Aunt Millie’s pumpkin pie, uncle Bob’s famous stuffing, and so much more. No matter what the size of your holiday gathering (or gatherings) this year, if we aren’t mentally prepared it can be a disaster for our waistline.

So, in episode 40 of Thin Thinking, we are gonna walk through how to enjoy holiday meals with your family or friends without worrying that your weight loss or weight maintenance will be derailed.

You can also download my Shift Out of Sugar Cravings Hypnosis Session for FREE that will surely be helpful this season. Just click this link, and sign-up and you’re ready to go.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Holiday meals with the family bring so many challenges. Aunt Millie's pumpkin pie, uncle Bob's famous stuffing, and so much more. No matter what the size of your holiday gathering this year or gatherings, it can still threaten your waistline. So, in this episode of Thin Thinking, we are gonna walk through how to enjoy holiday meals with your family or friend without worrying that your weight loss or weight maintenance will be derailed. Okay. So, come on in and let's get going.

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. Sound good. Let's get started.

Rita Black: Hello friends and ho, ho, ho, are you crossing over the holiday finish line? I know I am. My daughter is coming back from college today and we have lots of activities planned between now and the new year. And I am already tired. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted, but I'm excited too.

Rita Black: I have found in my years of coaching and leading people through the shift weight mastery process, I have discovered even the best of intention, holiday weight managers are tired by this time and a bit brain dead. Haven't you noticed we're all a bit brain dead too. And that is why overeating and over drinking are really rampant from this point, you know, just before the holidays to the new year, this is the worst week coming up for people kind of overeating and overdrinking. You know, maybe we held it together until then, but this seems to be the span of time where everybody's like, what the hell and throws in the towel. We overindulge and we feel worse and worse and more tired. So, today I wanna focus in on one of the main culprits, the old meal with the family or friends. And if you have something thinking in your corner here, I think it will help you to stay connected to yourself and your higher purpose this holiday, which is really to be with other people, to be with your yourself, to review the year and think about, you know, what you wanna create in this upcoming year. And I think when we were stuffed and bloated and imbalanced, it kind of plays with our head and keeps us from feeling super connected and you know, our higher level thinking. So, it doesn't have to become about shoveling as many mins pies, if you're British or peppermint bark, if you're American down your Golet before the new year. So let's dive in and get some really awesome tips to really be powerful during those family meals.

Rita Black: The first thing you really wanna do before you even step foot outside your own home and go to the holiday meal, or before you prepare to have people over, as you wanna prepare your mind for success. And preparing is really, with regards to weight management is probably numero uno thing you can do in most situations, but definitely in the holiday season. Why, why is this so important? Because during the holidays we are outside of our normal structure of life and our brains are actually really overwhelmed. The stimulus of the holidays, what happens is the more stimulated our brain is the lower impulse control, the lower our willpower. That's why people go through the holiday seasons and they start with good intentions. But as the holiday season unfolds, we get weaker and weaker with regards to our impulse control until by, you know, just December 31st, we're just shoving everything in our mouth and drinking everything. And just like, I'm gonna start again in the new year. But what you can do is when you prepare your mind before you go out, take a moment, think it through ahead of time. What you're doing is actually creating a roadmap in your mind about beginning with the end in mind. What I mean by that is leaving that house, leaving that holiday party, having eaten lightly feeling good. I want you to feel the feeling you wanna feel leaving that holiday, whether it's your mom's or your own home or your friends' home, or your boss' home, so that you already are telling your brain, we wanna make this happen like this. Your brain at the, what you're doing is engaging the reticular activation system. And saying, by engaging in that feeling, you're saying to the brain, this is what I want. Let's create this. And if you can create that in your mind and feel that like, that's how I wanna leave. I wanna feel feeling confident, proud of myself, or having managed my weight, the chances are you are gonna be so much more set up for success. And you kind of wanna think the whole evening through before you go there, because like athletes will prepare their game in their mind. And it's kind of like, you're going into a game. If you just show up, hoping to do well, what will happen in your brain is you will do exactly what you always do. Because once a trigger hits your brain, it's queue routine rewar. The brain is all, it's like the train has left the station.

Rita Black: So, you cannot hope to manage your weight at the party unless you prepare ahead of time. Unless, you know, you're a super will-powered human being. Most of us aren't. We need to prepare our brains. And the older, the brain, frankly, the less willpower we have. So begin with the end in mind, have a goal.

