If you’re like most people trying to lose weight, you feel like you have tried everything to shed the pounds. Your attempts make up a diverse list of low-fat diets, high-fat diets, calorie counting, juice fasting, cardio workouts, and even weightlifting. Nothing seems to work, and all your efforts to reduce the numbers you see on the scale seem to be in vain.
You’re also likely to be blaming and criticizing yourself for not being able to tough it out. You start to think there may be something wrong with you, making you feel down and deflated.
Your old eating habits kick back in, and you pile shame and guilt on top of feeling defeated.
Even when you do manage to shed a few pounds, you only manage to put it back on again. Plus, there always seems to be a bit extra, and you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending loop of dismal results.
Someone has mentioned that hypnosis can help with weight loss at some stage of your journey. You have your doubts, but some part of you still wonders, “could weight loss hypnosis work?”
A lot of people have the misconception that hypnosis is at best, nothing more than a party trick, and at worst, it’s a form of mind control and to be avoided.
However, neither view is accurate, nor are they even close to the truth. Numerous studies have shown that hypnosis treatment by a trained therapist can create dramatic results, not just for weight loss, but also for giving up smoking and other bad habits.
The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published a study showing people who used hypnosis for weight loss managed to lose double the weight of those who didn’t.
The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis also discovered that hypnosis could help people lose weight, change their eating habits, improve their BMI, and create positive changes in their feelings about their bodies.
The studies show that hypnosis creates change, but they don’t tell us how. So, how does hypnosis for weight loss work?
Hypnosis – What Is It?
We’ve all seen how hypnosis is often overdramatized in the movies, with a top-hatted, heavily moustached hypnotist flourishing a gold pocket-watch and issuing commands along the lines of “you’re getting sleepy, your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier.”
When the eyes close and the head drops, the hypnotist appears to have complete control over the person’s mind and can seemingly make them do anything with a simple command.
Real-life hypnosis is nowhere near as dramatic as all that. There’s no swinging pocket watch, top hats, or magic wands. Nor is there any command that can suddenly switch off your cravings.
Hypnosis is a proven therapeutic technique with real benefits delivered by giving people back control of their lives.
After trying a series of fad diets, you might be tempted to think that hypnosis is just another gimmick, but it’s a healing modality that has been used for thousands of years.
The field of hypnotism fell back into favor during the mid-1900s because of a prominent psychiatrist, Milton H. Erickson, who successfully used hypnosis in his practice.
The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognized hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment in 1958.
Most people are surprised to learn that there is a strong possibility they have already experienced the hypnotic state.
A good example is when you zone out on the highway, arrive at your destination, and have only a vague recollection of the journey. Daydreaming and becoming oblivious to your surroundings until a sudden bright idea or solution to a problem pull you out of your musing is another example.
These examples are a good indication of what you will experience during a hypnosis session, except your trance-like state will be guided by a trained professional.
While you are under hypnosis, the goal will be to explore your subconscious mind to gain a deeper understanding of your deepest desires and transform your perspective, so it’s more receptive to creative problem-solving.
New ideas that emerge during the hypnotic state will not dissipate when you come out of it. Instead, they will influence your subconscious into making healthier, wiser decisions.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
Ninety-percent of our thought processes occur beneath the surface, away from conscious reflection. However, they have a profound effect on our actions and how we think and feel.
In a lot of cases, our subconscious does us proud (I feel good when I’m exercising). However, some of our subconscious programming can be counterproductive to our goals (eating ice cream makes me feel better after a hard day’s work, and I deserve it).
The subconscious mind does not work with logic or reason, and so it’s programs can become outdated and out of sync with your goals.
Hypnosis relaxes your conscious mind to open a direct pathway to your subconscious mind so a skilled practitioner can alter the programming and bring it more in line with your desires. When the subconscious mind is brought in line, it becomes a relatively simple matter to change your behavior.
The Science Behind Hypnosis
When you undergo hypnosis, you will be guided through a series of repeated messages and images until you reach a state of deep relaxation. Once you are completely relaxed, you will be able to access your subconscious mind and explore the thoughts and memories that dictate how you behave.
When you can observe your thoughts from a distance, you will recognize that they have no power over your actions or define you in any way.
Hypnosis can make you more receptive to new information, and messages to which you may not have been so susceptible otherwise. Regarding weight loss, the new message could be, “I can make healthier food choices and lose weight.”
Gaining control over your subconscious mind gives you more control over your life choices.
Science Shows Us How Hypnosis Works
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine scanned the brains of people under hypnosis. According to Dr. Spiegel, this was the first such attempt at revealing brain activity during such a relaxed state.
Here’s what they discovered:
Lower levels of activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate, indicating that you are not worried about anything happening outside of the hypnosis state.
Signs that there is an increase in brain-body connection “that helps the brain process and control what’s going on in the body.”
Indications of a “dissociation between action and reflection,” showing that you can absorb new information and process it without overthinking.
When people are asked to imagine an event, the same parts of the brain show activity as if the individual was physically present at the event. This information shows that visualizing a desired behavior and associating it with positive feelings can make people comfortable with previously unappealing behaviors.
The research reveals what hypnotherapists have known all along, which is that hypnosis helps you focus on your goals, achieve a complete understanding of your experience, and make productive life-changing decisions by letting go of your self-consciousness.
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