“Can Hypnosis be used for weight Loss?”
Since the very beginning of my career in hypnosis one of the earlier questions I would hear was, “Can you hypnotize me to lose weight?
I have become very involved in the workings of the mind and the effects of hypnosis. In no way am I implying I know it all, but after almost 50 years listening carefully to everyone who sits in my office I have heard it is not always an issue of losing weight even though this might be your label. This might be the surface request you have, but losing weight requires eating less and/or exercising more. The success can be an issue of communicating with your subconscious mind to eat less or more appropriate to your needs. I have learned not to address the issue of weight loss as the goal because you may then choose to use pounds as a measurement of your success. Success with hypnosis in my opinion is not the amount of pounds we lose, but the ability to become aware of what is inappropriate in your eating habits and then alter this. I have a phrase I choose often, “I will teach you how to crave less then you need to choose to use this new skill.
My suggestion often is to observe the changes in the behaviors of your eating habits. The part of the mind which eats inappropriately to your needs or even normal eating is not an awareness most of us keep track of. We are often eating while doing another activity such as watching TV or talking to someone or even reading while eating. Were we aware of what you have put into your mouth? Most of us are not aware of how or what we are eating and when we are aware we ignore or have an inability to stop or change the behavior. Think of yourself and any automatic action of life you may experience and become consciously aware of it. Can you change it or stop it? Most likely not, unless you make a strong effort to do so and then this is assuming you are even aware of it! Most likely the habit sneaks in or overwhelms you beyond control of stopping or altering this habit or action. This could be any behavior. You can imagine the difficulty a person attempting to lose weight has attempting first to become aware of the eating style and next imagine them attempting to eat less or eat something more appropriate to their needs or even stop themselves as they begin to eat. The inner mind seems to take over as though you don’t even exist and you lack control. We are often like two separate individuals. We think on one level and feel on another.
Even though logically we want to eat less to the inner mind or our emotions eating is too exciting and desirable to inhibit such a grand experience. Eating is love, security, comfort, confidence, relaxation, reduction of stress, absence of boredom, to sleep better, a gathering of friends, enjoyment, a celebration, to socialize, to be healthy and strong. And on and on and on! I am sure you have begun to understand why hypnosis would not be successful in weight loss but excellent for creating awareness or even altering the eating style and the inner desire to eat even when we don’t really want to. Then we will be able to lose the weight we desire to lose.
A favorite phrase of mine is, “What you know is not what you feel, but what you feel is what you live!” However you create awareness to your behavior you will often observe this to be true. What you know logically has little and at times no control over what you feel emotionally. I smile as I think of the logical individual thinking they have power because they know! When stress occurs of any kind much of our logic and conscious knowledge diminishes. I believe with my experience hypnosis can communicate directly to the feeling part of our mind and weaken an old behavior almost instantly. It may sound a little impulsive to think, instantly, however I feel hypnosis can with a simple induction process alter the drive or obsession of an over-eater by relaxing the energies within the mind which seems obsessed with the need to eat even when not hungry for many of the examples I offered. If we listen carefully to the over-eater we hear many subconscious expressions which will tell us why the person is out of control of their eating. Hypnosis in my opinion can immediately release an old habit such as over eating, however the ability to maintain control will become extinct within a week or two if self-hypnosis is not incorporated. Self-Hypnosis is the magical ingredient which will maintain the ability to weaken and eventually remove the old habit.
Self-Hypnosis is needed to reinforce the experience and success of being hypnotized. When you are hypnotized you are learning an absence of the old habit. Learning an absence seems to imply you have learned how not to over eat. Possibly you have known for years how to over eat. After being hypnotized you begin to learn how not to over eat. Does this sound confusing? Ask yourself this, “Do you know how to be out of control with your eating?” You might not want to acknowledge this, but obviously you do know how to over eat. The next question is, “Do you know how to be in control your eating?” Most likely it has never occurred to you to think of a habit as knowing it, but on a level of consciousness you either know or don’t know a habit. If you know it, you know it and if you don’t know it, you don’t have the habit. My language may appear strange to you at first but this is how your mind functions internally. Assume what I am suggesting is true. Then imagine hypnosis is the educator of an emotion or habit. Hypnosis teaches you a feeling. An example of this feeling can be compared to learning a musical instrument. If you were to learn to play a piano you would learn which keys to press to make a sound on this instrument. It is just a sound so far, no songs yet. The sound is not enough though. The sound is like a thought of controlling over eating. This thought never seems to be enough. We need to go a little deeper. With the music lesson you would next need to take a lesson on how to read music, create a rhythm or timing and allow the combination of what you are learning to create a song. This is what hypnosis does to the mind regarding the feelings of eating control. Before you took this lesson in music you did not know how to play the piano. Read this next part carefully! After the lesson you have learned how to not know how to not play the piano. You now have learned a new knowledge of how to play the piano. You have extinguished an old knowledge of not knowing how to play the piano. Is there really any difference in what I just explained on how hypnosis will teach you how not to know how to over eat! After using hypnosis you will have a new knowledge. You will know how emotionally to control your eating? Self-Hypnosis becomes your practice on your personal instrument (your mind). In my opinion Self-Hypnosis must be applied every day as the music student would need to practice their instrument every day. Yes, EVERY DAY! The piano lesson alone will not teach you how to become proficient at playing the piano. The lesson will teach you the beginning and give you an introduction of what is available to you by consistently practicing. Being hypnotized to eat with control will give you an introduction to the new ability you will have.
The conscious (or rational mind) and the subconscious (emotional mind) connection is much like two lovers in a dysfunctional relationship. As a friend we can view someone in a dysfunctional relationship and wonder why they are there. However the people in this relationship are unaware of any issues which would resolve the challenges they experience. They may have many excuses, but the irrational experience continues to find excuses or reasons of why things are not going well. However because of the emotions of need and obsession they miss the opportunity to be comfortable in the relationship or get out of it. The same is true of an obsession or habit in life which we may be unaware of or out of control with. The over-eater may say, “I like sweets or I enjoy eating a lot at meals!” Others can observe what would work, but like the dysfunctional relationship the person in the muck is often not even aware that they are in an issue of distress and denial. Much like a vacuum cleaner we are sucked into the dysfunction and have no choice. We are drawn into a habit or obsession with the bliss of the experience and the anguish of the addiction. I have learned a great phrase from one of the consulting hypnotists at the Garrett Wellness Center, “When you are inside the bottle it is difficult to read the label.” How true!
For more information please go to, www.GarrettWellnessCenter.com