Is your unconscious mind sabotaging your weight management plans?

This week’sWeight loss self sabotage prevention weight management blog focuses on the secret saboteur that may be preventing you from making progress.

Many people that choose hypnotherapy for weight management have tried many diets, exercise regimes, boot-camps and gyms. Although they tend to work initially, weeks, months or even years later people find themselves back at square one.

Being able to maintain the changes seems to be elusive for some people and once we are on the diet rollercoaster it is difficult to get off. This can lead us to believe that we can’t lose weight or that in some way we have failed.

Find your saboteur.

Hypnotherapy can help you uncover and address the reasons why your powerful unconscious mind may override your conscious efforts to control your weight.

Our relationship with food is often complex. Food can unconsciously represent many things to us – company, comfort, security, fun, among others.

Despite our best efforts, if our unconscious mind continues to tell us that eating or drinking makes us feel better it can be difficult to consciously change those patterns. Of course the irony is often that eating and drinking means that you put on weight which leads to feelings of stress that leads to eating again to make yourself feel better.

Get off the merry go round.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy can help you increase your motivation, confidence and self-esteem whilst removing the unconscious drivers that keep you from eating healthily.

Once your unconscious is on the same page as your unconscious mind you have the perfect combination to move you forward towards a natural and healthy weight that is easy to maintain.

In a 9-week study of two weight management groups (one using hypnosis and one not using hypnosis), the hypnosis group continued to get results in the two-year follow-up, while the non-hypnosis group showed no further results (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1985).

I hope you have found this series of blogs useful, do let us know how you get on as we love feedback.

If you have another subject that you would like us to feature do get in touch and we will do our best to provide you with techniques and tips that can help.

Do More Exercise

This weeks’ weight management blog focuses on exercise. Before you burst into tears because you’ve already tried it all, this isn’t about joining a gym, boot-camp or committing yourself to do 30 minutes of structured exercise in your already busy day.

This is about using what you already do in a more efficient way. Most of us do far more exercise than we are aware of we just have to maximise it.

Sunray Hypnotherapy Weight Loss

Obstacles to exercise

Despite knowing the many benefits that we get from exercise, most of us still see it as a chore. Common obstacles include not having enough time, exercise being too painful or difficult, being too tired, being too unhealthy to start, exercise being boring etc.

However to gain the benefits of exercise, you don’t need to devote hours to it or start a new regime. If you’re not ready or can’t commit to a structured exercise program, consider  physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a single task that you need to check off your to do list.

Everyday Exercise

Review your daily routine, you probably do more than you think you do. Even small activities can add up over a day.

Cleaning the house, tidying the garden, vacuuming or taking a walk around the block are all exercise. Use the mindfulness technique that you used last week to focus on your muscles and the parts of your body that you are using and then just increase the effort you put into it a bit.

The key to making exercise a habit is to commit to a little every day. Even if you don’t have time for structured exercise you can adapt your daily routine to be more effective.

Use your head

Still feeling unsure that you can increase your exercise and make a difference to your body? You may find the following study interesting, published in August 2011 in the journal Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology, a group of forty-three sports students were randomly assigned to one of four groups.

One group did real muscle contractions. Three groups combined real and imaginary contractions in ratios of either 1 real to 3 imaginary, 2 real to 2 imaginary, or 3 real and 1 imaginary.

The students “were instructed to imagine maximal contraction efforts as vividly as possible, using kinesthetic imagery (‘you should imagine the sensation associated with a contraction effort, but your muscles must stay relaxed’).” Observers checked to make sure that the imaginary contractions were not accompanied by small muscle movements. At the end of each workout session, the students rated the vividness of their kinesthetic images on a scale from 1 (no imagery could be performed) to 5 (vivid imagery could be performed). There was also a control group who did no exercise at all.

Results showed that imaginary contractions can have similar effects to the real thing. So next time you think you don’t have time to do physical exercise then use your mind instead.

Next week: What happens if nothing seems to work?

Mindfulness for Weight Management

Following on from last week’s blog about weight management and changing the language we use to our advantage, this week I’ll be introducing you to mindful eating and why it can make a huge difference to not only what we eat but also to the amount we eat.

Mindfulness for weight managementWhat is mindful eating?

Often what we eat is based on habit – a chocolate bar after lunch, a snack when we get in from work. Our food consumption is often so habitual that we aren’t even aware that we have eaten until after we have finished.

The aim of mindful eating is to break these habits. It interrupts our autopilot and helps us savour our food and eat slower. With practice it can also help you re-tune into what your body really needs.

Years of dieting, of conflicting advice about the best way to eat can leave our bodies out of sync meaning that we continue to eat when we are full and refrain from eating when we are hungry just because our latest diet says we have to.

