Here’s the good news…

The world is slowly returning to normal.

But there’s bad news too. Normal means returning to those pre-pandemic struggles when it comes to social eating and eating in restaurants.

But here’s some more good news…in today’s episode of the Thin Thinking Podcast, I walk you through some powerful strategies for dining out. So that you can head out into the world again and handle all social eating situations with ease.

Want to win a free weight loss program? Who doesn’t, right? I’m giving away 3 spots in my Weight Mastery Express program during the month of June. All you have to do is leave a review of the podcast in Apple Podcasts, take a screenshot, and send that screenshot to [email protected]. That’s it! I’ll choose 3 winners on July 1st. 

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: The good news is the world is slowly returning to normal. The bad news is that normal can mean we are returning to the social eating challenges that were there, pre pandemic. In today's episode of thin thinking, I walk you through powerful strategies for dining out so that you can head out into your social life, feeling confident and ready to nail all those eating out situations.

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: Hello and welcome to June. I have an amazing episode today that was inspired by the fact that today is my 32nd wedding anniversary with my husband and we are going to be eating out at a restaurant tonight to celebrate. But before I dive in, I have a great announcement and some thanks to give. I wanted to thank all of you for all of the positive and really thoughtful reviews that you have posted. I want you to know that they mean so much to me. I have been so touched by the outpouring of positive love and the appreciation that you've shown. And I'm so blessed, I guess, is the word and grateful that you are getting value from the Thin Thinking podcast, because I am having such a great time diving into creating a powerful mindset with you. So thank you. And with that in mind, my announcement is that during June, we are going to have another podcast review contest.

Rita Black: If you write a review for this podcast any time in June and send it to [email protected], that's [email protected]. You can be entered into a drawing and three lucky winners will win my Weight Mastery Express downloads pack, which is five fabulous coaching and hypnosis sessions. And the cost is usually $116. You'll get exercise hypnosis, mindless eating hypnosis, stress, lessen your drinking, or lower your drinking for weight release and portion control. And if you don't know how to leave a review, check out the show notes or the podcast website for instructions to do so and now on with the show. Okay, so now it's my anniversary. And like I said, my hubby and I are going out to a restaurant, which as you have guessed, we haven't been doing a lot of this last year.

Rita Black: And as I have been hearing from my clients and members of my monthly mastery membership, getting back to restaurant eating has been fun, but it's also become a challenge as has been the whole getting back to being social with others. So we are focusing on the whole social eating challenge in my group this month. But as I prepare to dine out tonight with hubby, I thought I would walk you all through some thin thinking strategies that I use while dining out that have helped me manage my 40 pound weight loss for over 25 years. All right. So sound good. So 32 years ago today, I was what you would call a chunky bride. And I remember as squeezing myself into the wedding dress that I actually bought promising myself that it would have to be taken in because I was going to lose so much weight before my wedding.

Rita Black: But of course, as you blushing brides know, getting married is stressful and full of food events. And my wedding was actually an away wedding because at the time that I got married, my husband and I were living in New York city and we were way too poor for a New York wedding, which was, you know, even in the late eighties, because we got married in 1989, was super expensive. So we decided to get married near where I grew up Seattle, on this island called San Juan island. And we got married in this teeny little wedding chapel, called the chapel of the good voyage, which we just thought was such great omen for, you know, our wedding and what was so spectacular and cool about the fact that not only was it cheap to get married here, but, it was a teeny tiny chapel.

Rita Black: Literally we had 35 people at our wedding and the chapel was packed and half the people were up on the alter, because we literally invited most people to be groomsmen and bridesmaids. It was hilarious, but as the chapel doors were open in the back, you could see out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is the body of water between, the United States and Canada, um, north of Victoria. So those of you in the British Columbia and the north Pacific Northwest, you know exactly where I'm talking about, but if you don't, you may not know anything about, but just take it for take what I'm saying is it was beautiful. And even though I was a chunky bride, and even though my mother, well, my poor mother literally had to like oil the zipper to get me into my wedding dress.