Rita Black: Now, the next subject is booze, booze, friends, booze, yes, booze. And so what's the quickest way to having the brain go 'I don't care about anything' is to go to a party and drink booze on an empty stomach before you eat anything else, you know, it'll spike your blood sugar. You'll feel woozy, that part of your brain that can resist things and has a plan will be like plan? Plan? I don't have a plan. Let's have fun. And you know, of course you wanna have fun. So here's my cue with booze. I don't, I'm not saying don't drink booze, but be smart about it. First of all, go to that party with some food in your stomach, whether it's like a half a cup of Greek yogurt, a hard boiled egg, something protein-based so that if you have a drink, right when you get through the door, hopefully you're not. So hopefully you're not, but we'll, we'll get into that in a second, but whatever you do, you're going in and you, aren't having an empty stomach that then you can put, you know, if you eat potato chips, that's gonna, that's going to trigger your brain. You, you want your brain, you, you want your body stabilized so that your brain doesn't get required by whatever. If you're eating a highly refined food in the beginning of the party, then, and you have some protein in your stomach, the chances are that highly refined food isn't going to make, you want to eat a lot more. But or if you have a drink, it won't make you want to, you know, continue to drink. It's, it's a lot easier to manage things if you have a little something to eat beforehand. But also with regards to booze, what you wanna do is really have a plan like I said.

Rita Black: And one of the ideas with the plan is to probably drink some water first and then start with the alcohol, make sure you're hydrated. And also you might really think through how many drinks do you need to have in order to have a good time. Now that answer may vary depending on the people at the party, right? Like if you have a fun set of friends that, you know, you have one glass of wine and you just have a great time, then you might just want a glass. If you have one, you know, it's a two-drink night, okay, well then, then stagger it out, have a drink, then have some water, then have another drink. Or if you wanna postpone drinking until the meal comes, or if you think that you're gonna wanna have your drink before dinner, but once dinner starts, you don't really need alcohol. You know, these are all things that you can think through ahead of time and really give yourself that choice. But you wanna think it through, because what you don't wanna do is show up at the door, drink that first drink, have that brain go click and then keep drinking throughout the night and then eat, overeating, and then leaving the party, feeling gross over drink, you know, like that you've had too much to drink and much to eat. You really wanna start with the end in mind and really have a plan for the alcohol.

Rita Black: And, if you can bring some healthy treats to the party, good for you. That will set you up for success. And you know, will make everybody else really kind of happy too. I can't tell you how I'm many clients I work with who start doing this and everybody at the party's so happy to have healthy treats there, you know, but people are mindful nowadays about what they're serving, but sometimes, you know, aunt Jan, she's not putting out the cru de te platter, she's putting out the baked, bri roll and all the potato chips and the onion dip and the la-la-las and the, this and that. And, and there's not a green thing in sight. So if you can bring like a cru de te platter, something that, you know, you can eat, that's gonna be light and not, you know, have you consuming a thousand calories before you even sit down to dinner all the better for you.

Rita Black: And then also dessert bringing something healthy for dessert. I had a client who told me this wonderful idea, which is slicing up apple slices, red and green, and arranging them on a platter and sprinkling cinnamon on them and putting toothpicks in each one and putting that out on the dessert table. And everybody went for them because it was just, I think she put some lemon juice on it, so they wouldn't turn brown, but people were just like, this is so amazing. They were so happy to have a healthy treat available.

Rita Black: When you go to holiday parties, often, there is a pressure to eat from other people. You know, people bring in their special holiday, you know, I only make this set the holidays, so you better get it. And there's that pressure to eat aunt Millie's, you know, fruitcake or uncle Archie's, you know, rule of sausage or whatever the thing is, you know? So, you really wanna practice your response to people like saying, no thank you. Or gosh, aunt Millie, I love your fruitcake, but this year I'm feeling a little gluten and tolerant and I'm just gonna pass. It looks delicious. And thank you. You're so amazing. Because the most important thing to understand about people forcing food on you is that they really just wanna be acknowledged for what they've done. You know, I, if you watch then people they'll often be so gracious about food. They aren't like I'm on a diet and don't give me that, but they'll just be like, oh, thank you so much. This is so amazing. Look at this. You, you took so much time and I can tell and oh, I just, I just so appreciate the way your fruitcake looks is so beautiful. And then as soon as they turn their back, Aunt Millie turns her back, they kind of, you hide the fruitcake under a napkin and put it to the side. So, or take a bite and then put the, put the rest of it aside.

Rita Black: So, practice in your mind ahead of time what obstacles you might be up against with regards to social pressure and come up with some responses before you get to the party so it's a lot easier to follow through with that. And, and, you know, really appreciate people and let them know. And I will tell you, it will change your life because you'll see, like, that's really what they want. They, they aren't really so much, hawkishly looking at whether or not you're consuming it. They just wanna be appreciated.

Rita Black: So now once we get to the party, you know, while the appetizers are being passed, you know, it's kind of hard to sit at a party, you know, with all the food in front of you. And just sit there, you know, with it for an hour before dinner is served, especially if you're hungry. So, please make sure that you eat ahead of time. But one of my top tricks for party survival is to actually help out, like to get up and ask the hostess. What can I do? Can I help set the table? Can I peel potatoes? Can I, because then one, I get to help, you know, and, and, and I love helping. But it also keeps me occupied. It keeps me from eating or drinking too much in the beginning. And I also get to catch up with the hostess, which, you know, is the person usually who invited you. So, and I, you know, when you're standing in the kitchen and helping somebody and everybody has this out, you get to hear all the dirt. It's pretty cool. And then you get to walk around to the party and help me. Oh, oh, here, how uncle Harry, so great to see you. Do you want some of this? Oh, you know, granny, you know, this is aunt Millie's special. She wanted you to try. So, so you get to connect with everybody without being stuck on the couch in front of the, you know, potato chips and the onion dip and being a hostage. So help out and help out during the meal too, help clear the plates that gets you away from eating seconds. And even with dessert, help serve the dessert, and then maybe you'll have a little, you can serve yourself a little piece instead of having to eat the whole thing.

