Weight, weight loss, diet books, diet fads – you have been on diets, off diets, this is the “forever diet”, you say, only to grow tired at its strictness. It has become an obsession. Lose weight and then regain what you have lost along with a few extra pounds. What do diets actually do – they make you think of food all the time. You have to plan ahead, pack meals ahead of time, anticipate any saboteurs. Always on guard. Is this really how you want to live your life? Being consumed with thoughts of food.

What would life be like if food was not such a prominent feature? Would you know how to redirect that energy to something more productive? Over-eating becomes a comfort. Food is a constant – it is there when you are happy, there when you are sad, it gives you a purpose when bored and what is the result – you body is out of shape.

Emotional eating is very common. Like those who self harm, relief comes when eating but it is fleeting and the emotion you had before is now compounded with feelings of guilt for eating the packet of biscuits or tub of ice cream and you feel even lower.

This is where hypnosis does its best work. Hypnosis in itself is a concentrated relaxation and in the case of weight loss, the concentration is on losing weight. You can stop yourself craving chocolate or cream cakes or whatever your problem food is. You can become motivated to exercise if you feel that is all you need. But where there is emotional eating, then hypnosis and hypnotherapy should be your first and only port of call.

We have two parts to our mind, the left and right side – the left is logical and analytic. It loves numbers – calories, point counting. But we don’t eat with the left side of our brain, we eat with the right side – the emotional side. Unless the emotion that prompts you to eat is addressed then every diet fails and they do, because the emotion is not being looked at only the food and portion size.

Keeping a food diary to include the emotions before you ate and after eating would form part of the process. Remember we are trying to break the habit of a lifetime. As a little girl you no doubt were told to “clean off your plate, there are starving children in Africa” or you fall and hurt yourself “have some ice cream”, you pass your driving test “let’s celebrate with a cake”. The one I love the most, you have lost weight and celebrate by having the foods you had denied yourself! So, the emotional connection to food is obvious – as previously mentioned, it is always there for happy and sad occasions. All major events and milestones punctuated with food.

During a session with hypnosis, we study how you view food. Was food an extension of love? Did you use your weight as a protective layer to keep men away so you wouldn’t have to deal with heartache. These are significant reasons for the subconscious mind to encourage you to keep weight on. If you were overweight all your life and then in adulthood lose lots of weight and then regain it – what has happened. You never experienced your place in the world being thin and all with your weight loss may have come anxiety and your subconscious mind encouraged you to sabotage yourself so you could find your “rightful” place in the world again.

Weight is complex but you can with hypnosis learn to re-programme your subconscious mind. The primary function of your subconscious (and it only has the understanding of a 6 year old child) is to protect you and until you offer new, improved and positive ways to help you, it will continue with the old patterns. You can lose weight and keep it off forever but only if the desire to lose weight is stronger than the desire to stay the same and this time, you have more ammunition to help you, by addressing the emotional needs that food filled and by learning new ways to deal with upset, with happiness and all without involving food.

Author's Bio: 

Zita Stanley is hypnotherapist/psychotherapist practicing in Dublin and Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland. She has appeared on RTE (Irish television) and has appeared in newspapers and magazines. www.ZitaStanley.com. Zita@zitastanley.com