Rita Black: And I had to suck it in, it was a beautiful day and a special shout out to my husband who has managed to love me through my weight struggles and my weight mastery, and has supported me, in supporting my community, all these years. So I am really blessed. I love you, honey. So now let's dive into those restaurants strategies. So here's, from my perspective, the way that we normally eat out, you know, back in the day, restaurants used to be the special occasion. I remember being a kid growing up in the seventies in Seattle, Washington, and you know, we only ate out for a birthday or, you know, maybe my family ate out five times, six times a year. We would go out to breakfast after church on Sunday sometimes. But for the most part, eating out was expensive and we would, it would just be a celebration and as time, and, you know, we would get pizza, we would go through the drive-through.

Rita Black: There weren't a ton of drive-throughs, you know, in the seventies. There was McDonald's, there were some, but it's not like it is now, right. We can eat out any night of the week. Sometimes it's cheaper to eat out than to eat at home. You know, there's many, many types of eating out situations. So the way that I see eating out, are there three different kinds of eating out strategies that you want to have? One is just, it's a night of the week where you don't want to cook, or you, you know, it's, you don't have time to cook or you don't have food in your house to cook and you just go out and grab some food. You're going out with your family, or you're going out with your friends, or you're going out by yourself. And it's just, it's not a celebration meal.

Rita Black: It's just, I need to eat a meal. And so I'm eating and choosing to eat out or to get takeout right now. The crazy thing is with eating out. And I've heard this from many, many clients to know that, that I'm not, not bonkers saying this is that even those kinds of meals, just walking into a restaurant, we feel we're kind of in celebration mode. Right? And so even those, you know, when I talk to people who, you know, maybe eat out with their family three times, four times a week, they say they just can't get away from this idea that I'm always, you know, going into a restaurant means I'm relaxing. I'm rewarding myself and I'm celebrating. So we end up eating way more than if we would had we eaten at home. But so there's one way, there's that sort of just normal eating out night of the week that our strategy should really be, to probably consume as many calories or as much food as we would at home, or, you know, to have a certain focus and not to get into that reward, eating brain.

Rita Black: Now, the second way, you know, you could eat out would be a social special situation, right? So maybe you're going out with friends and it is like, a night of the week that we're getting together and we're going to go out with, we have, we have these friends, in LA we, we joked because they are the most social people. And we, we feel like we're on a list and that they just cycle through, because they'll call us every once in a while. They'll say, you know, we would like to go out to dinner with you on Thursday night. And we're like, oh, they must have cycled through their social list. And now it's our turn to go out with them. But like they are. I mean, and I mean this in the most endearing way, they're lovely, lovely people, but they're so social.

Rita Black: So, but you know, we'd go out to dinner with them and it's an event because, you know, we don't see them that often. So we're going to a restaurant and we're sitting down. So that would be an event where maybe you are going to consume, you know, a drink, an alcoholic beverage or two, and you might be consuming a few more calories because you are going out and it's a special occasion. And then the third event would be more the really special occasion where you're going out to like an event restaurant or, you know, where, where it's such an amazing new restaurant or it's a really fancy restaurant. And it's like that big occasion, not like my wedding anniversary would, I would say is more in the second tier or, you know, like, even for me, I'm probably not, you know, it gets, it's nice.

Rita Black: We're going out. We're probably going to have a glass of wine, but you know, we're not going to overindulge, but then there's those like overindulge, you know, you know, it's going to be a really spectacular meal and it's a anniversary or it's a party, or it's the Christmas party at the restaurant. It's, you know, something bigger is going on. Okay. And, the problem with all restaurant eating, like I said, is restaurants are stimulating research shows that we tend to eat 250 more calories, if not more, when dining out at a restaurant. So we really, really do need to prepare our minds before we even get to the restaurant, because believe me, restaurants are really booby trapped to get you to consume. Now, I know this, not only from, you know, just being as somebody who helps people weight manage. But I also know because I put myself through college waitressing and, um, you know, and I say, you know, I can, and post-college I even waitressed and catered.

Rita Black: And so I have a lot of experience in the food and beverage industry. So from the side of the server as well, and, you know, servers are told to go and sell food, right? They're there to get you more wine and sell you the orders and show you the desserts and make sure that you're going to leave, you know, having spent money at that particular place. So, you know, and it's fun to go out to our restaurant. It's fun to be served, it does feel rewarding, but we need to remember that leaving that restaurant feeling full, like we drank too much and ate too much is never a good, good time, right. Or waking up the next day and saying, why did I do that? You know, how many times have I, you know, woken up feeling full and bloated. When I struggled with my weight all the time, I mean, I would finish a waitressing gig at one restaurant.

