“Aaah! How can hypnosis make you lose weight?” This is a common reaction I get, and it’s not meant so much as a question but as a sneer.

This statement usually comes out of ignorance. The people that make this kind of statement don’t understand hypnotherapy or hypnosis at all. They think of Hypnosis as going into some kind of sleep and they can’t understand how that can help the subject lose weight. Sure, hypnosis on its own won’t bring about weight loss because there’s a lot more to it than that!

I am a Clinical Hypnotist and one of the things I do is help people lose weight. During my search for back up on this topic I found some interesting reading in books and journals. I incorporated some of these findings into my therapy and I would like to share these findings with you. Some of these are quite obvious, whereas others are not.

For instance in a book “Food and Nutrition in Australia”, edited by M.L. Wahlqvist it says ‘It is well known that if a person’s food energy intake greatly exceeds the person’s energy output over a considerable period, weight gain will result. Genetic factors also are involved in the development of obesity, though it is not easy to separate the genetic factors from the influence of the home environment. It has been stated that a child has a 10% chance of becoming obese if his parents are of normal weight, a 50% chance if one parent is obese and an 80% chance if both parents are obese.’

‘Yet human eating behavior is complex and is not driven simply by energy depletion. Desire to eat highly preferred foods may be stimulated even after subjects are satiated’ say Cornell, Rodin & Weingarten in “Physiology and Behavior”, a scientific journal. Other researchers, Macdiarmid and Hetherington, say that dysphoric moods states may be associated with food cravings. Most interestingly Green & Saenz suggest that individuals don’t eat to ‘make themselves feel better’, but rather that they eat because experiencing negative moods diminishes their conviction that they can control their eating.’ The intelligent reader will now start to perceive the role of Hypnotherapy.

A paper by Platt, written in 1995 on the biopsychological aspects of overweight and obesity suggested a need for a broad perspective and that a form of cognitive therapy might be the most appropriate treatment. Hadley & Staudacher in their book “Hypnosis for Change” have proposed many reasons why people overeat, emphasizing that this eating behavior is subconscious. They devised a questionnaire that helps bring this into conscious awareness. This creates the ideal situation where both Cognitive Therapy and Hypnotherapy can be used.

As an example I would like to tell you about a client who presented herself as overweight and wishing to do something about it. The Hadley and Staudacher questionnaire was used and it was found that she ate when she was bored, ate or snacked while watching TV, ate rich food at business lunches, especially smorgasbord, and often ate just for something to do. The client often dined at restaurants with her boyfriend and, though she did not overeat, she drank lots of wine and champagne, which could be a contributing factor. She chose hypnotherapy after having tried Gloria Marshall, which she said didn’t seem to work. She had also tried Herbalife, but she didn’t like the pills.

The beauty of the Hadley and Staudacher questionnaire is that once the eating behaviors are uncovered, healthier behaviors can be substituted there. The client said she would try a variety of exercises for something to do while she was bored, while watching TV she would focus more on the TV program, and at business lunches, eat healthier foods. On top of that, I suggested that she could take twice as long to drink wine or champagne so that she would only be drinking half the amount.

Another element that can be added during Hypnotherapy is ego strengthening. The client is asked to recall any times in her life when she had experienced feelings of achievement. The memories and feelings associated with them are used both for ego strengthening and to reinforce motivation. Imagery, visualization and direct suggestion were also used.

The client lost one kilogram in the week following the first Hypnotherapy session. The second week she reverted to the initial weight but admitted having indulged in dinner and drinks again. During the third week she joined a gym and lost the kilo again. She stated she felt really good and had lots of energy. Over the following week her weight remained constant but she was still feeling motivated and energetic.

At this point it is worthwhile mentioning that when someone “works out” and builds muscle, the muscle weighs more than fat, and the person’s weight can stay steady, depending on the frequency, intensity, and duration of “workouts”; though the person looks more trim. In this case after four weeks break from therapy the client lost one more kilo. This was her last session.

Four weeks after the last session, a follow up was done. The client reported a total loss of five kilos. She was feeling good and satisfied with her achievement.

What is most interesting about this case is that is that the bulk of the weight loss took place during the time that the client was not attending sessions. It is likely that the imagery, visualizations and suggestions given in the first few sessions had taken effect and had set the weight loss process in motion. So to, the motivation imparted under hypnosis.

Using the research mentioned above the Author has created a Weight Loss Hypnosis Program on CD. More information can be obtained on Weight Loss CD Program from www.mindbody.biz-- www.mindbody.biz is a site dealing with Hypnotherapy, NLP and Medical Herbalism  

Author's Bio: 

Alfred Bellanti (BSc, GrDipSSc, DipClHyp, Dip BMed, NLP Master Practitioner) is an experienced Clinical Hypnotherapist, published author and webmaster established in Sydney Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia for over 15 years. Alfred is a Member of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists (A.S.C.H.)