If you are reading this, you have no doubt tried several different diets to lose weight, you may have had temporary success with some or perhaps you have been ‘yo-yo’ dieting for most of your adult life.
There is no getting away from the age-old adage; To lose weight you need to eat less and move more.
This is no different with hypnotherapy and I would challenge anyone who claims that this is not the case.
What makes this hypnotherapy program different from most other traditional weight control programs or diets, is that we look at why you find it difficult to reach or maintain your target weight:
Why do we gain weight?
When we eat, our bodies process the food we eat to create energy, which fuels both internal processes such as digestion, thinking, cell repair etc. and external ones such as moving around or exercising.
If we eat more energy than we use, our body stores the ‘leftover’ energy as fat and we gain weight. If we take in less energy than we use, our body uses it’s ‘stores’ to keep essential body functions going. This is an evolutionary adaption which enabled us to survive when food was easily available in some seasons and scarce in others.
This is why eating differently (taking in less energy) and/or exercising more (using up more energy) is essential to get rid of excess weight. This is fact, however, there are factors which impact on what, why and how we eat:
Emotions and Stress:
Many people eat more when worried or unhappy, with food being used as a form of tranquiliser or problem solver:
We may ‘comfort eat’ to distract us from unwanted or unpleasant emotions.
We may have been bullied and therefore we want to ‘appear larger’ as a form of protection and/or authority, so that we won’t be bullied in future.
We may want to reduce attention from potential new partners by appearing ‘less attractive’ following a painful/abusive relationship.
In these, or similar circumstances, our subconscious will view over-eating as a good coping strategy with which to reduce our anxiety in relation to these areas.
In How Hypnotherapy works, I explain: we are more likely to accept information which is consistent with what we already have stored in the ‘data banks’ of our subconscious and more likely to reject information which is not consistent with it.
Therefore, even if we logically and rationally know that we need to eat less and move more, our subconscious mind is more likely to reject this, in favour of eating to reduce our anxiety, which is the subconscious mind’s priority after it has achieved its first priority of keeping us alive.
Eating habits are influenced by early experiences with; food association, tastes/textures, attitudes, routines and rules we are given about food as children. Eating habits learnt as children can carry on into adult life:
Parents may offer children sweets and biscuits as a reward for good behaviour or as a comforter after a fall or a disappointment. Some adults continue to associate certain food types as rewards/comforters and reward or console themselves with excessive food throughout their life.
The bitter notes of vegetables, for example, are amplified in children as they have around 30,000 tastebuds; by the time we reach adulthood only about a third of these remain. So eating is a much more intense experience for infants than adults, its why nursery food is traditionally bland.
We pair flavours with experiences, as with reward/comfort above, but we can also form prejudice; by the time children’s palates are more accepting of vegetable flavours, they can be negatively associated with parental nagging – an altogether different mood to that of fun/comforting associations when sweet treats are bestowed.
As we mature it becomes harder to welcome new tastes, in nutrition this is called programming and is to do with how we perceive food. If we get used to specific types of food as children, our brains are programmed to accept the flavours, colours and other features of these foods. Therefore, we tend to stick to these types of foods.
From childhood we are trained to eat at fixed meal times rather than only when our bodies tell us that we need food. All sorts of social traditions make it difficult to rely on appetite to tell us when we are hungry and when we have had enough to eat.
As children we are pushed to clear our plates rather than stopping when we are full.
In How Hypnotherapy works, I explain that If we repeat an action or thought pattern often enough, it moves from the conscious mind into the subconscious and becomes automatic.
Therefore, even if we know logically and rationally that:
We are eating for reward or comfort rather than because we’re hungry
If we tried eating vegetables now, we would find some that we liked
We should try different foods than those that we are used to because we may find other flavours/textures that we would enjoy.
We should eat vegetables because they are good for our health
We should only eat when we are hungry not just because it’s a set mealtime
We should serve appropriate portion sizes and not feel the need to clear our plates
Our subconscious mind has a belief that is different from this and is more likely to reject the logical rational information because it is not consistent with the information it already has stored in its ‘data banks’ from our childhoods.
To successfully control our weight – to reduce our weight to a healthy BMI and for it to not creep back up again – the inner reasons for over-eating need to be addressed alongside the requirement to eat less and move more. If you are truly motivated to change your lifestyle and address the inner reasons for your over-eating and want to undertake hypnotherapy to help support and guide you through the change you want to make, so that you can live the life that you want to live, please contact me.