Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Q & A Hypnosis and Weight Loss

The following question was received 2/9/07 in response to my 1/15/07 posting, "Hypnosis--The Best Weight Loss Supplement":


I am very interested in the way hypnosis works for helping me improve my eating behaviors. I have tried diet pills, calorie counting, exercise plans... you name it! My question is, does the hypnosis continue to effect my everyday thinking for a long time, or is this something I will need to continue for the rest of my life to keep my mind in that state?



This is an excellent question. Let me first start my answer by stating that research has yet to pin down exactly how hypnosis works works with the brain to promote weight loss. However, research does offer strong research support that hypnosis does in fact promote successful weight loss (Pittler and Ernst, 2005).

That being said, the answer to your question lies somewhere between both extremes you've mentioned. Some hypnotic suggestions do in fact stay with the listener for a very long time (or even permenantly) after just 1 or 2 listenings. Certain suggestions promote immediate insight and impact with particular listeners, depending on the listener's background, way of thinking, and other personal, individual factors.

However, other suggestions from hypnosis can take numerous listenings to truly "sink in" and create the desired effect. Certain suggestions by nature are slow to connect with particular people and will not last without help. Reasons for this include a lack of understanding of certain suggestions, outside environmental stressors, physiological limitations, and/or any addictive payoffs to maintain poor dietary habits (called"secondary gains"). In such cases, repeated listenings to the hypnosis CDs over time in combination with a research-based behavioral weight loss ideas should help overcome these limitations.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to accept and utilize all of the suggestions in a particular hypnosis session. Is is only necessary to accept enough of them to construct the weight loss mindset and lifestyle changes necessary for success. In fact, rejecting some suggestions can actually show healthy critical thinking and discrimination.

This being said, a certain profile of success has emerged with my successful hypnosis subjects for weight loss using my 8-session CD program ( They usually listen to their CDs daily until they notice a "weight loss mindset" developing, followed by emotional and behavioral changes. This initial daily listening period usually ranges between 2 weeks to 2 months. Then, after some initial weight loss and attitude improvment, the listenings are spread out to a few times a week, to a few times a month, and finally to whenever necessary (usually once every 1-2 months). These final follow up sessions can go on for 6-12 months or so, depending on the progress. During this time and afterwards, typical successful users of my program lose about 1-2 pounds a week until they meet their target weight.

After a succesful weight loss lifestyle is finally created, any further CD brush ups are on an "as needed" basis. So, no, listeners shouldn't have to listen for the rest of their lives to create and maintain their weight loss success. I have not seen the need to listen to the CDs for many years, and certainly not for "the rest of your life". Eventually, this weight loss mindset generated through hypnosis turns into a permenant weight loss lifestyle. Having a "weight loss lifestyle" is what is necessary to lose the weight and keep it off, which is what hypnosis promotes. This is also why most non-hypnosis diet approaches fail: they require a lifestyle that people don't wish to maintain.

My response was a little lone winded, but I hope it answers your question. I wish everyone well in their weight loss journey!

Pittler, M.H., & Ernst, E. (2005). Complimentary therapies for reducing body weight: A systematic review. International Journal of Obesity, 29, 1030-1038.

1 comment:

Emme Foroe said...

Compulsion in Consent-Part 1

"Is there such a thing as compulsion? Definitely. How does it come about? Generally through three stages: consent, act and habit."

Hypnosis works because of this reality. The repetition is necessary because we allow the notion to sear onto the subconscience mind becoming an almost compulsion. But since your mind has a free will, this will only work the more you hear it. Repetition is particularly necessary - if you're a bit of a rebel. Why do you think advertisements are drilled into us? And why do you think they are targeted to our base instincts? Those are the primary instincts that control us. Sex, Power, and Food. People use these 3 to sell us things that trick us into believing we NEED that product to be sexier, more incontrol, more beautiful (power) and be satisfied and full. Also, they trick us into believing that it will solve our troubles and make life more abundant. Only God can make life fulfililng, because earth is temporary. We are meant to participate in life.

Because the mind does act the way it does, hypnosis can work for our benefit in weight loss, et. al.

See ArchBishop Fulton Sheen's writing on compulsions freewill and contentment.