Rita Black: And I go out with my friends to a late night restaurant and pig out and eat too much and drink too much and wake up feeling horrible the next day, swearing, I'm going to do different the next time. And of course I didn't. So when it comes to restaurant eating, we really need to start to prepare ourselves before we go out. So I want to cover three solid strategies with you. One preparing your mind before, which I, like I said, I feel like is the most important, how does stick with yourself during a restaurant experience? And then also briefly getting into, having a plan for after the restaurant as well, for those of you who tend to go out and eat and then say, well, screw it. Since I ate out a bunch or ate a bunch of at the restaurant, I might as well come home and make toast and eat that too.

Rita Black: And that was something that I would do. So, first of all, to prepare your mind before the important is, um, you want to have a practice play. Last weekend I talked about how to prepare for a three-day weekend and really, as you get to know me and get to know, then thinking so much of thin thinking is focused on preparing your mind ahead of time. Because the more you think things through, the more you have a strategy and a plan, the better things turn out for you. Okay. If you don't have a world, sorry, if you don't have a plan, the world has one for you and in restaurants, it's not a slimming plan, right? So I'm going in, and I'm not saying you have to have a specific knowing exactly what you're going to order plan, but planning your mind ahead of time, because here's the thing.

Rita Black: Once you enter into a restaurant, not only do you have your own beliefs and habits that just get trip wired in your brain, like automatic pilot, right? It's not that you're going to be in control once the train has left the station, it's very hard to pull yourself back in. How can I, how many clients can I tell ya had the best of intentions heading into that restaurant. They got the menu and they said, I don't know what happened, but I was going to order the fish. And I order the macaroni and cheese. I just heard myself saying that, right? So if your brain is in the habit of particular behaviors, thinking that you're going to change that behavior in the moment when the waiter is standing there, when the music is playing in the background, when the smells of all the restaurant goodies are wafting around, you think again, my friend, you want to, you want to come in with a plan in mind for what you want to create.

Rita Black: So, so I want to dive into that. So one thing you want to do before you even leave, sit down with your inner coach, right? Not your inner critic or internet rebel, cause your inner critic is going to tell you you're going to fail. And your inner rebel is going to say, well, what's the problem and sort of the macaroni and cheese, right? But we want the inner coach who wants the best for you. And I want you to sit down with your inner coach and I want you to think of how you want to leave that restaurant feeling. First of all, because again, I got into this in the last episode. So if you didn't hear the episode on three-day weekends, it's a great episode to listen to also about going out and being social. But this is more specifically geared towards restaurants.

Rita Black: You want to really have a vision of how you want to leave that restaurant feeling. Not just a vision of like what it's going to look like, but what it's going to feel like to leave that restaurant feeling light, driving home or walking home, feeling like you didn't eat too much, that you really took care of yourself, but you had a good time that you had the perfect amount of food. You have the perfect conversations that you connected with people. It wasn't just about the food. It was about everything else because restaurants are wonderful, uh, places where you can sit back, relax, enjoy music, enjoy the ambience. Let's be honest. So we, my husband's really into eating, you know, like in fun little restaurants in mini malls, you know, a lot of people here in LA, like to go to mini mall restaurants, you know, cause they're family owned and they're small and you can usually get a really good meal for not that much money because let's face it in Los Angeles.

Rita Black: You can drop a pretty big dollar on a lot of these fancy pants, restaurants around here, which are super fun to go to. But, you know, let's be real. If you're a family living in Los Angeles, you make it work for you if you know what I mean, but anyway, I digress. You want to have a vision of how you want to feel and leaving that restaurant and having enjoyed yourself. Now, here's something that you can do most of the time nowadays that I think is a huge help. And that's look at the restaurant menu ahead of time. Now with the pandemic, most restaurants have put their menu online because they were all selling food online or they probably went out of business. So you can go and check out their menu. Lot of them are not going to tell you the calories or the caloric content, but some of them will, but you can have a look and really start to know what choices you're going to have ahead of time.

