Is Your Story Making Your Butt Bigger?

Big Story Big Butt
As humans, we all tell ourselves stories.  We can’t stop–it’s just part of our brain trying to make sense of our world.

IS YOUR STORY FATTENING?
But, we can learn to recognize our stories.  This is part of distinguishing what I call Fat Thinking from Thin Thinking.  In fact, the bigger your story about why you did not follow through on something healthy (like exercise) or why you ended up doing something unhealthy (like eating the entire large pizza), the bigger your chances are that you are about to gain weight.  Yes, Big Story = Big Butt.

Over the years as I have coached people through many weight release journeys, I have witnessed what I call “story-eye-tis” happen to many a sincere person intent on losing weight.   In the beginning, things usually are really clear. We are on track, sticking to a plan, and the weight is starting to come off.  And if we fail to follow through or we engage in something less healthy, we immediately acknowledge it and make an adjustment to stay on track. We are engaged in Thin Thinking.

BEWARE!  YOUR INNER REBEL LOVES SPINNING A YARN….
I usually know when a client is starting to veer from this focused uncluttered thinking and behaving when their stories about their behavior start to get longer.  We all have a part of our brain that is just looking to spin some story.  I call this the Inner Rebel.  Your Inner Rebel is up for an Emmy Award for best story about why you can’t show up for yourself and follow through on your goals. Your Inner Rebel wants to take you back on the path to where things are predictably the same.  This is a familiar story and oh-so convincing, but it does not end in happily ever after!

All those rationalizations and excuses about why you didn’t or couldn’t follow through on healthy behaviors followed by even more story about how it will be better to focus next week and how you’ll “try” to “get back” to “being good” tomorrow or next week–this is Fat Thinking.

The path to weight release typically looks like this: Clear and honest Thin Thinking ==> following through with healthy behaviors ==> Weight Release

The path to weight gain is typically: Story spinning Fat Thinking ==> not following through on behaviors ==> weight gain.

BIG STORY=BIG BUTT BOTTOM LINE
Stories can be great, but if you want to lose weight and keep it off, it’s time to become a loving scientist and stick with facts.

1) Cut the story aka Fat Thinking. Focus on your vision and the behaviors that will get you there. When that little voice in your head wants to start some story (see below) about why exercising today is impossible, take a breath, thank yourself for noticing the story.

Example: I can’t exercise because I don’t have the right work-out clothes that are clean and that if I wear my other work-out clothes I might offend someone at the gym. Besides, it’s raining out and even though I am going to the gym which is indoors and dry, I do have to get from the parking lot to the gym and I would get wet and I absolutely cannot get a cold because next week I have to give that presentation which is another good reason that I must just avoid any exertion and just build up my strength.

2) Create an alternate solution aka Thin Thinking.  Note what happened and ask yourself what is the strategy for moving forward with an altered plan?  Then follow through on that altered plan.

Example: I can’t exercise after work today and since I won’t be burning that 300 calories, I can walk today and tomorrow at lunch and make up for that.

3) End of story
Will you have a story at the end of the summer as to why you did not reach your summer weight release goals?  I hope not!  If you want to spend your summer powerfully rooted in Thin Thinking and weight release, committed to your health and showing up for yourself day by day all summer long, it’s time to learn to stop telling yourself the fairy tales and learn how to catch yourself in these.  You may want to start with a copy of my bestselling book, From Fat To Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss. It’s an easy read filled with clear facts and resources along with humor and inspiration.

Of course, you may have some story that comes up like: I don’t have the time, the resources, I’ll start in the Fall.  If so, please consider the alternative if your story just keeps getting bigger (along with a few other things…..)

Here’s to a Story Free Summer!

xoxo Rita

book shadow

I am excited to announce my new best-selling book, From Fat To Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss, is now available in print and on Kindle.

