Connie Brannan, CHt. & Licensed Trainer of NLP® shares her personal and professional insights into success with weight management. Connie has used the tools of NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming and self hypnosis to transform herself:
It’s a Weighty Issue – Part I: Food Choice
It seems that a large percentage of the population is thinking about their weight and dieting at any given moment, reading about this new diet, that new food plan, purchasing diet products, and/or in the midst of dieting. Our weight truly is a national obsession.
So, why do diets and food plans fail so miserably to help people achieve a healthy weight and stay there? A “diet” is a conscious (thinking) endeavor. It involves analysis, logic, and willpower. That can’t cut it long term.
There’s more power in the mind beyond thinking. We are driven by unconscious (outside of awareness) desires.
We THINK we know why we do what we do. And we’d be wrong. Weight management and issues therein are a complex web beyond conscious choices They involve unconscious patterns of behaviors, and embedded beliefs about ourselves and the world that can limit us. These unconscious drivers are just that, unconscious, beyond our awareness. They get embedded in us and like a program installed on a computer they run and run and run.
What is the benefit of hypnotherapy for weight loss? We can actually get in there and address and change these patterns of unconscious behaviors and limiting beliefs. Update the programs running in us. Change how we feel and what we do. These changes lead to long-term sustained weight loss success and weight management.
Weight loss is a weighty issue. Yes, it is. There’s a lot involved. In my office working with clients we address a variety of changes that may be useful. I’m planning a series of essays which I intend to share here and on my blog, dealing with the issues hypnosis helps such as food choice, portion control, emotional eating, motivation to exercise, self image, negative self talk, limiting beliefs, time management and priorities, and more aspects of the weight management puzzle.
The number one change needed on everybody’s list is food choice — is there a predilection toward sugars and sweets? And/or too many carbs such as pasta, pizza, and potatoes? Not enough vegies? Drinking enough water? I’ve heard it all, uncontrollable attraction to unhealthy choices, such as cookies, chocolate, candy, cake, donuts, sugary sodas, French fries, chips, etc. And the gamut of ho-hum all the way to aversion responses to healthy choices.
Willpower alone can’t cut it! What is willpower? It activates during the “I want it” vs. “No, I’m not going to have it.” struggle. We’re torn between two competing desires. Willpower is the conscious mind taking control and activating a conscious decision. Usually, it’s the “no.” Willpower is weak. Willpower is difficult to maintain long term (yo-yo dieting proves this).
With skilled hypnosis, we erase the need for willpower altogether. Let me say that again. We get rid of any need for willpower. Willpower is forced to the surface when there’s a struggle. What if there were no struggle? What if your brain just said “no” automatically? There’d be no use for willpower and it wouldn’t even come into play. You’d just be doing something different because it feels right.
For example: I have no interest or desire to jump out of an airplane for sport. NONE. In fact, it’s not going to happen. It’s on my “no way” list. Do I obsess about jumping out of an airplane? Of course not. It never enters my mind. Do I struggle to force myself not to jump? Of course not. Do I jump? No. It’s not what I do. What if eating unhealthy became a “no” rather than a struggle? That’s what skilled hypnotherapy achieves. Will power goes back on the shelf. Don’t need it! We move beyond the willpower struggle.
Here are some of my client results/comments regarding activation of this change:
“Hi Connie, Just had to send along this spread of the party I was at last night. All of the things I find the hardest to resist! Meats, cheeses, bread, crackers, nuts. It was so nothing to me! I didn’t have ONE THING! And the best part was I didn’t WANT one thing!
It’s just so amazing to me. I am sure it’s “another day at the office” for you but, for me…oh my goodness it was so awesome to not obsess over having it or not…wow. Thank you!!!” – Lori H., Mercer Island, WA
Is her willpower in play? No. The craving for these particular food choices is gone.
“I’ve lost 40# in 4 months… My sweet tooth and chip obsession disappeared overnight. My self esteem skyrocketed. It’s been months since I’ve seen you and yet I’m still right on track with my goals.” E. – Seattle. Is her willpower in play? No.
“I don’t crave ice cream at all now! Or chocolate. I am in shock!!!”– Saliha B., Issaquah, WA. Is her willpower in play? No.
I hope you get the picture here. These people are not “dieting” to avoid sweets and “temptations” and they’re not struggling, they’re just automatically choosing different in ways that serve their weight management success. That’s what skilled hypnosis can do. Hypnosis creates the positive changes that move people by addressing and changing the unconscious patterns. No diet can do that.
