How does hypnosis for weight loss work, and is it effective?
Losing weight with hypnosis is another tool in the arsenal of people wanting to lose weight. But is it really true? Isn’t hypnosis something that you see at fairs and on variety shows, a cheap theater trick but not a real thing?
It turns out it is real. Over the last 50 years, extensive research has been done by reputable universities like Stanford proving the effectiveness of hypnosis. Stanford uses medical hypnosis to help patients with pain management, smoking control, and stress management to name just a few examples.
Hypnosis is powerful. In an experiment done at a Harvard University medical facility, people were hypnotized to see color in paintings that only had shades of gray.
ABC nightline featured the case of a morbidly obese woman who lost 40 pounds in 6 months due to a special hypnosis for weight loss (gastric bypass hypnosis). See the short video (5 min) here.
In this gastric bypass weight loss hypnosis, the hypnotist walks the patient through an imaginary stomach bypass surgery so that the mind imagines that the stomach actually shrank. The patient knows that she did not have surgery, but it still influenced the subconscious mind so that the weight loss was all natural for her. She did not feel deprived. After her weight loss hypnosis she simply could not eat that much anymore.
Another woman lost 150 pounds and shrank from a body size 24 to a size 4 as shown in this short Fox News video (4 min) on the gastric bypass weight loss hypnosis!
Note that the gastric bypass weight loss hypnosis is just a special form of hypnosis for weight loss. There are many forms of hypnoses for weight loss out there, and most of them don’t require you to imagine a surgery.
What is Hypnosis?
To talk about hypnosis we need to talk about our mind. Our mind consists of two parts, the conscious part and the subconscious part. The conscious mind is what we identify as “us”, the part where we tend to “live”. It is estimated that the conscious part of our mind makes up only 10% to 20% of the mind’s capacity. It is in many aspects, the tip of the iceberg.
The subconscious mind is everything else. It controls all the automatic processes that we don’t think about, like our heart rate, breathing, and so on. But it also controls our emotions and our habits. This explains why it is so difficult to change behavior.
We may read an article saying that eating all that chocolate is not good for us and it makes sense (at least to the conscious mind), but the subconscious mind is not so easily accessible through logic. Chocolate may not be good for us, but we have many good memories eating chocolate and remember how it made us feel. That’s why it can be so difficult to resist that chocolate bar.
Hypnosis works by bypassing the conscious mind and directly accessing the subconscious mind, changing the way we feel about things and thus affecting our behavior.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
There are 2 requirements for a person to be hypnotized:
- The person must want to be hypnotized
- The person must eventually feel comfortable and relaxed
Typically the goal of hypnosis is to put the subject into a state of relaxed trance. A trance is similar to a relaxed sleep in that the conscious is sleeping, but different to simply sleeping, the subconscious is highly open to suggestions.
The most common method nowadays used for hypnosis is progressive relaxation and imagery. You sit in a comfortable sofa, and by speaking in a slow, soothing voice, the hypnotist first relaxes you and then slowly brings you into the trance state.
Once you are in that trance state, the hypnotist can suggest the things that you want to change. For example, “You don’t like the taste of chocolate. After eating one or two pieces you will feel full and sick,” or whatever you want to change in yourself.
If you have done meditation in the past, this should sound familiar to you. In meditation you sit in a comfortable posture focusing on your breathing, for example until you forget everything else. Self-hypnosis also employs this method. In self-hypnosis you have to sit down in a comfortable chair and listen to a CD that speaks slowly and in a soothing way (often with some relaxing background music) to get you to relax, and when you are relaxed, the self-hypnosis CD will say those things that you want to change in yourself.
Hypnosis For Weight Loss, What Kinds Are There?
There are two different kinds of weight loss hypnoses. There is self-hypnosis, as explained above, that you do in the privacy of your home. There are ample CDs and books available on Amazon for anyone interested in self-hypnosis.
Another type of hypnosis for weight loss is the classical hypnosis done by an experienced hypnotist. As the videos above have shown, hypnosis can be extremely powerful for losing weight. And the concern that a hypnotist might make us do something that we don’t want to is the stuff of movies, but if you are concerned, there is an easy solution. Take a friend or family member with you to the hypnotist. He/she can watch over you, while the hypnotist changes your subconscious to help you lose weight.
And hopefully you will have the same amazing weight loss that the women in the above videos had!