If you overwhelm yourself with a to-do list that seems unreasonable and—more importantly—not alluring to your subconscious—your mind will reject it and you will find yourself doing one of the following:

  • Procrastinating getting started…
  • Getting started, getting overwhelmed, and giving up….
  • Forgetting to get started in the first place…

Mindset Shift to 100%:
The impulse to create big overwhelming “to do” lists often comes from this part of us that I call the inner critic. This is the part of us that that is highly critical and thinks we need to be super human just to be “okay”. This inner critic’s voice doesn’t come from you originally—it is a combination of parents, people from your life, culture etc.

My life changed when I got real with myself and started turning down the volume on the expectations of my inner critic. Instead of trying to fit a round peg (me) into a square hole (my inner critic’s expectations) I began by tailoring my expectations to my round peg reality and working effectively with myself.
I cultivated an inner coach’s voice. Unlike my inner critic that believed I had to accomplish huge things just to be loved, my inner coach helped guide me towards doable and achievable goals that I could master and build my confidence with.

One powerful strategy that I learned to achieve my goals is to create a very specific and emotionally charged vision of achieving the goal that I was moving towards. I use vision work a lot with clients and in my workshops because it works so well.

Research shows that weight strugglers who created future visions of themselves and focused on those visions daily were more likely to pass up fattening foods.

Creating a vision uses our imagination plus our emotions—two very big parts of our subconscious mind. When we can see it, feel it, hear it and feel the good emotions of achieving it, we begin to use 100% of our mind to align making that vision come to fruition. This also helps you with the idea of becoming one with your goal.

Action Steps: Create A Strong Vision

  1. Turn down the volume on your inner critic and turn the volume up on your inner coach. Ask yourself if your New Year’s resolution is loving, reasonable and attainable with reasonable amounts of focus and effort. If your goal feels overwhelming– adjust it and find a goal with your reasonable and rational inner coach that feels more like a round peg that will fit in your round hole.
  2. Create a vision of you attaining your goal that feels real, specific and alluring. Creating a bland and boring vision of your goal isn’t going to cut it—you need to excite yourself, inspire yourself to become MORE OF YOU! I think when we strive to become more of who we feel we were put on this planet to be, it is usually the most motivating starting point for creating an evolution and will endure.
  3. Download and use this FREE GIFT Vision Technique. This session walks you through the steps of creating a powerful vision of you achieving your goal.

MIND SHIFT 3: HAVE SPECIFIC “VISION POINTS” AS STEPS TOWARDS YOUR OUTCOME AND REVIEW DAILY

Challenge 12% vs 88%:
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving your New Year’s resolution may simply be that your initial enthusiasm fizzles. After some initial effort, we may see some results but the big pay-off seems too far away and we begin to lose:

  • Our initial head of steam–
  • Our focus as day to day life intervenes
  • Our faith in our ability to follow through

Life gets in the way of our good intentions—especially if we are only using the 12% conscious mind. Remember the unconscious 88% of our mind wants things to stay exactly as they are. It doesn’t really like change. Atrophy sets in and we go back to the status quo not because we are lazy but because we haven’t engaged our mind effectively.

Mindset Shift to 100%:
One way to work more powerfully with the vision of your goal that you create is to create more short term milestones—what I call “Vision Points” along the way.

These divide the journey of achieving your goal into more doable chunks. This makes it easier to stay focused on and give your 100% mind something tangible to work towards and then the confidence and rewarding feeling of reaching the milestone—one step further in the journey.
-Losing twenty pounds becomes releasing five pounds each month.
-Being more productive becomes completing 3 do-able tasks per day
-Exercising more becomes starting with 20 minutes 3 times a week and builds ten minutes each week.

Not only does breaking it down into milestones help but so does focusing on your short-term vision point help your unconscious mind stay focused and excited.

Action Steps: Break Down Your Vision Into Reachable Steps

  1. Divide your overall goal into short term milestones—either by time or an achievement.

For instance, with weight management:

  • 30-day vision points—every month forward marks your journey
  • Weight release vision points —every 10 pounds (or whatever you choose)
  • Fitness vision points—running without being winded, walking a half marathon etc.
  1. Think about your overall long-term vision daily and then focus on the specific vision point that you are working towards. This is great to do in the morning when you are laying in bed.
  2. Download and use this FREE GIFT Vision Technique. This session walks you through the steps of creating a powerful vision of you achieving your goal.

SUMMARY:
There you have the 3 Mind Shifts that will help you achieve and keep your 2017 goals.

  1. MIND SHIFT 1: DON’T “DO” YOUR GOAL—BECOME IT
  2. MIND SHIFT 2: MAKE YOUR GOAL ALLURING–NOT OVERWHELMING
  3. MIND SHIFT 3:HAVE “VISION POINTS” AS STEPS TOWARDS YOUR OUTCOME AND REVIEW THEM DAILY

When you take these actionable steps towards changing your life for the better, you will not only reap the benefits of what you wanted out of your goal but you will also feel more confident in moving forward and achieving other goals in your life as well.

