Can You Lose Weight With The Help Of Hypnosis?

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Hypnosis has been used for disorders like anxiety, lack of confidence, and insomnia. Of late, hypnosis for weight loss has gotten popular. It's believed to modify one's eating habits and reduce stress, impulsive eating, and lack of restraint. But, it's important to remember that its effectiveness is dependent on your brain composition and your relationship with the hypnotizer. Additionally, the research supporting hypnosis for weight loss is scant. Hence, hypnosis can't replace diet and exercise.

Science tells us that our bodies fight as hard as they can to prevent us from losing fat. But, that doesn’t mean that they have it out for us. It just means that we need our fat stores to get through an episode of starvation.

Needless to say, this makes losing stubborn fat quite the challenge for all of us. And, when diet and exercise don’t seem to yield any results, it can get frustrating. Whether you’ve given up or are in need of that extra “something” to stay motivated, hypnosis is believed to be helpful.

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness.

Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. And, hypnotherapy works by modulating activity in brain regions that are associated with focus and attention. In it, the subject (person being hypnotized) is guided by the hypnotist to respond to certain suggestions. These suggestions aim at altering a person’s perceptions, emotions, sensations, thoughts, and behavior.1

What Is Weight Loss Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy might promote weight loss by modifying eating habits.

Hypnosis has recently emerged as a popular alternative to conventional weight loss techniques. It aims to modify cognitive behavior and help you make the right choices for your body.

When it comes to weight loss, this could mean anything from breaking certain unhealthy habits, to conditioning your mind to eat only when it’s hungry. Often, stress, depression, and lack of will power can cause you to slip up on your diet goals. Besides this, too many cheat meals and excessive snacking can set you up for unhealthy habits that don’t do any favors to your weight.2

Studies that have looked into hypnotherapy aim at reducing stress, impulsive eating, and lack of restraint. Hence, by changing one’s approach to food and lowering their stress levels, hypnotherapy postulates that it can add to a traditional weight loss program.3 And, in some cases this form of therapy has seemed to benefit weight-management.4

Does It Work?

There isn't enough research to support weight loss hypnosis.

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. However, for the most part, there isn’t enough research for one to take hypnotherapy for weight loss seriously. And, the research that is available has small, often insignificant results.5

One thing to remember regarding hypnosis is that it doesn’t work for everyone. And, the cause for this lies in the brain, particularly the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (LDPC) which is an executive-control region of the brain and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC), which plays a role in focusing of attention.

MRI studies have shown that in people who are highly hypnotizable, the two parts of the brain appeared to be activated in tandem with each other when being hypnotized. In contrast, those who aren’t easily hypnotizable had no functional connectivity between the two.6 Other things that one must keep in mind regarding hypnosis include

  • A healthy therapist-patient relationship as well as positive belief in the practice is believed to contribute to its impact.7
  • Hypnotherapy can’t replace diet and exercise.8
  • Hypnotherapy belts, apps, videos, and online tutorials for self-hypnosis might be nothing more than an expense. There are no studies that prove the efficacy of these accessories.9
  • People with psychosis and serious mental illnesses being treated with medication must not undergo hypnotherapy as it can make these conditions worse.10

It is also important to find the right psychologists, doctors, and counselors who specialize in hypnotism. During hypnosis, you are believed to be in full control of your thoughts and don’t have to accept anything that you don’t want to. It’s also possible to bring yourself out of the hypnotic state at will.11

In short, while you could try hypnosis, you might be better off sticking to traditional weight loss techniques. And, even if you do decide to give it a shot, be sure to do so only in addition to diet and exercise. After all, at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there aren’t any shortcuts to fitness.

References   [ + ]

1.Hypnotherapy Council of Australia. Department Of Health, Australia.
2.Daniels, Noah. Eat More, Not Less To Lose Weight!: Build Your Health And Your Body By Eating Right, Not Less! BookRix, 2014.
3.Stradling, J., D. Roberts, A. Wilson, and F. Lovelock. “Controlled trial of hypnotherapy for weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.” International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 22, no. 3 (1998).
4.Bolocofsky, David N., Dwayne Spinler, and Linda Coulthard‐Morris. “Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 41, no. 1 (1985): 35-41.
5, 8, 11.Hypnotherapy. National Health Service, UK.
6.Not getting sleep? Research explains why hypnosis doesn’t work for all. Stanford University School Of Medicine.
7.Stanton, H. E. “Weight loss through hypnosis.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 18, no. 2(1975): 94-97.
9.Sucala, Madalina, Julie B. Schnur, Kimberly Glazier, Sarah J. Miller, Joseph P. Green, and Guy H. Montgomery. “Hypnosis—There’s an app for that: A systematic review of hypnosis apps.” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 61, no. 4 (2013): 463-474.
10.Hypnotherapy. National Health Service, UK.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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