Back in the spring of this year I decided that I would revamp my weight loss therapy programme. It is usually around springtime that enquiries regarding our weight loss hypnotherapy* programmes begin to escalate. As people look to get in shape for summer or finally achieve the body and shape they have always wanted they begin to look for something different that can interrupt the pattern off weight reduction, followed by weight gain. Many people are looking for something that can allow them to maintain the results and end the battle of the bulge for good.

The majority of people that look to cognitive behavioural weight loss programmes do so because they are trapped in the cycle of loss & gain or simply cannot get motivated in the first place.
Most people will have had some success in their life losing weight through diet and exercise, however more often than not they will struggle to maintain the results.
This is where psychological support is most effective.
Learning to think differently about food and keeping active can enable these people to lose weight and stay the size and shape they feel most comfortable.

Below we are going to look at why people struggle to keep motivated, yo-yo diet and consider how clinical & cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can help you break the cycle for good.

Yo-yo Dieting & Keeping Weight Off

I can lose weight but just can’t seem to keep it off

This is one of the most common problems for those who battle with weight and there is a good reason why.

Feast or Famine –

The feast or famine theory is based upon the belief that we are predisposed (our body’s naturally) to store excess weight. It is theorized that when a person first diets they activate their feast or famine mode. The body sees the reduction of food during a period of dieting as a period of food shortage. This activates the feast mode whereby our body begins to store fats in a different way in order to cope with future periods of famine (diets). This effectively means that once we begin to diet our body will always see food reduction as a threat and therefore will continually store weight. Effectively this theory believes our body adopts a ‘food insecurity’ following a diet.
This is understood if we consider the periods of starvation faced during the hunting seasons of early man.
Dr Seligman a leading researcher in the field of obesity states “The body defends its weight by refusing to release fat, by lowering its metabolism, and by insistently demanding food. The harder the [dieter] tries not to eat, the more vigorous these defenses become.” (1)

So if our bodies are naturally trying to keep our excess weight levels high what can we do?

The answer is we cannot rely upon dieting alone we need to think differently; we need our mindset to help us achieve the results long-term.

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“I just can’t seem to get motivated”

“I’ve not got the time to exercise”

“I’m terrible at sport”

“I hate the thought of going to the gym.

These are just some of the reasons we hear a lot in our therapy rooms from people lacking motivation, time or inclination to exercise.

Now these statements should not be dismissed lightly they are often reasonably accurate when a person arrives on one of our hypnotherapy weight loss programmes. However that does not mean things cannot change.

Below you will find 3 tips that can help you adopt a more helpful mindset when looking to achieve your goals.

So, lets look at those statements to get a better idea of how we can begin to change things –

Tip 1 – Increasing motivation

“I just can’t seem to get motivated”

There are many ways we can improve motivation. A nice simple way is to ensure that we view the motivating reasons as important enough to us personally.
If you struggle to get or keep motivated then chances are you are looking at the wrong things for motivation.
For example, person A gives several reasons they wish to lose weight – “To be fitter, to live a long and healthy life, to look nice and to feel more confident in their body”.

Now all of these reasons are very valid, yet they are not very specific and are based on long-term goals.

It would be more effective to make those reasons more relevant to them personally in the now. In other words give yourself reasons to lose weight that will make you feel good in your day-to-day life or more immediate future.
If you want to be fitter think of a great reason ‘why’. Looking nicer may strike a chord with you but being able to take your dog for a good walk or to engage with the grandchildren more may well be significantly more important.

Tip 2 – Finding time to exercise and making it fit your world

“I’ve not got the time to exercise”

This statement is very common in today’s busy world.
If you don’t seem to be able to find time to go for a walk or to the gym there are some nice easy ways to address this.

Try this – For 3 or 4 days write down your daily activities. Make a note of everything you do, hour by hour.
Then prioritise your activities into columns, ‘what had to be done’ and ‘what I chose to do’.
Next divide your chosen activities up based on how much you enjoy doing them (don’t mind doing & love doing).
Finally, simply chose to do less of the things that you did during the 3 days that you didn’t mind doing or need to do.
For example, if you enjoy watching the TV, note time spent watching favourite shows and time spent channel hoping. Free up your time by reducing the time spent channel hoping.
This may sound ‘too simple’ or ‘not relevant’ but try it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much time you can free up without neglecting the chores or the things you really enjoy.

Tip 3 – Do what you want

“I’m terrible at sport” or “I hate the thought of going to the gym.”

When increasing activity levels it is important to do things you enjoy. Try out various sports or activities until you find something you do enjoy and don’t do something unless you enjoy it.
Accept than not everything will be for you. If you hate gyms don’t go to them, do something you might enjoy.

Try this – Write down 5 activities you have previously enjoyed at some point in your life. What games or things did you do as a child/teen/a couple of years back? Could you try doing any of these again? Is there someone who you love spending time with doing something you might enjoy & can you tag along?

Bonus tip – Do more of what you already do!

Really hate the idea of exercising? Do more of what you already do!

Try this – The first thing I would suggest is to make a diary of all the things that you currently do that involve even the smallest amount of physical exertion and do more of them.
If you walk the kids to school, take the long route home. If you need to put the laundry out, instead of carrying it all out in one go, take 2 or 3 trips from the machine to the washing line.

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Building motivation and ensuring you have the time and resources to increase activity levels is the first thing a good therapist should look to do.

I am motivated to lose weight but don’t know where to begin!

A good weight loss programme addresses your relationship to food, helps you deal with & beat cravings, stay motivated, deal with obstacles such as holidays and festive seasons, build emotional changes and self-esteem/reliance.

If you would like to know more about our weight loss programmes in Southampton visit http://www.southamptonclinicalhypnotherapy.co.uk/weight-loss

(1) Martin Seligman, What You Can Change and What You Can’t (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1993), p183

*Hypnosis is not suitable for all clients and results vary person to person. All our programmes can be delivered effectively without the use of hypnosis.
Learn more here