Hypnosis for Body Image

Source : http://www.refinery29.com/hypnotherapy-body-image

“Everyone gets stuck sometimes. I regularly get emails from people who feel as though they’ve hit a wall, whether it’s in the intuitive eating process, in eating disorder recovery, or just in attempting to change their food and fitness behaviors. Because I get stuck all the time myself, I’ve learned that there’s a common-denominator issue underneath all these other issues: body acceptance. Yes, there are myriad triggers and causes behind our individual histories, but the bottom line is that, unless you can find a way to accept (even if you don’t like) your body, it is virtually impossible to change the way you feed and move it. So, when I get stuck, I know the way out begins with rolling up my sleeves and jump-starting the ol’ body-image engine.

This fall, finding myself in need of a good jump-start, I decided to try something new and slightly scary: hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis has been dogged by controversy and myths ever since 18th-century doctor Franz Mesmer first began using it to treat patients (first in private, then on stage). But the truth is that the hypnotic state is totally natural and requires no trickery. You know that almost-asleep phase you hit right before nodding off? Or when you find yourself driving down the highway on autopilot? That’s it. In this state, your mind is at its most suggestible, but you’re in no way unconscious. The magic of hypnosis is that it allows suggestions to cross the barrier between conscious and sub-conscious, rooting them deeply into your mind.

“Essentially, hypnosis works by shifting negative beliefs about ourselves at the subconscious level,” says Theresa Walker, C.Ht., the hypnotherapist I began working with in September. Because it’s such a powerful tool for changing behavior and thought patterns, hypnotherapy is often used for things like quitting smoking, managing anxiety and compulsions, improving concentration, etc. Walker is particularly invested in body image work, since changing self-perception is such an enormous challenge for so many people.

“What I’ve learned is that it’s usually a call for a strengthening of self-worth,” she says. “I always start by becoming clear on what my client’s definition of improved body image and self-acceptance would mean for them, because it’s different for everyone.” Then, once Walker and a client have clearly defined their goals, Walker introduces those ideas during hypnosis, planting them in the fertile ground of subconsciousness. “The change starts first within the mind,” concludes Walker, “and ultimately manifests in conscious, awake life.”

That’s my kind of magic.

I did my first session with Walker in her Los Angeles office, where she walked me through a series of suggestibility tests — noting that, while everyone can be hypnotized, we all have different ways of taking in information. The fact that she made hypnosis sound not unlike those “learning style” tests from elementary school was oddly comforting. (I’d been looking forward to this for weeks, but upon entering this cozy, quiet room, I found myself suddenly nervous.)

Next, we got into goals.

“Um, body image,” I said. “Like, a better one.”

I now realize how absurd my expectations were, but I kind of thought Walker would just have the magic words to address my personal sense of self-perception and reinforce my specific body-image goals. But though she is highly trained and experienced, she couldn’t literally pop open my mind and look around. I’d have to actually do some of the work. A lot, in fact.
This is what’s so great (and so annoying) about hypnotherapy — about all therapy, but much more so in this particular process. It forces you to get specific about the issue you want to address and really envision what success would look like. I started by launching into my general history, but with each query, Walker led me deeper into the details. What is it I don’t like about my body — or that specific body part? What is it about my stomach I don’t like? When and how do I criticize my stomach? What does that critical voice say? Whose voice does it sound like? How would I like to feel about my stomach? No really, what are the words?

It took forever.

Once we’d mapped out my suggestibility, overall goals, and specifics to focus on in that first session, Walker eased me into hypnosis. I quickly understood what Walker had meant when she described hypnotherapy as “a permission-given” therapy. “The truth is, when you are in hypnosis, you’re in control the entire time. You will never do or say anything you don’t want to,” says Walker. “Everyone has the ability to be hypnotized — but it is a willing state. You have to allow it.”

I was still nervous, but having talked to Walker for over an hour, I felt comfortable enough to allow myself to ease into that not-quite-sleeping state of relaxation, guided by her voice and instructions. It was both strange and totally comfortable, like being in a deep dream state, yet simultaneously aware that you’re sitting in a chair, in an office, on a Tuesday afternoon.

The session began with a simple visualization of walking down a path in a peaceful environment (the details of which Walker directed me to select to suit my preference). She wove in the language and intentions we’d discussed, anchoring them in symbolic visuals and actions for me to take within the scene. There were bonfires into which I threw old, unnecessary behaviors, and a glass full of liquid self-assurance or something. As with a dream, it was difficult to recall the details after I “woke up.” But the feeling of calm and clarity resonated in me for days.
Have you ever said something to yourself aloud, just before sleep, in an effort to remember it in the morning? I do that trick sometimes, saying, “laptop” or “phone charger” to myself, and, upon waking, the thought pops up instantly, as if I’d left it on my bedside table. That’s what it was like after my first hypnotherapy session, and each of the sessions that followed.

