What kind of drinker are you? A social or occasional drinker? A stress drinker? Or maybe a 5 times a week drinker?

Whatever kind of a drinker you may be, have you ever wondered why that end of day drinky poo which was once an occasional treat has become more and more of a habit during COVID?

Or have you noticed that that glass of something that you’re looking forward to at night is leading to something you are not looking forward to on the scale the next morning?

Well, in episode 47 of our Thin Thinking Podcast, we’ll talk straight up about alcohol and weight loss and how to use your mind to begin shaking and stirring up a habit that may be getting in the way of you feeling good about yourself, your weight and your health.

Also, I have an exciting opportunity through February 15–we have made our popular “Bottom’s Up Weight Down” : Drinking Less for Weight Loss hypnosis and pre-evening cognitive coaching session available for 50% off when you use the coupon code MINDFUL. Visit our weight loss hypnosis downloads here.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: If you have been wondering if your end of day drinky poo that was once an occasional treat has become more and more of a habit during COVID or if you're just noticing that that glass of something that you're looking forward to at night is leading to something you are not looking forward to on the scale the next morning. Well, hold the ice because in this episode of Thin Thinking we are gonna talk straight up about alcohol and weight loss and how to use your mind to begin shaking and stirring up a habit that may be getting in the way of you feeling good about yourself, your weight and your health. So, hide the corkscrew and come on in to the Thin Thinking podcast.

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 and happy February. How are you doing? Are you ready for February? February is just one of those months. You know what I mean? It's just, it's a little good and it's a little bad. Deep in winter, ugh, you know, we, I know I'm a big baby Southern California, but you know, winter is winter and it's all relative, but it's dark, you know, and that's, that's hard. It's dark in the morning. It's dark at later in the day for those of us with seasonal effective disorder. Sometimes that can be an issue. Thank goodness that, you know, there is Southern California sunshine so that I do rely upon. But, for those of you in the darker states or the places in the world where it gets dark, oh, it is dark a good part of the day. Hello, our friends up way up north - the north of Scotland, in the north Canada, you know where daylight is just a little slim sliver of a couple of hours. I feel you, I feel you hard. So I it's like, yeah, we're deep in the middle of the winter.

Rita Black: And February is also the month of Valentine's day, right? Valentine's day. Now that's another interesting thing, right? It's all about that romantic love. But there's so much pressure. I'll tell you. I remember I have this just real thing, it's not for or against Valentine's day. But, when I was a young lady back in the day when I was waitressing all the time, I waitress during many, many Valentine's day. And, a lot of times when I, you know, didn't have a boyfriend, I was the love without a significant other. But waitressing during Valentine's day was always so interesting because you literally, first of all, everybody goes out on Valentine's day, right? And they jack up the prices and you know, us in the restaurant business, we would always roll our eyes and laugh, cause it was just so not fun. You know, there were long lines. The waiters because it was so busy were hurried and surly. The cooks in the kitchen, they were just throwing slapping food on the plate. I mean, it was the probably the least romantic atmosphere, you know, to go out and eat out. And the pressure I'd watch these couples sitting across from each other in the restaurant, you know, just kind of under all that pressure to have a good time and be romantic.

Rita Black: I know I sound a little cynical, but I just, you know, Valentine's day it just, I never have erased that image from my mind and, and I've never ever, you know, gone out on Valentine's day with my husband. It's just like, no, we, we will, we'll do something nice. We'll light a fire if it's cold enough. And we'll, you know, snuggle in front of the fire and make a nice healthy dinner. But, yeah, no. We avoid the whole going out thing. Now, if you're going out, that's, that's fine. But I just, I think it's, you know, I was just ruined by all those years of waitressing on Valentine's day.

Rita Black: So one thing I'm gonna request that you do this month is that you love on yourself every day, this month, not just Valentine's day, but just every single day. And one way that you may be able to love on yourself is to shift your relationship with alcohol - if it has become a problem. Now, it's very interesting because I've had a really interesting perspective of COVID being, you know, a somewhat person who is in the helping arts and, you know, I've, I've gotten a lot more calls from people who are like, can you help me curb my relationship with alcohol because it's become a problem during COVID. I mean, I don't think it's any secret. I think it's, we're all pretty aware of the fact that, you know, when we got locked down, the alcohol covers all, got unlocked and people sat in front of their Netflix with their cocktail. And, we, you know, it was just this reward, snuggly zone out, drown our sorrows, numb out sort of fast where we were, you know, kind of condone to, you know, just go for it. So, I have a, and then of course the holidays, you know, we've come off the tail of the holidays and, and there is that big tradition of the dry January.

