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!


Take This Quick Thin Mentality Quiz!

watch-dog-computerSee how you do on this little 5 question “test” of diet mentality versus “thin mentality!”

1.  You wake up and are not hungry, so you don’t eat.  But you know that food won’t be available when you are at a meeting later this morning.  What do you do?

  • a.  Just eat anyway, it won’t taste that good because you aren’t hungry, but you really should eat.
  • b. Bring a small portable snack in your purse or briefcase and find a moment or two to eat it when your hunger starts distracting you.
  • c. Don’t eat and just suffer through the hunger when it hits you.

2.  Your best friend made a delicious cake for you for your birthday.  She clearly worked really hard on it, and now she has put a piece on the plate in front of you.  What do you do?

  • a.  Just tell her that there is no way you are going to eat that cake.  You are not hungry and you just aren’t going to sacrifice your thin mentality to be courteous by eating it.
  • b.  You take a couple of bites and rave about how good it is and how much you appreciate it.  You ask if you can take the rest home and enjoy it later.  You give her a big hug and tell her every time you take a bite you will remember what a good friend she is.  Then you take the cake home, enjoy it with your family, freeze some for later if you don’t think you will eat is so you won’t waste it.  And you are thankful that you have a great friend.
  • c.  You eat the piece she gave you.  It looks so good and you don’t want to hurt her feelings.

3.  You worked out three days in a row and feel really good about that.  When you go out to dinner that night you are really hungry.  What do you do?

  • a.  Realize that working out does make you hungrier!  You simply pay attention to both your hunger and satiety signals.  You may end up eating a little more than usual because you have been so active, but you still rely on your body to guide you.  Instead of saying to yourself, “I worked out a lot and should eat more,” you say, “Wow, working out made me a bit hungrier, so I will enjoy some more food until my hunger is quiet.”
  • b.  You order more food because you know that you burned a lot of calories over the past few days and you deserve to eat more.
  • c.  You are worried about eating more than usual so you ignore your hunger and just try to get by with the least food possible.

4.  You have a Christmas Party tonight and you are still at home and are already really hungry.  What do you do?

  • a.  Just stay hungry and go to the party and try to eat foods that aren’t too fattening.
  • b.  Eat a meal now and then go to the party.
  • c.  Have a small snack, just enough to take the edge off, and then go the party and enjoy the beautiful special food when your hunger starts distracting you again.  And when your hunger is calm, delay eating anymore until hungry again.

5.  You are visiting with your family and are hungry and craving a baked potato with butter and sour cream and salt and pepper.  You make yourself a nice plate and sit down to eat it in front of your family.  You get some looks of disappointment from your Mom who mutters that the potato would be better for you without all that butter and sour cream.  What do you do?

a.  Realize that your mom has a diet mentality and that she thinks she is helping you.  Just smile and tell her thanks for caring and keep eating your potato with butter and sour cream until you are not hungry anymore. (Which is different than being full!)  And you think to yourself that once you thin mentality is really strong, you will share your “journey” with her because she would be happier with a thin mentality too.

b.  You try to explain to your Mother what you are trying to do.  When she starts talking about nutrition and fat you do your best to explain.  When the whole family starts saying how ridiculous it is to eat butter if you are trying to lose weight, you just keep trying to explain.

c.  You scrape off the butter and sour cream and do your best to please your mother.


Okay, how did you do?  Answers:  1b, 2b, 3a, 4c, 5a.

No matter how you did, remember that replacing your diet mentality with a thin mentality is a process.  It goes against a lot of what you hear and see.  That is okay though!  Just come back here for support and you will eventually understand the wisdom of this.  Your body and soul both will thank you!






Sugar Isn’t Poison


One of the most important behaviors of a healthy thin mentality is to stop demonizing foods. This gets tricky because some people think I am ignoring the value of good nutrition when I say this.

But a healthy thin mentality is 100% compatible with good nutrition. The difference is that instead of having an external cues to eat healthfully, the healthy thin mentality person relies on internal cues.

This is a huge difference.

In other words, a dieter plans out meals and eats in according to rules like, “eat four servings of raw vegetables a day.” This directive doesn’t take into account anything about the dieter- the dieter’s likes, the dieter’s hunger level, the dieter’s preferences.

And the dieter talks about sweets or processed flour like they are arsenic.

The healthy thin mentality person, by contrast, eats vegetables because they taste good and their body craves them. And the healthy thin mentality person also eats and truly enjoys foods that a “dieter” would think are “poison.” But they eat them in amounts that are harmless, and in response to a true craving for them.