Rita Black: And really start to think this through this is going to get your brain starting to focus on. What's going to feel good for you to eat, meaning lighter leaner and you know, what are some of the choices maybe you want to avoid? You know, our brain is a problem solver. So when you see, once you're looking at that menu with your friends, with the music, playing with the waiter standing there, it's a wholly different experience for your brain than it is sitting at home, really with your best intentions for yourself in mind. So having that preview look at the menu, if not like really kind of walking down and thinking about what you truly want to eat, it really, really will be very helpful for you to put that into place. So check out the menu. And a lot of times, like for a lot of times, for instance, my husband and I think might be going to Musso and Frank, which is this very old place in Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard.

Rita Black: It's like movies before it's like got the dark wood paneling and the waiters all have, you know, talk like this, what you're going to have, you're going to have the steak. Okay. You know, cause it's a steak place, you get a martini and a steak, but we're going to split a steak, cause the steaks are so much. No, but, the steaks are very expensive, but they're good. But we will probably split our meal and split some appetizers. And again, looking at the menu ahead of time allows you to start to get your creative brain going like, oh, how can I get a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but not overindulge. And also think through, you know, drink situation as well.

Rita Black: I'm going to get into that in a minute, but just look at the menu ahead of time. So, so you can plan to be successful for yourself, what you truly want to have. Okay. So now who's coming with you to the restaurant. Do you need to manage their expectations? You know, a lot of times we're all going out in celebration mode. If we're eating out with like four or more people, and sometimes we get a little shy about our goals. Like we don't want people to know that we're focusing on weight release. So we might just go with the flow and not want to. And I can't tell you how many people really get upset with themselves and feel a lot of regret for not, you know, making the choices that they really want to. So if you think it through ahead of time, you can also think through, like, if people say things like, why are you ordering that?

Rita Black: Or come on, let down your hair tonight. You look great. You lost some weight, you know, you can overindulge, you know, like you can think through what people are going to say ahead of time so that you can come up with some powerful answers for them. One thing I always counsel, if you are, in weight release mode and you're going out with people who probably aren't, if they start to question your, you know, what you want to eat, you know, the, I think the most powerful thing to say to them, you know, if they're like, are you on a diet? Because if people say, yes, I'm on a diet, oh, don't be on a diet because you know, the human psyche, everybody, nobody wants to feel judged. Right? Your friends don't want to feel like you're sitting there eating the salad, judging them for eating the fried calamari and the, you know, the three cheese burrito or whatever.

Rita Black: They don't want to have to think about that because they are wanting to disconnect and not think about that. Right. So one way to really kind of overcome that social part of it is to say, oh, you guys go ahead. You know, like if you make them feel like, oh yeah, you guys go ahead and order that. I'm just I'm avoiding, you know, whatever the thing is, I'm avoiding flour or I'm avoiding cheese right now because it's not making me feel good in the morning. You know? Like your friends can't argue with food, making you feel bad. I mean the diet thing, I think trips people up more than just saying, yeah, I'm avoiding eating that right now. It's just not sitting well with me or I I might have an allergy to it or something which you know, is kind of honest in a way when you're saying, you know, it doesn't make me feel good because yeah, when you eat fried calamari a whole plate of it and a three cheese burrito who does feel good the next day, probably very few people.

Rita Black: So, you don't have to lie, but you're just focusing on how you want to feel, which also helps you reinforce what you want for yourself versus saying I'm on a diet, which sounds to you deprived and also sounds to them like that's not fun. You're not being fun. Okay. So stick up for yourself and advocate for yourself, but you don't have to say you're on a diet. And one way to avoid all of this is to order last. Because if you order last, um, nobody's, everybody's ordered and gone on with their conversation. They're not going to be sitting there listening to you, but if you order first, they might be. So, um, just order last, do you need a drink tea? Would you like a drink? You know, here's the thing. Some people in our social circle, I can go out with friends and, you know, I don't even think about having a drink with them because it's just like, not what we're up to.

Rita Black: We'll have a drink. And then there's some people that I have a drink with, you know, and some people I need a drink to be with. No, I'm kidding. But, uh, yeah, you know, the alcohol thing is always a question and definitely setting limits with yourself and thinking that through ahead of time is going to be important too. And here's a big question. I think I brought this up in the last week's podcast, too. How much alcohol do I need in order to have a good time? There seems to be a real limit on, you know, one glass maybe, you know, like, and again, I, for those of you who don't drink, this is you, you can close your ears and not even listen to this right now, but one drink maybe, you know, socially loosens you up a bit. But after that, like drink and a half, two drinks, it starts, the value starts to have a downward spiral effect.

