Weight Loss Hypnosis
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
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
How does hypnotherapy work for weight control?
In a nutshell, the answer to this question is: By rewiring your attitude towards
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
We will now address 2 compelling questions, which I myself was curious about prior to studying hypnosis:
- 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.
- 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
Generally speaking, there are 2 types of hypnotherapy available for weight control purposes:
Let me explain these 2 modalities:
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
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).
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