Hypnosis and Weight Loss
Does weight loss hypnosis really work? I want you to be involved in understanding the answer. If you look for this information online, the facts are all over the board.
In truth, weight loss happens instantly with any weight loss program. The trick is to get your mind to go along with it as soon as possible. Hypnosis speeds up that process as it bypasses the part of the brain that wants you to remain overweight, like writing new code for a computer software program.
One could argue there are many “get slim quick” internet hypnosis programs out there that are just designed to take your money. And that may be true with some weight loss hypnosis products and some slimy people posing as hypnotists, but I think that is rare. Rather, I believe the majority of hypnotists are providing a legitimate service (online and in private practice). They are consistently getting quick results as they claim, but something else is happening…the same clients come back a few years later to be hypnotized again because most (or all) of their weight came back over time! That’s also why I don’t advocate the “one and done” session with weight loss clients. It could take a few to several sessions to address everything the weight retention is tied to, but once it’s gone it’s really gone!
Only the best hypnotherapists will tell you the whole truth on this matter. Basic direct suggestion hypnosis for weight loss works for the short term, like any other diet plan out there. It gives suggestion to the brain to lose the weight, increase the desire to diet, and love to exercise. This is great in and of itself and can be a useful tool in the short term, but what we want is long-term and lasting results. In order to do that, we must delve a little deeper.
People will lose significant weight via hypnosis or, quite frankly, any diet program they commit to then turn around and put all that weight back on they worked so hard to take off. Why? Because they haven’t resolved the deeper issues of what’s keeping them overweight in the first place. The have charged emotions trapped inside them that needs to be heard and released first. This is what is known as a secondary gain. There is a subconscious benefit of keeping oneself overweight. And we work to find out what that is and address it. This can be accomplished a couple different ways; through traditional regression hypnoanalysis and through Conflict-Resolution Therapy, also called Parts Therapy. The best method is to see a professional hypnotherapist to perform hypnoanalysis tailored to your specific needs.
Now that you know there is a part of you that is keeping you overweight for a specific reason or reasons, you can use hypnosis to acknowledge it and understand what it needs. You can agree to modify your behavior if those needs are met in another way, without your health having to be sabotaged in the process. Then you can lose weight and not have to worry about gaining it all back. So there is some brain work involved, but because you are doing it in a nice state of trance and relaxation, you feel great the entire time…and you may learn some eye opening stuff about yourself.
And that’s the simple truth about any hypnosis. Once the cause is realized and dealt with, the resolution will happen quickly and usually permanently. Sometimes, just knowing the cause is enough to allow the long-term benefits of hypnosis to take effect. You may also choose to release old painful emotions that have been filtering your perception of life up to now, so that your present and future life can be filled with joy again. Now, doesn’t that sound great?
Take a look for yourself at the research on hypnosis and weight loss from prominent trade journals:
Hypnosis Over 30 Times as Effective for Weight Loss
Investigated the effects of hypnosis in weight loss for 60 females, at least 20% overweight. Treatment included group hypnosis with metaphors for ego-strengthening, decision making and motivation, ideomotor exploration in individual hypnosis, and group hypnosis with maintenance suggestions. Hypnosis was more effective than a control group: an average of 17 lbs lost by the hypnosis group vs. an average of 0.5 lbs lost by the control group, on follow-up.
Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.
Two Years Later: Hypnosis Subjects Continued To Lose Significant Weight
109 people completed a behavioral treatment for weight management either with or without the addition of hypnosis. At the end of the 9-week program, both interventions resulted in significant weight reduction. At 8-month and 2-year follow-ups, the hypnosis subjects were found to have continued to lose significant weight, while those in the behavioral-treatment-only group showed little further change.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1985)
Hypnosis Subjects Lost More Weight Than 90% of Others and Kept it Off
Researchers analyzed 18 studies comparing a cognitive behavioral therapy such as relaxation training, guided imagery, self monitoring, or goal setting with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis.
Those who received the hypnosis lost more weight than 90 percent of those not receiving hypnosis and maintained the weight loss two years after treatment ended.
