It’s no secret that obesity is an epidemic in America. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009), over 65% of American adults are overweight/obese. Here in Texas, we rank #10, with 32.4% of Texans being overweight.
These statistics reveal weight as a societal problem. The financial symptoms of this problem amount to a staggering $147 million in annual health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
America’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle is partially to blame. Evidence of our indoor bias even shows up in new home construction. It seems like backyards are getting smaller and smaller these days. At one time, Americans valued living in a house with a big backyard. These days, backyards are sizing down because most people prefer playing with electronic devices indoors.
Understanding the issue of obesity isn’t as simple as blaming lifestyle choices or even diet. The fact is, weight is a multifaceted issue. It is a symptom of physical, mental, and emotional imbalance. The reason that weight remains a difficult issue is that in most cases, a weight loss diet only deals with part of the problem. Hypnosis is one of the most complete weight loss tools. Keep reading to find out why hypnosis is the ultimate weight loss diet.
The cost of being overweight
You pay for being overweight through increased medical bills and decreased standards of living.
Excess weight affects nearly every area of your life. As an overweight person, you are at greater risk for serious disease, especially heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Your life may also be shorter because you are at greater risk for almost every cause of death.
There is also bone and joint disease. This leads to what I call the “mobility downward spiral.” As your bones and joints start to deteriorate from carrying around all that extra weight, you become less mobile. As your mobility diminishes, so does your capacity for exercise. Some people who desperately need exercise can’t do it because they aren’t mobile.
Although these facts may sound gloomy, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can take control of your life! But, to successfully deal with weight long term, you need to change both physically and mentally. Most weight loss diets just deal with the physical aspect. That’s why the weight always comes back. Weight is more than a physical problem. If you’re not convinced that extra weight is costing you money, check out this article from Best Health Magazine.
Step off the dieting roller-coaster
Despite all the fad diets out there, it’s a well-known fact among experts that weight loss diets don’t work. Think of dieting like being on a financial budget that is too restrictive. Because you are restricting your spending too much, you are more likely to yo-yo the other way. You might even go on a major spending spree!
Similarly, the restrictive nature of a weight loss diet might result in compulsive eating patterns. Such compulsive dieting is the pattern known as the dieting “roller-coaster.” You probably know people who are always dieting, but nothing seems to work.
Dieting can also make it more difficult for your body to lose weight. The body goes into “starvation mode” when caloric intake drops below a certain level. This slows down your metabolism, and makes it even harder to lose weight. Finally, dieting is stressful. Stress is a major cause of weight gain.
Remember, a weight loss diet by itself will not work in the long term! Living a healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable is the only way to achieve permanent results.
Check with your physician before starting a weight loss diet program
Before you even start thinking about adding hypnosis to your weight loss diet, talk to your doctor. There are many underlying health conditions that can exacerbate weight gain. Some of these conditions might prevent you from losing weight entirely. To make your weight loss efforts count, go see your doctor! Deal with any health issues that may preclude weight loss.
Pay attention to thyroid issues, especially hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Because the thyroid plays a central role in regulating metabolism, it is imperative that you rule out any serious thyroid issues before starting any kind of weight loss diet or program.
Stress-related illnesses such as Cushing’s Syndrome are also problematic. This condition is caused by an unusually high level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known in some literature as the “stress hormone.” If you have any stress-related issues, resolving your stress levels first will make weight loss easier.
I’m not going to list every health condition that can influence your weight. But, I do want to stress how important it is to talk to your doctor first. Be sure to ask whether or not it is advisable for you to start a weight loss diet given your current state of health. Any good hypnosis professional will have your doctor sign off on hypnosis for weight loss. Any practitioner who doesn’t do this probably doesn’t understand the subtleties involved with successful weight control.
The mechanics of diet and exercise
Although weight issues are more than purely physical, it is important to understand the principles of weight loss. Many of you already know how calories work. However, I’m still going to include a brief description here. Many people with weight issues don’t understand the fundamental mechanism behind weight loss.
The physical mechanics of weight loss are quite simple. The calories contained in the various foods you eat are converted to energy to run your body’s systems. Your body requires a certain amount of calories to maintain your current weight. Your daily caloric needs are based on the calories your body needs to sustain itself, plus the fuel needed for your day’s activities.
When you take in more calories than you need, the excess is stored as fat. One pound of fat is 3,500 calories. In order to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories, or burn more calories. (ideally both) If you want to lose one pound a week, you need a 500 calorie shortage each day. Suppose you need to eat 2,000 calories to maintain your weight. If you ate 1,750 calories each day, and burned 250 calories through exercise, you would lose 1 pound per week. On a healthy weight loss diet, it is safe to lose between 1-2 pounds per week.
To count calories or not?
Counting calories works because it provides a precise way of changing your eating and exercise habits. Ultimately though, a weight loss diet is not about counting calories. It’s about establishing healthy lifestyle habits.
Counting calories is a great way to get started because it leads to greater awareness of what you’re already doing. Once you have retrained yourself to eat and exercise appropriately, you will be able to maintain your ideal weight without counting calories.
Exercise also needs to be part of your weight loss diet program. It is so beneficial to your overall health! Exercise is a great stress-reducer. It also helps you burn calories and regulate metabolism.
When it comes to exercise, many people lack motivation. But, that’s what hypnosis is about – giving yourself more motivational resources. Of course, you should check in with your physician to determine whether you’re healthy enough for exercise. You may even want to work with a personal trainer to help you design an exercise program best suited for you.
Making lifestyle changes incrementally
Everyone would like to make changes as quickly as possible. But, positive change doesn’t work that way. You didn’t develop a weight problem overnight, so you’re not going to fix it that way either.
