HELPFUL: Pre Social Event Hypnosis to Avoid Overeating


Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays—

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

1 Minute Intro Track
6 Minute Social Eating Hypnosis

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

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

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

ox Rita Black
Director, Shift Weight Mastery


5 Easy Mind Hacks to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain



Research shows that in that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s a.k.a. “The Holiday Season”, the average adult will gain a not so magical 3.5-6.7 pounds. If you are fretting that one of those people might be you– keep reading!

As a clinical hypnotherapist who is an expert in the psychology of weight management, I have spent years in my practice observing the mental side of setting yourself up for success at this time of year. I have also been a victim of holiday weight gain when I struggled with my own weight over twenty years ago—one year gaining 25 pounds during this time!


Why is it that so many of us head into the holidays with the best of intentions to “be good this year” and yet by the time the tinsel has hit the tree we find ourselves hitting the peppermint bark and eggnog?

Both the challenge of holiday overeating and the solution to lay in one place—your mind.

THE CHALLENGE: The holidays put our already overwhelmed minds into a mental tailspin.

  • Running around stressed trying to get everything done
  • Holiday parties with the social pressures of “tis the season to be jolly”
  • Comfort foods with emotional ties to the past crossing our paths

THE GOOD NEWS: I know that you can have an amazing holiday and either maintain your health, mental peace and your weight—and even release weight if you decide. All it takes is making a few specific mental shifts.

I am sharing with you 5 MIND HACKS that you can easily implement over the next few weeks and not only survive the holidays with your current weight intact, but when you use these easy techniques you can actually THRIVE during the season.

BONUS: I am offering you a FREE Curb Your Sugar Cravings Hypnosis download (see below).  Use it to prevent getting hijacked by sugar cravings this year.



Challenge:  Hoping or Trying To “Be Good” Means Nothing to Our Minds
Often our best attempt at dealing with the holidays is to make a knee-jerk attempt at “trying” or “hoping” to be good with no specific strategy or motivating outcome in mind. This only engages the conscious mind—which sorry to say—is only about 12% of our mind’s brain-power.

“Be good” means nothing to our minds.  Our brain needs clear directions with specific goals otherwise all the temptations and stresses of the holidays will quickly run our friends “hope and try” out of town on a train with a one-way ticket to the North Pole.

Solution:  Start Your Holiday Season with an Emotionally Charged Vision and Keep It Going
Our mind loves creating. When we create an exciting and emotionally desirable and exciting vision of ourselves feeling light, healthy, and proud of ourselves on January 1st it engages our imagination which lives in our subconscious mind—the more powerful 88%.

Research shows that a powerful vision of a healthier slimmer you in the future helps you say no to temptations in the present.

Start Now: Take a moment and imagine yourself somewhere specific on January 1.
Imagine how good you will feel for having maintained your weight (or even released) this holiday. Experience the feelings of pride and happiness of achieving your goal now. Take a deep breath and lock this feeling into your vision—this is your inner script for the holiday season.

Daily Practice: Bring your vision to mind in the morning before rising into your busy day. Ask yourself “what do I need to do today to move myself closer to this goal?” and think through your day in your mind. Doing this helps leverage the power of your vision.

Note: If you chose to lose weight over the season, I find it helpful to be specific and realistic:

  • SPECIFIC: Choose a specific goal and ask yourself—“what are the actions that I need to take to achieve this?” (example: Exercise 4 times a week, stay within 1500 calories a day, etc.). The more specific you are the more your mind can help you follow through on your goal.
  • REALISTIC: The holidays pose a challenge for weight loss because of all the extra social activities. Be realistic with yourself and your weight goals. Trying to lose too much may just add “brain strain” and cause you to give up all together and overeat. Give yourself the option to reduce your weight loss goal or to focus on maintaining your weight through the holiday.


Challenge:  Holiday Event Habits Are Wired Deep
Some of the fattening holiday party habits that we have acquired may have been going on for years:

  • -Mindlessly eating too many refined party foods
  • -Drinking more than you intended and then eating more
  • -Bending to social pressure from others— “Have another!”

These habits are wired into our subconscious—88% of our mind’s power (mentioned above). So even though our conscious mind wants to make healthy choices at the party and keep it light our subconscious mind wants “business as usual” even if it is fattening and may wind up making us feel bad and bloated later.

