Hypnosis and Mindfulness For Weight Loss Success
Many people live their lives in a constant state of battle with their eating choices and their weight. Unhealthy habits, food cravings and overeating can all combine to impact upon your weight and to mean that, even if you lose weight, you find yourself frustratingly putting it all back on again.
Many people have also found that that pandemic-related stress and changes to usual patterns led to eating more, drinking more and putting on weight. Many people have told me how they have found themselves engaging in more mindless eating, increasing the quantity of food they eat and using food and eating to cope with things.
And it’s not only recent events that can have impacted upon your weight. Many people endure a lifetime of struggling with their weight and not feeling comfortable in their own body. You may try a whole range of diets, lose some weight, only to put it back on again, binge eat, emotionally eat or just have an unhealthy relationship with food, which in turn means your weight goes up.
As well as diet and exercise, addressing the psychological aspects of eating is vital if you want to achieve weight loss and reach the weight, size and shape that you desire. You need to develop control, be able to manage your emotions effectively, be able to encourage yourself and learn healthy eating habits, thinking and behaviours. All of this is certainly possible with an approach such as weight loss hypnotherapy, and recent evidence has looked into the effectiveness of hypnosis and mindfulness strategies for successful weight loss.
Long Term Weight Loss Success
So many of the people I help with weight loss hypnotherapy have achieved successful weight loss in the past, only to then find themselves putting all the weight back on. Often, they feel even worse in themselves for having let themselves do that, and it can impact upon their self-esteem and confidence levels.
Often this weight boomerang effect can be because their relationship with food, body image, sense of self worth, underlying eating habits and emotional links to food have not been addressed and changed. Whilst pretty much most people can achieve some short term weight loss, losing weight and keeping it off requires more than just restriction and trying to eat more healthily.
Successful weight loss usually involves changing your associations and relationship with food and eating, ending unhelpful eating habits and patterns and removing any tendency towards emotional eating. You reach a point where you make healthier decisions naturally, you want the right amount for you and you handle things more effectively, and without recourse to eating rubbish. All in all, you reach a place where you are in charge of your eating decisions and choices, rather than just repeating old unhelpful behaviours.
As well as addressing the psychological and emotional elements of eating, research also suggests a number of helpful behaviours that can help you to maintain your weight loss.
Phelan et al (2020), sought to identify the behavioural and psychological strategies among people who maintain their weight loss in a commercial weight loss program. They found that weight loss maintainers practiced more frequent healthy dietary choices, self-monitoring and psychological coping strategies, as well as had more willingness to ignore food cravings and a greater habit-strength for healthy eating.
This may seems fairly self-evident in some ways. Keeping healthier foods available and making it harder to have unhealthy foods can help. Most people who struggle with weight loss tend to do the opposite, which makes it easier to habitually snack without thinking. Keeping a food record or diary means you can evaluate what you are doing and when with your eating, so that you can make informed adjustments and changes. It also starts to make you accountable for your eating. And as many of us tend to have portion sizes that are too big, measuring food amounts is always going to be helpful if you have the time to do so.
The research also suggests that weight loss maintainers think back on past successes as a psychological coping strategy. This can work if you have lost weight and are seeking to maintain that loss, yet for those who have lost weight and put it back on, it can lead to feeling disappointed, frustrated and angry, which can then lead to more emotional eating or a feeling of failure and giving up.
Many of the other psychological strategies and weight loss success approaches are things that I help people with as part of their hypnotherapy, such ss remaining positive, decision making, self-esteem development, motivation and persistence, coping strategies, emotional regulation and the development of positive, healthy eating habits.
There’s more on this research into the behavioural and psychological strategies among people who maintain their weight loss in this article: What Are The Key Strategies for Weight Loss Success?
Hypnosis and Mindfulness For Weight Loss Success
It’s well established that psychological factors influence your eating and therefore your weight. Bad eating habits and an unhealthy relationship with food can lead to eating too much and making unhealthy choices. Emotional eating, in response to how you are feeling, can lead to excessive eating of high fat and high sugar foods.
Your levels of stress and anxiety, along with your self image, self-esteem and sense of self-worth, can all affect how successful you are with losing weight and keeping it off.
Many of the psychological factors that can contribute to weight gain and unhealthy eating are things that hypnotherapy has a proven track record of helping with. Stress, mood disorders and negative emotions can all be alleviated using hypnosis, and doing so, can then weaken former desires to seek instant gratification from unhealthy food. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and low self esteem can all be successfully addressed using hypnotherapy.
Psychological interventions can help with weight loss by helping increase healthy eating, increasing willpower, reducing emotional eating, and aiding motivation, self-regulation and the ability to think of both the short-term and longer-term consequences of eating decisions. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one approach, and research has demonstrated that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy leads to significantly better results with issues like weight loss (for more on this look at these articles: Should all Cognitive Behavioural Therapy include Hypnosis for better results? and Hypnosis Enhances Results Of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Updated Science and Evidence).
Part of any successful weight loss programme involves you learning how to manage your eating for yourself so that you can make the eating decisions that you want to, even without the help of a hypnotherapist. With this in mind, Pellegrini et al (2021), conducted a review to summarize the evidence evaluating the possibilities and limitations of self-hypnosis and mindfulness strategies in the treatment of obesity.
Hypnosis can help you to increase self-control, improve exercise levels, boost self-esteem, strengthen motivation for changing eating habits and reducing stress induced overeating. Mindfulness strategies can help with emotional eating, eating in response to food cravings, eating mindfully and with negative emotional states.
Based upon a review of existing weight loss research and evidence, “both hypnosis and mindfulness provide a promising therapeutic option by improving weight loss, food awareness, self-acceptance of body image, and limiting food cravings and emotional eating. Greater effectiveness occurs when hypnosis and mindfulness are associated with other psychological therapies in addition to diet and physical activity.”
As so many of my clients have discovered, weight loss hypnotherapy (including aspects of cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness) can help with taking control over your eating habits, feeling better in yourself and achieving weight loss.
If you are struggling to lose weight then, based upon the evidence, you may very well benefit from hypnosis. Rather than using deprivation and willpower and struggling with your eating habits and decisions, you can increase your self control, boost your motivation, tackle emotional eating, change eating habits and boost your self-esteem. You can end your unhealthy relationship with food, your battle with food cravings and using food to change how you feel, and instead manage your emotions constructively, reduce overeating and feel better in yourself.
To your weight loss success
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Pellegrini, M., Carletto, S., Scumaci, E., Ponzo, V., Ostacoli, L. and Bo, S., 2021. The Use of Self-Help Strategies in Obesity Treatment. A Narrative Review Focused on Hypnosis and Mindfulness. Current Obesity Reports, pp.1-14.
Phelan, S., Halfman, T., Pinto, A.M. and Foster, G.D., 2020. Behavioral and Psychological Strategies of Long‐Term Weight Loss Maintainers in a Widely Available Weight Management Program. Obesity, 28(2), pp.421-428.