How Can Hypnosis Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off?

To lose weight, you need to eat less and move more – you don’t need a wellness expert to tell you that! So why, then, are we Brits not in amazingly good shape? Often, it may be a sign that you mental wellbeing is plagued by subconscious baggage that’s weighing you down. Clinical hypnotherapist Belinda Hulstrom explains, ‘There are a couple of things that need to happen for us to make changes: we have to want the benefits of that change, and we have to want them enough that we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get them. We also have to believe that change is possible and that often involves overcoming the obstacles that our mind has set up for us.’


This is where hypnosis comes in. You spend your life surrounded by negativity, be it from the media, or even your family and friends. According to clinical hypnotherapist Mark Stephens, creator of the Think Slim programme, this then creates a self-fulfilling prophecy which prevents you from losing weight on a permanent basis. ‘People use a lot of negative self-talk,’ says Stephens. ‘They’ll say, “I’m a yo-yo dieter”, or “Diets don’t work”. But hypnosis can take away the mental prison bars they’ve made for themselves.’ You often eat for the wrong reasons because of your negative emotions. Stephens points out, ‘People will eat when they’re sad, lonely, bored or angry – and then they’ll feel guilty and beat themselves up afterwards, creating a downward spiral.’


In order to lose weight, then, you need to make a change to the way you think. ‘No amount of emotional eating will help repair yourself,’ Stephens warns. ‘We need to get on top of the negative emotions and learn how to feel happy.’ With the help of a hypnotherapist, you can break the negative cycle and replace these thoughts with positive ones. Stephens comments, ‘With hypnosis you’re bypassing the analytical and reasonable part of the mind and going straight to your subconscious, where all your memories are, and feeding it with positive suggestions. Hypnosis can help by changing people’s mindsets.’ The mindset you need to adopt is one of a long-term goal, rather than a short-term obsession.


It’s easy to lose weight on a short-term basis; what’s tricky is keeping it off – and that’s how hypnotherapy can help. In 1995, a study published in the Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology showed that ‘the addition of hypnosis substantially enhanced treatment outcome’ in six studies relating to obesity and weight loss. The patients who underwent hypnosis continued to lose weight, even after the treatment had ended. Hulstrom echoes the fact that you need to change the way you think about weight loss. She notes, ‘It’s not about losing weight but about getting rid of something we no longer need or want and about creating a whole new relationship with food and our bodies.’


You also need to train your brain. Hulstrom concludes, ‘Probably the most powerful message hypnosis can get across is that you always have the power to choose. You can have that piece of chocolate cake, but you don’t have to have it. Hypnosis can help create a relationship with yourself that’s more honest.’ This is why the Think Slim programme gives participant the following verse to memorise:


I am tomorrow what I eat today, before each meal that’s what I say.


The more water I drink, the more inclined I will feel to only eat a nourishing, healthy, slim meal.


Between main meals I drink water or tea, between each meal I stay snack-free.


Excess fat I burn with every step I take, I have no desire for chocolate, ice-cream or cake.


Whether it’s a walk, a swim or a sport I play, I aim to be active twice every day.


I stay focused on my goal and the body I deserve, and it all boils down to each meal that I serve.

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