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Weight Loss Hypnosis
How does it work?

Hypnotherapy is an interesting new approach to weight control, which is slowly gaining acceptance. Opinions about its efficacy are divided among physicians, and to my knowledge there are no controlled medical studies addressing this point as yet. However, if one were to read a hypnotherapy manual or take a hypnotherapy course, one would find that hypnotherapy is recognized as a highly effective treatment modality in weight loss and weight control. (This, of course, is not a medical consensus, but rather the opinion of professional hypnotherapists.)

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Moreover, hypnotherapy is a fairly benign treatment modality: When conducted in a proper setting, by a properly trained and experienced hypnotherapists, it poses little or no risk to the subject.

How does hypnotherapy work for weight control?

In a nutshell, the answer to this question is: By rewiring your attitude towards food.

During hypnosis, the therapist plants certain suggestions in your subconscious mind, such as: "Your hunger is satisfied by eating less and less each day. ... You only feel the need to eat 3 times a day, at meal-time. ... etc., etc." Since your conscious mind is shut down during the hypnotic state, the subconscious readily accepts these suggestions (which during normal waking state you would most likely resist). The seed of these ideas remains planted, like a subconscious program, in your brain. When faced with the 'trigger situation' (food), this subconscious program activates itself and kicks in: Without you even realizing it, it gives you signals of early satiety and disinterest in food. Thereby it consistently decreases your food intake, day after day.

Several sessions of hypnotherapy are usually required to enforce these suggestions planted in the subconscious mind. Thereafter, these suggestions continue operating over time, even without being reinforced by hypnotherapy. They become part of your modus operandi (your new brain programming regarding the issues of food and nutrition).

Weight Loss Hypnosis
Frequently Asked Questions:

We will now address 2 compelling questions, which I myself was curious about prior to studying hypnosis:

  1. What percent of people are resistant to hypnosis?

    According to professional hypnotherapists, the answer to this question is: About 10 percent.
    This percentage can be further reduced with proper hypnosis technique and subject cooperation. In other words, the vast majority of people are hypnotizable (can be put into hypnotic sleep), if they agree to cooperate with the procedure. "Cooperating with the procedure" means you won't step in the hypnotherapist's office with the deliberate intention to resist the session any way you can. In fact, even if you inadvertently resist (due to inherent mistrust, fear of loosing control, etc), there are many 'tricks of the trade' by which your resistance can be circumvented and hypnosis can still be achieved.

  2. Are people unconscious during hypnosis, and is hypnosis equal to sleep? In other words, will the subject retain any memory of what transpired during the hypnotic trance?

    Although the term 'sleep' is used a lot when speaking about hypnosis, the hypnotic state is different from sleep in several regards. As in sleep, the subject's conscious and critical mind is turned off - perhaps not entirely, but anyway functioning at a significantly lower level. However, the subconscious mind is wide awake and ready to absorb information and suggestions. Even in deep hypnotic trance, a subject can open his eyes, speak, answer questions, move around and execute commands. Also, the subject retains complete or partial memory of the events transpired during the hypnotic trance. The hypnotherapist can however alter the subject's level of recollection (from total amnesia to full recollection of the events), simply by planting the command in the subject's subconscious mind: "You will not remember this upon waking up", or "You will remember everything upon waking up".
    This being said, it's evident that the hypnotherapist's professionalism and adherence to ethical standards are of paramount importance.

Weight Loss Hypnosis
The Main Types of Hypnotherapy:

