Do you know what the missing key to success on every single diet is?


That’s right…YOU are the missing key.

Join me on this episode of the Thin Thinking podcast where I interview Shelley.

Shelley started her weight release journey over 2 years ago. And after releasing 97 pounds, she is still going strong!

In this episode, Shelley shares her journey of how she broke through her weight release obstacles, gained her inner coach, and learned to release weight using both her body, and her heart.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: The most important key to weight release success that is missing on every single diet out there is you. In this week's episode, I interview Shelley Cotton who began her amazing journey of weight mastery over two years ago, and is still going strong after having released 97 pounds and gained an inner coach and a serious exercise habit in the process. Listen to how Shelley broke through many obstacles to get aligned with releasing the weight, both from her body and her heart.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right, the key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi, there I'm Rita black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict, and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need. Not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life.

Rita Black: I am having such a great week. My daughter is home from college for awhile and it feels so nice to have everyone home under the same roof at the same time, but not being contained to only being under the roof. Like things were, when we were all in quarantine. I don't know about you guys, but when I know that visitors are coming to stay with us, it really puts the fire under my butt for getting things done. You know, I set these goals, like get everything cleaned up. So I know my daughter isn't a visitor, but we have made her coming home be our deadline for finishing the front yard and the backyard. So we were just really crazed the last minute with that, but now she's home. And I feel like I can just relax a little. So I have a great episode you today.

Rita Black: I sat down and spoke with Shelley Cotton a little while ago. Shelley, you'll love her. She is such a beautiful soul inside and out and has been on such an incredible weight release journey. But before we dig into the interview, I want you to know that this episode was brought to you by my free Shift Out of Sugar Cravings hypnosis session. And you can find the link in the show notes and grab your free copy or head on over to my website, and find the offer there. Now onto my interview with Shelley Cotton.

Rita Black: Hello everybody. I have with me the fabulous Shelley Cotton, who is a participant or was a participant in the Shift Weight Mastery Process two years ago. And Shelly over the last couple of years has had such an amazing, powerful journey to weight mastery. And when I say that, I don't just mean because she has released 97 pounds. I really mean because she's really shifted her thinking and the way she communicates with herself. So I'm going to introduce Shelley and bring her on, and we're going to hear from her some of the ways that she has changed, the way that she communicates with herself. Shelley is from Waco, Texas. We were just talking about it before I turned on the recording, and Shelley, where is Waco, Texas, in conjunction to Texas. Cause I know Texas, I know, is it right smack dab in the middle of Texas?

Rita Black: It's pretty much in the middle. Yeah, we're on I 35, right between Dallas and Austin. So pretty much in the middle of the state.

Rita Black: I'm hearing more and more about Texas and everybody's like, a lot of people from California are moving to Texas and the destination state these days. How long have you lived in Texas?

Rita Black: Well I was born here and lived here for the first 19 years of my life and then got married and moved back and we've moved all over the world actually. And then we've been back here in Texas for about eight years this time.

Rita Black: Okay. Wow. Cool. And staying here for a little while longer, right? You've got grandkids.

Rita Black: Yes.

Rita Black: You are the youngest grandmother, like youngest looking grandmother.

Shelley Cotton: Oh, thank you.

Rita Black: I know you guys can't see Shelley, but she looks stunning. So shall I tell, so I'm sure the audience is very interested in your journey of releasing 97 pounds, not just from the, again, the weight perspective, but from the shifting. And maybe you can start by telling us a little bit about what life was before. If you can remember what life was before, before you began the shift weight mastery process, like how were you struggling? Like what were your biggest challenges?

Shelley Cotton: Well weight had always, it's been a lifelong struggle for me. Of course, you know, growing up and when I got married, I weighed 162 pounds and actually I thought I was fat at that time. I would love to be that fat now. But over the years, you know, put on more weight and tried all sorts of diets, did Weight Watchers. And just about anything that you can imagine, and you know, I was successful at taking it off, but never was successful with keeping it off. So this program has helped tremendously with that.

Rita Black: Well, that's awesome. I mean, would you say when, before you started to Shift what were your biggest struggles? Was it like, were you not exercising? What were you not doing? And what were you maybe doing that you're not doing now?