Rita Black: So, you know, thinking through when you might have that glass of wine or glass and a half of wine or splitting the second glass, rather than, you know, getting there and what happens a lot of times is we'll be hungry. We'll order a drink, the drink will come first, we'll drink that drink and it will hit our stomach. We'll have no food in our stomach. It will hit our brain. And then it hits a lot harder than if we've had a glass of water, maybe had a little food, and then we have that glass of wine. You're more likely not to overeat. You're more likely to not over drink, if the first thing that hits your stomach isn't alcohol. So, um, another, um, thing that I am going to say is to maybe eat a little something before you go to the restaurant at some protein or something, just so that just in case you don't get served for a while.

Rita Black: If you are going to have that drink with your friends, don't put a drink in, on an empty stomach, your chances of overeating and overdrinking are going to go way up, and, and practice responses to the drinking thing too. If you need to like, oh, you know, after a drink, wondering, you know, tomorrow I'll wake up with a splitting headache, you know, don't let people bully you into disconnecting with yourself. You know, people, they have very good intentions. They want you to have a good time, but you know yourself, and if you've aligned yourself with yourself before you go out, chances are, you're going to be able to say no, a lot more easily than if you just go into it, hoping to not drink as much as you did the last time, you know, think it through and think, how do I want to leave this restaurant feeling both from a being full standpoint, but also an alcohol standpoint, um, increase some strategies, uh, and just practice them ahead in your mind.

Rita Black: You know, all of this stuff that I'm talking about, practice it ahead in your mind, practice your friends saying, Hey, have another one. Hey, don't order the salad, let's order this, you know, and practice your comeback to that. Because if you do that ahead of time, chances are, it will come out of your mouth rather than if you don't practice, it will feel a lot more awkward and chances are, you are not going to say it. Okay. Have a goal for the outing other than food. I remember back when I went to the Tolo, did you guys ever go to Tolo? Do you even know what the hell a Tolo is? So back in my highest school in our junior year, the girls, well, I guess everybody, but it was the F my junior year. I lost weight. So my junior year, no, no, I take that back.

Rita Black: It was not my junior year. I was way overweight. And my junior year, my senior year, I lost weight. Gosh, and it was the first time I was really able to, like, I felt confident enough to ask a guy out to the Tolo because the total was a girl's boy. So I asked a guy and he wasn't a boyfriend. He was just a guy from my math class. He was very cute. My friend, Melissa, and I took two guys that we weren't like, they weren't our boyfriends. So we felt really awkward. This was our kind of like our first date out. And we got all dressed up. I'm I hand I sewed, like on a sewing machine, my outfit. And it was really exciting. So we went to a restaurant and I remember Melissa and I, we were really scared that we were going to run out of conversation with these guys.

Rita Black: We didn't know because we were girls and we didn't really hang out with guys. And so, I mean, we had friends, but we were just like, we were afraid we were going to get shy and stammer and not say anything. So we literally had a list. We sat on the same side of the table. We had this list of conversation, topics that we had, like we kind of had underneath the table. Like if, you know, we ran out of something to say, we could, you know, ask them another question. Like, what do you think about the football team this year? Or, uh, what colleges are you thinking of going to, you know, like it was, it was like really pathetic, but anyway, but yeah, no, I honestly, I still, when I go out with people, like, especially, you know, even with my husband, I'm like, why don't we want to, like, what do we want to dig into conversation wise?

Rita Black: I think about the people that I'm going to go out with and it's like, what's up for them in their life right now. What's up for me, what's a common thing that we can really dig into. So the restaurant experience isn't just about food, but it is all so about human connection. I think that when you go in with that sort of objective in mind, it can be super duper helpful. All right. Now we've planned for our dinner experience. Good. Now we're going to go to the dinner. We're going to we're now imagine yourself at the restaurant and you sit down and you take a breath and you center yourself, right? So again, restaurants are very stimulating places. There's noise. There's the kitchen. There's your friends and conversation. We often get outside of ourselves at a restaurant, right? So we, we forget that we have, we're kind of ahead floating on some sort of body, but, you know, we forget about that for a while.

