Perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution, not surprisingly, is to lose those extra pounds that may have dogged you for some time – even before the holidays rolled around. And this is for good reason, as about 40% of US adults are overweight, and another 30% are obese (defined as having a body mass index of 30 or greater).
Most people know that eating healthier and exercising regularly can facilitate weight loss, and that remaining overweight comes at significant costs to health and self-esteem. Yet, only about 20% of overweight individuals are successful at maintaining weight loss long-term.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that there are a number of physical factors that increase the risk of overweight. Some of these include:
Although we cannot go back in time and change our prenatal environment or undue previous exposure to chemicals, nor can we change our genes, adopting and sticking with healthy lifestyle behaviors can do a lot to help with weight loss and improve well being. This is where hypnosis can be especially helpful.
Emotional and Unconscious Factors that Keep Pounds On: Overweight as a "Tool"
Your unconscious mind may believe very strongly that obesogenic behaviors serve an essential purpose - that they are important “tools” for helping you to function in some way. And if a part of you believes the overweight or associated behaviors are necessary, you are much less likely to change them for long. Here are some common examples:
We know from the research that hypnosis pairs well with other weight-loss and stress reduction strategies, such as mindfulness, relaxation training, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Some research has found that adding hypnosis to CBT further increases its effectiveness for weight loss.
How Hypnosis Can Change Your Mind and Body
Hypnosis can help you understand unconscious barriers to weight loss and enhance your chances of success via a variety of types of positive suggestion. Some examples include:
To summarize, at present, excess weight affects more people than not, and losing the extra pounds remains a challenging task for most. Hypnosis – either with a qualified professional or via self-hypnosis techniques - can help you address the unconscious reasons for keeping weight on, and help you more easily shed those extra pounds.
Dr. Traci Stein is a licensed psychologist, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the author of several popular self-hypnosis audio programs on sleep, self-esteem, conquering procrastination, and changing habits, including two on Healthy Weight and Body Image, one for use while awake, and one for use while fostering deep, restorative sleep. Both are now available via Amazon.com, iTunes, and HealthJourneys.com.
For more information:
Asmundson, G.J., Fetzner, M.G., Deboer, L.B., Powers, M.B., Otto, M.W., and J.A. Smits (2013). Let’s Get Physical: A Contemporary Review of the Anxiolytic Effects of Exercise for Anxiety and Its Disorders. Depress Anxiety. 30(4):362-73.
Entwistle, P. A., Webb, R. J., Abayomi, J. C., Johnson, B., Sparkes A. C., & Davies, I. G. (2014) Unconscious Agendas in the Etiology of Refractory Obesity and the Role of Hypnosis in Their Identification and Resolution: A New Paradigm for Weight-Management Programs or a Paradigm Revisited? International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 62:3, 330-359.
Harvard School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source – Prenatal and Early Life Influences
NIH National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute: What Causes Overweight and Obesity?
World Health Organization: Obesity Situation and Trends