*Barbara’s voicemail sounded desperate, two of her coworkers had come to see me and both had excellent results so they had encouraged her to reach out to me. She admitted that although her friends had been successful with hypnosis, she had little faith in the process, or her ability to be hypnotized...but she was so desperate to lose weight she was willing to try anything.
Even though one of her friends had come also come for weight loss, she felt that was different because the friend had only about 10 pounds to lose that she had gained in the past few years, Barbara had decades of weight and bad eating habits to address. Knowing her weight was an issue and beating herself up about it daily, trying every new diet and/or “magic cure” out there, it wasn’t until her most recent visit to the doctors that she was truly concerned for her health and her longevity. At well over 50 pounds overweight, her doc told her she was a candidate for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and many other weight related illnesses.
“Could hypnosis really help?” her voice pleaded when I called her back. “Do you really want to lose weight?” I asked...explaining that hypnosis can only work if you truly want to make the change. Weekly I get calls from wives, mothers, husbands asking if I can make their spouses, children etc., lose weight, quit smoking, do better in school, clean up after themselves...the list goes on, my response is always the same, do they want the change to happen? If so then yes, if not, that no because no one can be hypnotized to do anything they do not want to do.
“Well what about the hypnosis shows I see where people are doing crazy things” people ask. Yes, they are in trance and are responding to the crazy suggestion from the hypnotist, but it is only because there is a part of those people that likes being part of a show, because it is fun and they allow themselves to go with it.
“Will I lose control or get stuck in a trance?” another question I often hear.
Hypnosis is not about controlling you it’s about putting you back in control, control of your eating, smoking, fears and phobias or any area you are feeling out of control.
Hypnosis is perfectly safe, it is simply a highly relaxed yet focused state. We actually find ourselves in trance throughout the day. Have you ever been driving and the next thing you know you are at your exit and think ”how the heck did I get here?” Or watching a suspenseful movie you are so into it your heart is racing and you jump if someone walk into the room? The time just before you fall asleep and just as you are waking up, these are all examples of the level of trance a hypnotherapist will put you in. You are completely safe and in control, you will hear everything the hypnotherapist says and have the ability to bring yourself out should you so choose.
By letting yourself follow the hypnotist words and entering that deep state of relaxation your conscious mind is relatively inactive while your subconscious mind is in a highly suggestive, receptive state. In this altered state of increased suggestibility, your mental "clutter" is cleared away and your subconscious will absorb the hypnotist's suggestions, changing previously held thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that are no longer in your best interest.
Unlike Barbara’s friend who lived a fairly healthy lifestyle, just needed to tweak a few habits found she only needed one session to achieve her goals, Barbara needed to drastically change what she ate, how much she ate and when she ate. She also needed to change her self loathing into self love.
Although still hesitant, she signed up for our three session Weight Loss Jump Start which includes the wildly successful Gastric Band Hypnosis a hypnosis session where the unconscious mind and the body believe that a gastric band has been put into place allowing the client to only eat a portion of the amount of food normally consumed before feeling comfortably full and satisfied.
Barbara’s first session focused on eliminating her sugar and high carb food craving and consumption and replacing them with real foods “foods from nature” and prepping her for the gastric band that would happen the following week, as well as seeing herself as someone that takes excellent care of herself. For all her resistance, Barbara proved to be a very good subject, allowing herself to go into trance very easily.
A very different Barbara walked in my office the following week...she was glowing, she had lost 5.5 pounds (not typical results as results vary greatly) and felt more energetic that she had in years. “It was so easy, I just can’t believe it...I passed up cake and lasagna, I went out to lunch and couldn’t believe my own ears as I heard myself order a salad with grilled chicken” she chuckled as she spoke.
This next session, while reinforcing what we had done last week, was primarily the gastric band, where in hypnosis I take her from walking into the hospital through the preop straight into the operating room where the surgeon puts in the band and back to postop. We talk about how now with the surgery her body will be satisfied eating half as much food at each meal as it used to.
Week three, another 3.6 pounds down, Barbara shared her total astonishment. This past week she had done something she couldn’t ever remember doing...leaving food on her plate. No matter how much she was enjoying what she was eating when she was comfortably full, her brain would hear the signal and she would stop eating. It had been two weeks of eating healthy foods and along with the weight loss and energy, Barbara also felt better, many of her aches and pains were subsiding and her constant heartburn was gone, she was convinced that this was how to eat and how to take care of herself. This session reinforced her wins of the past two weeks and focus on self acceptance and self love and how that reveals itself in ways you take care of your body.
Barbara has continued to see me a few more times since her first visits about six months ago and I am happy to report she has lost about 50 pounds, walks daily, does yoga regularly and looks and feels great.
Losing weight can be hard, hypnotherapy can make it much easier. A report from University of Connecticut revealed “ weight loss reported in five studies indicates that hypnosis can more than double the effects and success of traditional weight loss approaches” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (vol 64).
*name changed to protect confidentiality
Suzi Conklin Nance is a Certified Hypnotherapist, a Certified Hypnosis Trainer with The National Guild of Hypnotist, Founder of Newport Center for Hypnotherapy and a Motivational Speaker
Newport Center for Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis Training