Response to question “What about Emotional Eaters?”

tv dinner

What do we humans do to comfort ourselves?  We rest, we eat, we hug.  Basic drives, right?

There is nothing wrong with providing your fantastic body with some comfort in the form of food that you love!  People may call that eating emotionally.  I call it normal.

When I am “down” for some reason and want to take care of myself, I wait for hunger and take extra effort to take care of myself in the nicest way I can.  And that includes eating the food I love the most, in a nice setting, etc.  Whether that is at my kitchen table, or in a restaurant, or in my bed, while I am watching TV.  Yep!  I eat in bed watching TV- a big dieter no-no.  But since my thin mentality is strong, it is no problem.  I have my snack or whatever in the most comfortable place I can find (my warm bed, especially since it has been so cold out!) and enjoy myself, feeling taken care of, and wonderful.

I do not feel guilty or bad afterward.  Why would I?  I waited until I was hungry and had myself a wonderful little meal, enjoyed it until I wasn’t hungry anymore, and then relaxed and read, or watched TV or whatever.  What a wonderful way to end a hard day and “comfort” myself.

This is possible for me because my body and I have built a “trust relationship.”   I will not starve my body on a diet and my body will not push me into bingeing.  I promise my body that I will feed it when I am hungry, and I will not push food into it when hunger is absent.

You need to build that same trust with your body.  Because, at this point, you may picture yourself eating emotionally by finishing a whole bag of potato chips.

Let me emphasize:

No, that is not what I do, nor is it what I recommend for anyone.  Instead, follow this thin mentality behavior:

If I feel the need to comfort myself (eat emotionally) I first tell myself, “fine, as soon as I am hungry, I can comfort myself with food.  Then when I get hungry, if I am craving potato chips, and I do, (I don’t know or care why, I trust myself)  I take a little bowl and put a handful in it.

You may say,”Well if I can eat what I want, why don’t I just take the whole bag?”

OK, here is why.  Because I know, from experience, that when I crave potato chips, I am usually satisfied with a handful.  They are delicious, but hold no magic power over me the way they did when I was a dieter.  And since I am “allowed” to have them whenever I am hungry, it just isn’t a big deal.  I enjoy them, a lot, but they aren’t magic!  I can put them down!

You will be able to too.

Start right now.  No more diets. Take that possibility away and your whole view of food and eating changes completely.  Your motivation to eat emotionally when you are not hungry will get weaker and weaker.

You will normalize your relationship with food.  Then, when you need to comfort yourself with food, you will do so appropriately.  (Appropriate amounts, when hungry)

The diet industry has taught you that this isn’t true.

I am telling you that IT IS!


Thin People Versus Dieters- Who Uses What

artificial-sweetenersWhen I went on my first diet,  my goal was to diet, lose 10 pounds, and then stop dieting.

But that is not what happens.

You diet, you lose 10 pounds, you stop dieting and the weight comes back.  So what do you do?  You diet again, lose weight, then it comes back again.  Then you diet and lose weight and you gain it back again.

I did this for decades.

Now that I am a naturally thin, diet free, happy eater with a healthy Thin Mentality I realize how different being a dieter and having a healthy Thin Mentality are.

Do you?

Do the following sentences apply to a dieter or a healthy Thin Mentality eater.

  1. You lose weight and your weight remains stable for decades
  2. You devote time every day to evaluating your food choices
  3. You weigh yourself to see if you are doing okay
  4. You eat foods based on how they make your body feel.
  5. You limit social activity so you can be sure you have proper food.
  6. You don’t weigh yourself, or you weigh yourself just occasionally.
  7. You have a closet full of clothes that fit.
  8. Getting dressed in the morning is a pleasure, not frustrating.
  9. You are influenced by others when you are deciding what to eat.
  10. You eat when you are hungry, and delay eating anymore until hunger returns
  11. You eat breakfast because you are trying to avoid being hungry.
  12. You love being hungry because then you can have the extreme pleasure of eating something you love,
  13. You use little chemical packets containing “who knows what” to sweeten your coffee instead of a little sugar because you think that those packets are more healthful than one or two 16 calorie pack of sugar in your coffee.

Key:  Healthy Thin Mentality:  1,4,6,7,8,10,12.

No change I have ever made in my life has made a more positive impact on me than learning the value of my own body and its wisdom.  I want that for every single one of you who reads this, it is that good.  Let me know how I can help you do this – I am putting as much out there as I can, but, for example,  would you want to participate in a (free) webinar?

I am always looking for more ways to spread the sanity of a life without diets, and a life that is fully rooted in the amazing pleasure of food and eating.  Suggestions welcome. 🙂


Dieting is Expensive, Your Thin Mentality Isn’t

Stivers-5-02-04-Crash-dietOne of the greatest things about having a thin mentality is that you get to be picky.

