Weight loss, bingeing & eating disorders

To book a hypnotherapy session, or if you have any questions, please contact me, or phone:
077199 58726
(+44 77199 58726 if calling from outside the UK)

Weight loss

Weight loss can cover a wide range of possibilities, from someone who wants to lose a few pounds for a summer holiday or wedding, to someone needing to shed a much greater amount for medical reasons. The issue may be recent or may have been there for many years. We all need to eat to survive, so it’s a question of adjusting what and how we eat and how much and when, not cutting it out altogether.

The reasons for excess weight

First we tackle the ‘why’. If there is emotional eating we need to address the emotions; the eating is your attempted solution to the problem, not the problem itself. It may be due to loneliness, frustration, sadness and so on. This is the kind of area where hypnotherapy can be immensely powerful in dealing with cravings and compulsions to eat.

Unlike most hypnotherapists, I’m also qualified in nutritional therapy, so I have a deeper understanding of how the body functions with regard to putting on weight and taking it off.

Physical aspects of weight loss

Weight loss can be an immensely complex subject, encompassing hormones such as cortisol, insulin, leptin and ghrelin. Food isn’t just fuel, it also acts as information, for example some foods release insulin, which tells the body to store fat, other foods have an inflammatory effect and affect the immune system and so on.

It isn’t just food which goes inside us, there’s also alcohol, coffee and tea, fizzy drinks, plain water and so on. Each of these will have an effect in regulating the body, for better or worse. Even dieting can intensify the problem, as it can put the body into starvation mode, which slows the metabolism and keeps weight on. Others have put on weight after childbirth, or gradually as their metabolism slowed over the years or they stopped exercising.

Then we have the issue that’s so widespread these days, where you can be obese but malnourished, through eating the wrong foods. Many people work in offices where there are biscuits and chocolates constantly being passed around, it seems to have become almost the norm.

I find that in the vast majority of cases there are eating habits which can be improved, often just by slight tweaking, which will make a big difference in terms of the weight coming off more rapidly.

Emotional reasons for weight gain

Often there are emotional reasons for weight gain, which may go back to childhood. Some people were brought up in large families, where if you didn’t eat the food quickly someone else would. In some people food took the place of attention or love, or was given as a symbol of love, the more the better.

Sometimes there were childhood messages about big being healthy. Fat can act as a kind of protection, so some people put on weight to ward off the wrong kind of attention.

Again, the permutations are virtually endless. This is what makes working with weight loss challenging and interesting, since it so often takes in many different aspects of someone’s life.

Weight loss and hypnotherapy

For most other issues I would spend half an hour or so talking with you about the issue and how hypnosis works and so forth. In the case of weight loss it tends to be an hour, since I need to know at least briefly, about how and what you eat and the other factors, mentioned above, which may be compromising your ability to lose weight.

So if there’s anything obvious which is holding you back, I may make suggestions for steps you could take to help yourself function better and help your body shed the weight. Then we get down to work. Usually by this point I’ll have some idea as to what may be causing any cravings or your difficulty in losing weight and we can launch into dealing with it.

Once we identify the event or events which may have been causing the issue, we can address those events one by one, and the thoughts and emotions to which they led. When they have all been dealt with, we can turn our attention to putting new helpful habits in place.

Eating disorders

Hypnotherapy can usually help with eating disorders, since at the most basic level they are emotional disorders, and if we can resolve the emotions which are holding them in place, then we should be able to change the negative patterns.

Food is basic to our lives. We can only live a short time without it, and when we are very young we often have very little control or choice over what is put in our mouths. In our teenage years, we often have more choice over what we eat, but not a great amount in other areas of our lives, so eating habits may be one of the few things we can control.

Reasons for eating disorders

Eating disorders which start in teenage years, whether anorexia nervosa or less serious conditions, often stem from issues of control or frustration. You may have issues because of comfort eating or from traumatic events which have happened to you.

Binge eating, or bingeing and purging (bulimia) are variations on the same theme, perhaps a strategy to deal with shame, sadness, anxiety or even self-disgust. (Interestingly, the emotion of disgust is common to mammals and is probably to stop us eating spoiled or poisoned food; the roots of the words disgust and distaste are of course linked to food and eating.)

Phobias or distaste around particular foods usually have a different cause, often an association between the food and unpleasant experiences or a difficult time in your life, or perhaps observing others having a strong reaction to that particular food or flavour.This is why we need to individualise the approach to working with your issues around food and eating, as there are so many possible causes and factors.

Hypnotherapy and eating disorders

We can use hypnotherapy to resolve the events from your past, if they are still relevant in maintaining your issue. This does not involve reliving the events themselves or repeating them, but gently releasing the emotions that are holding the condition in place, and then you can change your perspective on the past and move on.

To book a hypnotherapy session, or if you have any questions, please contact me, or phone:
077199 58726
(+44 77199 58726 if calling from outside the UK)

Hypnosis with CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy) found to be more effective than CBT alone, especially for weight loss (meta-analysis of 18 studies):
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/63/2/214/

Hypnosis effective for weight loss:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1097-4679%28198501%2941:1%3C35::AID-JCLP2270410107%3E3.0.CO;2-Z/abstract

How the mind affects digestion:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dom.12353/full

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