3 January 2019
Most of us would like to lose weight. It may be just a few pounds, or even more. We want to improve our health and wellbeing by eating better and taking more exercise. It could be noticing our clothes feel a bit tighter, or not having as much energy anymore. It may be there’s an important presentation or event coming up and we want to feel more confident.
Whatever the reason, in our overloaded lives, our weight is often the first casualty. Getting home late from work means we have neither the time or energy to exercise or prepare healthy food. Even though we know if will make us feel better, we can’t seem to find the motivation to take that first step. Or we can find ourselves comfort eating to make up for not getting a break at work or for not having enough time for ourselves.
Often, we will turn to a diet. But they are rarely the answer. Crash diets only work in the short term and usually lead to more weight gain. Strict diets are difficult to stick to when we have a busy working life and need a steady release of energy to get through the day. Dieting often slows down the metabolic rate (the speed at which the body uses up the fuel from food). When we dramatically reduce what we eat, the body goes into “famine alert” and slows down to make the most of the food it is receiving. All of this can leave us heavier and unhappier than when we started.
Add to this our self critical thoughts about not being able to stick to a diet with feelings about our bodies not being good enough and we can end up caught in a vicious cycle of futile dieting, self criticism and comfort eating.
Hypnotherapy can help break this cycle. Studies have shown that combining hypnosis and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) has helped clients lose more weight and keep it off for longer.
When I work with clients who want to lose weight, we look at your life as a whole to find what works for you. We look at your thoughts and feelings around food; your habits and motivation. Once we understand you and your patterns, we have the key to making lasting changes. Using a combination of hypnotherapy, CBT and mindfulness we work together to put strategies in place to empower you to lose weight and create a healthier mindset.
Here are five strategies that help clients lose weight.
It is easier to achieve our goals when we can picture them clearly. Try to imagine all the details of your life once you have lost weight; what you will look like, what you will be doing and how you will feel. It helps to list all the benefits of changing. Keep your list somewhere you can see it every day such as on your fridge, phone or computer screen. This will help remind you why you are making these changes. Frequent reminders will make your goal easier to achieve.
Keeping a food diary can be the first step to understanding and changing our eating habits. A food diary helps you to understand what you are eating and why. Keep your food diary for two weeks to get a full picture and note everything you eat or drink, the time and what was happening. At the end of the fortnight you will have a picture of your diet, what triggers overeating and you will be able to see what progress you are making. This can help motivate you while you are trying to make difficult changes in your life.
Losing weight is about learning to trust your innate abilities. Think of it like learning to ride a bicycle. You may not remember how scary it was the first time you tried to cycle on two wheels. It was something you really wanted to achieve and so you kept on practicing until you could just do it, without thought or effort. Losing weight is the same. You may have lots of stops and starts, but once you get going it becomes second nature. It’s just a matter of finding your balance.
Imagine eating healthily for a day helps you visualise the steps to becoming the person who eats healthily. Find a picture of yourself at a comfortable weight and remember what you were doing differently then. Now imagine rekindling those habits. Or you could imagine getting advice from a future older, wiser self who has managed to lose weight.
Often we eat when we are not hungry. Mindful eating is just paying attention when we are eating. Once a week try eating mindfully. Sit at a table, eating from a plate, with no distractions around you. Take your time to notice the food you’re eating and to slow down your eating speed. This gives your stomach time to send signals to your brain that you’re full. Notice all the sensations as you eat and pay particular attention to the feeling of fulness in your stomach.
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