Understand Other People

Better communication through a better understanding of behavior

Using Self-Hypnosis to Manage Weight

Five Steps You Can Take to Lose the Extra Pounds

Hypnosis
You have heard it before: People continue to be overweight despite the information available about maintaining a good weight throughout one’s life. An article from earlier this year and published by NBC News cites a survey showing that the whole world is getting fatter. The U.S., with only 5% of the total world population, leads the world in obesity. Over 2 billion people are considered obese, and perhaps most surprisingly the article states that not one single country has been able to lower its rate of obesity since the 1980’s. 

Most people are aware of many of the causes, such as:

  • Fast food’s availability and low price point
  • Lack of accessibility of fresh and healthy food in poorer areas
  • A cultural tendency to celebrate with drinks or food, and to commiserate with drinks and food
  • A fast-paced society that eats on the run
  • A tendency to spend too much time sedentary instead of moving

We know all of this, and we know the health issues that arise from being overweight or even slightly overweight, so the curious part comes from the fact that we know what to do – yet we don’t do it!

Part of the problem is the ways the mind gets programmed:

“It’s a waste to leave food on my plate – I have to eat even after I feel full.”

“I eat so quickly I don’t realize I am full until I am finished and feel sick.”

“I just don’t have time to shop for healthy foods and make good meals.”

“I’m too tired at the end of the day to get exercise, I just want to veg out in front of the television.”

“I will worry about my weight tomorrow.”

Because so much of weight control is truly a case of mind over matter, hypnosis can be a very effective tool for weight loss. Let’s look at five steps you can take to self-hypnotize and start losing those few (or many) extra pounds:

  1. As a start, work with your conscious mind. Open your food cabinet and your refrigerator. Clean out those items that are problems for you – get rid of the ice cream, the Oreos and the potato chips. It’s best not to have temptation around you while you are working this process. Replace these with healthier options – get some small carrots, celery, apples, bags of nuts or 100 calorie snack bags instead. When you do reach, make sure all you can grab is something healthy and lower in calories!
  2. Write out your goal using the SMART method of goal setting on a small piece of paper or 3 X 5 card. Note that I change the “A” to mean action-oriented, so that there is an active component to your weight loss. The acronyms are as follows: S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Action-oriented, R- Realistic and T – Time-bound. Write your goals in the present tense so that your mind starts to believe this IS true, not that it will be someday. A good written goal could look like this: “I lose 15 lbs by November 30 of 2014, and I do this by replacing starch with vegetables and walking 2 miles every evening between 6-7:30 p.m.” The more specific and measurable the goal, the easier it is for the mind to move in the direction it needs to.
  3. Spend 5 minutes, at least 3 times per day, clearing your mind of any thoughts or concerns. Work to literally empty your mind of anything else you may be thinking about. Focus on your breathing until you feel calm and open. Once you feel your mind is ready, raise the paper or 3 X 5 card you have written your goal on and say to yourself over and over what you have written: “I lose 15 lbs by November….” Your mind will want to draw you away to other thoughts, so just keep coming back to your saying. Continue to repeat this for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Once you have repeated your mantra for at least 1 to 2 minutes, you can lower the card or paper. Now sit with your eyes closed for the remaining 3 minutes and work to picture yourself reaching this goal. “See” in your mind’s eye – or imagine in any way that will work for you – that you are reaching for vegetables, or taking the walk (this is from my example, use whatever scenario you have written down), and “see” yourself smiling broadly because you are losing the weight! Some people are very visual, and some can just sense or imagine other ways. Whatever works for you, as long as you can sense success, is what’s “right.”
  5. Put positive reminders everywhere; for example, hang a pair of pants that you will be able to wear in a prominent place so you see them often. Picture yourself wearing those pants. Post reinforcing notes that you see often – “I make good eating choices every day,” and “I find opportunities for exercise often each day.”

Hypnosis works because the subconscious mind starts to tell the conscious mind what steps to take. Be sure to feed your mind positive messages and images that benefit you, so that you begin to make good choices about eating and exercise without thinking about it.

Beverly D. Flaxington teaches at Suffolk University.

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