Archive for: November, 2015

Food is Not a Reward or Punishment Podcast


Food is a response to hunger.  It isn’t a reward or punishment.   When you are hungry, eat because it is the relevant response.  When you are not hungry, don’t eat because that doesn’t make sense.  When you learn to reconnect hunger and eating and take the reward/punishment mentality out of it, you are on your way…


Thin Mentality Eating Examples

starbuckI was at an airport today, craving something sweet and moist.  I went to Starbucks and there was this berry coffee cake thing in the little display case.  It looked great- sweet, and moist, and I ordered it and a water and went to my gate to enjoy it.

At the gate, I ran into an acquaintance­­­­­ who knows that I do this website.

She herself is a yo-yo dieter, getting heavier every year…

She looked at my coffee cake and said,  “Oh that is that low fat Starbucks cake.  I thought you didn’t worry about eating low fat?’”

She is missing the point.

Just as I wouldn’t reject a food just because it was high fat, I don’t reject food just because it is low fat either.  If I did, that would be a diet mentality.

I simply eat based on what  “feels” like the right thing to satiate me at that moment.    And looking at that nicely decorated display case at Starbucks, the coffee cake seemed just right.  I saw the little “reduced fat” sign, it is highlighted because Starbucks, of course, thinks that is a selling point.

To me, a person with a thin mentality, the low fat designation was irrelevant.

I simply saw a food that my body said “yes” to and ate it.

I have no idea why I was craving it.   And I don’t care.

Perhaps because I did a lot of walking in the city the day before, I needed something high in calories??  Again, does it matter?  I will never get fat eating what my body is asking me to provide when I am hungry.

The night before, by the way, I was out to dinner where everyone was ordering hamburgers.    Frequently, I crave hamburgers.  But, I didn’t that night.  I wanted a cold crunchy salad with no meat at all.    And my thin mentality didn’t judge that either.  I was not being good, or bad.

Do you see a theme here?

When you develop your thin mentality, eating something you crave “feels” right.  It is harmonious.  It is comfortable.  It isn’t a battle.  It isn’t deprivation.  It isn’t being good or bad.  It is being normal!

And how do you know when your craving is satisfied and you aren’t hungry anymore?

Notice the point of  “diminishing returns.”

At first, when you are hungry for something and eat it, it is soooo good.  It is delightful.  Enjoy it!  But as you continue eating, the deliciousness will decrease.  Your body isn’t sending you the signal of delight anymore because you have answered the call.

Think of it like you would when you scratch an itch.  Do you keep scratching after the itch is gone?  No!  That wouldn’t be fun, would it??

It is the same with eating.  When the “itch” (being hungr) is gone, stop scratching (eating)! When you are itchy again, you can scratch away.

Hah!  Kind of funny how we have turned a normal, enjoyable biological function into something that requires a whole diet industry to “help” us.

Again, follow the money.   When some company figures out how to make money convincing you that you need help knowing when to scratch your itch, that industry will take off too!

Remember,  eating when you are already satiated is mediocre at best.  Eating when hungry is extremely enjoyable.  Look forward to it.  Wait for it.


Examples of Thin Eating


I get a lot of people asking for specific examples of thin mentality eating so here is an example.

Today- got up early and raced out the door.  I did grab a cup of coffee that I love with a big shot of whole milk in it.  I wasn’t worried that I didn’t eat breakfast.  I wasn’t going to melt, and I wasn’t hungry anyway.  I knew that I would take care of myself somehow after my early meeting.

Then, at 10:30 I had some time so I ate a bagel and cream cheese with capers and onions and salmon.  I ordered ice tea which was awful so I threw it out.  A thin person rarely puts anything n their body that they don’t like.  (Dieters do that all the time, right?)

So yea, I had a bunch of fat and carbs for “brunch.”  Bad, right?  NO!  That was a trick question!!  It was delicious and salty, (I love salt- don’t know why, don’t care, my health and blood pressure are fine.)

Then I was busy with meetings and such and at around 4:30 I was hungry again.  I ate half a chicken wrap that had dressing and pine nuts and vegetables, and a coke.  a REAL coke on ice.  It was great.

Then at around 7 I finished the other half of that wrap and I had another coke.  That is really unusual for me to have two.  But I am not worried about it.  For some reason I really wanted it.