Rita Black: In my Monthly Mastery Membership, I have this group of people who've gone through the shift weight mastery process and every six weeks or so we do a challenge to sharpen our skills and to keep things interesting in the group. And for instance, just before the holidays from December 15th to January 1st, basically we did an exercise challenge, which was awesome, cause we had to exercise well, it was, if you accepted the challenge you exercised every day, you know, in, during the holiday season, which was awesome for us all because we all, it reminded us to stay healthy and fit and move. And it was fantastic. I love that challenge. So some of the members asked if they could host a challenge in the group, they wanted to host it and, and they wanted to call it the mindful drinking, love your liver challenge. So it wasn't dry January. It wasn't about not drinking, but they wanted just to explore in the group, just creating more conscious relationship with alcohol because they were beginning to notice that even though one of these members had been maintaining their ideal weight for over a year and the other is almost 20 pounds from her goal that they were beginning to feel like the daily imbibing, or you know, every other day imbibing was, it was starting to either one was saying that it was probably getting in the way of her continuing her weight release and the other was saying, it's just, you know, it was something that had crept into her life and she wanted to really put a new boundary around it.

Rita Black: And people found, there, you know, often the people in our group so, a certain amount of people in our group took on this mindful drinking challenge and found that their stalled weight loss got a kickstart and that they were sleeping better and that they were just feeling in general better about themselves. You know, there's this thing about, you know, you choose what owns you and often with a addictive or soft addictions, you know, we can manage them until they start managing us. And it's that, you know, and it's nothing against, you or the person who has gotten under the thumb of whatever that thing is, but it's always an awesome time to recognize it and reassess and lovingly move forward and move out of it. And so that's, you know, what I kind of wanna walk through today is a way to kind of just, if this isn't about not drinking, this is just more about getting some mindfulness around your drinking and maybe giving you some thin thinking to alter or change your drinking habits if it, they have, they're, they're drinking you, not your drinking it.

Rita Black: So let's look at, you know, like why, why would we do this for weight management? You know, like how has alcohol, I don't think I'm gonna be telling you anything you don't know, but I'm just gonna do a quick review of alcohol and you know, why it's probably not the best, I mean, like here's the thing I'm all about long term permanent weight management and for a lot of people, you know, they wanna have a glass of wine with dinner, wanna have their thing, you know, you can make that happen. So it's not like you have to give up alcohol to have long term permanent weight management, not at all. You know, but like I said, if it's stalling, if it's creating overeating, that is when we wanna start to, you know, just, just start to look at things.\.

Rita Black: So, obviously alcohol has added empty calories, meaning there's no nutritive value really, unless, you know, I mean, you could argue red wine has resveratrol or however you could pronounce that, you know, and it can, and it can lengthen your life or whatever, but from a, like a nutrient macronutrient value, not really adding in when you are releasing weight, you know, you wanna, you wanna leverage the energy that you're taking in, in food to be the most nutritious and, you know, enjoyable and stabilizing foods. And again I'm not saying you can't have a drink, but, you know, a drink a day, two drinks a day are gonna add a lot of empty calories to that and make it harder to release weight.

Rita Black: Alcohol also gets burned first by the body. So any other calories get stored and it actually slows down the fat burning process and it can lead to fatty liver, which of course we don't want. And then I, you've probably noticed, especially you ladies over 45, that it can impact your sleep, making you more tired and more prone to eat the next day. And, and I don't know about you guys, but I really do notice it really depends on what I drink. I generally will, if I have a drink, I'll drink either red wine or maybe a, something like a gin in diatonic or something like that, or vodka and tonic. But, you know, if I drink a glass of wine or glass on half of wine or two glasses of wine on those occasions, I'm hungrier the next day. And, and I know that that just is gonna happen. I prepare for it. So I've managed that, but it can make you are craving things the next day, then that can throw you off and then, you know, away you go. So, and it really actually also keeps your body from absorbing nutrients. So on a day-to-day basis, if you're doing it every day, again, just, you know, not a long term plan for vital, whole and ideal health.

Rita Black: So it makes sense if you feel like your relationship with alcohol has become challenging for your weight, your sleep, your life in general, it might make sense to try your own mindful drinking challenge. And again, if you did dry January, good for you, but unless you want a wet February where all those old habits return, cause it's very easy, just go right back to where you were before, because that was, that's what the brain is wired for right? So we seriously wanna start to uncouple and reframe this relationship. So this, you, you know, so that you're going at this, not from all or nothing, but you're creating a happy and new reframed medium that will really, you know, support you again in your long term permanent weight mastery journey. So let's dive into mindful drinking and how it can be part of your long term weight management journey.

