Many people turn to food when they’re stressed, sad, or bored. They may often eat more than their body needs, even though they know they’re full. Some may have an overwhelming attraction to comfort foods. All these signs point to the subconscious mind playing a large role in eating habits.
The subconscious mind is the control center for all our habits, emotional responses, decisions and motivations. If your subconscious mind believes food will make you feel better, then it will make us want to eat more. No matter how much we consciously strive to lose weight.
Hypnosis may be a way to help reprogram our subconscious mind and break the spell. But it’s not about someone else controlling your mind and making you do funny things while you’re unconscious. “Mind control and losing control—aka doing something against your will—are the biggest misconceptions about hypnosis,” says Kimberly Friedmutter, hypnotherapist and author of Subsconscious Power: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You’ve Always Wanted.
“You’re not unconscious while under hypnosis, it’s more like a deep state of relaxation. It’s simply the natural, floaty feeling we get before drifting off to sleep” Friedmutter explains “or that dreamy sensation we feel as we wake up in the morning, before we’re fully aware of our surroundings.” In that state we’re more susceptible to change, and that’s why hypnosis for weight loss may be effective.
It’s different from other methods because hypnosis addresses the cause and other contributing factors directly at the subconscious level in a person’s mind, where their memories, habits, fears, food associations, negative self-talk, and self-esteem germinate,” says Capri Cruz, Ph.D., a noted psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. “No other weight loss method addresses the core issues at the root like hypnosis does.”
Hypnosis may be one way to reprogram the subconscious mind in order to release unhealthy relationships with food.
As we create a crystal clear vision of our slim, healthy selves, we unleash ways to make healthier choices, so losing weight becomes inevitable.
Does it work?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology examined whether adding hypnosis to a 9-week behavioral weight-management program (like diet and exercise) would affect short- and long-term weight loss.
After 9 weeks, both groups had lost significant weight. But after two years, only those who had used hypnosis showed significant additional weight loss, while those who did not use hypnosis exhibited little further change.
Another study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology focused on weight loss in women. The group of 60 women (aged 20–65 yrs) were divided into three groups: two experimental groups (hypnosis plus audiotapes and hypnosis without audiotapes) and a control group. after 6 months, the group using hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds, whereas the group that did not receive hypnosis only lost 0.5 pounds.
The goal is to encourage dramatic shifts in thoughts and behaviors that support the desire to lose weight.
|Challenge||Before Hypnosis||After Hypnosis|
|Overeating||“Even though I’m full, I can’t stop…”||“I’m full. I think I’ll save this for tomorrow.”|
|Cravings||“I’m really in the mood for some chips…”||“I’d rather have some nuts”|
|Binge/Emotional Eating||“I meant to have one, but I ate the whole box…I hate myself.”||“I realized I’m just feeling anxious, so I went for a walk.”|
|Mindless Eating||“Is there anything new in the fridge since I last looked 10 minutes ago?”||“I’m bored. I think I’ll hit the gym.”|
|Avoiding Exercise||“I’m too tired to workout. I’ll just do it tomorrow…”||“If I go to the gym now, I’ll feel great about myself all day long.”|
|Hopelessness||“Why is this the one area of my life where I have no control? I’m pathetic…”||“I’m finally one of those people who loves being healthy!”|
Anyone Can Try It
But the ideal candidate is someone who has trouble sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program because they can’t seem to shake their negative habits. Getting stuck in harmful habits- like eating the entire bag of potato chips instead of stopping when you’re full- is a sign of a subconscious problem. This is where our emotions, habits and addictions are located. Because hypnotherapy addresses the subconscious, instead of just the conscious, it may be more effective in helping.
Most studies show only modest weight loss results with hypnosis alone. Others found patients receiving hypnosis had lower rates of inflammation, better satiety and better quality of life. This led researchers to believe that, for changing habits thought patterns and behavior, hypnosis, in addition to other weight loss programs designed by professionals to treat various health conditions, can be a powerful tool.
Relying on weight-loss hypnosis alone is unlikely to lead to significant improvements, but using it as an adjunct to an overall lifestyle approach may be worth exploring. Finding something that helps us to relax and better control our issues certainly can’t hurt.