Solution:To override deep habits we need to work with the power of our mind and not against it.  The reward neurotransmitter dopamine plays a big role in creating that sense of excitement about having fun at a party and all the delicious holiday foods that we are used to indulging in.

We can use dopamine and the sense of reward to bypass the fattening habits by creating a mental movie of being at the party and bypassing the fattening foods that leave us feeling bloated for the lighter and healthier options. You can then imagine yourself at the end of the movie going home feeling light and proud for having truly had a wonderful party where you got to connect with family and friends but also stayed true to your bigger reward—your health and peace of mind!

Start Now: Try making a mental movie “Coming Attractions – Party”
Before you go to your next holiday party event take a minute and imagine the party experience ahead of time. Imagine both the business as usual party experience and how you will feel afterwards and then the healthy behaviors party.

In your imagination experience both party experiences from the moment you walk in the door to the moment that you leave.

HORROR MOVIE PARTY EXPERIENCE: Imagine yourself going to the party and you: -Eat all the holiday foods laid out on the buffet a feeling of fullness is coming on

  • Drink too much and begin to feel a head rush
  • Take the sugary dessert the hostess is offering.
  • You don’t really want it but eat it anyway since it’s there in your hand…it takes you over the edge. The horror music begins to play.

Now imagine leaving the party—bloated, imbalanced, and wishing you hadn’t eaten all that food. Any enjoyment of the food and party is being blotted out by feeling bad about yourself and out of control.

Now your mind has a negative feeling related to the overindulging and now you are ready to ignite the dopamine in your mind to be excited about a different outcome.

FEEL GOOD FLICK PARTY EXPERIENCE: Imagine yourself going to the party and you:

  • Make healthy choices at the buffet—allowing yourself some small tastes of the special holiday foods but you choose mostly lighter foods.  Your meal allows you to feel fed but not full.
  • Stop at one drink and switch to water…feeling more even keeled…more relaxed.
  • Say ‘no thank you’ to the hostess when dessert is offered but you make her happy anyway by offering to help her clean up some plates. That feel-good movie tune begins to surge

Now see yourself leaving the party feeling good, confident and in control. What a rewarding feeling that is. Feel how your mind begins to get excited about this scenario instead.This is how we can begin to bypass old behaviors—by showing our deeper mind how much more satisfying the new healthy habits are.


Challenge: Addicted to ‘Being Good—Being Bad—The Being Good Again’ Cycle 
Many people who struggle with weight have gotten into a habit of that goes something like this:

  • Starting the week in “being good” mode: We drink the smoothie with kale, we eat the salad with chicken, we exercise and drink water. The halo shines above our head.
  • Somewhere along the way we blow “being good”: We eat something “bad” or get stressed or go to a party and eat something we didn’t intend to and we think “I blew it!”
  • We think since I already blew it—SCREW IT!: This is when we decide that—what the hell—I have screwed up so I will just let go and eat whatever until tomorrow (or Monday) when I will be good again. We trade the halo for the pitch fork and eat, and eat, and eat.

This cycle, my friends, is where most of the holiday weight is gained.

Solution: Interrupt the ‘Screw It’ with the Shift Technique
Here is a technique I teach in my Shift Weight Mastery Process. It is a cognitive shifting technique that takes you out of the impulsive instinct to give up and overeat and allows you to stay consistently moving forwards with your healthy eating plan.

When you feel like you are about to say “screw it” and overeat–

  1. Take a deep breath—This interrupts your “screw it” impulse and opens you up to have a more mature and healthy interaction with yourself.
  2. Forgive yourself—say “wow I ate that brownie—how human—I am still a good person and this doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Often we shame ourselves when we eat something bad which of course stresses us out and makes us want to eat more. Forgive!
  3. Get out your Inner Coach and SHIFT into problem solver: We all have an Inner Coach that is the rational and wise part of us. This is the part you want to be speaking with right now—not your Critic or Rebel—they are the ones that run the good—bad—good cycle. Get your coach and get real about what happened. “I just ate three brownies without thinking.” Assess in a non-judgmental way, then solve the problem. Shifting like this puts your mind in a rational state rather than an impulsive and emotional one.
  4. Assess and recover: Whatever you ate, you can move on from and recover, it will be much better for you and your waistline than keeping on eating.