Shelley Cotton: Really, I think consistency, you know, because, like I said, when I was doing the other programs, I was successful at them, you know, I would do exercise sporadically and, you know, do it for months at a time and, and do really well with it. But then I would get off track and just never go back to doing it, or, um, course eating, you know, sweets and carbs have always been my weakness, I think. So very susceptible to that.

Rita Black: Yeah. I think that that is a big challenge for a lot of people. I think a lot of people can go on programs and lose weight and you can stay focused, but then we do, we fall off track and, and then all the old habits just come back and especially, again, if we're a little carb susceptible, then that always seems to be a trip wire point too. So how did you find out about the shift weight mastery process and how did you get going? Cause you know, I'm sure people would be interested in hearing that.

Shelley Cotton: Well it was around the first of the year, every year, you know, I was usually have these great plans and start not necessarily resolutions, but just look for new things to help improve, you know, self improvement throughout the year. So in January of 2019, I found From Fat to Thin Thinking and I thought, oh, that sounds wonderful. And I read the book, really enjoyed it and started using the resource, the online resources that are available from the book. And then it so happened that there was going to be a 30 Day Shift coming up. And I got into that and I have to say at first, you know, it was like, I wanted to do it, but I wasn't a hundred percent committed to doing it, but it was a fake it til you make it thing, I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it. So I did. And I'm so glad that I did and stuck with it.

Rita Black: So people who haven't like done hypnosis before, how did you feel like the hypnosis was helpful for you and how has it continued to be helpful for you and your journey?

Shelley Cotton: It actually has not only helped me with the weight loss journey, but my husband is even, you know, and people around me have noticed that it helps with my anxiety level in general. I think being open to that hypnosis just, it seems to be a calming factor in every part of my life. And that subconscious level, you know, listening to the things that you don't even realize that you're listening to sometimes, it just helps a lot.

Rita Black: Right. Or like break through those like old barriers that may be were keeping you stuck in some places. When you started your journey, cause you've added some things into your life very consistently. I mean, you like exercise almost every day. I mean, like, those are things that I feel like, I don't know if hypnosis helped you with them, or like what got you. Cause if people, you know, out in the audience are like struggling with like starting to exercise, like what, how did you get started on your journey of exercising every day? And how was that like a big part of your weight release journey?

Shelley Cotton: I've always known that I feel better when I exercise and, I can say I don't always enjoy exercising itself, but I'll always enjoy having exercised. I feel good and confident and in control. And when I started this process, I was almost at 300 pounds and had had a hip replacement. So I was able to do, prior to the hip replacement, I couldn't do much exercise at all, swimming was really the only thing that I could do. So after the hip replacement in 2016, I was able to do a lot more and I started walking some more. But when I started this program, basically it was just like every morning I decided I'm going to do at least 15 minutes a day, you know, even if it spread throughout the day. So I started with doing a 12 minute Denise Austin video every morning. I get up and I have to do it first thing in the morning because then it's done. And I don't have to worry about the exercise throughout the day, or like on my work breaks at work. I'll walk around the conference room or I could work on and I work at lunch. And so I do other things as well, but that first thing when I get up in the morning is always to start my day with my exercise.

Rita Black: Did you start with 12 minutes? And then did you build up to longer sprints of time?

Shelley Cotton: Yes. Like I said, two years ago I started doing like the, you know, 12 minutes a day or, you know, 12 minutes first thing in the morning, just very basic stretching and that kind of thing. And now I do at least a minimum of 30 minutes a day, and it's more intense, you know, boxing, dancing, all sorts of things. I do Beachbody on demand is what I use, but I know there's a lot of different things out there and they have so many different programs. So I just do something different every day. I have to say, I really love the boxing.

Rita Black: Yeah, that is super cool. I haven't done boxing before. I should try that. I think it's always great to jazz things up with something new. And what I love that you did was you started small and built in, and you did such a great job to start small with the 12 minutes and then add that lunchtime in. Cause I think a lot of people, because Shelley works full time, everyone, and she's got a big job. And I think it's very easy when you have a very stressful job to say, well, I don't have time to exercise, but the way our brain gets overwhelmed with this idea of like, I've got to start exercising and I've got to start exercising a half hour a day and our brain will just shut that idea down.