Looking in the mirror, I’d think, Oh right, I accept and appreciate myself, just as I am in this moment. It wasn’t as if I had instant, totally positive body image after one session (or even after six). But the habits and thought patterns I consciously strived to ingrain in my mind were made more accessible. Though these moments of self-acceptance weren’t totally automatic, all of a sudden they weren’t as much of a stretch, either.

I did the rest of my sessions with Walker back in New York, via Skype. I was surprised to find that falling into hypnosis was even easier via this medium, perhaps because I could do it while in the comfort of my own home (and sweatpants). What was not surprising was just how many other subjects arose during our sessions. After all, body image is interlocked with so many other personal issues: stress, relationships, childhood, parents. When one of those emotional minefields got tweaked, I could immediately see the aftershocks rippling through my perception of my body. And with each hypnotherapy session, Walker helped me to take a closer look at all those areas, too. But no matter what we worked on, I always left a session feeling more clear and grounded in myself. Funny that diving so deep into my own head is what helped me get out of it.

It was as if my mental path had been swept clean of those needless, nagging thoughts and patterns I kept getting stuck on. Each time I came out of hypnosis, I found that I could move more easily and see where I needed to go.

Hypnotherapy isn’t a spell that makes everything better with a few magic words. It’s a process that teaches you to find your own magic words — and remember them. It’s not a party trick; no one’s going to make you run around barking and acting like a dog. If anything, hypnotherapy is a tool that lets you be yourself, achieve your goals, and free yourself from all the old nonsense that’s keeping you stuck.

Maybe it sounds like a shortcut — and maybe it is. But, really, what’s so wrong with a shortcut when you know exactly where it is you want to go?”

Article written by

Kelsey Miller



The Truth About Sugar Documentary 2015 – YouTube

A brilliant documentary which I recommend to all my weight loss clients.

The Truth About Sugar BBC Documentary


Sugar is not, I repeat not, very good for you but you probably knew that.

In a new BBC documentary called The Truth About… Sugar,  Fiona Phillips decided to take a look at just how harmful sugar actually is. Fiona meets scientists, sugar junkies and people from the food industry to figure out just how dangerous our favourite substance is.

‘I heard a news bulletin the other day from the government’s lead person on childhood cancer and he said if our kids continue eating junk food and fizzy drinks at the rate they are then they’re going to be the first generation to die before us,’ Fiona said. ‘I thought that was so shocking. How can manufacturers be allowed to make a can of Coke with nine teaspoons of sugar it when the daily allowance is six?!’

The problem lies, according to the documentary, not in naturally occuring sugars but instead in ‘free’ and ‘refined’ sugars. ‘You need to watch out for sugar OUT of it’s natural sources,’ Says Fiona. ‘Once removed from it’s natural sources, we’re liable to eat way more of the stuff .’

So what damage can overeating sugar do? ‘It’s packed with pure energy, but no nutrients,’ explains Fiona. ‘So, if you’re packing loads of sugar away and you’re not burning that energy off it’s leading to obesity, it’s leading to type 2 diabetes, liver diesases… Since you can’t burn it off it gets stored as fat and then if it doesn’t get stored as fat then it starts getting stored in your organs and it can be horrendous.’


What’s even worse is that our brains are actually hard-wired to crave sugar. ‘There’s a receptor in your brain that lights up and makes you feel good and it makes you want more sugar. We’re hard-wired to crave all energy giving food because it keeps us going but sugar is just empty energy; it doesn’t have nutrients.’

And it’s not just food to watch out for; obviously Coke and sports drinks are big offenders but other drinks you might not have considered like ginger beer (six of more teaspoons per can) and sweetened water (same per bottle). Also, seemingly healthy drinks… ‘Those Innocent smoothies!’ Says Fiona. ‘I used to think “What would keep me going through the day that’ll give me a bit of nutrition?” And then halfway though the morning I’d have a massive slump and it’s because there’s so much sugar in those smoothies! When you’re overeating sugar, your body is really struggling to get enough insulin out to deal with the sugar and that’s why your pancreas can eventually stop working.’

So what needs to happen to make people sit up and take notice? Fiona reckons it’s the food manufacturers that need to take responsibility. ‘There’s a bit of the interview I did with a woman from a food manufacturer in the programme and I sat there and grilled her for half an hour and she just played the safe thing saying: “Well, you know sugar isn’t bad for you if it’s not taken in large amounts and blah blah blah…” But they need to take responsibility!’ More supermarkets need to up their labelling game, too, ‘It takes me two hours to do a shop because I’m studying food packets and I shouldn’t have to do that. Everyone should be made to adhere to that traffic light system that Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer do so we all know that if we see a “red” by fat or salt or sugar you should not be buying it. But more to the point they shouldn’t be making it.’