For example: I had a client who went to a Christmas Party and felt like she overate and was about to say “I blew it—so screw it” but she stopped herself took a breath and reviewed the items that she overate. She realized that even though the two cookies and the couple of handfuls of chips were not what she intended to eat they also were not going to ruin her waistline or even her weight loss for the week it she got right back to her healthy eating at the next meal.


Challenge: Overindulging in Sugary, Fatty and Salty Foods Wakes Up Our Inner Carb Zombie
One of the challenges with the densely caloric, sugary and fatty foods that abound during the holidays is that eating too many refined carbohydrates over a number of days tends to awaken a craving/fake hunger force within us that begins to demand more carby food.  I call this force THE CARB ZOMBIE.

Physically eating higher amounts of refined foods spike our blood sugar and when it crashes we get a feeling of being hungry—even though we may have just eaten! The sugar, fat, and salt dances in our head like the sugar plum fairy –stimulating our reward neurotransmitter dopamine and creating a mental craving to have more sugary foods.

When our carb zombie is awakened we:

  • Feel hungrier even though we are eating plenty of calories
  • Crave more refined foods—thinking about food a lot more
  • Feel like an addict

Solution: Create a Firewall Between You and Carb-y Food for the Holiday Season
Our mind does much better when it is focusing on doing something rather than resisting something. “Trying not to eat sugar” seems hard to the mind—but abstaining from sugary foods except for a few special specified holiday treats gives the mind a clear boundary without shutting down the idea of treats altogether.

  1. Create a “not an option clause” in your mind for all holiday foods except the few selected A+++ holiday treats that you will enjoy in modest amounts after a meal. Haven’t we tried all of those holiday foods before anyways—enjoy the memories of the holidays and the pleasure of the season—you don’t have to eat to enjoy—in fact you will enjoy more when you eat less.
  2. Eating enough protein 70 grams per day—also helps balance the amino acids in the brain responsible for allowing us to feel stable and even keeled—less vulnerable to the carb zombie. Start your day with protein like eggs or Greek yogurt with fruit and not the carby bun or roll. You will feel better and have more energy. If you are doing a smoothie—make sure it has protein!
  3. Eat your holiday treats after a meal or when you have some protein n your tummy. Eating sugar and starch on an empty stomach triggers the brain and body both—stirring the carb zombie from his slumber. We want to keep him in deep hibernation this season.
  4. Listen to the FREE Curb Your Sugar Cravings Hypnosis session: This session helps wire your deeper subconscious mind to be more resistant to the idea that sugar is a treat—learn to be in charge of your relationship to sugar.

Curb Your Sugar Cravings Here 


Challenge: Stress Shuts Down Our Willpower
Our lives are very stimulating. The holiday season is stimulation on steroids. When we get over stimulated our mind gets stressed. When we get stressed the hormone Cortisol floods our system shutting down our rational neo cortex –the impulse control part of our brain.  Guess what also happens when we are stressed—we reach for food to soothe ourselves and there is no willpower there to stop us.

Research shows that every two hours we need to give our mind a little break or we become overstressed and overwhelmed.

Solution: Hit Refresh By Taking a Deep Breath and Closing Your Eyes For a Minute
Give yourself the gift of self-soothing every two hours this holiday season. It won’t take long, you will feel better and chances are you will become a lot more mindful when it comes to those mindless nibbles at the office and home.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Shut your eyes
  3. Tune into your breathing and count 20 breaths
  4. As you are counting send breaths to any part of your body that feels like it is holding tension
  5. Open your eyes and enjoy your lighter, more mindful, holiday season.

There you have your 5 Mind Hacks.  I hope that they serve you well. Don’t forget to get your FREE copy of the “Curb Your Sugar Cravings” hypnosis session.

Click Here for Your Free Sugar Cravings Hypnosis

Have an amazing mindful and healthy holiday where the sweetness comes not from sugar but from how sweet you are to yourself.

Cheers everyone,
Happy Healthy Holidays to you all!

Oxox Rita Black
Alone we Diet
Together we Shift

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?


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.


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.


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?


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.



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.

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)



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!


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.


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!)


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)



Dining Under the Influence (of Thin Thinking)

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

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

Fat Thinking Crime Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to SHIFT into THIN Thinking in Social Situations

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am allergic but sorry that looks great!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Downton Flabby (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

summer meal

DOWNTON FLABBY (or How to Avoid Summer Weight Gain)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to a great healthy summer!