Can hypnosis help you to lose weight?

Hypnosis helps a person to relax and gain motivation for achieving his goals. (Getty Images)
Hypnosis helps a person to relax and gain motivation for achieving his goals. (Getty Images)

Hypnosis is an ancient method that has been used to cope with different problems for thousands of years, including quitting smoking and dealing with insomnia.

Due to a lack of understanding and misrepresentation by the media, many think that hypnosis is unnatural and even supernatural. Actually, hypnosis just helps an individual to get into a deep stage of relaxation and gain motivation for achieving his or her goals.

Statistics from a study at Stanford University have shown that only about 10% to 15% of the U.S. population "cannot be hypnotized at all." Hypnosis can be carried out by oneself or by a practitioner. It is important to check the credentials of your practitioner if you decide to go to one.

The two stages of hypnosis

According to hypnotist Rosemarie Schulman, hypnosis consists of two stages. The first stage is to "make the patient understand his/her behavior." In this stage, you try to understand your own habits and identify the problems that lead to your gaining weight. What is the cause of your weight gain? Is it snacking too much on potato chips, stress, lack of sleep, etc.?

The second stage is to try to change the patient's habits when the person is in a relaxed state of mind. Schulman mentions that a person is more open to suggestions when he or she is relaxed. Therefore, once the patient is relaxed, the hypnotist will offer suggestions to change the client's behavior. The hypnotist may say things like, "The sugar cravings you have in the afternoon no longer interest you. The wonderful smell of fresh fruit, and its taste, now interest you and make you feel very strong."

You can also carry out self-hypnosis. The most important thing to keep in mind when you are doing self-hypnosis is to maintain a positive attitude throughout the hypnotic state.

Three self-hypnosis tips

Listed below are three self-hypnosis tips you can use to motivate yourself in the weight losing process:

1. Positive self-talk

While in the self-hypnosis state, you can keep yourself motivated through positive self-talk. For instance, you can tell yourself things like, "I can get into this pair of skinny jeans and still look good," and "I can shed the extra weight and live a healthier and more active lifestyle," and "I want everyone to be surprised at the amount of weight I have lost the next time they see me."

By being clear about your goal and constantly reminding yourself of it, you will feel motivated to stick to your weight losing plan.

2. Think twice before eating

Another technique of self-hypnosis is to think twice before eating. For example, if you have a sudden urge to snack on something, ask yourself "Are you really hungry?" or "Are you trying to get back to square one?"

Research has shown that a strategy of talking yourself out of eating is very effective for weight loss. Stopping to ask questions makes people think twice before eating. Most people will usually end up eating a smaller portion or will replace the act of eating with another activity such as walking the dog, jogging, playing a sport, or doing some household chores. Sometimes it's even helpful to wait 15 or 20 minutes and then reassess your feelings of hunger. If you are still hungry, then you can eat. This helps ensure that you only eat out of hunger, not for emotional reasons.

3. Deep breathing techniques

Incorporating deep breathing techniques into the sessions of self-hypnosis can mentally prepare you for dieting. Deep breathing can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, which allows you to look at things positively. Many specialists believe that a positive outlook will motivate people to put in the effort to lose the extra pounds. Additionally, stress and anxiety are a big reason why people overeat, so reducing these will help avoid emotional eating.

Hypnosis is a natural technique that produces a state of deep relaxation and helps to improve your mood. Although hypnosis can aid in weight loss, it is not an all-encompassing method for maintaining your weight over time. In addition to hypnosis sessions, you should also follow a nutritious and balanced diet that will allow you to maintain a healthy weight over the long run.

Have you ever tried hypnosis? If yes, do share your experience with us. If not, would you try it?

Edited by Registered Dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide "Eat Your Way to Health — Secrets of a Healthy Diet".

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