Effective Weight Loss Using Hypnotherapy

Weight Losson April 5th, 2014No Comments

By Jorg Thonnissen (2010) Psychologist – Hypnotic Impact | Hypnotherapy Perth

Losing weight is a challenge that most people face at some point in their lives. In some cases it as simple as eating healthy and increasing their activity level while for others the challenge seems a little more daunting. Some may find it easy to drop the weight, but find that it won’t stay off – relapsing and gaining weight again. Studies indicate that the plethora of weight management interventions available have been unsuccessful and that long term results of such interventions are often questionable (Bolocofsky, Spinler, & Coulthard-Morris, 1985).

Perhaps this has to do with the fact that weight gain and an unhealthy relationship with food has a behavioural and psychological component to it. In this sense, food is often used for far more than mere nourishment. In many cases people begin to use food to substitute the things they feel are missing in their lives – it helps them feel full. In fact, research shows that when initial weight loss is superficial and relapse occurs, deeper issues are often revealed that require psychotherapy (Hanley, 1967). One may go even further and understand weight gain according to two categories – 1) developmental weight gain occurring during adolescence and as a result of dysfunctional family relationships and poor body image and, 2) reactive weight gain occurring in adulthood as a response to stressful relationships or work circumstances (Bruch, 1973).

So with some insightful exploration, many people may find that their eating habits are closely linked to their emotional states and that they may have particular trigger such as feeling anxious, lonely, stressed, sad and even bored. Before long, using food to sooth emotional distress becomes a habit and a behavioural pattern that is difficult to break. It may become part of the daily routine where food is used to feel subconsciously nurtured and full. This pattern becomes even harder to break when the food eaten really has a physiological impact – for example eating chocolate, which increases the endorphin (natural feel good hormone) levels in the brain and actually makes one feel better. When there is a real emotional reward to eating then the pattern is reinforced and strengthened making it even harder to break.

Losing weight with hypnotherapy

Successful weight loss now becomes more about breaking these behavioural and habitual patterns, and dealing with emotional distress, than merely following a healthy eating and exercise plan. There is a notoriously high non-compliance rate with traditional diet management programs (Pittler & Ernst, 2005), which is more than likely due to the fact that diet management programs and slimming aids are useful in creating a healthier lifestyle but they fail to address the deeper undercurrents of the weight gain in the first place, accounting for the high rate of relapse. In this sense, hypnotherapy for weight loss can be a fantastic adjunct to a healthy diet program.

Hypnotherapy involves inducing an altered state of consciousness through relaxation and visualization where therapeutic suggestions reinforce the benefits to a healthy and active lifestyle. Such suggestions also encourage a desire for healthier foods and provide coping mechanisms to deal with emotional stressors rather than using food. In many ways, hypnotherapy for weight loss aids the person on a subconscious level to achieve their weight loss goals while teaching relaxation techniques and coping skills to handle life stress and emotional distress in a healthier, more adaptive way.

In many ways it is easier to learn new things when you are in a relaxed state such as this (Staten & Senior, 2005). In some cases, deeper work is required to work through past trauma or emotional distress that contributes to and maintains weight gain, again hypnotherapy for weight loss can be used effectively in exploring these deeper issues.

How successful is hypnosis for weight loss?

Although hypnotherapy for weight loss is extremely useful in shifting the person’s attitude and facilitating a more positive outlook, it is essential that the person is motivated to change and is ready to make a commitment to life style changes and achieving their weight loss goals.

There is little doubt that hypnotherapeutic suggestions around the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating have a positive effect on weight loss. Such simple suggestions are also extremely useful in shifting people’s perceptions about food and eating, and can assist in removing unhealthy eating habits such as eating too fast, eating unhealthy food for stress relief and using chocolate to deal with emotional pain.

Let us reiterate, however, that hypnotherapy is not successful on its own, but when coupled with a healthy diet and some exercise, hypnotherapy can even double the weight loss success (Staten & Senior, 2005). When the person is motivated and committed to achieving their weight loss goals, then hypnotherapy can be highly effective in cementing that motivation and encouraging compliance with the diet management program.

Successful weight loss involves a program that focuses not only on healthy eating and exercise, but includes an intervention that assists the person in dealing with the deeper issues surrounding the weight gain and their unhealthy relationship with food. Hypnotherapy for weight loss not only assists in increasing and maintaining positive motivation and behaviour change, but also assists the person in exploring these deeper issues.

 

Bolocofsky, D. N., Spinler, D., & Coulthard-Morris, L. (1985). Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 41(1), 35-41

Bruch, H. (1973). Eating disorders: Obesity, anorexia nervosa, and the person within. New York: Basic Books.

Hanley, F. W. (1967). The treatment of obesity by individual and group hypnosis. Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, 12, 549-551

Staten, M., & Senior, K. (2005). ask the weight loss coach. Prevention, 57(9), 124

 

By Jorg Thonnissen (2010) Psychologist – Hypnotic Impact | Hypnotherapy Perth

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