How about getting back in balance so you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are full and still achieve your weight management goals? Mindful eating can help you feel more in control and prevent you from stress eating.

So how do you do eat mindfully?

Although I get a reaction from most clients when I say this – turn off your TV or laptop, put the paper down turn your Kindle off  just stop doing whatever you are doing and focus on your food.  Eating should be your focus  not a secondary activity.

Eat more slowly. If you are eating in company match your pace with the slowest eater. Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Try eating with your non dominant hand. Studies show that by slowing down we can reduce how much we eat by a whopping 30%. This could be due to the fact that when we eat, it normally takes 20 minutes for food to get from the stomach to the ileum -the final part of the small intestine causing the release of PYY (a peptide) and the message to the brain, “I’m full”.

Focus, focus, focus – use all of your senses while eating. Commit to each mouthful fully, smell it, look at it, examine the texture, colour and shape of each mouthful. Once you’ve done that then taste it. Do you like or do you love it? If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.

If you find yourself zoning out just keep bringing your attention back to what you are doing.

Mindfulness takes practice but the benefits are huge as it can lead to sensible eating that ultimately means that you maintain a healthy weight for the long term without formal dieting.

How to make a new habit stick

How many times have you tried making changes in your life, a habit change or learning a new skill, only to find that you run out of steam or get discouraged and give up.

So how do you make a new habit or behaviour stick? Go slowly and make the change a little bit at a time. If for example you are feeling inspired after watching the Olympics to get your bike out of the shed after a year of neglect don’t try to ride the Tour de France on your first ride out.

Follow these guidelines and make the changes you want.

1. Commit to Thirty Days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic.

2. Do it Daily – Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to start exercising, go to the gym or get on your bike every day. Activities that are only done once every few days are harder to develop as habits.

3. Start Small – Don’t try to change your life in one day. It is easy to get excited or over-motivated and take on too much. If you want to exercise for an hour a day and you haven’t exercised for the last year start with 15 minutes. When this becomes a habit build on it.

4. Use Prompts – It’s easy to forget your goal so write it down and place reminders for yourself to keep on track.

5. Stay Consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick to it. Try doing it at the same time and same place for your month it will be easier to stick with it.

6. Be Realistic – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. It can be hard especially if you are trying to give something up. Keep trying.

So good luck and let us know how you get on!

Improve your Relationship With Food (Overcoming the emotional weight of obesity with hypnosis)

With all the associated health risks, availability of information about healthy eating, low fat foods, diet gurus, ‘fat’ clubs and increasingly popular gastric bands why is it that we are still not a nation of average proportions and healthy eating?

We all know the formula, eat less + exercise more = lose weight but it’s just not that easy for a lot of people. Eating often provides an emotional boost in times of loneliness or boredom, or it is seen as a celebration.

For people that have an emotional relationship with food, diets, lifestyle changes and even gastric bands may only have a temporary effect. It’s how we think about our meals and snacks that will change the way we eat.

So how do we know if we have a relationship with food? Things to look out for include a strong preference for a particular type of food. Patterns in the way you eat – do you eat more alone or in company? Do you eat more when you are feeling happy or low? Do you eat as a ‘treat’ or to reward yourself? All these things can be an indication that an emotional relationship exists.

improve your relationship with food

So how do we get rid of an unwanted relationship so that eating just becomes a normal part of living? Often it means addressing a judgement we made as a child about what food means that just isn’t valid any longer. How many of us received sweets when we were good or as a treat when we had scraped a knee? The formula then becomes sweets = being good or sweets = feeling better.

Not every child will make that type of judgement but for those of us that do it can create a pattern of behaviour that is difficult to break as an adult. Taking a journey back to the moment that the judgement was made and looking at it from an adult perspective can enable that relationship with food to be changed.

So is it really that simple? For some people it is and for some people it isn’t. Sometimes there is more to a relationship that one single incident but addressing the relationship to food that many of us have can help provide an answer for those people who despite their best efforts struggle with losing and maintaining a healthy weight.

If you would like to discuss this further, please call.

Read more about how cognitive hypnotherapy may assist weight loss.

Weight Loss

Everyone knows that a healthy diet and plenty of exercise is recommended for a healthy lifestyle. However dieting simply does not work for some people.

The human body is designed to let us know when we are hungry and when we are full. For people that overeat the ‘full’ signs are ignored and they continue to eat. There can be a number of reasons for this, such as eating so fast that the signals of being full are missed or not wanting to waste food ( often taught at an early age).

Other reasons for overeating may include boredom, loneliness, food based rewards or protection. Many of these reasons can be traced back to an emotional event that happened in childhood and has remained locked in their unconscious mind.

Weight Loss

Changing the role food plays and an individuals’ attitude towards it can be the key to long-term and permanent weight loss Sunray Cognitive Hypnotherapy may be able to help. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.