I don’t ever eat something I don’t really want.  I like the tops of muffins.  I never eat the bottom part.  My diet mentality would have said, well, you are eating this muffin so you might as well eat the whole thing.

No way!  I am not going to eat anything that I don’t love!  Why would I?  Instead of shoving down that part of the muffin I don’t like because I have “allowed” myself a muffin, I eat just the part I like, and if I am still hungry, and want more, I get another muffin and just eat the top.

Are you saying, “Well, that is expensive?”

I guarantee that eating with a healthy Thin Mentality is less expensive than being a dieter.  So if occasionally I throw out part of a muffin I don’t like and buy another one, I know I am still way ahead.  I take food home from restaurants where a dieter would gobble up every part of their “allowed” dinner.  I buy treats in bulk because I am NOT afraid of them.  I don’t have to buy special diet food, etc., etc., etc.

With a thin mentality, you eat what you want, when you want it.  If it is dinner, but I want breakfast, I eat breakfast.  I don’t have to check some rule book.  The ONLY focus is that eating must be in response to physical hunger, and it has to answer what I am craving.

Eating for any other reason is like scratching when you don’t itch.  And when I “itch” for breakfast at 6 pm.,  that is what I eat.  If I ate spaghetti instead, it would not answer my hunger or make me feel happily satisfied.

It would be like scratching my arm when my foot itched.

Give yourself a chance to discover your true likes and what you hunger for.  Your unique preferences are a part of you.  It is actually really fun to discover them, and to respond to them.

Remember, eat when you are hungry.  Eat the kind of food your body is craving.  Stop when your body isn’t asking for it anymore.

Remember the point of diminishing return?  The first bite is the BEST.  The fifth bite is only okay.  That is because your body doesn’t need you to keep eating anymore…


Diets and Depression and Anxiety

i hate mysef

Studies show that dieting frequently leads to lowered self esteem, and more depression and anxiety.  The study I am citing is from the University of New Zealand in the mid 1990s.  But honestly, I don’t need a study to tell me that.  Do you?  I have lived it.

So, if you need more motivation to build your thin mentality, consider that you will very favorably impact your mental health along the way.  NO I am not a doctor.  But as I say in my book, I am a “noticer.”  And too many people go through life not “noticing” things.  It is like we have blinders on.

“Notice” that diets leave you depleted, anxious and obsessed with what should be a very normal bodily function: eating.

And, if they worked (kept you thin for life) maybe, and I mean MAYBE?? it would be worth it-  But they don’t.

So- commit to your thin mentality.  The rewards are so great:  freedom from food obsession, higher self esteem- yes really!  Lower anxiety, and harmonious weight loss.

I gave an example in the post today to help you think logically about this.  Suppose you randomly starved your dog, and then let it binge.  Don’t you think he might become a little erratic?  Yes!  Well, if you wouldn’t do that to your dog- why would you do that to yourself?

Free yourself from dieting to get thin, get peace.  Life is so much better without diet anxiety!


My Grandmother Didn’t Know What She Weighed

scale cry

I remember asking my grandmother how much she weighed.  She giggled and said she had no idea.  She thought hard back to her last doctor’s appointment, and came up with a number, but she wasn’t sure she remembered it right.

She has been my model for building a thin mentality.  She was tiny, ate whatever the heck she wanted, and lived to be 86.  She loved her lamb chop, her baked potato with butter and salt, and a small vegetable serving to go with her Manhattan  cocktail.

She had candy all around her apartment, and as a little kid, I noticed her attitude was so different than my mother, a rigid dieter, who weighed herself constantly.

So, as part of me transitioning to a thin mentality, about 12 years ago, I stopped weighing myself.  It was scary, for sure.  Oh my, I am going to blow up if I don’t have the reckoning of the scale to face every morning.

Not true, that is a diet mentality.  Instead of that external cue to tell how much I should eat that day, I now rely on the best signal for eating:  true hunger, of course!

No longer am I deflated by a number on the scale, and no longer am flattered by it.  It is a by-product of my thin mentality, not the goal.  Do you see how different that is?

Please understand that this is not an “out.”  This doesn’t mean I don’t care about being thin and that I think you should give up.  To the contrary!  I am trying to show you and model for you the kind of thin behavior that is a permanent solution,  an enjoyable journey, and is good for your health.

Haven’t you ever eaten something because the number on the scale was down?  Yep, I bet you have.


Response to email question

I received an email that asked how to handle it when someone you care about gives you a nice gift of food.  And if you eat the whole thing, is that OK if you were, in fact hungry.  That question actually raises some key issues, so I am copying my answer to this blog.  I hope it is helpful...

First, it is so nice that your husband was sweet and brought you a delicious treat on your birthday morning.

