These days there are as many ways to loose weight as there are words in the dictionary. High Carb, Low Carb, No Carb? The choices seem to be as complicated as nuclear physics and to make things more difficult, there are a million schools of thought within weight loss.
Understanding Hunger and Over-eating
Where does hunger come from anyway? Hunger is an instinct, which like sleeping, breathing, salivating etc. does not have to be learned. Our unconscious body mind knows how to take care of our body if we allow it. The norm is to be not hungry; until our mind sends a signal that, we need food for energy. This instinctual behavior is most apparent in babies. Absent of any disease or defect, it knows when it is hungry and when it is full. If you watch mothers feed babies though, it becomes apparent that feeding outside of those signals and in amounts excess of what the child wants, is common. Weight management of babies has become a greater concern as the behavior of over-feeding them has become the norm.
Understanding Learned Behavior and Weight Gain
Parents re-teaching the behavior of eating three meals a day with snacks in between, learned from their own parents, helps keep children over-weight. Often the eating occurs absent of any true need for food. Eventually the child or young adult becomes aware of being overweight and the cycle of overeating to deal with “feelings” becomes energized for the first time. Often a sense of bewilderment accompanies this discovery because no other way of eating (dieting) “feels” right or yields positive results. Food “feels” good and gives an escape from the negative self-image. The ability to use food to change the way a person feels then becomes a powerful force. The desire to escape feelings overwhelms the desire to look good and be healthy.
Understanding the problem from a clinician’s view
As a practicing Hypnotist, it is common to encounter people who don’t understand the dynamics of their weight gain situation. People who are having problems with over-eating often don’t realize that their over-eating can stem from a plethora of bad habits. When someone is using food as a distracter from uncomfortable feelings, weight management becomes difficult, if not impossible.
People are just acting out the “daily script” that they or some influential person helped to create. Other inefficient ways of dealing with feelings revolve around the use of “distracters” such as the use of tobacco products, gambling, high risk behavior, hair pulling, cutting, excessive sexual acting out, and on and on it goes.
There is big business in these “distracters” so the world is not necessarily helping in moderating them. By providing better tasting food experiences for those seeking to distract themselves from discomfort in life, it becomes easier to “feel good”, which re-enforces the out-of-control eating.
Helping people regain the inborn “hunger” mechanism, to eat in a manner which benefits them, is as easy a re-teaching a person to ride a bike. What, you say? You don’t need to teach a person to ride a bike once they have learned! True, and that is why it is so easy to use hypnosis to help a person regain proper eating habits, which will result in the weight that they desire.
Changing a Habit with Hypnosis
When assisting a person using Hypnosis, to change a habit of over-eating as a way of dealing with uncomfortable feelings, it is best to first, re-acquaint them with their “hunger signal”. A common way of doing this is to have them skip daily meals entirely until they are sure they are hungry. For most adults this means they will skip the first traditional meal of the and possibly the second, resulting in only one formal meal a day being eaten. At that meal, they may eat whatever food satisfies them in whatever quantity but they are to eat slowly without distractions, and stop eating at the first sign of fullness. These suggestions along with re-enforcing the desire to receive the benefits of this behavior are re-enforced during the Hypnotic session. Using hypnosis new beneficial ideas to strengthen the person’s self-image create the drive to pursue new beneficial goals, which do not include over-eating. Other bad habits sometimes spontaneously resolve as well.
No Food is Off-Limits
It must be emphasized that there are no off limit foods. In hypnosis, we help the person lose the desire for foods that do not benefit them such as sweets or calorie dense foods, but they are not off limits. It is common knowledge that a person has to create a deficit in total caloric intake in order to lose weight. It is not common knowledge that the food one eats has to satisfy the mind first because that is where “hunger” or the desire to eat originates. If a person learns to eat in the most efficient way to satisfy “the mind”, managing weight becomes easy.
Through the tremendous number of calories lost through the skipped meals, the person loses weight but always remains in control. They decide when that first meal of the day will be and what food they will enjoy. A person’s eating, coupled to the perfect appetite we are born with, will always result in the benefits of good health and positive body image. Long-term weight management using this technique has the special advantage of requiring no special foods or supervision.