Rita Black: So, and if, like I said earlier, if you need to stop altogether, I am sorry, but this episode probably isn't for you. It's not about that. But there is a book that I always recommend. I probably recommend this book two times a day or at least five times a week. And that is a book called and it's and it, and it's, you know, I recommend this for people who wanna stop drinking and are not ready for, or do not like the idea of a 12-step program. Okay. I mean, you know, there's a lot of options out there if you wanna stop drinking. I know there doesn't seem like there are a lot of options but there is a great book and a great woman. Her name is Annie Grace. And you may have heard of her and, and she has a podcast it's called This Naked Mind. And, she has a book called This Naked Mind and she is, a lot of this book has helped and I've had a lot of people say, oh my gosh, this book helped me really changed my relationship with alcohol and be able to put it down. She doesn't use hypnosis, but she uses hypnotic techniques in her writing. It's a great book. And so if you are struggling, you know, really struggling with alcohol, you know, more than just feeling like it's kind of getting in the way of your weight management, you might wanna check out that book. Or, check her out because I think she has some bigger like online courses as well.

Rita Black: Now I was never, you know, like a, I mean, how do I say this? I was never a huge drinker per se. You know, like I, for me, I was always was about food. I was always about the carbs. I was always about the sugar now there's sugar in alcohol, right. So if I would go to a dinner party or to a party, and many, many times this happened, I would start drinking before I ate anything. Then I would just end up drinking a lot. Right. Like, and, and usually I would go for the sugary drink of margarita or whatever. And then, then I could end up being in trouble because I would just drink way too much. And that happened to me many, many times, you know, in my twenties and my thirties of my early thirties until I shifted and kind of changed my relationship with all of that and definitely stop drinking sugary drinks, which, you know, definitely were, you know, compounding that and then eating way too much and all of that stuff.

Rita Black: So one of the reasons I would drink is because I have social anxiety or I had social anxiety, especially at that time time. And, you know, cuz I was such a weight struggler, I was so super self conscious. So I would go to parties. I would like worry about what I was wearing. I always thought everybody was looking at me. So I would also drink just to kind of be funny to calm down and to not feel so socially awkward because I felt like a big, awkward nerdy, overweight person. And I'm in it, you know, it allowed me to feel like it turned that critic off in my head. But of course obviously after overeating and over drinking, that critic was why to awake the next morning. Because she didn't drink, she was just ready there to whip me into place after, you know, after that, the night after me and my rebel had a good, good, good time.

Rita Black: So, when I shifted, I started getting mindful about many things, including alcohol and since my social anxiety was often at the root of why I needed a drink, I, I, so I was focused on drinking less at social events. So I'll say that again, cuz I think that came out weird. So you know, I made a project of drinking less at social events and how I did that first was it wasn't like, I'm not gonna drink at social events, but I'm gonna get my head on for the social event. Meaning I'm gonna love myself before I even go to the social event. I'm gonna my permission, myself permission to leave early. I meditated on what I could talk about, who I wanted to connect with at that party. I really wanted to bring a lot of meaning to the party above and beyond eating and drinking.

Rita Black: So being social for me, I had to shift my focus from food and drink to, you know, what I wanted to create for the party, which was, you know, connecting with people. And I'm not maybe the greatest person in groups sometimes. I mean I can be, but I, I know you you're like Rita, you're the biggest blabber mouth in the world. But I, I have, you know, I have, and my daughter has social. She's really working on that now, both my children are and I really I'm very proud of them because you know, they've noticed it. They're, they're, they're working their own program around that. So good for them. And this is without drinking or, you know, having to get stoned, but you know, like really being present and in themselves and all of that stuff. And I'm just so proud of them.

Rita Black: So, social anxiety is a really big thing for a lot of us. And I think a lot of, and, and now with COVID I think a lot of us, we can do a whole episode on social anxiety. You know, that's above and beyond probably thin thinking but there's, yeah, I think a lot of us, because we've become s, insular with our life as in lockdown that, you know, a lot more kids have social anxiety and a lot more adults have social anxiety. So, whole other topics some other time. But anyway, so, I often limit, so for me in my personal life, in my long term, permanent weight mastery life, I've really, alcohol is not a daily event for me at all. I'm there. I will go, you know, I'm primarily have married alcohol to going out and being, and seeing friends and being social. But I do enjoy a good glass of wine here, definitely here and there. And there will be, you know, certain nights in the summer where I might have a diet tonic and gin and you know, really enjoy it. But yeah, it, hasn't, I'm really grateful that it didn't become a huge habit during my life. But I definitely have helped a lot of people kind of look at, you know, reframing the relationship with alcohol.