Above all, I want you to focus on that.

Our diet mentalities frequently make us miss out on really wonderful parts of our lives, such as enjoying a husband who wanted to start your birthday off right by bringing you a wonderful muffin.

So, instead of worrying so much about whether or not you should eat the “whole muffin,”  focus on responding to him with appreciation and happiness.  That takes the focus off of food, (which has been reinforced with your diet mentality) and puts it back on enjoying your life. 

But, back to the muffin!  Here are two different scenarios:

1.  You were hungry when he gave you the muffin:

If you were truly hungry when he gave the muffin to you, and that is what your body was craving, then yes, it is compatible with a “thin mentality” to go ahead and eat it.   But, as you eat, keep checking in with yourself.  The question is not, “Am I full.”  The question is, “Could I stop eating now and feel good.”

Looking to feel “full” is not what you want.  That will lead to overeating.  You are training your body to know that when it is hungry you will provide it with enough food to stop the hunger, not to be full.

2.  You were NOT HUNGRY when he gave you the muffin:

If it were my husband, even if I didn’t want the muffin right then, I would probably take a bite and make a fuss over how good it was because… when someone gives you something, it is not all about you.  It is about the giver too.  And I think reciprocating with some loving enjoyment of a bite of the muffin is a kind, reasonable, common sense/kind thing to do.

“You mean even with a thin mentality, you would eat it when you weren’t hungry?”

OK, here is the clincher:  I would take A BITE.  I have a thin mentality and I know that one bite won’t hurt me.  And I would wrap it up very nicely and put it proudly on my counter and when I was hungry for something sweet, I would make sure my husband knew how much I enjoyed that muffin.

Remember the whole point of a thin mentality is to bring common sense back into your relationship with food.  And of course taking one little bite to make your partner feel like you appreciated his effort is sensible.

Now, after you ate the muffin, you said you were worried because you knew it was high calorie.  Well that is right, but guess what?  Your body knows too!

When you eat a calorie dense meal or snack, you aren’t sneaking that by your body.  It will be less hungry later and/or take longer to get hungry.

I know that there are a lot of so called “experts” who say that if you eat something sweet, it will make you crave more later.  I don’t believe that.  I think that people eat more sweets later because they think they have already blown it and might as well eat more sweet stuff because they will begin a diet tomorrow.

So don’t worry after you eat it and don’t feel guilty.  You said you had been really active the day before.  Your body was probably just responding to that!

I know many of you who are new to this whole thin mentality thing don’t trust your body.  You think your body will be “bad” and crave “bad” things if you don’t reign it in.

Give yourself a chance.  I thought the same thing.  When the threat of diets goes away, your body relaxes.  And when you trust your body, it trusts you.  And binges go away.

And the way to use your thin mentality to lose the weight is to keep in touch with your body as you are eating.  Could you stop now and be ok?  You will learn that you can stop much earlier than you used to think you would be able to.

You may think you have a big appetite.  Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.  But don’t reinforce that possibility with self fulfilling prophesy.  Leave yourself open to the possibility that you may not have a big appetite.  You are most likely completely normal and in the middle.

You may have been trained by your parents, or the diet industry, or habits you have solidified with friends, to eat a certain amount.  Again, open up yourself to the possibility that your appetite is actually normal and maybe even small!?!

And that means being open to examine your habits.  Are you eating that whole muffin out of habit, or because it was just “there?”

Do you always order dessert at a certain restaurant?  Do you always have a large plateful of spaghetti on Wednesdays?  Whatever!  Interrupt those habits.

Listen to your body for your eating cues.  Don’t look at the calendar or your watch to decide what to eat!!


That “Dieter’s High” Doesn’t Last

dieters high

If a friend of yours has lost weight by dieting a working out a lot, they are on a “dieters high.”  They feel like they have the answer.  They feel so good about themselves, like the “get it,” and they will never gain weight again.

I never argue with that person or warn them that the weight will come back, that they can’t keep up that huge commitment to exercise, etc.


First, because I don’t want to be a “buzz-kill.”  Do you know what I mean?  They are happy.  I am not going to rain on their parade.

Second, because I also know that no matter what I say, they will have an answer.  They will absolutely be unwilling to think logically about their diet mentality right now.

Instead, I just smile and wish them well.  And I am completely sincere in that.  I want people to find their way to be healthy and lean and happy and relaxed around food.

I am 53 years old though, and I have seen enough, and experienced enough my self to KNOW that dieting does not result in becoming naturally thin, happy, and relaxed around food.

Dieting either makes most people (95% or more)  yo-yo dieters.  The other 5% (or  less) maintain weight loss by dieting constantly.  And constantly dieting is a very unhappy way to live.  It promotes a rigid, joyless, obsessive relationship with food.

