Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shrink and Talk: What Zebras Teach Us About Weight Loss™

Ellen Resnick, Director at the Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss is in Ngorongoro Crater in Africa today filming zebras to demonstrate how our thoughts influence what and how much we choose to eat.

Watch as Ellen demonstrates cognitive restructuring with Leslie in her latest video Shrink and Talk: What Zebras Teach Us About Weight Loss.

Ellen says “Our automatic thoughts often bring us further away from what can be truly helpful to us”.
Many of us tend to think in extremes or absolutes. Learning to identify these thoughts that lie just below our level of consciousness gives us the opportunity to respond in ways that support our health and wellness.

Zebras provide us a terrific teaching tool for learning to identify our black and white thinking. This type of thinking mistake is what David Burns , author of the Feeling Good handbook calls a cognitive distortion. With black and white thinking, aka zebra thinking, you see things as all-or-nothing. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure, e.g. “I ate a brownie when my computer crashed this afternoon. I blew it! I’ll never be able to lose weight”. It’s easy to see how this thinking style can easily sabotage our weight loss efforts.

Although our thoughts tend to be like the zebras stripes, black and white, the key to weight loss is to figure out how to be comfortable with shades of gray.

In my next blog we’ll see what the elephants can teach us. Stay tuned…

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
~Albert Einstein

A special thank you and congratulations to Leslie for sharing her ideas that have led to an 18 pound weight loss so far. Go Leslie!

Ellen Resnick is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss, You can email Ellen at and follow her on Twitter at @thoughtfullellen. You can also follow Ellen’s weight loss board on Pinterest at

Copyright © 2012 Ellen N. Resnick, LCSW


  1. Great article!!!! I definitely agree! I always tell my clients that they have a chance to make another decision at the next meal. Make a better choice in 4 hours and don't beat yourself up!

  2. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
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