So if you “count up” my calories etc., it probably is very reasonable.

Honestly, it is even weird for me anymore to reflect on what I ate because I don’t worry about it anymore.  I just follow my instincts and spend my life on more important things than hyperventilating about the “best” lunch I could eat for my “diet/nutrition.”

And since I have been a thin mentality person for a long time, I am good at it.  I would guess that I won’t want sweet food tomorrow.  It just seems like that is how it is for me.  Some days I crave it, some days I don’t.  I satisfy it when I do, and I don’t shove it down when I don’t crave it.  I don’t eat out of habit or because I am going to work out later and can “eat more” today.

Let me go over that one again because that is a big one that I used to do.  If I knew I was going to work out later (I taught spinning and aerobics for years) I would eat more.  HOw stupid.  Even if I wasn’t hungry I would just overeat thinking that I would just burn it off later.

Don’t make that mistake.  It is a bad habit to eat when you aren’t hungry.   If you are hungry after you work out- eat!! But don’t “eat preventatively.”

Now, if you know that you start to feel really bad during exercise if you have an empty stomach, make some adjustments.  Eat a little something.

The whole point is that you have to learn about yourself.  You may need to eat a little before you work out.  I don’t.  We are not the same.  Do what is good for you.  And that involves learning about your hunger.

So, back to the point of this post, I had a nice day, and ate exactly what I wanted.  I didn’t over think it, or worry or stress out or stuff food down my mouth when I wasn’t hungry or skip eating when I was.

The day isn’t yet over-  who knows if I will eat some more before bed.  I am not worried about it, IF, that is IF I get hungry, I will have another opportunity for enjoyment today.


Delay, Don’t Deny

happy dessert eaterDoes this ever happen to you?

You enjoy your dinner and then a nice dessert is offered.  It is your favorite and those around you are partaking. You look at the dessert and feel an overwhelming urge to eat it even though you aren’t hungry.

Well it certainly happened to me hundreds of times during my 25 years as a dieter (ages 15-40.)

Sometimes I would be able to resist, and other times I wouldn’t.  If I ate the dessert, it tasted good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have because I was already figuring out ways to make up for the indulgence or at least just feeling guilty.  And if I didn’t eat it, I would feel left out and even resentful.

Again, does this sound familiar to you at all?  There is a way out of this kind of struggle.

It involves a perspective change, not willpower. Whew, right?

Instead of thinking:

“Wow, I really want that dessert, I feel like I should treat myself, after all I have had a hard day, and I am just going to eat it and deal with the consequences later.”

Tweak your thinking to sound more like this:

“Wow, I really love that dessert.  It is my favorite.  I am going to give myself the time I need to get hungry again so that I will be able to treat myself to this dessert and enjoy it with the most satisfaction possible.  I am not denying myself, I am simply delaying eating until hunger returns.  (Which is many times a day!!)  I will take a portion with me, or make sure that I cut a piece for myself so there will be some left for me or whatever, and then when I get hungry, I am going to enjoy that dessert completely.  There will be no guilt.  There will only be pleasure. And that is how I will treat myself and treat myself well.

I have to remind you that even though you think that when you stop dieting, you will only crave desserts, that isn’t true.  And as you get stronger and stronger with your thin mentality, you will enjoy your food choices, but you will not be held captive by them.

Even waiting ten minutes the first time you run into this scenario will help you to build your thin mentality.  And as that ten minutes turns into a longer period of time while you wait until hunger returns, you will experience the feelings of satisfaction and control that comes with acknowledging you desire for something wonderful to eat, and eating it with no guilt, no regret.

Your thin mentality will destress your relationship with food and allow you to care for yourself by providing your body with the food it craves.   It is not “wrong” to crave dessert.  It is not evil.  It is not poison.  It is a beautiful part of life.

And again, remember, you will nutritious food too!!  Give your body a chance to show you that it knows what you need.




How Nutrition Goes With A Thin Mentality

Women-sitting-in-outdoor-cafe-choosing-from-menu-2672774I get it.

You are trying to ignite your thin mentality but you don’t understand how nutrition fits in.

The reason you are worried about nutrition is because you do not believe that your body can direct you to the proper food choices for your best health.  You don’t think that your body will ask for nutritious food.

And, in the beginning of your “metamorphosis,” you won’t be great at listening for your body’s signals to eat “nutritious” food.  Since you are so used to a diet mentality, you have a lot of “interference” running through your head.