University of Connecticut, Storrs Allison DB, Faith MS. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: a meta-analytic reappraisal. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996;64(3):513-516.
Hypnosis More Than Doubled Average Weight Loss
Study of the effect of adding hypnosis to cognitive-behavioral treatments for weight reduction, additional data were obtained from authors of two studies. Analyses indicated that the benefits of hypnosis increased substantially over time.
Kirsch, Irving (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments–Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519.
Hypnosis Showed Significantly Lower Post-Treatment Weights
Two studies compared overweight smoking and non-smoking adult women in an hypnosis-based, weight-loss program. Both achieved significant weight losses and decreases in Body Mass Index. Follow-up study replicated significant weight losses and declines in Body Mass Index. The overt aversion and hypnosis program yielded significantly lower post-treatment weights and a greater average number of pounds lost.
Weight loss for women: studies of smokers and nonsmokers using hypnosis and multi-component treatments with and without overt aversion. Johnson DL, Psychology Reprints. 1997 Jun;80(3 Pt 1):931-3.
Hypnotherapy group with stress reduction achieved significantly more weight loss than the other two treatments.
Randomised, controlled, parallel study of two forms of hypnotherapy (directed at stress reduction or energy intake reduction), vs dietary advice alone in 60 obese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea on nasal continuous positive airway pressure treatment.
J Stradling, D Roberts, A Wilson and F Lovelock, Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK
Hypnosis can more than double the effects of traditional weight loss approaches
An analysis of five weight loss studies reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 showed that the “… weight loss reported in the five studies indicates that hypnosis can more than double the effects” of traditional weight loss approaches.
University of Connecticut, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 (Vol. 64, No. 3, pgs 517-519).
Weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized
Research into cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments established that weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized. It was also established that the benefits of hypnosis increase over time.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1996)
Showed Hypnosis As “An Effective Way To Lose Weight”
A study of 60 females who were at least 20% overweight and not involved in other treatment showed hypnosis is an effective way to lose weight.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1986)
8 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating
Do you find yourself eating when you don’t feel hungry? Do you find yourself eating when you become emotionally charged, stressed, worried, bored, tired, lonely, scared, guilty, or blank? Do you find that food has control over you instead of the other way around? If you answered yes to any of these, you are eating for emotional reasons. Emotional eating is the single most reason why people put on weight or stay plateaued.
A little known secret is that you have control over your emotions. You have control over your thoughts…and you have POWER over food. You can have energy and feel great without overeating. How is this accomplished, you say?
1. First you must acknowledge your feelings and stay in the moment whenever it comes up. Allow the emotions to come up fully…do not even try to suppress them or allow yourself “numb out” with food (or cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, insert bad habit here). Next, release the emotion and tell yourself, “I feel (bored, happy, sad, etc.), but I’m okay. I’m solid at my core.” If you have to cry or scream or vent, go ahead. Do what you need to do to release the emotion. Emotions only hurt when you hold them in.
2. Find something else that you like to do. Do a mental re-frame. When you find yourself searching the pantry or the fridge and you know you are not really hungry, take CONTROL of your thoughts. Check yourself and ask why you are searching the cupboards. If you are truly not hungry, switch your brain over to an activity that you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s riding a bicycle, talking on the phone to someone you love, painting, singing, dancing, playing games, whatever. Whatever it is for you that’s fun. Say to yourself, “I need to take a walk (paint, dance, read, call a friend, etc.) now. I’ll eat after my walk if I still feel hungry.”
3. Listen to your natural signals in your body. Meditate daily. Breathe. This releases a great deal of stress and gets you in touch with your inner self. It relaxes you and increases your natural energy. I offer a relaxation recording you can download for free from my website by clicking on this link total relaxation, or you may use any meditation that you enjoy. Just check in with your mind, body, and soul throughout the day.
4. Eat consciously. Eat slowly and put the fork down when you begin to feel full. Set an alarm for 20 minutes. If you are still hungry 20 minutes later, allow yourself to eat more. Remember to stay in the moment when you eat. Taste all the flavors before swallowing. Forgive yourself if you slip up and eat mindlessly. Simply start over with your next meal. You will get it with just a little practice.