The bottom line is that dieters tend to eat really carefully and then binge or “fall off the wagon.” Healthy thin mentality people eat reasonably all the time. There is no motive to binge or go off the wagon- there is no wagon. They have reconnected to normal, healthful reasons to eat.

When you get yourself back to this state of mind and of eating- where you eat because you are hungry, you eat exactly what you crave, and you trust that your body will steer you to the food you need, you enjoy a freedom that no dieter will ever experience.

Please remember that at first, you food choices will be tainted by your diet history. But over time, you will realize that if you truly crave a cupcake you can have one, the glamor of that cupcake subsides.

Don’t get me wrong, enjoying a dessert is a beautiful and wonderful part of living with your thin mentality. Dessert isn’t arsenic- it is a wonderful part of life. And believe it or not, you will come to enjoy your favorite vegetables too- because it will be your choice and in response to your body- not because some book told you to eat four servings a day!!


You Can’t Control Everything, But You Can Be In Charge of You!


progress not perfection

Life throws stuff at you, right?

You had all good plans to eat a low calorie lunch, but then your boss asked you to eat lunch with a client…You stocked your fridge with healthy vegetables and yogurt, but then your friend came to town and asked you to dinner.  You plannedto go the gym, but you forgot your sneakers.  Whatever!

Instead of getting all stressed out and feeling “victimized,” just focus on your reaction.  That keeps you feeling powerful, and in charge- not “in control,” which is different.  You can’t control everything, but you can be in charge of how you, just you, react.

For example, when you go out with a client instead of eating your lunch from home, there is zero reason for that to make you over eat.  NO NO NO!  Stay in the present, enjoy your lunch, eating what you crave and STOP when your hunger is quiet.

Yes, I sound like a broken record on this subject!

But, it IS that simple.  Just start doing it. First time is the hardest/weirdest.  It gets easier.  It gets EASY, yes easy.  It is normal, and instinctual and you have just been trained out of it!

A thin mentality life is more than just eating an appropriate amount for your hunger, likes, and needs  It is a perspective that is fluid, adaptable and enjoyable.

So, when your friend calls you last minute to invite you to dinner, your reaction isn’t mired by worry over what you will eat.   You are joyful, not worried.

Doesn’t that sound better?  Don’t you think it is worthwhile to build a thin mentality life?


-No food scares you

-You eat food you love

-Nutritional choices come from you (yes they do!) instead of from following some rigid plan

-You Relax

-You feel more joyful

-You calmly, harmoniously lose weight and get to an ideal, healthy weight for you

-You love doggie bags

-Your self esteem rebounds (nothing is worse for your self esteem than a diet mentality!)

Think progress, not perfection, and get started.


Best Exercise of All?


I taught aerobics for years- and spinning.  And I worked out a lot.  And I lifted weights. And I love tennis

Do you know what exercise I would keep if I had to do just one for the rest of my life?

Weight lifting.

Now don’t cringe.  I am not talking about body building.  I am talking about lifting enough weight that I feel it the next day but it doesn’t “hurt.”  I turn on great music or if I am at a gym I bring ear phones or just people watch while I lift or whatever-

I have been doing this for about 15 years.  I used to just do cardio, cardio, cardio.  And I noticed that I didn’t really change my body.  I was lean enough, but no real muscle built.  And neither did the people in my class.  We had fun and our hearts were in great shape.  But I wanted some good muscle.

And reasonable weight lifting has got me there.

Here are the positives to weight lifting-

You build muscle-  no you won’t bulk up unless you are super rare-  I have never seen a woman bulk up without drugs and/or  heavy lifting

You get great cardio workout-  Nothing works the heart more than some weight lifting.  You don’t get that sustained high rate unless you try to move through your routine quickly, but you get really good at recovering quickly and that is a good measure of fitness.

It can be done very conveniently with modest amount of equipment

It can be made up of a huge variety of moves and reps

It keeps your body young- young=muscle!

It keeps you strong

Of course you need to know what you are doing, lift appropriately and with the right form.   But this isn’t brain surgery.  A few trips to a trainer or following someone good on YouTube and you are all set.  It really isn’t as complicated as the exercise industry has made it.

Does this complaint of mine sound familiar?  Yep!  It is a lot like the diet industry-  They make it complicated so you feel that you have to pay a lot to “figure it out.”


Please remember my favorite saying —  What is the BEST exercise of all?  Pushing away from the table when you aren’t hungry anymore.

And if you are only going to do one exercise- lift weights!

I was thinking that I could do a couple of YouTube vids showing you all what I do-  let me know- comment here, if you would like that.

