Close your eyes, breath, relax. Imagine yourself resisting the urge to overindulge. Imagine you no longer crave unhealthy foods. Imagine you no longer feel the need to comfort yourself with food.
If only weight loss was that simple, you might be thinking. If only you could “turn off” your unhealthy cravings…
Ultimately, to achieve long-term weight loss, we must access these unconscious barriers, remove them and replace these automatic thoughts with more helpful information. Hypnotherapy empowers us to access these automatic thoughts, delete the negative associations, and develop positive associations that can help us achieve long-term weight-loss success.
Say Clara starts a diet. And it’s going strong. She’s two weeks or three weeks in – has lost weight and she feels great.
But then something changes. Clara starts a new job. Now, she’s finding it more difficult to lose. She’s overindulging more often, stopped counting calories, and she’s craving unhealthy foods. Her weight loss stalls, and before long, she’s fallen off the diet completely.
What went wrong? Clara started so strong, but couldn’t stay on track.
Well, if we look into this at a deeper level, we might uncover a “habit pattern” that offers an explanation.
Habit patterns form through repetition, and over time, they become unconscious responses to stimuli or environment. In this case, Clara likely developed a habit pattern of stress eating which prevented her from reaching her weight loss goals.Food had become Clara’s unconscious, automatic response to stress. These sorts of habits of mind are exactly why losing weight is such a challenge for many of us. Deep in our unconscious minds we’ve developed strong ideas about unhealthy behaviours. In fact, over time, we may have trained the mind to believe that these unhealthy behaviours are essential – that they are necessary for maintaining our well-being. And if the mind believes these behaviours are necessary, long-term change is very difficult. Stress or emotional eating is just one example. There are many associations that we develop that negatively impact our relationship to food. Some common associations that prevent weight loss include:
Food is a comfort blanket; we use it to comfort ourselves in times of stress or sadness
Eating helps distract us from feelings of sadness, anxiety or anger
Overeating fatty, sugary or unhealthy foods is associated with celebrations and other good times.
Unhealthy or sugary foods are a reward.
Overeating helps you tamp the fear that you won’t be able to lose weight.
Food is a source of entertainment when bored.
Ultimately, achieving long-term weight loss requires these root causes to be assessed, understood and reframed. And that’s exactly what hypnosis can help us achieve.
Reframing Your Food Addiction with Hypnosis
The first step of using hypnosis for weight loss: Identifying why you aren’t achieving your goals. How does this work? Typically, a hypnotherapist will ask you questions related to your weight loss, i.e. questions about your eating and exercise habits.
This information-gathering helps identify what you might need help working on.
You’ll then be guided through an induction, a process to relax the mind and body and enter into a state of hypnosis. While in hypnosis, your mind is highly suggestible. You’ve shed your critical, conscious mind – and the hypnotherapist can speak directly to your unconscious thoughts.
Improving Confidence. Positive suggestions will empower your feelings of confidence through encouraging language.
Visualizing Success. During hypnosis, you may be asked to visualize meeting your weight loss goals and to visualize the way it makes you feel.
Reframing Your Inner Voice. Hypnosis can help you tame an inner voice who “doesn’t want” to give up unhealthy foods, and turn it into an ally in your weight loss journey who’s quick with positive suggestions and is more rational.
Tapping the Unconscious. In the hypnotic state, you can begin to identify the unconscious patterns that lead to unhealthy eating. In other words, you can become more aware of why we are making unhealthy food choices and portion control and establish more mindful strategies for making food choices.
Fending Off Fear. Hypnotic suggestions can help you tame your fear of not achieving weight loss success. Fear is a No. 1 reasons people might never get started in the first place.
Identifying and Reframing Habit Patterns. Once in hypnosis, you can examine and explore ways you use eating and “turn off” these automatic responses. Through repeated positive affirmations, we can begin to slow and ultimately completely remove automatic, unconscious thought.
Developing New Coping Mechanisms. Through hypnosis, you can establish more healthy ways to cope with stress, emotions and relationships. For example, you might be asked to visualize a stressful situation and then visualize yourself responding with a healthy snack.
Rehearsing Healthy Eating. During hypnosis, you may be asked to rehearse making healthy eating choices, i.e. being OK with taking food home at a restaurant. This helps these healthy choices become more automatic. Rehearsal is also helpful for controlling cravings.
Making Better Food Choices. You may desire and love unhealthy foods. Hypnosis can help you start to develop a taste or preference for healthier options, as well as influence the portion sizes you choose.
Increasing Unconscious Indicators. Through repetition, you may have learned to drown out the signals your body sends when you feel full. Hypnotherapy helps you become more aware of these indicators.
How Hypnotherapy Helps You Achieve Weight Loss
In the hypnotic state, your mind is much more open to suggestion. In fact, research has shown that some interesting changes take place in your brain during hypnosis, which allow you to learn without thinking critically about the information you’re receiving.
In other words, you’re detached from the critical mind. Therefore, when you receive hypnotic suggestions, the critical conscious mind doesn’t step into question what you’re hearing. And that, in a nutshell, is how hypnosis can help you break down the barriers that prevent you from losing weight.
But repetition is critical for success. That’s why most hypnotherapists send you home with