5. Think of yourself as a thin person. Do whatever activities you tell yourself you would do “when I lose the weight.” Do it now. Really picture it in your mind. See yourself thin and doing activities you enjoy that don’t include food. Then DO them. Everyday.
6. Eat, drink, sleep. Eat only when you are truly hungry. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration causes hunger pains. Get 7-10 hours of sleep a day. Go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday. This greatly reduces stress, increases energy, and aids in fat burning. Your “hungry” and “full” signals need at least 7 hours to reset. Otherwise, you feel hungry sooner and it takes much longer to feel full. These sensations are caused by hormones called ghrelin (hungry) and leptin (full and long-term energy regulator).
7. Take a multivitamin and have your hormones checked. That will help your energy a great deal. Hormones have a great affect on fat and where it’s stored in the body. So it’s important to ensure yours are regulated.
8. Stop obsessing! Release yourself. Eat healthy when you can, but don’t beat yourself up over it. You can enjoy foods like rich ice cream if you eat just enough until you feel satisfied. Do make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods that keep you healthy. That will naturally give you more energy. But eat ONLY foods you enjoy. And don’t worry about portion sizes or calorie counting. That gives food too much power. Listen to your body. It will signal you when to stop. (Again, when you find yourself eating out of emotion. Stop. Do something else that would make you feel good–really nurture yourself with things you love to do–and go easy on yourself.)
Remember…naturally thin people never feel guilty about eating–and you are a naturally thin person at your core!
If you need help sorting out why you are eating for emotional reasons, a good hypnotist can guide you to the answers deep inside you. The more you can work on yourself, the faster you will RELEASE the weight. You can start letting go of it right now! (I’ll bet after just reading this, you will lose at least one pound within the next day or two.)
On a personal note: I take my own advise and listen to my emotional pain connected to false hunger. I know that, for me, I eat when I am sad. When I found out there may have been a serious life-threatening medical problem with one of my children that I had no control over, the first thing I did when I got home was to go into a bit of a depression and laid on the couch to mope and feel sorry for my child and myself. I cried it all out in the car ride home, so that part was taken care of…but I was still in a mental funk as I thought of all the implications of the sad news.
Eventually, I had to get up to go to the bathroom. On the way to the bathroom, I automatically stopped by the pantry which I had to pass anyway. I peered at all that food waiting there just to cheer me up. After working with so many weight loss clients, I was aware of what I was doing. I even said to myself, “I want to eat just to feel better right now. I know I’m not really hungry.” So what do you think I did?
Nope. I ate some cookies. And, guess what? I did have temporary relief. However–and this is the difference–as I was eating, I became MINDFUL of what I was doing and inwardly said, “Self, it’s okay to want to feel better. Go ahead and eat those cookies without feeling guilt. But do NOT lay back on the couch. Once you feel a little better, figure out a way to feel much better with that energy.” So I followed my own instructions.
I asked myself to come up with some better solutions to feel much better. My mind gave me a list right away. “You can pray and ask others to pray for you. That always gives you great relief! You can call a friend on the phone and talk it out. You can research this more and see what others families have done to get through this struggle. You can walk around the block to get some fresh air and sunshine, you can play with your children, you can take a bubble bath, you can increase your vitamin intake, you can…etc.”
I followed some of that advise and felt immediate relief. Talking with others, praying, and asking others to pray with me gave me a renewed since of hope. Playing with my children kept my mind in a joyful state and walking around the block cleared my head of some confusing thoughts I had been having. My depression and hunger signals left and I felt at peace. And, by the way, the problem with my child corrected itself a few weeks later. (Miraculously?)
What if I had sabotaged my own health for nothing? Even if the problem persisted, I could not have been on top of my game if I had stayed in a funk and packed on weight. But, because I just took a moment to check in with my authentic self, I found a solution and could be proud of myself for being strong (and present) for my children during those difficult weeks.
And you can do and feel the same! I will help you.