Rita Black: Now, what I'm gonna do is we're gonna talk through what to, how to start to do this. So first of all, I would invite you to take an assessment of your relationship with alcohol. And when you do this, you don't wanna self-shame. You just want to, you want to just really take ownership of it. You know what I mean? Not like, well I drink, but you know, I drink because I work so hard and you know, I just really need that drink to take the edge off and, and you know, it's like, no, no, it's just like, okay, I get home at six and I pour a glass of wine. I'm gonna take ownership of that and I'm not gonna, and again, it is what it is. Just take ownership. On the weekends, I drink a bottle of wine with my friends or I drink bottle of wine and I, what, whatever it is, or I have three beers or I pour myself a cocktail, I can't wait to have it at 4:40 or whatever it, just, whatever it is, just take a nice breath in and just kind of scan your week. Think about your week or think about your month because maybe it's not a daily thing. Maybe it's a, you know, three times a week, maybe it's three times a month.

Rita Black: So, the first question is how often are you drinking and how much are you drinking? So just get clear on that and take ownership, just like, you know, like take, get facts, get data, we're taking data here. We're just like, right. You know, like, okay, we're a data collector. We're kind of like a scientist. Okay. How much? Okay. And how much of what you're drinking do you savor and enjoy and how much is just sheer Pavlovian trigger response, like check this out. Like if you ever sit down and like, like for instance, you know, and I don't know how much you've listened to any of my podcasts or know me or know my programs or anything. So, but there is this thing. So after three bites, three sips of any, you know, anything our mouth experience goes, you know, from 90% down to 20%. So if we're, you know, like even drinking a really beautiful glass of wine, you know, after about three sips, the experience of that on your pallete is gonna be significantly reduced. Or if you're having a cocktail and it's really tasty after a few sips, you're gonna, your mind's gonna move on. You're going to, you know, think about pouring the drink. Most of why we, or we drink is a, is a agitation relief response. Meaning our brain expects the drink. It will agitate us to get the drink. That's the dopamine center in the brain kind of agitating us. I want it, I want it want it kind of like a ringing phone. Right. You know, the phone rings, it bugs you. Right. And then when you pick up the phone, ah, relief. Right.

Rita Black: So a lot of why we think drinking relaxes us is if, if we expect it, we get agitated. And then the moment we take a sip, ah, relief, right. And then we're like, oh, drinking relaxes us, which it really doesn't ultimately. It doesn't. There's an initial bump up, but ultimately drinking is a depressant. So anyway, you know, like really notice how much of your drinking, like if you drink three glasses of wine a night, how much of that are you really savoring and enjoying? And how much of it is just like drink one glass. And then the phone starts ringing for the second glass and then the phone starts ringing for the third glass. Do you know what I mean? So because whatever your brain expects as a pattern, it's gonna ring the phone for you to, to finish the pattern. Right. So if you've got into habit is gonna want the habit fulfilled. So that's, you know, that's how we get stuck in these things is the brain just wants it again and again. Even though we could be saying consciously, but I don't feel good. I'm gaining weight. I don't like drinking so much on weeknights. It makes me feel bad in the morning. We could say all the, that stuff to ourselves, but our subconscious mind has already decided I like three drinks. I expect three drinks. You're gonna give three drinks. Okay?

Rita Black: So, but just notice, like, I want you to get present to this because this is how we start to make the, the take, the conscious subconscious, like we really wanna start to do liminal learning, which is like taking that stuff from the conscious mind down to the subconscious. And we start to do that by getting really present without judgment. Right. So just notice, like how much of those beverages that you're drinking are you really enjoying and savoring?

Rita Black: And now the next question is how many calories are you drinking? How many calories are you drinking? Like if you really sat down and looked at like a glass of wine, depending on this pour all right. We could do a whole comedy show on the different sizes of wine glasses. Right. You know how many there was like a birthday card I got from my friend and it was like this big, huge wine glass. And, you know, literally the one wine glass fill, you know, took a whole bottle of wine. Right. So, your glass of wine might be, you know, that glass, or it might be a teeny, tiny little glass, or, you know, your drink, whatever, you know, that drink may be. So, just get curious because if there's, if you're drinking like 300 calories a day of wine, you know, 300 times seven, if you're doing that every single night, that's 21,100 calories, that's over a half a pound of calories. I'm just saying. You know, it's just like, we, I, sometimes we just think, oh, well, that's wine, you know, and wine's like a hundred calories of glass, but if you're doing that every night and then, you know, then maybe that opens up the door to the cheese and crackers or the, you know, then, then you know, but for right now, we're just looking at like, how much are we drinking? Do we enjoy it? How many calories are in it? You know, just to get again, present, present.