For example-  you won’t believe that you are actually “allowed” to eat a candy bar so you will really look for opportunities to “hear” that your body is asking for something sweet like that.  And, since you are really hoping to “hear” that, you may actually hear it more often.

First, don’t freak out about this.  A 280 calorie candy bar isn’t going to “ruin” you or your day!  As long as you were truly hungry when you ate it, you won’t gain weight from it.  Remember, eating when you were hungry is not what made you fatter than you want to be.  Eating when you were not hungry is what got you into trouble…

Okay, but back to the topic here.

Over time, you will be less excited that you can eat whatever you crave.  You will get used to it.  It won’t feel like such a big deal.  Yes, you, the former dieter, are free to eat like a normal, thin person.  And a normal, thin mentality person is happy to eat a nice dessert, when that is what the body is craving.  But since that is now an accepted part of your life, it loses some of its pizazz!  And then you know what happens?

Just as you are open to eat desserts, french fries etc., you are also more open to eat what you now consider to be “good” foods.  You will discover which of these foods you actually really like.  And when you are eating “nutritious foods” under your own direction, they taste better.  It is not a punishment to eat a big head of broccoli, for example.  When you crave broccoli, it is just as rewarding, and satisfying, as the formerly forbidden treat.

Do you get that?

The foods that you aren’t allowed as a dieter lose some of their magic when they are no longer forbidden.  And the foods that are pushed on you now, regain some of their magic when it is your choice to eat them.  And it helps that if you like a little butter on your broccoli, you may enjoy it.

I completely understand the the nutrition aspect is tricky.  We are inundated with messaging about good nutrition.  Eat this for good eyesight.  Eat this for longevity.  Avoid this if you want to  avoid cancer.  Bla Bla Bla

Let’s get to a healthful, stable body weight first.  Right?  Not only is it great for your body, it is “good for the soul.”  Think how many sad and depressing thoughts you have when you feel fat. Do you think those thoughts are good for your body?  NO!  Those sad thoughts are poison to you!  Get happy and relaxed with your thin mentality.

Focus on listening to your body for good direction on what to eat.  Despite what you think, your body has your best interests at heart.  Your body will crave a wide variety of foods including “good” food and what you formerly considered “bad” food.  I hate to even call food bad.  Ask the starving child in a destitute situation if the fried chicken and coke are “bad.”

Food isn’t bad.  Eating when you aren’t hungry is bad no matter how fabulously healthful that food is.  Overdosing on carrots makes you feel sick too.

So-  for your nutritional health, keep listening to that wise body of yours.  If it asks for protein- by making you crave a steak, and you give it candy, you are not reinforcing a thin mentality.  Let your body lead you.  Do not allow a situation to determine your eating.  Do not allow the “new fabulous food of the day by Dr. Oz” determine what you eat.  Do not look to your friend, mother or spouse to figure out what you should have.

Stay within yourself.  Quiet your brain.  Let your body talk to you.  It will ask for nutritious food.  And, by the way, the only one who can “hear” your body is you.  So if you don’t listen to it, who will?


The Fun Part- Learning what you really like

twinkYou have been told your whole life that you can’t trust your body to guide your food choices.  You probably think that if you were given free reign, you would eat junk all day. You believe this  because of your diet mentality.

But once you free yourself from your diet mentality, you see food in an entirely different light.

When I used to go “off” my diet, I would eat twinkies or whatever junk food I had around the house.  I thought I loved all that stuff.

Now, I would never ‘waste” my hunger on something like that.  When I am hungry for something sweet and wonderful, I go get it.  I don’t quickly pop some packaged, over processed kids food in my mouth.

Thin people are picky about what they eat.  They feel entitled to eat delicious food when they are hungry for it.  They don’t sneak off and grab something and shove it down.  They “own” that they want to eat something sweet and then they take care to get something that will deliciously satisfy them.

As you ditch your diet mentality and learn to think and behave like a thin person, you will be surprised how enjoyable it is to discover your true food preferences.

I used to think I loved diet coke, steamed carrots, and tilapia.  Yuck, Yuck and yuck.  I also thought I liked kid style junk food.  I don’t.  Now that I can have whatever I want, I am picky.

That old adage, “the forbidden fruit is so much sweeter” is so true.

