The holiday season is drawing to a close, children are returning to school (at least in Western Australia where I live), and thoughts may be turning to losing excess weight gained during the holiday season.

But what is the best way to do this? This post examines a few options involving hypnotherapy.

Generally,  to lose weight people need to eat fewer calories, exercise more, or a combination of both. There is no magic wand! However, hypnotherapy can be a tremendous help in motivating clients to modify their eating or exercise habits, or to deal with events in their past which are reinforcing unhelpful habits.

Professor Clare Collins from Dietitians Association of Australia comments that a comprehensive review produced by Liverpool John Moores University in 2014 found overall that people in her group of weight loss clients benefitted from hypnosis for weight loss. However, this is when it’s used in conjunction with traditional weight management strategies, and is used on a continuing basis (not just a one-off session).

Drawing of brain with orange and yellow rays coming out of it

The review found that hypnosis worked well on those who were open to suggestion, which reinforces that hypnotherapy is a consent state, i.e., that the client has to consent and agree to the hypnosis. Prof. Collins said for those who do respond well, hypnosis can deal with negative self talk and shortcut self sabotage when it comes to diet, and it can help people who are overweight as a symptom of a past trauma. (1)

Virtual gastric banding

This involves the hypnotherapist discussing the client’s reasons for gaining weight, and developing a specific set of suggestions for them. At this stage the therapist may use NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and counselling skills to fully explore the reasons for weight gain.The client then enters into a hypnotic state, and is guided by the therapist through a virtual gastric band operation, including the previously agreed hypnotic suggestions and sometimes using hospital noises soundtrack to increase the realism of the experience even more.

The full virtual gastric band treatment takes four sessions, so that the client can report back on progress, and discuss with the hypnotherapist any particular situations where they have remaining issues with eating or exercising as they wished.

Most hypnotherapists can also use other techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation to assist with any past issues which are affecting weight loss.

According to Mailin Colman, president of the Australian Hypnotherapists Association(AHA), hypnosis can work well for clients seeking help with weight loss, however, she points out that the virtual lap banding option isn’t suitable for everyone.

“(Virtual lap banding) has been around for a few years and can work well on some people, but weight loss is complex and people’s motivations and triggers for eating or overeating can be very different. That’s where a good hypnotherapist will work with the client to work out where their issues lie.”

Lyndall Briggs, President of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists (ASCH), says she has also had good success over the years with hypnosis for weight loss with her clients, but concurs that the one size fits all treatment is not a good one. “Different approaches work for different clients,” she says (1).

Individual sessions

A series of individual sessions also begins by a discussion on the reasons for gaining weight, and therapist and client developing a specific set of suggestions together. At this stage the therapist may use NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and counselling skills to fully explore the reasons for weight gain. They may also teach mindfulness and relaxation skills to assist with overcoming any stress or anxiety related causes of the weight gain.

The client then enters into the hypnotic state, and the therapist uses guided imagery, suggestions (including the previously agreed hypnotic suggestions), and the repetition of words to help the client reprogram their mind.

Some people see results in as little as 1 to 3 sessions, but if there are further underlying issues influencing weight gain, then more sessions may be needed.

During this time the client is reprogramming their eating and exercise routines so that they can continue their weight loss. Between each session, the client has often lost weight and can report back on progress. They can also discuss any remaining issues with eating or exercising.

One man who can thank hypnosis for losing weight (or even saving his life) is Jordan Tirekidis, 47, from Sydney, New South Wales.(2)

Jordan weighed 310kg back in 2012 and had to use a weigh-bridge at the local tip to measure his waist. At 6′ 3″ in height Jordan had a waist measuring two metres and according to doctors was at risk of heart disease, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.

He was treated with hypnosis, and three years later, he has lost almost 2/3 of his weight, weighing in at 107.6kg. Interviewed by the “A Current Affair” TV program, he says that he feels “reborn”.

Jordan started overeating after having his tonsils removed at age nine. He admits he was always feeling hungry. He started overeating and hadn’t stopped.

The hypnotherapist treating him stated that “Like most of us Jordan has been carrying around a fair bit of emotional baggage and had imprisoned himself with limiting beliefs.”

There are several programs for weight loss at Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy – a 4-session virtual gastric banding program, plus an 8-session in-depth program covering motivation, self-hypnosis, emotional and compulsive eating, and sensible food choices.

If you would like more information about these, or individual hypnotherapy sessions, please give me (Lisa) a call on 0403 932311  for an obligation-free discussion.




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