Rita Black: Do you notice that your drinking makes you hungrier and that you eat differently? Like maybe if you eat dinner more dinner, maybe you eat less. Maybe you eat crap, you know, when you drink, maybe it opens the door, it's kind of the gateway to ordering takeout and, or, you know, ordering candy or, you know, some, or carby sort of things because the sugar brains kind of gotten taken over. So is, you know, and is that a problem for you? Like, it, and this is not an interrogation, again, this is an assessment we're being scientists right now. We're just collecting data. Are you hungry the next day? Just like I was saying, I am. So I, you know, if I am going to drink, I'll say, okay, well I'm gonna drink, I'm gonna be hungrier tomorrow, but I will figure that out. So, you know, I'll make sure the next morning that I will eat something that's very protein-oriented so that I'm stabilizing my blood sugar. I might even, I definitely try to eat something before I have alcohol, because I find that if I drink it on an empty stomach,, it impacts my brain, you know, much more quickly. And it, and it makes me hungrier right then and there on the spot. And I might eat more than if I maybe eat a little something before I go to the party or go see my friends. And then I'm not, you know, that first class of wine or that drink, isn't going to impact me as much or impact my appetite as much.

Rita Black: So here's another question is your drinking habit keeping you from a relationship and, or connecting with others or yourself? So like, for some, for instance, I have clients who have said to me that they'll drink and, you know, they might come home from work. They'll be really tired and exhausted and they'll drink and they'll kind of go sit in the room and like be on their phone and have a glass of wine. And then they aren't interacting with their family, like their kids or, or their husband. It's just kind of like me time, it's me time. And a lot of times, sometimes this might be somebody who might be a smoking client as well. So they might go outside and smoke and have a drink of wine. And again, there's part of them that feels horrible about it because they're like I should be in there with my kids, or, you know, like I, my husband's like, and they're watching TV and you know, I get it like they're, and we'll talk about that. Like, there's this, all this stuff that goes around the drink and what it equals in your brain, but is it right now keeping you connecting with others or your self, you know, because when we drink, you know, it is, we might be sitting on our own and drinking, or we might be connecting with others and drinking, but it's definitely a different relationship with ourselves than when we're sober. So, I'm not saying you don't have a relationship with yourself when you drink, but is it the kind of relationship that you, are, you know, wanna nurture and it might be, but this is what just be a scientist about it.

Rita Black: And, you know, your drinking might be impacting your relationship with yourself in that after you drink, like, when you wake up the next morning, you just might be spending a lot of time beating yourself up about it and feeling guilty. And, you know, again, then that's impacting your relationship with yourself. It's impacting your ability to feel good about yourself and confident. If you're, if you're beating yourself up about it, if you're not then great, but if you are being critical of yourself, then obviously it's impacting your relationship with yourself.

Rita Black: So take a moment and think about any other things your current drinking habit may, you know, have over you or be doing for you - negative or good. You know, this is your time to explore, you are being the scientist. Okay. And I'll just take a nice deep breath in and take ownership of all of it. No shame, just forgive yourself for anything you need to forgive yourself for and just let go of the shame and own it all. I own that habit.

Rita Black: And now we wanna get creative. We wanna put our creative hat on, because what we don't wanna do is this idea of like, taking away. Like, I can't do that. I have to stop doing that because again, coming from shame and coming from deprivation, the brain doesn't like that and it doesn't understand that. But the brain loves to be creative. So what we wanna create is what you would like to do, like your new relationship with alcohol, right? So we aren't, we aren't slapping your hand and saying, you can't drink on Monday nights. That's not allowed. It's just like, what would you like if you had to look at your day, your week and a new relationship with alcohol that empowered you, that, you know, gave you a sense of freedom or whatever you wanted to create with that relationship with alcohol, what would that look like? It might be not drinking at all, and it might be drinking every other night, or it might be, you know, I have a friend and she, you know, she really believes in the, she isn't a drinker at all, but she started drinking like a thimble full, or like a shot glass full of red wine every night cause she said the health effects of, you know, the, the red wine. She started doing that like after dinner. So not with dinner, not at the end of the day, but just like really pretty much at night before she goes to bed at night. So, that was her relationship with alcohol. Right.

Rita Black: So what, you know, and, and really what would that do for your life? I want you to think about that. Like what would it do for your life to be mastering your relationship with alcohol rather than it mastering you. Now, one of our challengers in our mindful drinking challenge committed to drink one drink seven days a week. Like, so one drink every one of the seven days cause she was, she was drinking two or more glasses of whatever per day. And so she just says, you know what, I'm gonna do one and that's it. You know, I'm not gonna not drink, but I'm gonna do one. And she's had a really great month. She is sleeping better. She's feeling better. She's been really creative with, you know, she'll have that drink and then she'll have these other non-alcoholic beverages that these kind of mocktails and she's just had a fun time. So that really worked for her.