I am here to help you break free of the diet habit and get the healthy body and healthy mind and soul you want.  You can do it.  Please keep coming back and let me know if you have ideas on what would help you the most.



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…


All The Things You May Be Feeling…


Do not underestimate how large a perspective shift it is to go from being a dieter to someone with a “thin mentality.”

  1. That you will doubt yourself.
  2. That you will have a hard time letting go of “good” food versus “bad” food judgments.
  3. That you may wish you could say to yourself, “I will eat this, and diet tomorrow.”
  4. That it is a big adjustment to view eating as a normal response to hunger.
  5. That once you have eaten something you formerly viewed as “bad” you are “worried.”
  6. That other people won’t understand why you are eating differently.

How do you make it through all of this anxiety?

Keep your expectations low at the beginning.

Think baby steps.  Every time you eat an appropriate food in an appropriate amount (eating what you craved when you were hungry) you make a little step.  Your instincts and your body’s voice will get louder and louder the more you can do this.   And, you will get closer and closer to the weight you were meant to be.

But you will feel anxious as you begin your journey back to a normal, thin person.  Dieting took this from you.  It completely corrupted your relationship with eating.  You ate fruitcake, even though you hate fruitcake,  because you were so starved for something sweet you dug it out of the back of your cabinet.  But you CAN get it back.

And although it is a big change, it is permanent.  You will never have to diet again, and so, long term, it is 100000000000% worth it.  I am not exaggerating.

Follow on twitter if you want a daily nudge to remind you to stick with this, even though Jennifer  Hudson is telling you that Weight Watchers is Fab…


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!


“Victim of Circumstance” Eating

cafebiz_buffet_westernWhen you diet, you are easily “victimized” by circumstance.

For instance,

  1. You forget your protein shake, so you give up and just eat the leftover cake from the office party.
  2. A last minute dinner invitation makes you sad because you already had all the calories you were going to eat that day.
  3. You walk by your favorite ice cream store and they have that unusual flavor you love and you feel like you should get even though you aren’t hungry because you don’t know when they will have it again.

It is like going down a river in a canoe and being bumped and re-directed with no paddle of your own.  Whatever way the current goes, you go.  You aren’t in charge.  You are a victim.

Does that sound like how you want to live your life?

When you eat with a thin mentality, you are ALWAYS in charge.  You are not a victim of anything, or anyone, or any circumstance.

Let me illustrate what “thin mentality” people do in the situations mentioned above:

1.  If thin mentality people forget their lunch (it wouldn’t be a protein shake!)  he or she would still take care of their hunger in a nice way.  They don’t just shove down random leftovers.  They don’t say “Well, now I can’t do my diet plan today so I might as well just eat badly today and then start tomorrow.”  (Does that kind of thinking sound familiar?)

2.  If thin mentality people get a last minute invite to dinner, and they want to go, they go, hungry or not!  They aren’t afraid of sitting at a table with food because if they become hungry, they eat something, and if they aren’t hungry, it is be no problem because they know THERE IS NO PLEASURE IN EATING WHEN NOT HUNGRY.

When you can eat whatever you want, when you are hungry, you happily dismiss food when you are not.   (Twelve years ago I would not have believed this either, but I promise it is true.  You have been trained by the diet industry to believe that you would be a “non-stop eating machine” without food rules.  YOU WOULD NOT.)

3.  Many people with thin mentalities love ice cream.  And when they are hungry for ice cream, they eat it.  So, if they are walking by their favorite ice cream store, and their favorite unusual flavor is available, and they are hungry for that, they go in and get it.  If, however, they are “not in the mood” for ice cream and they want a sandwich, it would not occur to them to have that ice cream instead.  It would be like scratching your arm when your foot was itchy.

Can you imagine anything more normal than navigating through your “food” day with no worries, angst, or self incrimination?

Another example of the dieter:

“Oh I ordered a small order of pasta and they brought me the large and I ate it all.  I am so mad at myself and feel like I will never be thin.

This is a thin mentality person:

“I ordered a small order of pasta but the server brought me the large one instead.  I ate as much as I wanted, and then brought the rest home.  I gave it to my roommate and she loved it!”

The person who has rejected dieting isn’t vulnerable to eating the whole serving because she or he is used to making their own choices all day, everyday.  The dieter is used to being told what to do, so when a plate of food is served to them, they are very vulnerable to eating it all.  Does that make sense?

When all your food choices are made for you, you lose your own ability to navigate food choices yourself.

Reject food rules.  Eat what you want, when you are hungry, stop when you aren’t hungry anymore.  Period.