Get Mindful and Avoid the Belly-Full this Thanksgiving

happythanksgiving-2

TIPS TO GET MINDFUL AND
AVOID THE BELLY-FULL THIS THANKSGIVING

Did you know that the average person consumes over 2,000 calories during the Thanksgiving meal alone?

TRYING TO “BE GOOD” DOESN’T WORK

No one mindfully plans to over eat on Thanksgiving or the weekend that follows, but often, we haven’t mindfully planned to stay light and healthy either.

As an expert in the psychology of weight management, I have heard many people head into their holiday weekend with intentions of “trying to be good” only to report that their wishes to keep it light were swept to the wayside by the second glass of wine or third round of pumpkin pie.

USE YOUR MIND MORE EFFECTIVELY

The key to preventing this is to use your mind more effectively than trying or hoping to “be good”.  This is especially important since holiday gatherings often trigger deeply rooted reactions and habits that engage us in overeating.

In order to avoid the belly-full which winds up making us feel bad about ourselves and takes away our energy for really enjoying all we are grateful for, we need to intercept those old deeply ingrained holiday eating patterns.

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 this weekend.

  1. CREATE A VISION: Take a breath and visualize how you want to feel Sunday evening after the weekend. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Who Are You Voting For: Fat or Thin Thinking?

seize-the-day

Hi everyone!

 In honor of next Tuesday’s election, I wanted to discuss the two very different  platforms that we have running against each other — inside of us!!  We must decide which of these inner platforms will run our relationship with our health, weight, and ultimately, ourselves.  And, yes, just like we are seeing in this year’s election, this can be highly contentious. Which candidate and which platform are you voting for?  Which candidate are you listening to? Who is going to be your leader?  The choice you make will lead you on two very different paths.
Platform 1:  Fat Thinking
Here at the Fat Thinking campaign headquarters we have the 2 candidates:
The Inner Critic and the Inner Rebel

These 2 candidates join forces and work together seamlessly to

-Create a chaotic mindset that takes your power away from you

-Keep you struggling in that ‘good or bad’, ‘on or off’, ‘all or nothing’ kind of thinking.

The Inner Critic believes inherently that you are broken and need to be fixed and also that you need to be restricted and must only eat what is on the diet or else you are a failure.

The Inner Rebel will look for reasons to blow your plan.  They push hard for you starting again on Monday because “what the hay…you already blew it—so you may as well eat them all…”

The weight loss goals of the Fat Thinking platform are dodgy to say the least.  There doesn’t seem to be any clear documentation of how the Fat Thinking Party will make decisions in your favor with regards to healthy food choices, getting exercise or ever reaching weight mastery.

But, they have a lot of familiar sounding beliefs and slogans and often we get hoodwinked into voting for Fat Thinking.  And then, instead of the change they promised, we end up feeling frustrated, demoralized and bloated.

So this time around why not vote for something new??

How about casting your vote for Thin Thinking and the Inner Coach?

Platform 2: Thin Thinking

Here at Thin Thinking headquarters, things are looking powerful.

-There is only one candidate: The Inner Coach and one clear message—Show Up for Yourself!

That’s right:

-Your Inner Coach knows that you can achieve weight mastery.

-Your Inner Coach has a very specific action plan to create a healthy lifestyle that will take you to the vision you have for your health.

– Your Inner Coach is ready to solve the problems and create new solutions and doesn’t  believe in magic pills or diets.   Your Inner Coach believes in you!  They believe that you can achieve your ideal weight and stay there because you have made the Shift from the inside out.

How to Change Platforms

If you are stuck in the Fat Thinking Camp, never fear—you can always change parties.

The good news is that we all have a strong and willing Inner Coach inside of us, ready to take the lead!

Get Started:

1) Start to tune in and get conscious to the rhetoric of the Fat Thinking Party.

Start by tuning in to the way you speak to yourself. When you really tune in, you can begin to hear how false the Critic and the Rebel sound: impulsive, negative, emotional.

  • You can separate yourself out from the BS and begin to Shift. Take a breath and separate yourself out from the negative self speak and see it as separate from you.  In fact, imagine the negative inner voice sounding like the candidate that you are voting against–that will start to poke holes in the power that the negative voice has over you.

2)  You can begin to get very clear on what it is you do want versus what you don’t want.  The more you focus on a clear and definable outcome, the more your Inner Coach can begin to take clear and actionable steps and the less the Inner Critic will pull you to the dark side.

  • Don’t try “not” to do something like “not eat chocolate in the afternoon”.  The mind doesn’t hear the negative, focuses on the action, and leaves us feeling tempted and deprived so that we often fall back into the old pattern.
  • Instead, set a doable goal that you know is achievable and focused on the outcome that you want. “I will have a pear and some almonds as my afternoon snack”.  Imagine how good you will feel when you accomplish that goal–this gets your mind excited to achieve that goal.
3)  You can begin getting your facts and budget straight with precise data and logical thinking.
Track your food to see what you really are eating, what you crave, where are the trouble spots in your environment (that car ride home from work? the office parties?) and what habits are not serving your healthy wishes.
  • Once you have real facts, and can view it simply as information. Instead of using it to judge yourself for not being perfect, you can begin to solve the problems and seek new workable strategies.

4)  Practice showing up for yourself every day in these small ways, making the one healthy decision at a time and you will quickly begin feeling more powerful and confident.

VOTE FOR THIN THINKING

VOTE FOR YOUR INNER COACH

Be sure to check out the newly relaunched Shift Weight Mastery website.  We’ve added Free Hypnosis sessions including a 5 Day Night Eating Program that will tackle the mindless grazing so many of us do in the evenings.  www.shiftweightmastery.com

Good luck at the Inner Voting Booth—I know you will make the Shifted choice!

Oxox Rita

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

sugaraddict

BACK TO REHAB
(or TAKE BACK YOUR POWER FROM SUGAR)

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

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

THE MIND-BODY CARBYHDRATE ADDICTION CYCLE

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

So, why are carbs and sugar so addictive?

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

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

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

CHECKING INTO REHAB

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADDICTION INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JULY 2016 – RITA BLACK’S WEIGHT MASTERY BLOG

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

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

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

Fat Thinking Crime Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to SHIFT into THIN Thinking in Social Situations

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

THE POWER OF PLANNING AHEAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am allergic but sorry that looks great!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFTER THE PARTY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Break On Through To The Other Side

 

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

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

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

ARE YOU EATING UNDER THE RADAR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHEN YOU “ASS”UME, YOUR “ASS” COULD GET BIGGER!!

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

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

ARE THERE FOODS IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT THAT SHOULD NOT BE THERE??

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

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

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

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

Exercise for Plateau Busting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A PLATEAU IS OUR ULTIMATE GOAL

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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!