Rita Black: So when you sit in the chair or the booth, take a breath and, you know, center yourself, be in your body for a, and remember that vision of you leaving that restaurant. So you're bringing that back to your brain, okay. And order some water first, maybe sparkly, water, whatever kind of water, but just order some water as hydrate and, um, have that be your first order. And here's the thing about bread and chips. They don't really even serve them anymore. At least where I live in LA, they make you pay for them, but maybe where you live, they still like, they, they still treat you like they did in the old days and bring some bread and bring some chips to the table. So with regards to that, you can tell them to take it away, or, you know, you can, I've had some clever clients who've told me, like, they go to a Mexican food restaurant and, you know, they want to bring them this big old bowl of chips, which, you know, you're going to plow through and like five seconds and then order another one.

Rita Black: And then by the time they bring dinner, you're just like so full of chips. So, I had a client told me the biggest invest tip ones. Well, there's lots of great tips for this, but the one I loved was, she asked herself ahead of time. So again, she sat down with her in her coat. She was like, how many chips do I need to really feel like I eaten chips and enjoyed them, but not overindulged. And the number was seven. So she told the waiter, she, everybody else had their own like big, old thing of chips. And she just said, can you bring me a separate chip basket with seven chips in it? And the waiter kind of looked at her and she goes, just indulge me. And he did. And everybody kind of laughed at her, but they were like when, after they had plowed through two bowls of chips and she had had her seven and ate them really slowly and broke them up and, you know, enjoyed the salsa, enjoyed it.

Rita Black: And she still had room for her dinner and felt lightened and lean. They were all like, oh my God, I wish you had done what you did. You know? So, you know, think that through ahead of time. And, you know, I could tell you many other stories and I will in future podcasts about mindless eating at restaurants and bread and stuff like that. But that's, that's a good enough story. Now, don't be afraid of the waiter, ask for what you need and order last, if you're embarrassed. So don't be afraid. So many people are afraid of the waiter. They don't want to upset the waiter. You know, waiters are posers, waiters are not people to be afraid of. Honestly, I was a waiter and I worked in, you know, restaurants in New York. I worked in restaurants in Los Angeles.

Rita Black: I waitressed, you know, and the best of the best restaurants and in the worst restaurants. And one thing I'll say is that you can really ask for what you want and the waiter will give it to you. You know, the, and, and you know, many times I've asked the waiter, I'll say, look, I don't, this is what I want. I don't, I see this is on the menu. I see you have a rugala. And I see, cause like a lot of times you go into restaurants and you think the salad is a healthy choice, but if you imagine taking away the lettuce leaves from all the other things like the cheese and the candied nuts. And I mean, literally I, most restaurants I go into and all the salads have like really heavy goopy stuff on a few lettuce leaves.

Rita Black: Right. And I have to laugh so hard because if you remove the lettuce leaves, probably that stuff on the plate would be far more calories than any of the entrees. And once you put the dressing on and all of that stuff, so I will say, I see you have this, you know, this particular thing, like asparagus that you have over here, and you have a rugala and all just say, can you assemble these various things together on a plate for me, I'll pay, you know, our, our all, or I, if I don't make my own thing, I'll say, you know, I see this as five ounces or, or, I mean, sorry, 12 ounces. Can you bring me five ounces? Or can you wrap half of it up for me and bring it to me in a doggy bag? So I don't have a whole thing.

Rita Black: I mean, I do not fear advocating for yourself that you can, they can say no to you, but, but I think that one thing that we have to be when we walk into a restaurant is our own best friend. And you have to search to create an identity for yourself. Like I take care of myself, I ask for what I need and without being a pain in the, you can be very gracious about it. And I have asked for many things over the years and, you know, like I said, I, you know, people at my dinner table will kind of look at me and roll their eyes. Oh, there goes Rita. But people I am telling you because chefs will get orders for these, you know, things I put together. I'll put, you know, some veggies, some grilled veggies on the plate and put, you know, some shrimp on top and then put the, uh, you know, bring me your, your salsa and put that around.