It’s a Weighty Issue – Part II: When to Say When
I love helping people with weight loss. People come into my office and itemize their issues: what they eat, when they eat, why they eat (when they’re not hungry), how fast they eat, and all the accompanying aspects of self image and internal dialog, limiting beliefs, and so on. Many things need tweaking for success.
The topic of the moment is: Portion Control. When to say when. How to become attuned to the right amount of food for your body and energy needs. How to eat less and enjoy it more. Here is part two of my continuing essays on the various aspects of the “Weighty Issue” of weight loss and weight management, and the successes to be had through Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy.
Our mind has unconscious strategies for everything we do. How we act, how we think, what we choose, what we perceive as real. We acquire these strategies through learning. They become embedded in us like programs running on a computer, which we then call “habits.” Habits are learned, and they can be unlearned.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP–a conversational hypnosis) studies successful unconscious strategies, and we can grab, install, and live those strategies in ourselves. In studies of naturally slender people, we have successfully gathered naturally slender food strategies. Via NLP and hypnosis, we can install these into people who would benefit from them. This is a necessary piece of the work I do with clients! A client can adopt an unconscious new strategy and find themselves engaging in new behaviors without any mental effort.
We get clients in tune with physical hunger vs. emotional hunger. The mind can notice the difference. Emotional hunger is “fed” in new non-caloric ways. Physical hunger leads to a healthy choice strategy in the mind, meaning you’re more likely to reach for an apple rather than a cookie, a salad rather than a cheeseburger and fries. We implant a speed strategy, how fast to eat. Slowing it down is usually helpful. We implant a beverage of choice strategy: water! And then most importantly, we implant an exit strategy. When to STOP EATING. This is set at the point of satisfaction, when the body’s nutritional and energy needs are met in accordance with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
There are, sadly, desperate people out in the world who don’t realize the control they have over their own minds and bodies, and they go to bizarre extremes like surgeries that attempt to PHYSICALLY limit food intake. That’s not necessary! Installing new unconscious strategies with hypnosis creates better success, without the expense or health risks.
When it’s all said and done, the weight loss client finds themselves engaging in:
–Less emotional eating
It’s all good.
If your unconscious strategies (habits around food) need adjustment, it’s so much easier than you think to make healthy changes.
It’s a Weighty Issue, Part III: Let’s Get Moving
Beyond food choice and portion control, motivation to exercise is high up on the list of changes desired for weight management. “Let’s get physical, physical! I wanna get physical …” That song with its driving beat makes me think of movement. Working out. Active life. Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapy is a way to make it happen.
Patterns and habits are learned. And, if they don’t serve us, they can be re-learned differently, in ways that help.
The “magic” of NLP is, simply put: We can attach new feelings to any activity. What would it be like to be full of energy and motivation to exercise? What if exercise became something wonderful and pleasurable and eagerly anticipated? What if your mind simply said: “This is who I am and this is what I do”? Do you suppose it would be easier to increase your physical activity level?
Here’s one unwanted pattern that I often see with clients: couch potato. Are you one? That’s a person who has developed a habit of sitting around, watching TV or surfing the web, with a body at rest for hours at a stretch. Oftentimes, this is coupled with mindless eating. That’s a sure fire formula for obesity.
With hypnosis and NLP, we can change “I’m too lazy” and couch-potato habits into a new mindset about exercise. A new mindset leads to new behaviors. In our work, we create and install new, useful mindsets for exercise. Here are some examples:
–I love it. It’s fun.
–It’s my routine. It’s just who I am and what I do.
–I have to. (a sense of urgency and necessity)
A combination of any of the above.
New beliefs go with the new mindset:
–I’m an active person. I’m a healthy person. I have energy. I make the time to be physically active, as this is something wonderful for me. This is “me” time. I deserve healthy.
And new behaviors emerge:
I go to the gym. I go for walks. I find the time. I look for opportunities for movement, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking a little further from the store front, and so on.
Hypnosis (and in that word I include NLP) is a way to change your thinking and feeling and behaviors and beliefs to become who you want to be. It really is endlessly fascinating work as every person is different and their desires , beliefs and motivations are different. The game and the fun is finding what will work with each individual and installing those changes. This is why I often say hypnosis is an art form as much as it is a science.
Motivation to be active physically is just one piece of this puzzle, within a larger framework of healthy changes. Everyone on the planet knows how to lose weight. It’s a very simple and well-documented formula. Eat less, make healthy choices, and be more active. What stops you? We find out and we address those things and create new habits. The power of hypnosis and NLP is that they are tools that encourage new healthy behaviors, and help people automate those choices.
You can also find out more general information of the successes to be had with these mind technologies of hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming here:
All material contained herein is Copyright © Connie Brannan, CHt. and may not be reproduced without permission.