Take away the “good” food and “bad” food mentality and it all becomes neutral.  The formerly “bad” food becomes powerless.  You can take a look at your food choices and really listen to what your body needs and is craving.  And, again, believe it or not, you will crave all kinds of food, including vegetables, meat, fruit, desserts, etc.

Your food preferences part of you. Enjoy learning what you truly like.


Tons of Cardio Is Less Effective Than Developing Thin Mentality


From my experience as a fitness instructor, spinning instructor, and moderate weight lifter, the way to most efficiently lose weight and keep it off is NOT  to do cardio five times a week.  The way to lose weight and to keep it off is to develop your thin mentality:

Eat in response to hunger.

Do not eat in the absence of hunger.

Here is why this is more effective:

A small snack (300 calories) can fuel me for a good 30 minutes of intense cardio.  So if I run 3 miles on a treadmill, and I eat one 300 calorie snack to give me energy,  I am back to square one in terms of calorie burning.

Believe me,  back when I was a dieter I would use exercise as a way to allow myself to eat more.  It took me a while to realize that the more cardio I did, the hungrier I was and the more food I would want.  So I was caught in a cycle where I used exercise to burn more calories,  but that exercise made it harder for me to not eat.  So again, I would end up back at square one.

With my thin mentality firmly in place, this is how exercise and eating are related:

  • I do not use exercise to eat more. I eat when I am hungry, period, without thinking about past or future exercise.
  • I do less cardio than I used to.  On average, I play doubles tennis twice a week, do very moderate weight lifting once a week and yoga two times a week.  Now that is plenty of activity, but for you diet mentality people out there, I know that you are saying, geez, no grueling treadmill? No long runs?  And the answer is no.  And I am in better shape because I understand that cardio doesn’t build muscle like moderate weight lifting.  I don’t eat “preventatively” and I don’t waste time slamming my joints doing extra cardio so I can eat an extra 300 calories.
  • I enjoy my exercise more.  All these activities are all things that I ENJOY.  And if I feel too tired one day, I don’t push myself.  I listen to my body and respect that my body’s signals are valid.  Just last week I didn’t feel up to lifting weights.  And the next day, I had a full blown cold.  So my smart body was trying to tell me to lay off because I would need my strength.  This isn’t magic.  This is a healthy person with a thin mentality listening to her body. I trust myself.  I know that I am not just trying to get out of exercise.

So as you are developing thin mentality, please learn to trust your body and:

  1. Do not  use exercise as a punishment for over eating.
  2. Do not use eating as a reward for working out
  3. Do not eat preventatively.  If you are hungry, eat.  If you are worried about getting hungry and not being able to eat, pack a small snack.  No big deal.
  4. Realize that you probably need less food than you think, but this isn’t scary when you understand that you never have to ignore hunger.  Dieting has made you fear this.

And also, more globally speaking, remember how lucky we are to have food available.  Let’s stop making eating and weight loss a huge negative stressor in our lives.  I have escaped this.  It is beautiful.  I want this for all of you too.




Example of Thin Mentality Eating


Last night, I noticed I was hungry- pang, not pain- and anticipated that I would eat something wonderful before I went to bed.
Here is what happened.  I waited a bit to make sure I was hungry, and then I realized I was, and that I wanted something cold, salty and crunchy.
I ate a pickle.
As a dieter, I would have been so happy-  “Wow, I was hungry and got away with just eating a 10 calorie pickle.”
But I want to explain to you that that kind of thinking is no good!
As  thin mentality person, you don’t have that kind of judgment.  It didn’t matter to me how many calories it was  It was what my body got excited about eating when I gave myself some choices as I looked in the fridge.
I wasn’t being “good.”  I was being “relevant.”  By that I mean that I ate what my body wanted- so what I ate was “relevant” to my instincts.
And that is what matters.
I am not telling you to eat a pickle before bed! Ha!!   I don’t remember the last time a pickle was what I wanted.
But just keep your mind open to listen to your body.  Don’t try to talk your body into wanting ice cream before bed because you “think” that would be nice.
If your body physically craves it: fine.  Otherwise…
I promise, you can do this.  I know, as a dieter, you are skeptical.
But what I am advocating is actually really normal.   The diet industry and all of its relentless messaging has worked very hard to make us believe that this isn’t normal.
Again, thankfully, it is.