Incremental change is a great way to make your efforts sustainable in the long term. Make small changes, then evaluate the results. Think incremental and progressive. For example, a hypnosis colleague of mine has his clients start with only 30 seconds of exercise each day! Could you do 30 seconds of exercise? Of course you could! You can do anything for 30 seconds!
So, start with 30 seconds then eventually work up to 30-40 minutes. You can do the same with diet. Will Koen is a weight loss behavior re-patterning expert, and also my business partner. He recommends progressive diet modification, changing no more than one aspect of your weight loss diet at a time. This approach makes change easier, and more sustainable in the long term.
Negative payoff – when your weight helps you meet a positive intention
Could your extra weight be providing a positive benefit? This is called negative payoff or secondary gain. A negative payoff occurs when the problem provides a positive benefit. Could your weight be giving you an excuse to avoid doing something? Is it be a protection from unwanted advances from the opposite sex? Do you use it as an excuse for not being more successful?
What could your weight be helping you do or avoid? A skilled hypnosis practitioner is always on the lookout for negative payoffs. Hypnosis is a great tool to help you find a more skillful way of meeting legitimate needs.
How weight relates to your stress levels
Stress increases your appetite, but not for healthy food. When you are under stress, you will be more likely to turn to unhealthy food. Because your hormones are out of balance under stress, it can lead to muscle loss, making it more difficult to burn calories.
Because of the negative effects of stress on your health, you must resolve stress levels to be successful with long term weight loss. Everyone deals with stress in life, but it is chronic stress that affects your life most.
Hypnosis is one of the most powerful tools for stress reduction. In as little as 10 minutes in hypnosis, your nervous system naturally balances. This boosts every system of the body, including your immune system. Weight loss is so much easier when stress is under control.
Self-esteem and weight
Self-esteem is your inner self-portrait. Many people with weight issues have a negative self-image. For people with long-standing weight issues, it’s hard to imagine life without a weight problem. For some people, being obese is part of their basic identity.
The more you think of yourself as an overweight person, the more challenging a weight loss diet becomes. Hypnosis can help you change your self-image. When you positively shift your self-image when it comes to weight, a healthy lifestyle becomes much easier. Check out my article on ways to build superhuman levels of self-confidence.
Your mindset determines your motivations
Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960) describes the mind as a goal-seeking mechanism. The positive and negative programming of your mind drives your motivations and behavior. You may think that you are consciously choosing your behavior. However, most of your behavior is automatic, driven by your subconscious thoughts and emotions. Hypnosis is about breaking out of patterns of limitation. It’s about giving your mind the positive programming and resources it needs to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.
Clearing away negative programming also helps you become more intuitive and find your own solutions. When you hold limiting ideas at the subconscious level, it is like wearing blinders. The answer to your weight loss diet challenges might be right in front of you, but you may not see it.
Your thoughts are mental patterns that have a physical effect on your body. Gil Boyne, one of the hypnosis pioneers of the 20th century, said that any idea that persists in the mind for long enough eventually expresses itself physically. Many times, excess weight is the result of repressed emotions. Because mindset governs emotions, working with a weight loss diet from a mental standpoint is incredibly beneficial.
Part of a complete weight loss diet program
Hypnosis is not a magic wand or quick fix. It is part of a balanced program for living a healthy lifestyle. Because weight is a multifaceted issue, you will have the greatest chance of success on your weight loss diet when you employ multiple tools. Just like you wouldn’t use only one type of wrench to fix a car, you wouldn’t use just one tool for weight loss.
Hypnosis can help you with many areas of weight loss. It can help you reduce stress, deal with underlying medical issues, re-pattern behavior into healthy habits, improve self-esteem, improve motivation, and much, much more.
Although hypnosis is such a valuable tool, you might also want to consider working with other professionals. Dietitians, personal trainers, counselors, and weight loss coaches can all play an important role in your successful weight loss diet. The more angles from which you approach your weight issue, the more likely you will be successful. Hypnosis is one of the most powerful tools for weight loss, but it shouldn’t be your only strategy.
Sticking with the program
One of the most important factors in your weight loss is whether or not you stick with the program. It is vitally important that you attend all sessions, listen to reinforcement recordings, do the homework, and follow through on your action plan.
The dropout rate for weight loss programs is extremely high. Even very successful practitioners may have a dropout rate upwards of 50% for weight loss. Many clients are simply not ready to make the changes that a successful weight loss diet requires. For this reason, I recommend you only spend money on weight loss services if you are truly ready to change. Even when you follow through with the program, successful weight loss is not easy. You will encounter resistance and setbacks. But, if you are determined enough to lose weight, there is nothing that can stop you.
What to look for in a weight control hypnosis program
I would like to conclude this article by outlining what you should look for in a hypnosis weight program. The first is accountability. Your hypnotist can’t do your weight loss diet for you. You must take full responsibility for your own actions and results. A good hypnosis program will challenge you by giving you homework and holding you accountable for completing the work outside of the sessions.
The next thing you want to look for is a program that includes multiple sessions. Some hypnosis professionals offer weight loss “solutions” in a single session. Your results from this type of program will be short term at best. It is unlikely that a multifaceted issue like weight will be resolved in a single session.
The next thing you want to look for is a client-centered approach. Many hypnosis professionals employ a one-size-fits-all approach which is not particularly effective. Make sure your hypnosis professional will customize a program unique to your needs. Also, ask about the techniques used. Some hypnotists only use suggestion therapy. You need a combination of suggestive/regressive methods to work at deep enough levels to promote permanent change.
Again, a weight loss diet can be challenging on multiple levels. For permanent results, you must change physically and mentally. For this reason, hypnosis often the missing piece is the weight loss diet puzzle. Adding a mental approach to your weight loss diet may mean the difference between superficial and permanent, lasting results.
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