Rita Black: Like I don't have time, but what you did was kind of like baby step your brain into this idea of exercise. Like I will feel better, you know, like I think people always focus on putting on their clothes and getting sweaty, that part of exercise versus like, I will feel better when I have exercised. And I think that's awesome because you're really focusing your brain on the after part, which is where the brain is going to. Oh yeah. That would be cool. That would be great. And you did that, but you also broke it down for yourself, so it didn't seem so overwhelming. So that's, that's really great. What are some other things that you did? I mean, maybe you can talk to the listeners about developing your inner coach because you know, the Shift Weight Mastery Process, it's really about developing an inner communication system and that's why we use hypnosis and meditation to really start to start a different conversation other than the critic and the rebel. How did you start your relationship with your inner coach and how did that evolve over time?

Shelley Cotton: Well, I had done hypnosis and meditation before, so I was kind of familiar with the process that the actual hypnosis really helped me become more aware of and connected to my inner coach. And I was able to actually start visualizing those conversations with myself and like sitting down with a friend and, it kinda helped me treat myself better because I started treating myself as I would a friend or relative instead of being so harsh and judgmental with myself.

Rita Black: I love that. And did you use your inner coach to, like, I know you kind of a big shift for you in your, that has allowed you to stay consistently releasing weight over all this time through a pandemic through a lot of things was to sit down with yourself once a week and kind of plan your week out with your inner coach.

Shelley Cotton: I do, I listen to the, you know, I'm in the shift monthly and those weekly things that you send really helped with that. And at that time is when I sat down. Usually it's a Sunday evening for me, exercises planned, you know, but I sit down and at least try to visualize, you know, if I have any upcoming special events or dinners out, you know, what that might look like.

Rita Black: So you kind of think you kind of strategize with your inner coach, like, okay, we've got that dinner out, so what are we going to do? You know? So you were thinking it through ahead of time.

Shelley Cotton: Yes. Yeah.

Rita Black: And do you, you know, like if you overeat or if you have a bad day, which we all do or a bad week or a bad month, like how are you at forgiving yourself and getting back on track? Like, how's that changed? You know? Cause you talked about consistency when we first started out, like how this program has allowed you to have consistency where the firms haven't like, what's that inner coach played a role in your consistency?

Shelley Cotton: That's been probably one of the biggest things for me and in my continued success with the program, I think is because the inner coach it's, it puts me in control. Even if I haven't been over eat or do something like that. Again, I sit down and talk to myself in a nurturing, caring way that allows me to be more compassionate towards me. And that has been huge for me. Yeah. With that forgiving myself and like, okay, well that happened. We're going to move on and we'll go from here.

Rita Black: When you do have a, as we all do, an overeating episode, have you learned how to learn from those over eating episodes rather than just like, okay, well that happened, I'm moving on, but you're like, Oh, that happened. What, what went wrong? And how can I help myself next time? So that doesn't happen again. Or, you know, you know, learning something as you go along. Cause obviously you've made some huge changes in your behaviors.

Shelley Cotton: I have. And I think that's one area where I still can use some work, is the analyzing I think.

Rita Black: Like breaking things down and saying, well, that didn't work for us. How could we do it better the next time? I think there's, and I think you probably feel that. And, and I totally honor that, but I bet that you're better at that than you think you are already, you know, to have come along on this journey as far as you have and you, cause you've obviously been very thoughtful in your journey and made some big changes and, and probably in other areas of your life. I think that's the thing. When people start working with their inner coach, they start being more thoughtful about other areas of your life, their life as well.

Shelley Cotton: That's true. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Rita Black: What are some other skills like, you know, in the Shift, we get into the nine skills of weight mastery and, you know, exercise's one obviously, we get into tracking and obviously, you know, communicating with our inner coaches still. Are there any other things that you have found really helpful for you on this journey of releasing 97 pounds? Like whether it's like maybe the shift in your, what you were eating and like carbohydrates, you said, I know they were kind of a nemesis for you. How have you altered your relationship with carbs and you know, how, how did you work on shifting your, your, the way you eat?