Quite a price to pay…

So, if you are one of the smart people who understand this, don’t be surprised if you have a hard time convincing others of this wisdom.  Even I do!  And I have made helping others understand the dark side of a diet mentality a big priority in my life!

But remember, actions speak louder than words.  If your friends see you becoming joyful around food, eating food that you love (and they fear,) you will be setting a great example for them.

And I really do invite you to participate in a forum or just leave a comment on this site about your experience.  I run this site because I have experienced the negativity of a diet mentality.  And, I want people to understand that a healthy thin mentality is not only possible, it is normal!  I need your help to show that what I say is valid.

If you have felt any sense of freedom, hope or “aha” moment, know that your words will mean a lot to someone who is just investigating this for the first time.  Let’s help each other.

Thanks a lot and stay in touch.  More blogs, tweets and posts to come. And videos and podcasts-  trying to cover all the bases!!




Here Comes The Turkey


I used to dislike the holidays because I always gained weight.   I had a sinking feeling that all of my “hard work” would be lost in the span of a few days.

This diet mentality lived in me for 25 years.  I hope you believe me.  Really, I was the kind who counted calories, dieted all the time, lost weight, and then always gained it back.  I had skinny clothes and my fat clothes.  When I was going to see a family member I hadn’t seen in a while, I was either happy because I was thinner and feeling proud, or ashamed and apprehensive because I was heavier.

The holidays are completely different for me now.

Once  you put food pack into its proper place in your life by exiling your diet mentality in favor of a healthy thin mentality, everything is different.  Food is a joyful and normal part of life instead of a source of anxiety, guilt and shame.

In order to make this transition, you must rebuild your relationship with eating and food.  The only way to do this is to connect eating with hunger.  Eating for any other reason, for example to “treat” yourself, is going to sabotage your efforts.  Once you repair that relationship by making a habit of eating when you are hungry and stopping when hunger is gone, your body will stop fighting you.  You will surprise yourself by:

  • Walking away from your favorite dessert because you aren’t hungry.
  • Save portions of your dinner for later when you are hungry again.
  • Look forward to being hungry, instead of being scared.
  • Realizing that there is no joy in overeating.    This is huge.
  • Feel sorry for dieters and want to help them leave the sad, frustrating world of dieting behind.

(More info on this in my book- and I am writing a new “workbook” too.)

So this Thanksgiving I will enjoy dinner more than any time when I was a dieter.  I will eat what I love.  I will stop eating when I am not hungry any more.  And when I get hungry again, I will, without guilt or gluttony, eat more!

And I will not gain weight.  I have been a stable happy (thin) weight for 14 years as a non-dieter.
What will your Thanksgiving be like?

I hope that if you are worried that you will gain weight, you take a good hard look at the message I am trying to spread.  Free yourself.  Life is good, food is fantastic, and diets are fattening.




All This Angst…Unnecessary

worryDo you ever think about how much time and energy you spend on worrying about your weight, calories, eating.

I hate to say that I regret part of my life, but I can tell you I wish that I could talk to my younger self and teach myself what I am trying to communicate to you.

All that wasted time and energy on losing, gaining, losing, gaining.  Such a pity.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to find daily support for your thin mentality. You need to do this until you feel strong enough to defend your thin mentality against all of the dieting messages you hear from the media, and, honestly, from your friends and family.

So, until you are strong, please check in with this blog, or Facebook, or leaf through a few pages of my book everyday.   Or, if you find this thin mentality message elsewhere, that is great.

I am so happy that the Facebook page is starting to get some good conversations and comments going because I think it is so important that you see others making progress, and having problems, and solving them!

For instance, if you over eat one day, remember that panicking about that is a diet mentality.  Use that “over eating” as a way to remind yourself how it feels to be overfull.  It ISN’T fun, is it?

Eating when hungry is fun.  Yes, eating is fun!  Over eating is not.  (Dieters think it would be fun to stuff their faces with chocolate- but that is because they are stuck in a “good food” vs  “bad food” world…  A few bites of chocolate when you crave it is wonderful.  Bingeing on it is NOT).

But don’t berate yourself after a binge.  That is a diet mentality too.  Relax, learn, improve.  🙂

Share your thoughts and concerns, if you like, here (in the comments) or on Facebook.  It is also good because it helps me to figure out what I should talk about in this blog!

I just noticed a slight hunger pang.  (Not pain, pang- it is NOT painful to be slightly hungry)  So now I am just saying to myself, oh good, I will have a little something wonderful before I go to bed.  (Eating before bed, a big dieters no no-  But not for me anymore!)  I am not going to rush to eat right away.  I want to make sure my body wants something.  I will wait for stage 2 hunger and then I will enjoy.


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.