Or: how to stay away from guilt and eat intuitively!
Over the years I have had many people coming to see me after years of seeing the number on the scale going up...then maybe down for a few months...and then up again. By the time they knock on the door of the clinic they are ready for something different. They often tell me that they feel completely stuck: they know what they need to do but they simply cannot seem to be able to do it. And that is actually a very common way to feel when your deep unconscious mind is not aligned with the desires of your conscious mind. Unfortunately, the unconscious mind always wins( Lipton, 2005, p.128). In order words, the only thing stopping you from achieving your goal is your mind. Inversely, the only thing that can get you out is also your mind!
Most people know that the right mindset is essential when it comes to weight loss. It actually makes you WANT to honour the needs of your body by eating healthier and exercising more.
And yet, can you tell me the last time you worked on your mindset? That's right. Now can you recall a time you woke up one day and decided to remove entire food groups from your diet while at the same time becoming a "7 days a week for 1 hour maybe 2" exercise warrior. That's right. One last question for you: did it last?
With hypnotherapy, you switch things around: you START with the mindset. You do not wait for it to magically appear, you go out there and create it by:
1. Going at the root
I have talked about hypnosis and explained how hypnotherapy works in another blog post that you can read HERE. But let's quickly say it like that: hypnotherapy changes the way you think, feel and behave by recoding your mind!
2. Accepting that you can change because you have done it before!
We all have changed many times throughout our lives: we are not the same person we were at 5...13...18...30...45...and so on. And we will all keep changing and adapting, the same way some of us have adapted ourselves not to live at home with our parents anymore, to drive a car, to work a new job, to become a wife/husband, a mother, a father of 2 then 3, a grandmother...and so on and on and on. We always change.
And at first it may be challenging, but the more we practice that change the more habitual it becomes until it is just the way we are. Can you undo being able to drive?
In order to change and build new healthy habits, you can follow a few tricks (Foggs, 2019): scale down the new habit, pick a time, use a prompt and stick with it until it sticks. Hypnotherapy will help you with that!
3. Getting rid of rules
Setting very strict rules around food such as removing entire food groups from our diet or forbidding ourselves to eat after a certain hour will work for some people. But for others, it will often lead to a feeling of guilt when they slip up and a very unpractical desire to be in control all the time. No-one can be in control all the time.
With hypnotherapy we help you make peace with food and reframe the chastising little voice in your head: that dessert you had the other day? It IS fine...really!
4. Broadening your coping mechanisms
Food has always been used as a way to feel better when sad or stressed, which is actually fine! There is no denying the power of apple pie on a low mood! The real issue is when food is the ONLY coping mechanism your mind has. Give yourself the gift of (healthy) options.
With hypnotherapy we help your mind broaden its automatic set of responses to sadness/boredom/anxiety, soo the next time you feel that way you automatically go for a walk or chat to a friend !
5. Reconnecting with your body: Honouring your hunger and feeling your fullness
Your body has evolved a set of signals to let you know when and how much energy/food it needs. Hunger is the red signal in your car telling you your tank is empty. When you honour that's signal, it is easier to eat just the right amount of food to fill your body's energy demands. When you eat without hunger the body does not get the right data and you eat too much. So : let me ask you something: when is the last time you ate because you felt truly hungry?
Similarly, fullness is our body telling us we have enough energy/food to last for a few hours. So why are we listening to our mum's voice in our head telling us to "keep going until it is clean" over our very own body?
With hypnotherapy we can bring back that bodily awareness, those sensations, those signals. We also go deep at the root of that voice and reframe it so you can honour those sensations and those signals without guilt! Not bad isn't it?
6. Honouring your "why"
The "why you want to eat healthy and be more active" is the spark that will start the fire when used appropriately. In hypnotherapy we use what we call a goal image. A goal image is a very precise picture of what you will look like, how you will feel like, think like and behave when you have achieved your goal. When practiced under trance, the goal image becomes so vivid you actually get to experience the person you will be when you reach your goals. You get to think, feel and behave the way you would like to think, feel and behave in your life. Even better: you get to bring that image with you wherever you go, so it is easier to honour your "why" each and every day.
7. Focusing on the process
One of my clients told me after her fifth session: “ I have actually come to realise that if I have to eat to live why not eat healthily”. That is what I call a real lifestyle change. A vision of weight loss over the long term. Miles away from our initial consultation, when she was telling me that she couldn’t seem to sustain any diet.
When it comes to weight loss, getting into the mindset that “this will take time but it’s okay” is key. A sustainable weight loss will see you losing on average 1 pound a week, 4 pounds a month, 1 stone every 3-4 months. It might feel slow, but in 4 months it will feel great. But your subconscious mind wants it now, the way it gets everything now nowadays. Back off subconscious mind! Hypnotherapy is there to go deep and recode the program that your subconscious mind understands that long term rewards are just as good, and maybe even more satisfying than short ones!
Foggs, B.J. (2019 )Tiny Habits. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Hugo, S. (2009) The Fertile Body Method. Crown House Publishing.
Lipton, D.B. (2005) The Biology of Belief. Santa Rosa: Mountain of Love/Elite books.
ghton Mifflin Harcourt