Rita Black: One of the other members, she cut back to three to four times per week. So she decided, you know, I'm not gonna drink every day. I'm gonna drink on the weekends and maybe like Thursday, Friday, she's, you know, in a holiday situation at the moment. So she's drinking Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday believe. And you know, one of our members was the weekends only and one then just cut it out all together. And there were many who did that as well. So, there's many different ways that you can create this new relationship with drinking. Again, don't think about taking away, thinking about, create something new. Would you only like to drink socially? That, I mean, that for me is so easy that because it's just not an option. Any other time, you know, like I, I, I don't really think about it at night. We're making dinner. No. Even if I've had a bad day, it's just like, no, I, I have only drink socially and, and socially isn't with my husband and my son. It's when I go out with friends.

Rita Black: So how do we shift our mindset? Remember you're dealing my friends with the subconscious, our lovely subconscious and in our subconscious is our identity, is our habits, and our beliefs. Okay? So the first thing we wanna do, I always like to start with the identity piece of it because our identity is at the top of the subconscious mind. Right there sitting at the top. So we might have our, we might see ourselves as like, I have an identity of like, oh, I like to drink or I'm a, you know, like I, I have an identity, I'm a, I'm a social drinker and I'm a one, you know, one or two, maybe three on a front night glasses, but I'm definitely like, you know, I have like a limit and I see myself as primarily a social drinker.

Rita Black: But, what about you? What identity would you like to create? And, and what I mean by that is maybe you see yourself as like, if you've been seeing yourself as like I have a drinking problem or I am a lush, or if you have these terms that you use with yourself that are maybe derogatory or maybe they're just, you know, disempowering. Your brain has kind of, that identity is kind of swirling around with all your other identities. And when we're like trying not to be a lush, the brain doesn't get that. But we wanna step into a new identity like I drink three times a week. Sorry, my notes fell off there. I drink three times a week or I'm a weekend. I'd like to have a drink on the weekend. I'm somebody who drinks one drink and then I cut myself off, you know, like whatever it is, but you're stepping in to that identity and adapting to it rather than trying not to be the three-drink drinker. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

Rita Black: So we wanna start with our identity and then acknowledge that let's talk about habit. So like we said earlier, you have a pattern and that pattern of drinking, whatever it is, like, I'm gonna just say, like, let's say you were a tw- drink, a drink, two-drink a day drinker. And you know, your first drink you expected when you knocked off work. And the second one was, you know, for dinner. Right. So your brain has patterned that in if it's been, especially if it's been every day, you know, somewhere around five o'clock, your brain will start to go, we're gonna have that drink. And you might have even be, think, been, thinking about it earlier, because see, in your mind you're subconscious. That drink that glass of wine isn't, you know, crushed grapes that have been filtered and gone through this very, you know, intricate process and put in a bottle and then you pour it in a glass. It's also everything it represents. It represents I'm off work. It's a reward. I don't have to think about a thing now. Right. You see what I'm saying? It's like that glass of wine, that cocktail isn't alcohol in a glass, it represents so much to you. It's connecting with my friend. It's being bad girls. It's, you know, being a rebel it's saying, I don't care, screw you to the boss. It screw you to my family. You know, like all these, it's just, it represents so much more than just the alcohol. So it's really helpful to understand that when we're trying or, you know, like if you pour that glass of wine and you go sit down and you put your feet up and you watch the news, or you look at your phone or you talk to your husband, you know, everything going on around that is that glass of wine.

Rita Black: So the glass of wine or the cocktail is a portal into an experie that you value. Right. So when we try to take away the drink, it's in our mind, it's, it's like we're taking away all the stuff that goes on around it, and that is hard to do. So, we don't wanna do that. So what we wanna do is instead create our new non-drinking self-care structure. So like, if you're gonna cut out alcohol, except for a few nights a week on those nights that you're choosing to abstain, you know, you can still sit down at the end of the workday. You can still get on your phone or talk to your husband or do those things. I'm watching the news as alcohol-free. You're or I'm watching the news as I'm only, yeah. I'm alcohol-free or I I'm only drinking on the weekends. And, and what you're doing is reintroducing yourself in that situation to yourself. Now you might decide to do something different. You might decide, well, shoot, if I'm not gonna pour a glass of wine, I'm gonna do what I really wanna do, which is put on my shoes and go for a run or work out, or make a healthy dinner or, you know, like, so it may change what you do. But what you're doing is creating a self care structure, because right now your brain will start to, like I said, like ring, it will start to the phone, the drink phone, and your brain will start to ring maybe around four, if you expect that five o'clock cocktail and maybe even earlier. So you might be having a really hard work day at two o'clock and think about your drink. Not because you really want the but because thinking about the drink calms your brain down because that drink represents so many things and it's all about relaxation and reward, and it's sending these feel good neurotransmitters to your brain in that moment of stress. Right?