You can apply this VISION session to any goal—weight or otherwise.

Here again is the Mp3 download I am offering you to use for FREE as my New Year’s gift to you. This Mp3 is a very helpful VISION CREATING EXERCISE that will:
  • Help you manifest a clear vision to manifest
  • Give you the ability to create vision points along the way towards you goal
  • Unlock the belief in yourself to achieve your goals

Once again, Happy New Year 2017—may this year bring you and those that you love health, happiness and also bring you closer to being more of your best YOU!

Oxox
Rita Black

Director, Shift Hypnosis and Motivational Resources LLC
ALONE WE DIET–TOGETHER WE SHIFT

HELPFUL: Pre Social Event Hypnosis to Avoid Overeating

xmas-party

Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays—

I hope that you are all enjoying the best of the season with family and friends.

Many of you told me how helpful the Pre Social Event Hypnosis Session was for abstaining from refined foods and eating too much. I love to hear that it was helpful—THANK YOU!!

PLEASE SIR, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE?

Because it was so helpful for many, I am offering up a second helping of this hypnosis session for you to use these next couple of weeks along with a few tips to stay focused and feeling fabulous over the holiday.

EASY TIPS AND PRE SOCIAL GATHERING HYPNOSIS

Here are a few helpful and easy tips to follow with the free 6 minute pre-holiday party hypnosis session to help you succeed in staying in line with your health and weight management goals these next few weeks.

CREATE A VISION: Take a breath and visualize how you want to feel New Year’s Day. Really imagine yourself feeling light and healthy and proud of yourself for staying mindful with your eating this weekend.  This helps get your brain excited about achieving the goal and will help you overcome those many moments when you might be tempted to overindulge.

TAKE A MINDFUL BREATH BEFORE EVERY MEAL: Before you begin to fill your plate, take a breath, look at your fist and register that this is the size of your stomach! Fill your plate with healthy choices and a few holiday favorites in very small portions—after 3 bites your experience diminishes so a little is enough—really.

EAT, THEN TALK—DON’T DO THE TWO TOGETHER: I learned with my own 40 pounds weight loss over 20 years ago to focus on eating and enjoying the food and noticing how full I was and then to switch my attention to the conversation. When we do both at once it is easy to ever eat.

TAKE A MOMENT EVERY MORNING TO THINK YOUR HEALTH GOALS THROUGH: The holidays are busy and distracting and it’s easy to let our mind get focused on other things and away from your health. The 6 minute Healthy Social Gathering session I am enclosing will help you prepare for those gatherings these next couple of weeks.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN:
1 Minute Intro Track
6 Minute Social Eating Hypnosis

Listen to this session on the morning of or right before social events. DO NOT USE WHILE DRIVING!

Feel free to share the download and tips with your family and friends so that everyone can share in a healthy, light and mindful holiday.  Also, if you have a moment, last week the New York Times wrote about the growing popularity of hypnosis, especially for weight loss:  You Are Not Getting Hungry…Using Hypnosis to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Finally, I am so grateful for this inspiring and supportive community. Thank YOU!

ox Rita Black
Director, Shift Weight Mastery

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!

THE INVITATION

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!

THE ARRIVAL

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.

THE STAY

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.

THE EXIT

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.

SLIMMER SUMMER SHIFT COACHING

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!
oxoxRita

A PLATEAU IS OUR ULTIMATE GOAL

scale help

Weight Loss Plateau Buster – Part 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Plateau Buster Series.  Why am I spending 3 weeks on weight plateaus? Because no matter how we try to avoid them, weight loss plateaus are a frustrating, yet inevitable,  part of the successful weight “release” journey.   When we are focused on releasing weight and the scale isn’t moving, we can feel a whole gamut of emotions: disappointed, angry, sad, bored frustrated and powerless. Instead, we want to Shift to looking at a weight release plateau in a way that gives us power. We want to see a plateau as an opportunity for deepening our mastery of long-term permanent weight release.

Last week I focused on the mental game of mastering and busting a plateau—because once your mind can SHIFT around and through a plateau, your body will follow.  This week I will explore the physical part of mastering and busting a plateau.Read Week 1 here.

A PLATEAU IS OUR ULTIMATE GOAL

We cannot explore the physical aspects of a plateau without looking at how the mind interacts with them.

The Oxford Study, a cognitive behavioral approach to weight loss in England, has subjects stop dieting and maintain their weight for three to six month after starting.  You can imagine this self-imposed “plateau” is met with protests.  Their reasoning for this extended time of no weight loss is a good one—“practicing maintenance”.

What most dieters neglect to see in their haste to go down the scale is that, at some point, they will want to stop the focus on losing weight and begin the focus on maintaining their weight.  If you have never practiced maintaining your weight this can actually be a challenge—especially when the only positive feedback you give yourself is when the scale is showing a loss.