This is a book version of my successful Shift Weight Mastery Process seminar and is designed to free your mind from the struggle with weight so that you can lose weight permanently.  The book includes online access to free hypnosis, meditation and coaching to support you through the 30-day process.

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How Hypnosis Creates Long-Term Effectiveness

Long Term Effectiveness
BEFORE I WAS A HYPNOTHERAPIST, I WAS A CLIENT…

I remember being in a stuffy office in Venice, California on a spring day well over two decades ago. I was in a trance state that felt like I was floating between being asleep and awake. I was listening to a 70-year-old British hypnotherapist, Burt, guiding me to let go of my pack-and-a-half a day cigarette habit.

Then, all of a, sudden I was awake and out walking on the street, passing by smokers and thinking to myself, “I used to do that but I don’t do that anymore…what a relief!” I was finally, with one hypnosis session, a non-smoker!

What just happened?  Was that a magic trick? Why in one session was I able to let go of a very addictive habit that had plagued me for over twelve years?

WHEN I STRUGGLED WITH WEIGHT…

Later, when I decided to finally take charge of my weight, I found myself making self-hypnosis tapes (the beginning of my career before my formal training) and guiding myself into letting go of my need for the big portions of food, the sugary treats.

The sessions felt similar. I was relaxed yet awake but I could feel a deeper part of my mind listening and responding, letting go of the old and accepting my new reality of weight mastery.

IS HYPNOSIS MAGIC?  NO, BUT OUR MINDS ARE…

I spend a lot of time as a hypnotherapist dispelling the mythology of hypnosis. No, it’s not voodoo. No, it’s not mind control. Yes, it’s a very powerful tool to make deeper change.

I have helped thousands of people, from all over the world and from all walks of life – CEOS and celebrities, teachers and lawyers, students and surfers and yes, even a homeless person (he brought in $23.13 worth of change) break themselves free from the smoking struggle and the weight struggle.

It is my great joy to watch someone in a deep trance state let go of the shackles of their weight or smoking struggle. Sometimes I can see the moment that it happens…a sort of little smile creeps across their face.

It seems like magic. Often, they think that I am a magician, but I am not. Our minds are magic, when we learn to use them in the right way.

RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HYPNOSIS FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Here is some interesting research that backs up the impact of hypnosis for weight loss and maintenance.

1. Hypnotherapy helped people correct faulty thinking and associations around food and helped them get control over non-hunger-related eating. Barabasz, M., and D. Spiegel. 1999. Hypnosis and weight loss. The International Journal of Eating Disorders.

2. In studies comparing a control group to a hypnotherapy group, the group exposed to hypnotherapy lost more weight (up to 30% more over an 8-week study) and kept the weight off longer (At follow-ups at eight months and again at two years).Cochrane, G. and J. Friesen. 2005. Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

3. Hypnotherapy can be administered by a hypnotherapist or via hypnosis downloads or self-hypnosis; all three methods proved effective. Farrington, G. Effects of pre-recorded self-hypnosis on weight loss: Dissertation Abstracts International

I hope this has been intriguing. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit my website http://www.shiftweightmastery.com and pick up some free hypnosis or check out my weight loss book,  From Fat to Thin Thinking available on Amazon in print and kindle.

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Use it wisely and lovingly!

Alone we Diet—Together we Shift!

oxoxRita

HERE IS A VIDEO I MADE ABOUT HOW HYPNOSIS WORKS

For your easy viewing pleasure, here is a short video (2+ min) I made about hypnosis and how it helps us remove the mental blocks that prevent us from being successful with keeping weight off in the long-term. I mention free hypnosis on the video – it can be found at: www.shiftweightmastery.com. Go there and test drive some hypnosis today!

Why Your “To Do” List May Be Fattening

Why Your _To Do_ List May Be Fattening

Greetings!

How is your New Year’s resolution to get healthy going?

Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions are broken by as early as January 18th?

