Fad diets, yo-yo dieting, sin snacks and forbidden foods: we've all heard of them, and many of us have experienced them first hand. Trying to lose weight can be a long and challenging journey. If you've ever tried and failed to lose weight before then you probably know just how frustrating it can be. Constant calorie-counting and watching what we eat draws our attention back to the food, and we can end up thinking constantly about what we are eating - and, very often, what we are not allowed to eat. When the effort of the diet becomes too much, people fall off the wagon and the weight piles back on.
Our relationship with food often starts at an early age - parents might use treats as a reward ("eat your dinner or there will be no pudding"), or guilt ("think of all those starving children"). Eating also stimulates the pleasure centres of our brain and when you combine this with feelings such as stress, low self-esteem, sadness and boredom, it is easy to see how emotional eating can lead to weight gain.
Obesity is a major issue in the United Kingdom. The Government and the NHS have launched major campaigns to target the health risks of being overweight - these can include diabetes, heart problems, stroke and some forms of cancer. Obesity can also affect a person's quality of life and self image, leading to secondary conditions such as depression.
It is easy to see how the increased stresses of modern life at earlier ages, combined with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, might contribute to comfort eating and weight gain. Not all people who are overweight are over-eaters and studies have shown that many overweight people eat less than those who are standard or underweight. For those that do overeat, there will often be a psychological reason to do so. For those that do not, poor eating habits, eating the wrong type of food and lack of exercise can contribute to a growing waist line.
The subconscious is programmed to protect us; at some point, there will have been a perceived benefit to these eating habits: a reward, or entertainment; to counteract an unpleasant experience; as a substitute for love. Since these reasons are deeply embedded in the subconscious, it can be difficult to maintain any weight loss. The subconscious reasons for over-eating are greater than the conscious desire to keep the weight off. Your subconscious mind holds your personal values and beliefs regarding food, eating and self-image. Only by changing the subconscious can weight loss and better eating habits permanently be achieved.
As hypnotherapy works directly with the subconscious, it is an ideal method to combat unhealthy eating habits. It would be unethical for me to promise a certain amount of weight loss or a success rate, as everyone has a different reason for both gaining and wanting to lose weight.
Instead of focusing on what you eat, hypnotherapy can help to break the patterns of behaviour that lead to over-eating. Unlike many diets out there, weight loss through hypnotherapy does not forbid any food. We work with the subconscious to encourage better eating habits and get rid of unwanted food cravings. By encouraging healthy eating and a better lifestyle, weight loss usually follows. Healthy eating hypnotherapy sessions are designed to help encourage you to change your deep-seated feelings and thoughts about food, your body and your eating habits, giving you the motivation to succeed in losing weight and to establish healthy patterns to achieve long-lasting results.
By helping to empower you to regain control over your eating habits and make healthy, informed choices, you will hopefully learn to enjoy those foods that are good for you. Once the reasons behind those old habits have been addressed, you can look forward to enjoying a healthier lifestyle, feel better in yourself with more confidence, energy and motivation, and learn to enjoy your body instead of seeing it as a source of anxiety.
I have found from experience that one of the first things that leads to successful weight loss is to manage expectations. If we start a diet expecting to lose a few stone each month, we will end up disappointed, disheartened and more likely to revert to our bad habits. A healthy weight loss to aim for is around 1 to 2 pounds a week - that's around half a stone a month - although if you have a lot of weight to lose, you might find that you will lose more in the early stages. Unlike many diets out there, weight loss through hypnotherapy does not forbid any food. We work with the subconscious to encourage better eating habits and get rid of unwanted food cravings. By encouraging healthy eating and a better lifestyle, weight loss usually follows.