Are You Confused About Your Relationship With Food? In my last newsletter I discussed how to maintain an ideal body weight. In this latest newsletter I shall discuss where our eating habits come from and how hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming can help you to lose and maintain a healthy body weight. Oftentimes our eating habits are established as children. Children are susceptible to imprinting from authority figures such as parents and teachers and whatever has been imprinted can remain programmed in the subconscious mind all our lives unless they are changed (or reprogrammed) through hypnosis. I know as a child growing up in the UK I was told to “eat it all up” as there are many people starving in the world! We are offered food for comfort from birth, whether it is breast or bottle and this is often perpetuated by parents and caregivers who will give a child food such as sweet and biscuits when they are hurt or upset. We also get into the habit of eating certain types of food be it from our culture or simply following the good or bad habits of our parents. Some people simply overeat; It usually fills a need – sometimes to compensate for an unpleasant experience, lack of love and intimacy, or to suppress grief, anger, anxieties or other emotions such as fear, frustration or boredom and even to avoid sex. People who have been sexually abused as children sometimes (not all the time) will subconsciously make themselves unattractive to avoid sexual attention . Others overeat simply to reward themselves, to entertain themselves or even to be noticed. Hypnosis can be very effective in helping you to lose and maintain a healthy body weight . It does not, however, work miracles. It is not a magic bullet that immediately makes you love exercise. It is a deep state of relaxation and intense mental focus that can help you re-programme old attitudes and beliefs about eating. Some of these messages seem pretty simple, and they are. It’s just where they reside that makes the difference. Suggestions such as “you eat only in response to your body’s natural need for food as fuel” or “you’ll feel completely satisfied with three small nutritious meals a day” or “your enjoyment of a regular exercise programme grows with each time you visit the gym”. Repetition of these suggestions can boost your determination and enhance your conscious willpower, when you have such a desire. Mental imagery is another important part of hypnosis. Whilst in a hypnotic state, I will lead you through an imaginary journey seeing yourself in clothes that you have grown out of. You might imagine the positive comments of friends or co-workers. You might be encouraged to use all five senses to experience yourself growing thinner, stronger and healthier. Studies show that the more real your inner experience, the more likely the final results will match your mental imagery. Imagination is the language of the subconscious mind; Your brain does not know the difference between what is real and not real; Every thought that you have changes your physiology and in imagining that which you want you are reprogramming your mind, creating new neural pathways (or thought patterns). Self-hypnosis is another powerful tool to re-enforce suggestions and imagery. I give out many different cds for my clients to listen to at home and they are supported when I am not with them. Regression techniques are valuable in helping you understand why you eat when you are not hungry and you can begin to change that behaviour. Another benefit of regression is to identify and understand beliefs and feelings about food and body image which you may not be aware of consciously. One negative belief a person can have is “everyone in my family is fat, it is in my genes, therefore I cannot change”. This is a negative belief that has a secondary gain which means you don’t have to “try to lose weight”. But, and it is a big but, hypnosis alone is not enough. It takes a combination of behavioural modification and understanding to achieve a permanent healthy eating pattern. The trick is to eat enough of the right foods so you are not hungry. Food is not the enemy – hunger is the enemy! When we are hungry we want something instantly and we grab the first available food which is quick and easy such as starches and junk foods. If you plan and prepare and eat small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day to keep hunger at bay you can then make healthy sensible choices. It is not necessary to cut out chocolate entirely – just eat a whole lot less of them! Increased energy levels will motivate you to exercise which in turn increases those feel-good hormones. In this way you are developing new habits for life. The loss may be slow but it will be a healthy loss without deprivation. Remember! Most of us do not put that excess weight on overnight so it is wise not to expect to lose it overnight! When we are in a hurry to lose the weight and our focus is on “loss” then we spiral into that “on a diet” “off a diet” way of thinking. You don’t have to diet; you just need to change your diet! It takes just as much effort to remain in a body you say you don’t want or to alter your thinking process to one of a new thin, slim, trim body. The subconscious mind does not care what is implanted into it’s fertile soil and will act out accordingly with just as much effort. The agenda is to change the thought processes, both consciously and subconsciously. Uniting both minds on the same wavelength for positive results. The first step is to make that decision to change your relationship with food. The second step is to book an appointment with me today so that I can help you get where you want to be! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘phone 07708 961073 to book your first session. I hope you have a blessed Christmas and New Year and if you are travelling you have a safe journey.