Rita Black: So with family favorites, if it is a favorite for you and you do want to eat it, that's fine. But just remember after three bites of any food, your mouth experience goes from 90% down to 20%. And this is what I call my three-bite rule. You probably, if you know me know my three-bite rule. But so yeah, you don't need a huge heaping serving of the mashed potatoes or your, you know, aunt Millie's macaroni and cheese. You do just need a few bites and you can fill your plate with the healthy green stuff. And the, hopefully there is some, and the you know, some protein and then take a few bites of those family favorites rather than heaping planners full and then mindfully eat them, enjoy them. But no, like that's kind of enough, you know, and the same goes for dessert.

Rita Black: So, this is something that is so key and critical is that when we are around other people and in a social situation, and everybody's talking, it overwhelms our brain. And often we will eat more to calm ourselves down. So, it has, studies have been shown to like that people might consume over 250 calories or to 500 calories more when you're eating with other people. So, one thing that I like to do is to, if I'm going to a party, look around for an escape hatch, and you usually it's the bathroom. And what I mean by that is I, if in the middle of the meal and I I've finished what I'm going to eat, I'll usually get up and I'll go to the bathroom, or I might go get up and, and take place out into the kitchen, that's another good place. But I just kind of take a breath and I connect with myself. As you know, I say, you know, I've eaten enough. How are things going? I'll have a little conversation with myself and it kind of gives your brain time to regroup and think, okay, well, what, how am I gonna get, you know, finish this evening? Do I need dessert? Do I just want a cup of tea? You know, like, so getting yourself away from the crowd where you can really connect and kind of process everything up to date, especially if your family's volatile and loud and boisterous, you really need to kind of come and go, you know, and okay, I go back out? Yes. You know, and then, you know, get ready so that you aren't eating all your feelings, but that you're giving yourself time to go in and process. You may need to do this many, many times. Everybody's like, why is she going to the bathroom? So often she must have a bladder problem. Let them think you have a bladder problem. That's fine. You are gonna leave there having that overeaten because they're a volatile family, or because, you know, they trigger you or whatever they, you know, go, know you have an escape hatch and take care of yourself process. And then when you're ready, go back out, face the crowd, hello, calm, cool, and collected and get on with your meal.

Rita Black: And then the other thing would be, if you are the one that is the host and everybody's left, or, you know, everybody's in the other room decompress before you do the dishes, because often for a lot of hostesses and hosts, they may not be eating so much at dinner. But then after dinner, after the stress of preparing the meal is over, then they'll eat a bunch while they're in the kitchen and everybody else is out or after everybody is gone, like while they're cleaning up and doing that. So, you know, you could even leave the dishes until the next day, where you're not gonna be tempted by the leftovers. Another idea would be to have somebody come into the kitchen and help you so that you're not alone. And they're, you know, they're helping you put the leftovers away and get cleaned up. But, don't go and do the dishes when you're overwhelmed, stressed out, and then we just start, you know, doing fork fulls of whatever, you know, we're putting into the Tupperware containers. Okay.

Rita Black: And the last thing is, if you are going to someone's house, leave empty handed, cause everybody's gonna wanna give you half of the cake or half the lasagna or whatever. And you'll just say, you know, I, I don't know that I'm gonna be around but then no, thank you. Or if you are the host, give everybody else the food and get it out of your house. You know, don't have a bunch of the leftovers hanging around and don't bring home a bunch of leftovers because again, stimulus control is 60 to 70% of weight management. If it's not your environment, you're not over, gonna overeat on it.

Rita Black: Wonderful, wonderful. And I wanna remind you guys that in the show notes below is a link to sign up to just really get the podcast. So you can sign up for this podcast and why I'm inviting you to do that is this coming year, there's gonna be a lot of really great interviews. I've got some great interviews lined up. I also have just some really great episodes coming up. And then also you are queued into freebies that I offer, whether it's webinars or masterclasses. I'm always offering something, you know, information tidbits, so sign up so that you can be a part of our community on a consistent basis. And then, you know, once you sign up, every week, you just get the episode dropped in your whatever, however you consume your podcasts, or I will be sending you an email that has a link directly to the podcast. Okay. So don't miss out, sign up today and have an amazing week and holiday. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door of the weight struggle is inside you. Keep listening and find it. Happy holidays to you, your friends, and to the amazing shift and thin thinking community. I hope you health, happiness, connectedness showing up for yourself. Have a wonderful and magical holiday season.

Rita Black: Thanks for listening to the thin thinking podcast. Did that episode go by way too fast for you? If so, and 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, and to learn how to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.