Rita Black: And everybody at the restaurant will be like, where is that on the menu? I want that, that looks amazing. And people, you know, stop laughing at me when I get what I want. So, you know, I had those kinds of people ask me for what they wanted and I respected them, you know? Yeah. It wasn't like, okay. But I respected them. I was like, wow, they're really taking care of themselves. So don't what the waiter is thinking about. You is none of your business, just ask for what you need and get it. And don't be afraid to ask for things on the side, don't be afraid to ask for smaller portions. As a joke, asked for one chicken wing on a plate, just to prove my point to my friends and yeah. The way that I did it, my friends were all like, wow.

Rita Black: So ask for what you need. When the food comes, take a breath, take another breath and center yourself before diving into the food, because it's very, very easy for us again, to be caught up in the conversation, caught up in the moment and not even be in it, not even experience the food as you're eating it. So take that breath, look at the food. Look at how much of the food is yours and look at how much of the food you want to leave. Like, and again, some, you know, tactics, I guess these would be, you know, restaurant eating tactics, one would be to have the way to bring you all plates. And I mean, I love just eating family style, not even just Chinese food, but all sorts of, you know, I like to say if there's four people order three dishes and then a salad and a vegetable so that you can all, you know, have little bits of the dinners and you can serve yourself how much you want or need.

Rita Black: I do this a lot with friends now because we all want to eat less. And, you know, it's, that's the rule of thumb is like to order one dish dish less than there are people. And then compensate me with a salad or side veggie or both. So, but if you're, you're ordering an entree for yourself, maybe you can ask for a plate and just put on your plate, what you want to eat, or have the waiter, you know, like wrap up before you come in. Just because restaurant servings. I remember in the seventies when I was growing up and we only ate out every once in a while, you know, when you ate out, you could see the white on the plate, um, in between the food, you know, there, there was literally an ice cream scoop of, I remember going to Iver's salmon house, like that was like the big treat place.

Rita Black: And they would literally have a scoop, an ice cream scoop of grautin potatoes, you know, a little piece of salmon, a little piece of cornbread. And it was like on this big white plate, but now you go in the plate is full. So, you know, think about that. I had a client who lost a hundred pounds and she got really good. She ate out all the time. She would take that breath and look at, you know, she would kind of draw a little line with a knife in the food, you know, half all the different things on her plate. And she, she would say this half belongs to me and this half belongs to the restaurant. So she just visually kind of segmented things before she started. And she ate slowly and mindfully and that's going to be, my next thing is to eat slowly, eat, then talk, then eat.

Rita Black: So eat, focus on the food, enjoying it, and then have a chat and don't be eating while you're chatting and then go back to eating, touch your stomach. Hmm. How helpful am I getting so that you're staying connected to yourself throughout the eating experience and when you're done, when you have had enough, I would suggest this is my trick. I get up. And I go to the restroom just to break the food spell because it's very easy to stay with a half-eaten plate of food and then start picking out it. But if you get up and use the restroom, um, go wash your face. Take a breath kind of, you know, even if you're sitting in there in the restaurant, I mean, sorry in the restroom, you get that sort of breadth on your own. Your brain gets to calm down for a moment.

Rita Black: You get to have that little conversation with yourself, like, okay, I've finished dinner. What are my plans when I, you know, and you can just kind of have a plan to go back out, finish your dinner, if you're going to have, you know, a few bites of dessert. Okay, cool. But that would be a great time to make a plan with yourself. And, um, yeah. And if you are going to order dessert with the table, you know, everybody, I think a lot of now nowadays people will split desserts, but the three bite rule is very helpful. Three bites after three bites, the taste experience goes down substantially. So just really enjoy those three bites. And the same thing. If you're going to order a decadent side dish for the table, um, you can have some, but you know, those three bites are going to probably be enough for you.

Rita Black: And then last but not least after dinner. So some of you might not struggle at all with eating after eating out, but sometimes I get clients and I myself have done this where I was ashamed to eat. Especially when I was overweight, eat a lot at a meal when I'm out with other people, I always ordered the salad and I had a lot of food shame, like eating in front of people, food shame. And so I would eat really, not so much while I ate out and then I would come home and pick out. Or I would go out and eat and then I'd get into that. Oh, I blew it. So I might as well eat everything inside. That's not nailed down when I go home. And then I'll start again tomorrow. So have a plan also for those of you who are like me, um, for when you come home, maybe plan to have a cup of herbal tea, have a plan to not even go to the kitchen, but to go upstairs and pet your dog and read a book or take a bath or something, but have a plan because, um, I think thinking it through ahead of time, again, is going to help your brain set a different course for you ahead of time.

