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Clinical Hypnosis: Can it really melt those extra pounds?

While not a magic wand, clinical hypnosis gets into the unconscious mind, gently shifting focus away from fattening foods and onto new healthy ways of eating and living.

If you are like the millions of women obsessing over how to retain a slim and youthful body, you will be pleased to know that whilst science suggests it is harder to lose the extra weight as you grow older, piling on the pounds is certainly not an inevitability.

Facts about getting fatter

As we enter our thirties, the hormone levels for both men and women start to become sluggish. Research suggests that we gain between half to one kilogram of weight for every year between the ages of 35 and 55.

Forearmed is forewarned, so now is the time to begin those regular visits to the gym, reduce your intake of carbs and generally get reacquainted with how to live a more healthy lifestyle.

For men, as testosterone levels dip, there is a tendency to store fat on the belly, which is unsightly and increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
For women, progesterone begins to decrease at a faster rate than oestrogen, which can lead to a steady increase in weight.

Is clinical hypnosis magic?

As most of us know, the answer to almost every weight loss secret is to eat a little less and move a little more. Motivation, determination and the ability to change habits are secret weapons and clinical hypnosis, while no magic wand, can help you deploy these to your advantage.

Your first strategy is to eat for your age and lifestyle. Replacing carbs with protein is a good start and snacking on fruit helps reduce the intake of unwanted sugars.

But where does clinical hypnosis figure in this new lifestyle?

  • Clinical hypnosis gets into the unconscious mind, gently shifting the focus away from fattening foods and onto new healthy ways of eating and living.
  • Clinical hypnosis also goes a step further, retraining your unconscious mind so that you chew your food for longer, and savour the smaller quantities you consume so that a reduced intake of food can still satisfy your hunger.
  • You will also learn to recognise the right time to stop eating so that you stop stuffing unnecessary calories into your body even though you are already full.

Weight management is a lifestyle choice. In other words, it is something you are in control of.

Most diets fail because they are based on you giving up on foods you enjoy eating. People never really lose the desire for the foods they give up. They feel guilty for still craving them, and deprived for not having them. Eventually, the diet feels too hard to sustain and most people just give up.

Clinical hypnosis works in a different way. It gets into your head, so to speak, and helps you form a new relationship with your food.
No longer are you pining for forbidden sugars or refined starches. You will be subtly directed towards enjoying whole grains and progressively notice the growing sense of health and well-being that comes with taking control of your weight. You will also discover how to eat the foods you enjoy in moderate quantities.

Most clinical hypnotherapists will also give you suggestions on how to move more.
Clinical hypnosis cannot reboot your metabolism but it can remind you to walk with more enthusiasm, move your arms with more energy and to keep doing this for the long term. Even standing burns twice as many calories as sitting, so every little bit counts.
As you develop better muscle tone, you start to burn additional calories.
Another suggestion often used in clinical hypnosis is for improved posture, which helps people look better almost immediately.

21st century dangers

Stress doesn’t just feel bad, it is linked to the stress hormone cortisol which can lead to a build up of fat around your midriff.
Just ten minutes of self-hypnosis can reduce stress and help prevent the tendency to snack on comfort foods as a means to deal with it. This is particularly important since the World Health Organisation has declared stress a major global concern.
A natural consequence of self-hypnosis is the way it quietly boosts confidence, retrains the body to relax and prevents sugar binges.

In fact research shows that people who use self-hypnosis are more likely to continue to lose weight and keep up with exercise even 20 months after they started.

With so many things to worry about – your teenage kids, the economy, work deadlines, or a waning love life – many people today are also short on sleep. Too little sleep is associated with appetite gain. Practicing self-hypnosis just before you go to sleep can help you drift naturally into a restful night.

Medical conditions

There are certain physical reasons, which make weight loss difficult.
Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Syndrome, certain medication and for women polycystic ovarian syndrome should be ruled out by a medical expert. It is always wise to check with your doctor if you find that you are unable to reduce weight no matter how hard you try.

Clinical hypnosis isn’t magic, but it can significantly help you regain or maintain your desired weight. Perhaps the nicest part of clinical hypnosis is that you can throw the “no pain, no gain” mindset out the window.

Clinical hypnosis works because it makes weight management fun. You will find yourself looking forward to your workout routine, proud of your self-control, naturally seeking out healthy options and revelling in a sense of pride and accomplishment as you show off your new, fitter and healthier self.

Source: Sheila Menon is Principal of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH Asia).