10 Ways Hypnosis Can Help You Lose Weight—For Good
By Jean Fain
Close your eyes. Imagine your food cravings floating away. Imagine a day of eating only what’s good for you. Imagine hypnosis actually helping you lose weight—because the news is: It does.
When I tell people how I make much of my living—as a psychotherapist hypnotizing people slim—they inevitably ask: Does it work? My answer usually brightens their eyes with something between excitement and incredulity.
Most people, including my colleagues at Harvard Medical School, where I teach hypnosis, don’t realize that adding trance to your weight loss efforts can help you lose more weight and keep it off longer.
Hypnosis predates carb and calorie counting by a few centuries, but this age-old attention-focusing technique has yet to be embraced wholeheartedly as an effective weight loss strategy.
Until recently, there has been scant scientific evidence to support the legitimate claims of respected hypnotherapists, and a glut of pie-in-the-sky promises from their problem cousins, stage hypnotists, hasn’t helped.
Even after a persuasive mid-nineties reanalysis of 18 hypnotic studies showed that psychotherapy clients who learned self-hypnosis lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t (and, in one study, kept it off two years after treatment ended), hypnotherapy has remained a well-kept weight loss secret.
Unless hypnosis has happily compelled you or someone you know to buy a new, smaller wardrobe, it may be hard to believe that this mind-over-body approach could help you get a handle on eating.
Seeing is definitely believing.
So see for yourself. You don’t have to be entranced to learn some of the invaluable lessons that hypnosis has to teach about weight loss. The ten mini-concepts that follow contain some of the diet-altering suggestions my weight management clients receive in group and individual hypnotherapy.
1. The answer lies within. Hypnotherapists believe you have everything you need to succeed. You don’t really need another crash diet or the latest appetite suppressant. Slimming is about trusting your innate abilities, as you do when you ride a bicycle. You may not remember how scary it was the first time you tried to bike, but you kept practicing until you could ride automatically, without thought or effort. Losing weight may seem similarly beyond you, but it’s just a matter of finding your balance.
9 Shocking Facts You Never Knew About Hypnosis
By CAROLYN STEBER
We’ve all seen hypnotists portrayed in movies, as they swing gold pocket watches and whisper, “You’re getting sleepy. Very sleepy.” But did you know hypnosis is used in therapy? When it’s utilized by trained hypnotherapists, patients can use hypnosis to recover from trauma, move past addictions, and just generally improve their lives.
Despite the fact it can seem a bit scary, or like some form of magic, the way hypnosis works is actually quite scientific. “People are induced into a relaxation state, or alpha brain wave activity,” Edie Raether, MS, CSP, a hypnotherapist and behavioral psychology expert, tells Bustle. “It is a meditative state where the client is more open and receptive due to being relaxed.”
Once in the relaxed state, the hypnotherapist can begin to work with their patient on whatever it is they’d like to improve. “There are two types of hypnosis: suggestive and exploratory, which is very effective for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder),” Raether says. “Unconscious and buried experiences rise to the surface and are expelled, allowing people to experience immediate healing.”
It works because the underlying issues are identified, and then addressed. As Raether says, “In the right hands, with a reputable, experienced therapist, it truly is the most economical and effective way to change any behavior, including academic and sports performance.” Here are a few more interesting things that can happen during a hypnotherapy session, according to experts.
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I spent nearly five years of my life feeling emotionally imprisoned by a relationship. Although I had become a master of smiling my way through it, I was silently beating on the prison walls, pleading for someone to save me.
My reason for staying with him can be summed up in one ugly word: fear. Every attempt to leave was always met with what I felt were crippling manipulations, venomous tantrums, and control tactics. Yet, as bizarre as it sounds, I was equally terrified that no one else would ever “love” me as much as he did.
I had received the pep talks, recited the affirmations, read the self-help books, and cried all of the tears. I had even burned the sage. But, sadly, there I was — still doggy-paddling my way through the turbulent waters. The notion of reaching shore seemed to be an impossible feat.
Not only had every ounce of his appeal shriveled and died; I was being tormented by the smell of its decay.
One most defeating morning, a friend shared her experience with a hypnotherapist who, she swore, had helped her quit smoking despite her own failed attempts. She claimed to have tossed her cigarettes in the trashcan following her session, never to glance backward again.
I already knew a bit about hypnotherapy’s claim to reprogram sub-conscious thought patterns, yet I remained leery of its power to help me. Still, with a shrug and a fragment of hope, I scheduled a session.