This is part of the Healthy Weight Management Series of articles, tips, blogs and videos which is available on the Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy Facebook page between 25 April and 28 July.
Virtual gastric band hypnotherapy is a procedure where hypnosis is used to convince your unconscious mind that you have had a gastric band fitted around your stomach, and thus can only eat small portions of food.
As a contrast, gastric band surgery involves having a silicone band fitted around the upper part of your stomach to decrease the available space within the stomach, so that you could only eat small portions of food. As with any surgery, this operation has associated risks, side effects and potential complications, so it is generally a last resort for people who are considerably overweight. People having this operation also need to be determined to lose weight and eat the correct type of healthy food, as they can still eat high calorie food in liquid form or in multiple small meals if they are determined to continue their previous eating habits. They also need to be willing to attend hospital appointments and continue to be monitored by their medical staff.
Benefits of virtual gastric band hypnotherapy
- You are in total control at all times.
- You take control of your own eating – amount and type of food.
- You are actively involved in your own weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
- You avoid the risks and side effects of gastric band surgery (e.g. nausea and regurgitation).
- You can eat any type of food, and are not restricted to small meals.
- Many patients report feeling full after eating smaller portions of food, which assist with weight loss. If they avoid unhealthy, sugary and fatty food, and only eat healthy food, this also helps them to lose weight quicker.
This therapy works best for clients who want to take responsibility for their health and their eating behaviour. It is also best if they actually want to lose weight (rather than undergoing therapy to please someone else), as this means that their subconscious mind is in agreement with the purpose of the hypnotherapy and they will be willing to make changes to what they eat.
It is also essential that clients are willing to participate actively in the virtual gastric band hypnotherapy treatment, e.g. attend appointments, engage in discussions with the hypnotherapist about possible causes of their weight gain, and listen to follow up hypnotherapy recordings between appointments if applicable.
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).
Virtual gastric band hypnotherapy procedure
First, I will discuss your past relationship with eating, e.g., were there emotional causes, were you encouraged to link eating with love or affection, did you eat fast food because you were short of time? I will also examine any related issues – e.g. was there a major life event at the time you started to gain weight?
I will also advise you to consult your doctor before proceeding if you have other medical issues.
The second stage is the virtual gastric band hypnotherapy, which is usually completed over four sessions. This involves imagining that you have had a gastric band fitted. I use suggestion, and relaxation to guide you into a very relaxed state (hypnosis), and take you through a complete ‘operation’. This would include entering the hospital, walking down the corridors, booking in for the operation, and speaking to the surgeon and anaesthetist. After this, you would then be prepared for “surgery”, and undergo the “surgery”. I include the sounds and smells of the hospital to make this even more realistic, and involve more of your senses. After the operation, you would then leave the “hospital” to return home.
I will also give you information on healthy eating, and other information on how to maximise the benefits of the treatment.
If required, other therapy may be given at this stage as well, e.g., suggestions on assertiveness if you have relatives who encourage you to eat unhealthy food, or you could be given relaxation suggestions if you previously consumed junk food due to stress and lack of time for proper eating. I will also address any past trauma contributing to the issue.
Additional techniques can be used to help people lose weight, e.g., food diaries, recording positive behaviour.
Virtual gastric band hypnotherapy is most successful for people who want to lose weight, are comfortable with hypnotherapy, and are willing to engage with the treatment. For these people, it can be a very positive and worthwhile experience. It trains their subconscious mind, and body, to be satisfied with smaller, nutritious meals.
If you would like more help with weight loss, or simply wish to find out more information, please give me (Lisa) a call on 0403 932311. We can have a chat to answer any of your questions, and to help you decide if I am the best therapist for you. All with no obligation.