As a clinical hypnotherapist who helps people in the areas of stopping smoking and weight management, it has always been interesting to me that the busiest time of the year isn’t the first few weeks – right after resolutions to change have been made – but the last few weeks of January when the resolutions have been broken (yet again) and the idea that maybe something deeper needs to shift begins to become apparent.

I want to introduce to you one of the biggest buzz killers of our annual get healthy resolve – YOUR TO-DO LIST – and where you put your healthy new goals on it. If you can shift your mind around this one thing, you can get back going with your healthy New Year – I promise!

THE DREAM OF HEALTHY CHANGE DIES FAST IN THE FACE OF JANUARY’S REALITY

One reason our “get healthy” promises are vulnerable to die an early-in-the-year death is that we make our starry-eyed resolutions during the holiday season when we have been out of our overwhelming day-to-day life and duties. Our brain has had some down time and we can think BIG.

We imagine how good it will feel to exercise 5 days a week. We muse how much slimmer we will be when we shop every week and have healthy food at home to reach for. We know how much saner we would be if we took 10 minutes a day to meditate! We make the promise to ourselves to make that happen.

Then we get back into our day-to-day life. Our to-do list starts getting longer and all of those wonderful dreams of being slim and healthy are put to the bottom of the list—basically tossed to the curb along with the holiday wrapping paper and dried-out pine tree.

  • “I’m too busy to exercise this week!”
  • “I didn’t have time to shop for healthy food so I went thru the drive-thru!”
  • “How can I meditate when I have to walk the dog, feed the kids and get ready for work?”

LIFE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST 

Chances are if you have been struggling to get healthy you may have the deep unconscious belief that “I have got to do everything on my list and take care of everyone and then I will have time to take care of myself.”

So, if we are truly to achieve our health goals—it would then go to figure we need to:

  • Start to challenge the belief that our health comes behind everything else on the list.
  • Adjust our to-do list accordingly

1) CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF YOUR HEALTH AND ITS IMPORTANCE ON YOUR LIST: I invite you to see that your health is the thing that you experience all of your life through. Your health is what others also depend upon to be in place in order for you to be of service to them. Your health allows you to bring your best “you” to all you do and all the people in your life. Your health makes everything else on your to-do list possible…get the drift?  YOUR HEALTH SHOULD BE #1 ON YOUR LIST – ALWAYS.

2) OBSERVE YOUR TO-DO LIST WITH NEW EYES: Consider that the overly ambitious inner list maker in your head is not run by you, but by old beliefs and myths that do not even belong to you. Often the beliefs that write our to-do list come from our parents, our culture and society at large, that’s right – your to-do list doesn’t even belong to you!

So start to challenge that darn list. Ask, : “Why is washing the dishes more important than going for a walk after dinner?”

Is that item on your list really that important to do now, or does it just seem that way? What would happen if you shopped for healthy meals before posting your vacay pics on social media? Would the world end?

Ask of everything on your list, “Why do I think doing this is more important than my taking care of myself?”.

Maybe in a new light, as you go through your list, all of those seemingly urgent items now become less pertinent compared to your feeling good in your body because you are making healthy choices and exercising.

By challenging those old beliefs you start to break them up in your deeper mind so that your new and healthy beliefs can start to grow.

3) PUT YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH GOALS AT THE TOP OF THAT TO-DO LIST 
I am going to ask you to do something really uncomfortable to your subconscious mind: put your health goals at the top of the list and take some of the other things off your list and put them on the list some other time.

The more you start to look at your to-do list as an advocate for yourself and your health the more some of those other “to-dos” will start to fall away as you see them as way less important that your being your best you.

Once you start creating to-do lists that truly support you won’t even need to put health on your New Year’s Resolution list next year—because “Get healthy and release weight” will be crossed off your list.

So just to review:

  1. Challenge where your health goals are currently on your to-do list.
  2. Take a hard look at your current to-do list and challenge the things on there and their importance in relationship to your health and well-being.
  3. Adjust accordingly.

