Many people become overweight when they begin to use food to satisfy an emotional need; to compensate for something they feel is missing in their lives. Some people overeat to compensate for an unpleasant experience. Others eat to reward themselves, or possibly for entertainment. Some want to be noticed, and many use a large body to offset a small ego. Food can be used to compensate for a lack of love, to offset far, to overcome frustration, to deal with boredom, or sometimes even to avoid sex.
Often, the reasons they began overeating are anchored in their past, some emotional event that caused them to begin eating for security, self-preservation or protection. The memory of the event remains sealed in the subconscious mind, even if they have consciously forgotten it.
For these people, dieting alone will not be enough to lose the weight and keep it off. They often view the diet as a short-term program; and look forward to achieving their weight goal so they can return to eating "normally." Once they eat their goal, they reward themselves with the hug meals or heavy desserts that they have been craving; and the weight quickly returns. Dieting never eliminates the subconscious need for excess food. It's just a form of self-torture they go through, until they eventually give in to their subconscious desires. They may go up and down the scale continuously, never letting go of the desire for excess food.
A hypnotherapy program will do more than just modify an individual's behavior. It addresses all issues, which may be affecting their eating habits. The Hypnotherapist will ask: "When do you overeat? Where do you overeat?" and most importantly, "Why?"
The Hypnotherapist will also help examine the client's self-esteem and self-confidence. Do these areas of self-image require strengthening?
The hypnosis session will help the client look back on their life, and locate the event (or events), which led to the current attitude toward food. This is the first step in eliminating the subconscious desire for excess food.
Hypnosis may be the answer for you, but not if you're expecting miracles. Hypnosis is not a magic bullet. It cannot make you stop craving potato chips or never feel hungry again. It can't make you exercise or make you like vegetables or make you do anything.
What, then, can hypnosis do that "will power" can't? Hypnosis, a state of deep relaxation and intense mental focus, can help you "reprogram" old attitudes and beliefs about eating. While in the state of hypnosis your subconscious (inner) mind is more available to you, more open to receive suggestions that will then become a part of those messages in the "back of your mind" that nudge you toward new behaviors. Like a modern day Jiminy Cricket, hypnotically implanted messages urge you to "do the right thing" -- to follow through with the changes that you decided to make in your life.
Hypnotic messages that suggest new attitudes like "you eat small portions of food and feel completely satisfied. You eat only in response to your body's natural need for food as fuel" can help reprogram bad eating habits. Repetition of such suggestions, especially if listened to regularly on a taped message, can boost your determination and enhance your conscious "willpower."
Often, however, such messages alone are not enough. It takes a combination of behavioral modification (watching your diet, learning how to eat healthily, exercising regularly) and psychological education (understanding why you have certain eating patterns and how to change them) in order to achieve permanent weight loss. A good Hypnotherapist will address both these issues as well. Not only should you receive mental suggestions for behavioral and lifestyle changes, your Hypnotherapist should explore with you any emotional connections to food and eating habits. Once you realize why you are eating when you are not hungry (and if we all ate only when we were hungry there would be no need for any weight loss programs) you can begin to change that behavior.
A good Hypnotherapist will work with positive programming, using your own success to spur you on and not rely on "aversion therapy" or "negative conditioning" to achieve results. Suggestions that stress positive changes (looking the way you want to look, feeling the way you want to feel) and that increase self-esteem can help you succeed not only in your weight loss, but in other areas of your life as well.
Mental imagery is another important part of hypnosis. Using hypnosis for weight loss, after achieving a deep state of relaxation your Hypnotherapist might lead you through an imaginary journey where you might imagine yourself wearing a dress or suit you've grown out of. You might imagine the positive comments of your friends or coworkers. You would be encouraged to use all five senses in your imagery, seeing and feeling yourself grow thinner, stronger, more healthy and vital. Studies show that the more real your inner experience, the more likely the final results will match your mental "program."
When used as a part of an overall program of behavioral modification and attitude adjustment, hypnosis can be the extra dimension that your weight loss program needs for long term success. While not magic, hypnosis can provide powerful tools to help you fight the battle of the bulge, tools that just may make the difference between success and failure.
I am alive, like you. And I now stand beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you
- Gibran's Epitaph
"When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that, in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
- Kahlil Gibran