Rita Black: If you plan to have a cup of tea or something or a glass of water, then go brush your teeth and just be done for the day. Uh, and remember you guys, it's not about being good while you're at a restaurant, but it's who you are becoming. You are becoming a powerful weight master who Dines out, not some weight struggler. Who's trying to be good, good at a restaurant. You're somebody who masters dining out in a way that allows them to live their life at their ideal weight. Okay. So here is a quick one little vision exercise for you. This isn't going to be a meditation, but this is something you can do with yourself. So before you go out, I want you to imagine going backwards from the restaurant experience. So it's called reverse engineering. You've probably heard that term, but you are going to reverse engineer.

Rita Black: You're going to go from how you want to feel leaving that restaurant. So just really imagine leaving that restaurant. How do you want to feel in your stomach? How do you want to feel in your whole body? How do you want to feel in your mind, confident, light, good aligned with yourself, right? So get yourself in to that feeling then in the vision so that your body actually feels that positive emotion and the body's like in the mind is like, yes, I want that. Let's create that. So that then your brain can go to work for you to draw you towards that experience rather than feeling gross and horrible and awful. And why did I eat that and remorseful. So how do you want to feel leaving and then reverse backwards thinking about the actions you want to take. Maybe imagine the waiter coming around and offering you a second or third glass of wine.

Rita Black: And you're saying, no, thank you. Just imagine that. Imagine your friends saying, should we order two desserts or one, imagine saying, ah, just one or maybe none. Imagine yourself looking at the menu and making that healthy choice, seeing what actions you're going to take while you're there. Imagine yourself sitting and having a powerful conversation with somebody. And that's being the most enjoyable part of the meal. See yourself working backwards from that, sitting down at the meal and taking that breath and centering yourself, see yourself, uh, preparing as you go into the restaurant, maybe eating a little something before you head in some protein. I always eat like a little yogurt, like a little Greek yogurt or something just to coat my stomach. So I'm not starved. And then, you know, if I'm starved, I'm making different choices from the menu. How alcohol is hitting my stomach and it's creating a show for me.

Rita Black: So eating a little bit beforehand, such a great idea, a little, have a little jerky, Turkey jerky, or vegan jerky or whatever, some protein in your glove compartment, something that doesn't go bad, some nuts, something that will stabilize you. It doesn't have to be a lot of calories. Just a little bit goes a long way. See yourself sitting down with your inner coach and heading into that and have that be your starting point that powwow with your inner coach, the four you had in that power that you have in the moment when you sit down at the table, okay, I'm aligning with that vision and then enjoying that eating out experience. Um, and it might seem like this is all about Rita. This is so much work just to go out and eat. But believe me, it is a lot more work to struggle with yourself, struggle with your weight.

Rita Black: And I have clients who are like, I think about food and my weight and all of it all fricking day long. And I'm telling you, when you start to use your thin thinking in this way, yes. In the beginning, it takes some concerted effort in time. It takes you showing up for yourself. And this is a stretch for everyone I'm telling when you start doing this in certain mastering, these situations, which used to undo you in the old days, man makes all the difference in your life. It makes all the difference in the world to how you see yourself in the world. And that makes the world a better place. So take that time to show up for yourself, start implementing these tools and you'll see the world will change for you. And I will, it's kind of like, okay, I had this whole thing.

Rita Black: I said that it's kind of like, you know, is brushing your teeth a chore, but aren't you glad you do it. Yes, all of this stuff can, can really, ultimately it's like putting sun lotion, suntan lotion is something you have to do and think about before you go out to the beach, but you're really glad after a day at the beach that you had it on. So last reminder, everybody, as I head out to my wedding anniversary dinner with my hubby, write a review for the thin thinking podcast. Anytime in the month of June, send it to me to [email protected] and be entered into a drawing three lucky winners will win my Weight Mastery Express downloads pack. That will be a drawing that we will do at the end of the month. And if you don't know how to leave a review, check out the show notes or the podcast website for the instructions. 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. Have an awesome week.

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.