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People often ask “Does hypnosis actually help people lose weight?”. The simple answer to this is “yes”. In my Southampton therapy clinic I help many people lose weight and maintain the results and hypnotherapy is one of a variety of skills that helps my clients reach their goals.

Hypnotherapy* by no means makes the changes for you, nor does the cognitive behavioural work we undertake make you thin. A good weight loss and management programme is built on several key elements, such as motivation and successfully increasing activity in a way that works for you personally, we have looked at some of these in previous blog posts.

Today, however, I want to take a different approach.

A few days back I received a picture message from one of my former weight management clients, medal in hand, beaming ear-to-ear, having just completed the ‘Pretty Muddy‘ 5k mud run and obstacle course.
I love it when I get these messages, it really does remind me of how fortunate I am to do the job I do.

The lady who messaged me is an inspiration and I thoroughly enjoyed our work together.
When we first spoke, we discussed the things that she believed were her biggest challenges, the things that had previously prevented her from keeping in shape long-term.

Each and every client is different and the biggest challenges this lady faced revolved around self-confidence, emotional eating, self-belief and personal image.

Although she was aware of the things she needed to do, already being more than reasonably active physically both inside and outside of work, she found that negative self-talk, self-sabotage and a few poor food choices would undo much of the good work she would put in. This negative mind set had ultimately prevented her from achieving the long-term goals she had set herself.

This is where cognitive behavioural and hypnotherapeutic approaches really help people looking to reduce or manage their weight.

We first began looking at her goals. It’s great to have long-term goals but setting realistic and achievable short-term goals builds belief and increases self-belief. As we achieve our short-term goals we start to believe in ourselves and actually enjoy our journey towards the longer-term goals. We also get to regularly appreciate how well we are doing, being reminded that we are on course to a brighter future.

Once we had agreed our goals, we began making sure everything was in place to achieve them.
This involved dealing with possible obstacles, including the negative self-talk.

The way we think about ourselves, the world around us and our place within it dictates how we feel emotionally, our mood, how we chose to behave and it also influences the choices we make. This can include food and activity choices.

Sometimes slight misjudgments or oversights can greatly impact us. It is very common for example for a person to state “I have no will power“, often in relation to one or several situations or types of food. This is very exacting and statements like this often neglect the many areas/elements of their lives where they exhibit a steady level of will power.
A simple oversight like this will undermine the good work dieters do, as it leaves them feeling weak and lacking in self-belief. The lady I was working with in this case, regularly told herself this and similar statements in relation to her arch enemies ‘Jen & Berry’, this resulted in a quick stop off at the shop to pick up a tub.
Cognitive behavioural techniques helped us to identify when misinterpretations like this were causing her problems.

Hypnotherapy can next be used as a rehearsal tool. Effectively, using hypnosis the client can learn to think differently about themselves or situations once we have identified the problems/obstacles.

In this case we used several approaches in relation to self-acceptance and understanding.

We also used hypnotherapy to improve hunger tolerance. This helped beat the cravings keeping Jen & Berry at bay. For other clients this is essential for reducing binge eating and gorging on treats.

Once a client has learned to think differently about themselves and their former problems/obstacles their relationship with food and physical activity changes.

This is when I believe hypnotherapy to be most effective, when people have learned how their current mindset is preventing them from getting to where they want to be.
Hypnotherapy is a guide, it can allow you to experience what life will be like once you make changes, then hypnosis can be used to demonstrate how you can make those changes. The mind and body learn from these experiences and demonstrations and begin to accept them as their new reality.

When we combine the hypnosis sessions with real life experiments and experiences, where the clients get out there and prove to themselves that they are capable, it’s amazing what can be achieved and this lady was evidence of this.

It makes me feel so proud to have been a small part of her journey to date and I think that is the point.
When we first met, certain thoughts and beliefs were holding her back, with the right approach and some hard work she turned this around.
The skills that she learned were not a temporary fix and her improvement was certainly not due to any tricks. Hypnotherapy is not magic, it is however, a fantastic tool. It can equip you with many essential life skills.
As short-term goals are continually reached, belief steadily increases and new healthy life-long habits are formed.

Overcoming self-sabotage, building self-belief and self-acceptance are skills of the mind. If you combine these with a healthy life style, you will find that you can much more easily reduce your weight and stay in shape.

If you are interested in learning more about our weight loss and maintenance programme contact us for a free consultation
*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.
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