Ultimately, what we all strive for in a journey to long term permanent weight release is a lifelong plateau that will occur at our ideal weight.  This plateau maybe called maintenance, but mark my words it is a plateau none the less.  So any plateau that occurs during your journey that is not at your ideal weight can be embraced as a practice session!!!  Yippeeeeee!

Another way to view a plateau is that it is a resting spot along the journey—a place where you actually may need to tread water and let go of the focus of releasing for a short while.  Research shows that most successful masters of weight release experience one or more plateaus along the way.

THE FOCUS OF RELEASING WEIGHT

Releasing weight requires some focus.  The physical requirement for the body to burn excess stored energy (aka “fat”) tunes us into paying attention to how much energy is coming in and going out.  We are also tuning into our hunger and making sure our food choices will not only nourish our bodies, but allow enough of a energy burn for us to achieve a weekly weight release.

What is happening when the scale refuses to show the release?  

A number of things could be going on:
1)    You owe the scale weight from a recent water loss or big weight drop.
There is a lot to be learned still about how the body actually stores and releases fat.  It still takes 3500 burned calories for the body to release fat.  If you lose water weight up front, the body will catch up on the scale eventually.  If you are not aware of how much energy you have officially burned and how weight release actually happens, it is easy to get on the scale and think the lack of loss is a plateau—it isn’t—your body is actually catching up to the scale.

Remedy: Track your calorie intake and expenditure and to know what your daily calorie budget for weight release actually is—this way you empower yourself to at least know where you truly stand with the scale.  You can find this out your personal daily calorie budget by using the Shift Weight Page.

2)    You may need to eat less or exercise more or a combination of the two.
When we release weight, eventually our metabolism does slow down–simply because there is less of us to move around and the body has to work less—how wonderful!!  The down side is that if the scale stops showing a loss after three weeks or so, this you may need to adjust your food intake and exercise to match your new lower metabolism OR just expect to release less quickly (which is definitely a viable shifted option).

Remedy: Taking your calories lower or getting more of a workout in may be a no brainer—if so– great! You can recalculate your new calorie budget with your adjusted current weight on the Shift Weight Page. Make sure to check that you are not depriving yourself or pushing yourself too hard in order to live life with less calories or more exercise.  There are other options, like expecting to release less per week on the scale.

If you want to keep releasing at the same pace  but aren’t quite ready, it is also okay to take an official “rest” for a few weeks before you take your calories lower or up your exercise.  Official breaks are a healthy part of any Shifted weight release journey. Remember this is a love story with yourself and not a punishment.  Love yourself and honor your own instincts with keeping your eye on the winning skills of weight release—this is what mastery is about.

3) You are underestimating the amount of calories that you are eating or overestimating the amount of calories that your exercise is burning.
We wildly underestimate the amount of calories that we eat–most of the time. In my clinical practice, this is the most common cause of a plateau.  We can easily start “guestimating” that a 200 calorie piece of bread or meat is “just a 100 calories”.  Also, I have seen body bugs, heart rate monitors, and exercise machines that overestimate how many calories are burned during a typical workout.

Remedy:  Return to tracking and weighing your food more closely.  Also recognize that food manufacturers will undercut the amount of calories that list on a package (up to 25% by law) and therefore, if you eat a lot of packaged food—bear this in mind.  Many Shifters overestimate their food calories a bit to make up for this.  If you hit a plateau you may want to add a 200 calorie “handicap” or what I call “contractor calories” to your day before you start to make up for the discrepancies in the  calorie amounts.

4)  You are doing everything right but you body just may need to re-adjust what you are eating or how much water you are drinking and just keep focused on the other more empowering aspects of your journey.

Sometimes you can be doing everything right but your body just is taking its sweet old time letting that weight go.  One client encountered a nearly three month plateau and then dropped 10 pounds in a few weeks.  Fortunately, that client had a good “Shift Head” on and knew if she kept plugging away that the weight would come off eventually.

Remedy:  Keep your Shift Head on by focusing on the other aspects of your weight release journey—eating healthy foods, exercising, keeping yourself a priority, Shifti out of limiting beliefs and Fat Thinking. Sometimes drinking more water helps, as does upping your protein intake and decreasing the amount of starchy carbs that may be causing insulin spikes and causing your body to store any excess calories as fat.

Most importantly during a plateau—recognize that you keep your power when you stay focused on problem solving and solution seeking rather than feeling sorry for yourself or victimized by that cold piece of metal (the scale).  Stay connected to your Inner Coach and keep on course.  Ask others for help and help others on their journey—often you may see yourself in them and create a breakthrough where you were sure that none existed.

We will explore more how the mental and physical and environmental aspects of a plateau work together next week.

Last week I presented this mental exercise for plateau busting.  This week you can now add some of the physical elements to the visual part of this exercise.

Mental Exercise for Plateau Busting:

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)   Envision yourself the way you would 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. The space between your hands 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!

Your Valentine’s Sugar Addiction Intervention

woman-eating-chocolate-heart

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?

CANDY SWEETHEARTS…VERY BITTER

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.

SUGAR REHAB

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