Shelley Cotton: The tracking has been huge for me because you can see it right there in black and white. And when the inner scientist needs to come in, that it's so much easier to go back. And instead of just like, Oh, well now what did I actually do that day? But you can sit down and look and see, and you really can see patterns. And, you know, every once in a while, like if I get out of the habit of measuring, you know, I get into eyeballing things and then if I hit a plateau I'm like, okay, well I need to go back and I'm going to actually measure again for a week and see, you know, what's happening here. Like I've enjoyed that because it engages my brain and it does allow me to, again, be more empowered and in control.

Rita Black: Right. It takes you out of the emotional, like, Oh, I'm not losing weight or, getting into like that despair and moving into being a scientist and getting the control back and figuring it out. It's amazing how that looking at the data immediately takes you out of that cognitive distortion and, and allows your brain to refocus on the facts and get back to the facts. And it does so much to calm us down. What about like, the content of what you're eating? Like how have you shifted that from when you began?

Shelley Cotton: I probably could still, like, I don't know that I eat, I definitely don't eat clean, but I do intermittent fasting. And so I do clean fast, you know, for at least 16 hours a day. Usually it's 18, sometimes 20. And I think that has also been big for me to help with that. And I've just started trying to keep my carbs, you know, at the 125 a day maximum and the protein, at least at 55 or so. And that seems to keep me balanced pretty well. So again, it goes back to that tracking and, and watching and just being cognizant. I think of, um, what I'm actually eating and you know, those little tiny bites here and there, if you don't log them, you're not really seeing the whole picture.

Rita Black: That's so true now, intermittent fasting. I know for some listeners will be like, Oh, well, how, how is she doing that? So was that something you started and you do your exercise, you gradually fasted for longer periods of time, or did you start, you didn't start at like fasting six hours? That sounds like, Oh my God, you're not used to that. You have to tell us how you do it.

Shelley Cotton: Well, again, I've started it a little after I started the Shift process. And for the first year I did the 10 hour fast, which really when you think about it is not for a lot of people is not really that much of a change because I was never a big breakfast eater anyway. So I didn't need from, you know, I just extended that night, you know, not eating to a 10 hour window. And so I was fasting for 10 hours and then went to, and then after about a year that I went and did it to 10. So now I'm comfortable. It just seems natural to me. And usually my feeding window is like noon to eight at night. So those are the only time. That's the only time during the day that I'm actually consuming calories. That's amazing, but it just seems natural. It's not hard.

Rita Black: Your body has gotten used to it. You don't get hungry or whatever, your blood sugar insulin levels have kind of adjusted to that. It can be powerful for some people, some people, I think they need to eat, wake up and eat a breakfast. But I think making food not an option, again, from a cognitive standpoint, it just makes it easier. It removes that option. And then you can focus on eating and nourishing yourself in that eight hour window and make healthy choices, but also know that you can probably, if you're eating all day long, then you're, you know, you're spreading your food out over the course of the day, but probably having to eat smaller amounts of food rather than sitting down and eating a meal that probably is satisfying. Do you have any other, you know, for somebody just starting on a journey of weight mastery, what would be your suggestions or words of wisdom that you might extend to somebody?

Shelley Cotton: I think it's important to remember that this is a very personal experience. No two people are going to do this exactly the same way and that's fine. And that's one reason that I've really enjoyed this process is because that's kind of the motto.

Rita Black: Right. It's not a cookie cutter program.

Shelley Cotton: And then we learn how to incorporate those tools the best way that worked for us. And that's been huge for me. So I think if people would just sit back and take it in, realize you don't have to do everything and some things might not work at all for you, but some things you're just going to pick up and it's just going to stick.

Rita Black: Yeah. Well, I can't thank you enough for coming on today. And I think a lot of your wisdom is great. And I know you're on your journey and continuing on your journey, but I'm so proud of you and all the changes you've made. And I can't thank you enough for helping everybody who's been listening here today, so thank you, Shelley.

Shelley Cotton: Well, thank you for having me and thank you for starting this process. It's been life-changing for me.

Rita Black: Great. I just loved that interview. Shelley was so amazing. And as you head into your week, I want you to remember that this episode was brought to you by my free Shift Out of Sugar Cravings hypnosis session. So find the link in the show notes, grab your free copy, try out hypnosis if you've never tried it out before or head on over to and find the offer there have an amazing week everyone. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door of the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: Do you want to dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release, tips, strategies, and more, and be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind For Permanent Weight Loss.