Source: How hypnotherapy helped me beat my chocolate addiction

“A chocoholic has got her binges under control thanks to hypnotherapy. Sophie Kitching finds out how it works.

SHE was a self-confessed addict who would binge on chocolates and could easily polish off a whole box in one go.

Margaret Richardson would fill her boots with chocolate bars, chocolate biscuits and chocolate cake.

The chocoholic, of Cherry Burton, just could not get enough.

But now, Margaret has beaten her addiction – thanks to hypnotherapy.

“I was a chocolate addict,” said the 62-year-old. “I couldn’t go into a shop without coming out with chocolate.

“I could eat a box of chocolates in one go, no problem.

“I used to have binges when I would spend £5 on chocolate and eat the whole lot.”

The turning point came when Margaret, a hairdresser, got chatting to a customer, Linda Johnson, who recommended hypnotherapy.

Linda, a lifestyle and business coach, runs Release Your Potential, a firm that uses hypnotherapy to help people with a range of issues, such as phobias and weight-loss.

After attending just three sessions with Linda, Margaret said the results were remarkable.

“She puts you into a state of relaxation. You are not asleep and you remember everything that is going on,” said Margaret.

“She talks about what you like about chocolate and about something you wouldn’t like and what you wouldn’t eat and compares it to that,” said Margaret. “So it’s about having a different mindset.

“Once you have gone through it, if you stick to the techniques, it can be with you for a lifetime, I think.”

But now, Margaret has beaten her addiction – thanks to hypnotherapy.

“I was a chocolate addict,” said the 62-year-old. “I couldn’t go into a shop without coming out with chocolate.

“I could eat a box of chocolates in one go, no problem.

“I used to have binges when I would spend £5 on chocolate and eat the whole lot.”

The turning point came when Margaret, a hairdresser, got chatting to a customer, Linda Johnson, who recommended hypnotherapy.

Linda, a lifestyle and business coach, runs Release Your Potential, a firm that uses hypnotherapy to help people with a range of issues, such as phobias and weight-loss.

After attending just three sessions with Linda, Margaret said the results were remarkable.

“She puts you into a state of relaxation. You are not asleep and you remember everything that is going on,” said Margaret.

“She talks about what you like about chocolate and about something you wouldn’t like and what you wouldn’t eat and compares it to that,” said Margaret. “So it’s about having a different mindset.

“Once you have gone through it, if you stick to the techniques, it can be with you for a lifetime, I think.”

Nowadays, Margaret allows herself a little chocolate now and again but says the techniques Linda has taught her help limit the amount she eats.

“I would say for 15 to 18 months, I was absolutely unbelievably fantastic about it,” she said. “Then I started falling off the wagon but, once I started using the techniques again, I got it back under control.

“Whereas I would have had chocolate most days before, I probably only have it a couple of times a month now.”

After the treatment, Margaret managed to lose more than 1st. Now, she says she would recommend others to be open-minded about the treatment.

“I really didn’t think it would work,” she said. “I am surprised it worked with my chocolate and proud for Linda and myself.

“I do recommend it to people if they have a problem. It is another form of therapy.

“I think people should give it a go and be a bit more open-minded.”

Linda said the secret of hypnotherapy was in tapping into the subconscious.

“A little bit of chocolate every now and again, particularly a little bit of dark chocolate, is actually quite good for you,” she said.

“But Margaret was just heading straight down the chocolate aisle and filling her boots with chocolates, chocolate biscuits and chocolate cake and all the things your body doesn’t need.

“The first thing we did was to use hypnotherapy.

“Ninety per cent of what we do is subconsciously motivated, so, using hypnotherapy, we made her body understand that chocolate was not a good idea.

“I gave her a virtual gastric band to make her feel fuller quicker. This is where you trick the subconscious into believing that it has a real gastric band.

“It is very successful and it does work.”

Linda even worked on helping Margaret change the way she tasted chocolate.

“I dread to think what I said chocolate was made of when I was talking to Margaret,” she said.

“I certainly said it would leave a nasty taste in her mouth every time she ate chocolate and, of course, it does because that is what your mind thinks is going to happen.”

‘Overeating is an adopted coping strategy’

Linda Johnson, of Release Your Potential, says overeating is often part of a coping strategy to help deal with other issues.

She said: “I help people change the way they think and the way they approach things.

“Much of what I help people with are fears and phobias. I certainly work with a lot of people who are anxious.

“Quite a few of my clients suffer from anxieties and have adopted coping strategies.

“Eating too much really is just an adopted coping strategy – a way of dealing with a stressful situation.

“When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones and, when you eat or drink something you like, like chocolate or a glass of wine – I have got a lot of people drinking too much at the moment – then your stress hormone release is momentarily cut.

“It is switched off and you relax, so you continue to associate eating that chocolate or drinking that wine as relaxation, which is why your subconscious encourages you to do it.” ”

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