Have a great and healthy 2018 – where you actually achieve those healthy resolutions!!

xoxo Rita

A Simple Mind Hack to Empower You Over Holiday Sugar

How to Keep Hungry Away All Day

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

THE HOLIDAY EATING SPELL

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIMPLE MIND HACK TOOL TO AVOID THE SUGAR SPELL

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

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

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

 

-Now imagine your trigger food in front of you.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Thank you, but no.

No thanks.

 

No.

 

No.

 

No.

 

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

 

No!

I said no!

No!

 

No!

 

No!

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

NO, NO THANK YOU, NO….HELL NO!!

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

 

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

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

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

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

Please let me know how this works for you.

xo Rita

Shift Into Clean Eating October

Avoid the Fattening Good Time Trap

Hi there,

Welcome to autumn!

IT’S TIME TO SHIFT INTO A MONTH OF CLEAN EATING

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

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

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

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

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

* Overcome carb and sugar cravings

* Feel healthier and more energetic

* Get some great new healthy meal and snack ideas

* Release some weight and feel fitter heading into the holidays

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

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

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

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

Happy eating!

Alone we diet, Together we Shift
Rita Black

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

eating rules

How To Keep Hunger Away All Day

woman eating yogurt at desk

Did you just eat an hour ago and you are already hungry again?  Are you plagued with cravings for sugary foods or highly refined salty-crunchy foods?  Well, chances are you may not be getting enough protein.

As a hypnotherapist and cognitive weight expert, I will tell you one of the biggest nutritional Shifts that someone can make to take back their power from food is to make sure that they are eating enough protein on a daily basis.  If you have worked with me either privately or with the Shift 30 Day Weight Mastery Process or  Shift in a Box Process—you already know that I harp on a lot about the power of protein!!

PROTEIN TO THE RESCUE

If someone is complaining about being hungry, I will ask, “Are you eating enough protein?”

If someone is suffering from night eating, I will inquire, “Are you having a protein rich snack around 4pm?”

If someone has been binging or feeling really addicted to carbohydrates and sugar, I will advise, “make sure you cut the carbs and up your protein in order to break the sugar spell.”

At Shift, we don’t give you a diet.  I really believe that you must individually create a way of eating that you have ownership of–one that works for you and your lifestyle.  I believe you need to discover what works best for you and your body by becoming a loving scientist.  You do this by observing what foods work at what times for you and what doesn’t work and then making changes and choices based on your findings. We don’t have an ‘expert” giving you a list of good foods and bad foods.

I will, however, harp on about your getting enough protein—about 72 grams per day, which is about three 4 oz. servings the size of your palm. If your daily calorie budget is more than 1600 calories a day, you may need even more.

PROTEIN AND THE BRAIN

Why?? 

Why would a hypnotherapist blather on so about getting enough protein?

Two reasons and both have to do with your brain—

1)    Research shows that the lack of certain amino acids found in protein sets up the brain to crave sugar and carbohydrates. When you haven’t been eating enough protein, your brain is more prone to seek out the more sweet and refined carbohydrates in large quantities (binges).  Also, the more refined carbohydrates you consume, the more hungry you feel.

2)    Protein gives you the most bang for your caloric buck.  If you are eating relatively few calories in order to stay within your body’s calorie needs for weight release for maintenance, a serving of protein is going to leave you feeling more satisfied and stable than a serving of carbohydrates.

Having said this, I am not advocating a no carb-diet plan here–nor am I saying all is lost if you are a vegetarian or vegan.  I am just saying that upping your protein, no matter what the source, and lessening the starchy carbs usually helps my clients stay happy and satisfied within their caloric needs for weight release.