Weight Loss and Dieting.. Why it doesn’t work.

Hypnotherapy for weight loss. Why diets don’t work
Your body doesn’t recognise health risks of being overweight, but it does recognise starvation. The body is not designed to be fed on refined sugars and processed foods. In the wild, without weapons, we are strategy hunters; we stalk our prey relentlessly until it collapses or weakens. You would probably eat once or twice a day and much of the food would be vegetarian. Your body would store any surplus energy as fat to help you through the winter and in the wild this would never lead to excess.
Now we have access to much more food and we don’t need to exercise to get it, your body still hasn’t adjusted. Health issues related to being overweight are just not recognised by your body, which thinks it is being helpful to your survival by laying down more and more stores of fat. The more often you go without food, the more your body worries that you may starve, even when it has excess amounts of fat already, so as soon as it gets the chance, it lays down even more for you. This is the vicious cycle of dieting.
So the trick is to eat less but don’t worry your body about starving. It is good to feel hungry as this is an indicator that your body is getting low on ready supplies of food in the blood stream, and indeed, is a sign that your fat stores are beginning to be used. Dieting is a balance between allowing a small amount of body fat to be used each day, whilst satisfying your body that you are not starving. Foods that are high in sugar and fat are more appealing when you are very hungry and you will be more likely to reach for them if you don’t eat during the day. These foods are very easy to obtain and eat and it is their convenience that motivates you to reach for them rather than taking the time and effort that eating more healthily may take. That is the only effort you need to put in. You do need to ensure that you have healthy foods available to you and that you like these foods. Any diet where you feel you are denying yourself and that is too much effort will not be sustained.
It is good to spread your daily calorie intake spread over the whole day, rather than eating the majority of food at night, which then converts to more fat while you sleep. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and puts you back in connection with those hunger/fullness hormones. When you starve, eventually you stop registering those hunger pangs as your body can be kind at times and it seems to accept that if you have no access to food, it is not good to feel the pain of starvation constantly. Get back in connection with these feelings and look to eat an hour or so after you begin to feel the hunger. Eat as early as you can in the morning (you don’t have to feel hungry). High sugar foods lead to you being hungrier, quicker, as they increase the release of insulin which speeds up the process of fat storage. Sugars locked in more complex carbs which are found in fruit and veg, wheat, grains and pulses are much better as your body has to spend more time and energy in breaking these down.
Eat smaller portions. Using a smaller plate will help with this or make it a new habit to always leave something on the plate. Changing habits can feel uncomfortable at first, as you are naturally programmed to stay the same and cravings are simply a reminder that you had an old habit. Accept all cravings as being simply a reminder and thank them for their ‘help’. Then tell them that you are changing to regain that feeling of being more energetic and healthy; that this is now a value in your life and although in the past that value may have, you want to change now and new habits need to be set.
Exercise is not only good for your weight, but also the most important singular thing you can do for your overall health and well being. Do an exercise that you enjoy, but also look to increase the amount you walk each day by doing some very simple things such as parking your car further away from where you need to go or using stairs rather than lifts. Some people find it useful to use a pedometer to increase their steps. Use basic weights to increase muscle strength, as the more muscle you have, the faster you use energy. There is some evidence that just 5 minute bursts of exercise can be as effective as our long sessions and anything you do to increase your activity is great.
Have an overall goal in mind and a clear picture of how you would like to look and feel in the long term, but also have some smaller stage goals so you can see progression and get more pleasure from the journey. What would you like to have achieved in 3 months, 6 months and 1 year? If the end result is too distant it can affect your motivation, so look for, and feel pleased with the steps along the way.
Using hypnotherapy can help change your old attitudes towards eating and address any emotional attachments that may bind you into unhealthy eating patterns.

Gastric Band Hypnosis

Gastric Band Hypnosis

I have noticed a recent increase in people wishing to loss weight through hypnosis and particularly the gastric band techniques. These techniques have had a recent surge of interest through the press and many people do indeed regain control of their eating habits in this way.

I offer 2 different approaches weigh loss for my clients.

You can chose between a one off 2.5 hour session which covers all aspects of your issue and concludes with a virtual gastric band fitting, or a more comprehensive 3 – 4 session package which looks at other related emotional and personal issues before the fitting of the band. The choice really depends on how deep rooted you feel your eating problems are and if you are looking for increased motivation and belief, or looking for a deeper understanding or self.

I would recommend you simply give me a call and we can look at what is best for you, or if you would prefer, email me for more information. It is important that you feel comfortable with any therapist as this will increase the effectiveness of treatment so do feel free to ask me any questions.