Generally speaking, there are 2 types of hypnotherapy available for weight control purposes:
  • Hetero-hypnosis
  • Self-hypnosis
Let me explain these 2 modalities:
  1. Hetero-hypnosis refers to the fact that your therapy session is conducted by another person (the hypnotherapist). It works as described above, with the hypnotherapist planting weight control suggestions in your subconscious mind. This is the most effective form of hypnosis for weight loss.
  2. Self-hypnosis refers to the fact that you yourself are planting the suggestions in your subconscious mind. Your hypnotherapist can instruct you as to the technique by which you can auto-hypnotize yourself. This is the way it works: You will apply a relaxation exercise, which gradually extends the state of relaxation to your entire body. Then you will deepen the state of relaxation by a technique which quiets down your mind. When you achieve peak relaxation of body and mind (the self-hypnosis state), you will give yourself the suggestions you have prepared: "I feel satisfied eating less and less each day. My food intake is decreasing and my weight is dropping. I only feel the need to eat 3 times a day. I'd much rather eat home-cooked meals than restaurant food. It feels good eating healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables. I feel renewed and refreshed when I eat these foods... etc, etc".
    Your subconscious mind is likely to absorb these suggestions (since the conscious and critical mind is largely quiet and doesn't interfere.) In other words, the gates to your subconscious are open in this state, and the subconscious takes in suggestions without critique. Then, the respective suggestions continue to work from your subconscious mind, modifying your behavior whenever you are faced with the 'trigger situation' (food). The result is a far-reaching change in your lifestyle.
    Please note: It is important to word these suggestions as affirmative (positive) statements. Do not suggest to yourself negative statements such as: "I will not feel hunger. I will not eat more than 3 times a day." For some reason, the subconscious mind doesn't like these negative suggestions. They are much less likely to work than positive suggestions. (In essence, it's a matter of properly phrasing your goals. This can make a great difference for your general outlook on life, and your subconscious knows that.)

This being said, I must point out that self-hypnosis works less consistently for weight control than hetero-hypnosis. This may be partially due to errors in technique on the subject's part, lack of consistent practice, etc.

There are many courses offering to teach you self-hypnosis, including DVDs, videos, etc which claim to assist you in achieving the proper state. In my opinion, the best bet if you're considering self hypnosis for weight loss is still the advice and coaching of a professional hypnotherapist. This significantly increases the likelihood that you master the right self-hypnosis technique.

Finally, self-hypnosis can also be a great adjunct to regular hypnotherapy, and you can continue using it for reinforcement after the completion of a regular hypnotherapy treatment course.

Weight Loss Hypnosis

Here's an important point: Who should not have hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is generally not advisable (at least not without prior medical clearance), in persons suffering from one of more of these conditions:
  • Psychiatric disorders (such as schizophrenia, major depression, active panic attacks or anxiety attacks, etc)
  • Active psychological instability
  • Seizure Disorder

If you decide to pursue hypnotherapy for weight loss, it is prudent to discuss this with your physician first. In case there are no contraindications to you undergoing hypnosis, ask your physician for a referral to an experienced hypnotherapist. In case your physician is unable to provide such referral but clears you medically to undergo hypnotherapy for weight control purposes, you can search for a hypnotherapist on your own: Do your own Google search, or try the link below:
Find a Hypnotherapist

Weight Loss Hypnosis
Things to look for when choosing your hypnotherapist:

  • Make sure the person you choose is a Certified Hypnotherapist (C. Ht.)
    Do a quick internet search: Many Hypnotherapists nowadays have their own websites, providing their biographies and other details. Choose a therapist you feel comfortable with.
  • Also consider the geographic location of the office: This is an important factor, since you will have to travel there weekly for several weeks.
  • Find out what Hypnosis School your therapist graduated from. This information is usually readily available on the internet, or if it isn't, don't hesitate to ask a direct question. Then do an internet search on the respective Hypnosis School. Look at its accreditations: It should preferably have one or more accreditations with educational or professional state organizations or national organizations.
    Note: There are no governmental accrediting forums for hypnosis schools, but accreditation with state or national organizations guarantees certain standards for the respective school.
  • Inquire how long your hypnotherapist has been in practice. A minimum practice experience of 5-10 years is desirable.
  • Also, ask if your hypnotherapist had prior experience in the particular field of weight loss hypnosis, and what was the approximate success rate?

Weight Loss Hypnosis
What is the advantage?

Here's a brief overview of the advantages of weight loss hypnosis:
  • It works effortlessly: You simply feel like eating less, without feeling hungry or deprived.
  • It rewires your attitude towards food long-term.
  • It takes fairly little time (up to one hour of therapy once a week, in a comfortable setting, for several weeks).
  • If properly conducted, it leaves you with a sense of well-being and confidence.
  • It generally poses little or no risk to your health (as opposed to other weight loss modalities such as weight loss medications or surgical weight loss procedures).
  • It can easily be used by almost anyone (except persons with psychological instability, psychiatric disorders, or seizure disorder - in which cases prior medical clearance and close medical supervision are required).

Other Resources:

Hypnosis and Health - Effective Hypnotherapy CDs developed over the years at our clinical practice in London. Hypnosis training, motivational techniques, brain wave training and free practical advice.

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