THE RIGHT TIME FOR PROTEIN

There are two times I especially suggest that the protein source be with you—breakfasts and afternoon snack time.  If I have learned anything from my own weight struggles, as well as the hundreds of clients I have worked with over the years, it is this: Starting the day with a good protein source sets you on a good course for the rest of the day.  And afternoon snack time is also key because if we stabilize our blood sugar at this time with some protein, then we head into dinner with a sane head and a belly that isn’t screaming to be fed with whatever we can put our hands on first (usually bread!)

Starting the Day Right: Breakfast

Eating morning meal that is right for your body allows you to head into your day with stable blood sugar levels—a must for weight management.  Every body is different in the morning so you need to tune into yours and your special needs.  Observe how your body responds to the breakfast that you currently feed it.  How does it feel a few hours later?  Are you hungry?  Tired? Light headed? Or are you feeling good and focused on what you are doing?

My clients and I have observed the following about different types of breakfast foods.

Help! I just ate breakfast!! (after eating these breakfast foods, one feels hungry in about an hour or so): 

-Sugary and sugar-free commercial yogurts (even fat-free ones)

-Most cold (non-bran) cereals even the “whole grain” ones (this depends on your system)

-Granola (very high in calories too)

-Bagels (also high in calories)

-Donuts

-Muffins

-Toast with jam (no protein)

-Juice only

-Quick-cooking oats or instant oats from envelopes

-Sugary coffee drinks

Wow!  I’m feeling great! (these foods tend to keep one’s blood sugar levels stable and hunger satisfied through the morning):

-High fiber/High protein cereals

-Eggs/egg beaters/ egg whites

-Low fat cheeses

-High protein smoothies

-High protein 0% fat Greek yogurt

-Low-fat cottage cheese

-Whole fruit with some sort of protein

-Slow cooking oatmeal and whole grain cereals

-Vegetarian sausages/links/bacon

-Lean bacon/ turkey sausage/ Canadian bacon

-High fiber muffins that have no sugar in them (Zen muffins and fibercakes)

-Whole grain or high fiber toast/ English muffins/ tortillas with protein on them

-Bean or vegetable soups

PRO-SNACKING

It is wise to not allow yourself to get super hungry—that is when many of us tend to overeat. Make snacks work for you—not against you.  Many snacks out of a vending machine or grabbed on the go cause you to feel hungrier and more tired—the exact opposite of what a snack is intended for plus many processed snacks contain more calories than some meals.

Avoid: Stuff out of the vending machine, snacks that are primarily sugar, fat and salt, anything highly processed

Examples:  Cookies, muffins, chocolate bars, sugary juice drinks, sugary coffee drinks, granola bars, chips etc.

Seek: Snacks that contain protein, snacks that contain fiber, snacks that have some protein and complex carbohydrate or fat and carbohydrate.

Examples:

Fruit and peanut butter

Apple slices and a low fat cheese stick

0% fat Greek yogurt and fruit

Fruit and small amount of nuts

Fiber bar and yogurt

Cottage cheese and fruit

Lo fat ricotta cheese spread on a lo carb tortilla with a savory or sweet topping

Lo-carb tortilla and hummus,

Carrots and hummus etc

Veggie burger patty

Deli turkey slices

Hard-boiled egg with an apple (TJs sells hardboiled, shelled eggs in a bag)

Turkey jerkey

Tuna in a pouch

POWER SWAP

I could go on and on and on about protein’s power, but don’t take my word for it! If you are struggling with hunger after meals or sugar and carb cravings, try upping your protein intake a few hundred calories a day and removing the same amount of calories of starchy food.  See if this helps keep you more happily on your path to long term permanent weight release.  And let me know what protein swaps work for you!

Have a Shifted Month and May the Protein Source be with You!

oxoxRita

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

Summer food

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

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

SUMMER FUN

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

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

WHAT IS A “GOOD TIME” REALLY?

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

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

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

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

PRE-SOCIAL EATING INNER COACH SESSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOCIAL EATING HYPNOSIS

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

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

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

Feel free to share the download and tips with your family and friends so that everyone can share in a healthy, light and mindful summer.

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

ox Rita