Rita Black: So we may think like, oh my God, I'm thinking about drinking at two o'clock. You're not really. Yes you are. But what your brain is trying to do is just calm you down. And that's what we do with food too. We might be thinking about brownies or cookies or cake, but we're really sending these neurotransmitters to our brain that like flood us with good feelings. Sorry. I keep my notes keep falling off. So does that make sense to you? So, so take away the shame around that, but recognize that that will phone will start to ring. So you wanna say, oh, there's that thought of that drink, but isn't that great. I'm not rewarding myself and giving myself pleasure and relaxation by running. I'm rewarding myself by sitting, giving myself permission to sit down and have a cup of iced tea and talk to my husband. Right? So you're, you're moving the brain along. You're moving, you're saying we're not gonna do that. Oh, look at that. There's that thought, but what we're, what we're going to do, it's it's not like we're substituting. Substituting is, what you don't wanna do is do it without a drink, like in your mind or substituting because I'm substituting the ice tea for my wine, that will seem like really lame to your brain. It will be like what ice tea instead of wine, but what you're doing is refocusing your brain on who you are. Oh, I'm alcohol free. And I, and I'm enjoy this iced tea with my husband. It's not like I'm trying not to drink my wine and I'm trying to have this iced tea instead. We don't wanna really have any try, not, we're really refocusing on who we are and what we're doing in that moment. You with me, I hope, I hope this is all making sense, because this is like all about redirecting the mind and recreating, creating a new pattern or creating a pattern that is similar that gives you the same payoff, which is relaxing and reward at the end of the day. But, as alcohol free.

Rita Black: So, now to begin to do this, whatever you choose, whatever pattern you choose, you wanna start to mentally practice in the morning. See, because once you get to four o'clock, the train is left the station. So you wanna think this all through in the morning because you have the most willpower in the morning. That's why, you know, like, for my members and in the shift weight mastery process, we have, we have morning meditations because we're really, it's a roadmap through your day, right? It's creating that. It's a mental practice ahead of time, which gives you a lot more power and a lot more willpower in the moment because the time 5:00 falls around, you've made so many decisions and done so much in your day, you have zero willpower and impulse control left. So we wanna borrow and leverage our willpower from the morning by really thinking this through in the morning. Okay.

Rita Black: So now, yeah, and don't look at the alcohol as, you know, don't look at it as like, oh, I'm substituting something for my drink. I'm like, oh, this is my non-alcoholic beverage that I'm enjoying as I relax. So you're, you're focusing on what you have, not what you're replacing. Okay. Because, you know, up until you were 21 or let's face it, you know, some of us started drinking before the legal drinking age, you didn't need alcohol for anything. You know, you lived a full, happy life. You think of like how crazy you were as a like kid or teenager or whatever. I mean, you know, you had a lot of joy and reward prior to imbibing, and then the moment you drank, it was like, oh, there was this little void that now needs to be filled. And we wanna fill up those voids. We don't wanna be like replacing them. We wanna be like, no, I'm full and complete as I am. And now I'm creating my alcohol free or my new mindful drinking lifestyle. I'm gonna pour myself my one glass of wine and just completely enjoy it. And when it's done, it's done, I'm getting on with my mindful drinking evening by sipping on my cup of tea, you know, after dinner. And you can create some fun alcohol free beverages. I'm not saying you can't do that, but I'm just saying, don't be like, I'm substituting this for that.

Rita Black: So, some of our members found soda in bitters was a really nice cocktail. And I'm not gonna say that Angustura Angustura? I think so. I remember when I was a bartender way back in the day, as a waitress bartender slash type person, that was definitely something, if you weren't gonna drink, that could be, you know, your, non-alcohol beverage or, or there are a lot of mocktails. If you go online now there's lots of fun mocktails. Or you can just drink some water or a cup of tea. I mean, I'm a such a huge fan of tea, tea in the evening. I drink chamomile, I drink mint tea. I drink, I just find them so relaxing. And especially here in the middle of winter, it's my, it's my go-to for pretty much everything.

Rita Black: And you know, if you're gonna go out and be social plan that too, you know, if you're gonna have one drink plan, when in the evening you're gonna have that drink, what is gonna, you know, like I realized by getting super mindful about social drinking, that the best drink for me was probably that drink in before dinner but like once dinner really started, I didn't really even enjoy the alcohol because I'm a food person. So I was like, that's a waste of calories, but I enjoyed, you know, that the, just the, you know, social aspect of having that glass prior to dinner. Right. So I really got mindful of like, when I, you know, what beverage, or what time, you know, in that, you know, social event and let's face it, certain people, you may feel like I don't even need a drink with them. We have such a good time. You know, we chat, chat, chat, you know, so, well, it's just like, you don't drink or no drink. You just have a ball. And then there's those people that you need to drink with. Well, and I'm not gonna say you need a drink, but like, you're just like, I'm gonna have, and it may be because they have the most amazing wine cellar in the face of the planet. It may be because they're a little edgy and, you know, or they, you know, you just have a glass of wine with them or you have that whiskey, or I don't know, whatever, but, you know, get clear. And again, this is a chance just to get mindful and ask yourself, well, what do I really need? What do I really value? You know, and what is fun, really? What is reward really? You know, really do I need a drink in order to put up with this person, maybe then I don't wanna be putting up with this person. You know, those are the questions. When you get mindful and conscious, it changes.

Rita Black: Let's talk about beliefs. I can't relax without a drink. Drinking makes me a better conversationalist. Drinking is a reward. So, let's, you know, think for a moment about, just think for a moment, take a deep breath in and close your eyes and just think about sitting with a drink and sipping it slowly. Or you could do this even with a drink, you know, the next time you have a drink and just start to notice the impact that that drink has on your body without any distractions. You know, and you might start to notice that, you know, I can't relax without a drink, but when you start to really sit with an alcoholic beverage and without other people, without looking at your phone without just anything, you might feel relaxed in the beginning, but you start to feel then a little off. You know, there's other physiological experiences that are put into play, like your brain, getting a little off, you know, just the different sensations going on in your body, your balance in your motor skills, you know, slowly start to get imbalanced. So that relaxing, you know, like I said, you might get a little bump up and initially, but then you start to feel, you know, it start, it can become a depressant.

Rita Black: And that belief like drinking makes me a better conversationalist again, get really present to that. Does it really? I mean, it may, you may, you know, like I said, I, I, you know, you loosen up a little bit, maybe if you have a drink in the beginning, but ultimately if you keep drinking haven't you ever noticed a group of people, like, have you ever been sober with a bunch of people or drinking, and haven't you noticed that they kind of just talk, start saying the same thing over and over again, telling the same story over and over again. So, you know, your, your conversational skills may be lubricated in the beginning a little bit, but they quickly can go downhill, especially if you've had too much to drink.

Rita Black: And then again, that idea that drinking as a reward, you know, it might be a reward in the beginning, you know, when you sit down and put your feet up and everything, but is it a reward at the end of the night? Is it a reward when you feel bad about yourself? Is it a reward when you wake up in the morning and you're like, oh, foggy, headed and not feeling good. And you know, so really when you get present to those beliefs and start poking holes in them, they begin to dissipate. You begin to get a new, it's called a reframe. You could get to see it from a different perspective. So I hope that this has been helpful for that.

Rita Black: Now. Well, another thing you could do is use a mantra or an affirmation. Like I am becoming a mindful drinker, so I can't relax without a drink. Well, as I become a mindful drinker, I find that I can relax without any alcohol. In fact, I relax more. You know, like, so what you're doing is starting out, like I'm in the, I am becoming, so you're, restating your identity, or I am moving in the direction of managing stress as an alcohol free person. So if you come up with a mantra, mantras are really great because you can repeat them over and over again, and they really do get into your mind. And the interesting thing is the good feelings from, you know, like that you perceive that you get from alcohol, actually come from your body interacting with alcohol. Your body is perfectly capable of creating all these amazing feel, good feelings. And ultimately when we become dependent on alcohol, it kind of robs us of our body of that ability. And it actually, alcohol strips amino acids from the brain, and kind of drives the need for it heart. So, you know, there's so many different biochemical things that go into play when we drink alcohol. And again, I'm not saying to be a teetotaler if you enjoy it, but just let's, you know, if you are listening to this episode and you hear what I'm saying, I hope this has made sense to you to kind of just take a breath and reframe, take the shame away and say, what am I willing to do? What can I create? Who can I be with that? And step into this new idea and, and start to shift that habit.

Rita Black: Now, here is the deal, in honor of February, I am going to offer just this episode, my Bottoms Up Weight Down Hypnosis and Pre-Drinking Preparation. So there's a hypnosis session for, you know, drinking less for weight management. It's not not drinking, but drinking less for weight management. And also there's this little, I love this, premeditation kind of that you would listen to before you go out or before the evening, it's just like, how many drinks do I wanna have? You know, it's kind of like a mindfulness practice and I'm offering it for 50% off. And, it's in the shift store, which is, you know, a bunch of weight management downloads, the hypnosis downloads. So the link is in the show notes. And then the coupon code is also in the show notes. As of this recording, I'm not quite sure what the coupon code is. I think it's going to be free. I mean, not like free, but like alcohol free, free, right? Okay. maybe that is a bad coupon code. Let's scratch that. Let's we'll just say, we'll come up with a good one and you'll just be surprised.

Rita Black: And so just enjoy that. I, I really like it. It's one of our most popular downloads. So I hope you enjoyed our little discussion here about drinky poos, and I hope you have an amazing week and beginning of your February. 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. And I look forward to going through February with you.

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 www.shiftweightmastery.com 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.