Adopting a healthier lifestyle with hypnotherapy
30th October, 20140 Comments
Written by: Judith Hanson DipCHyp, HPD, MNCH, GQHP, CNHC
There are many ways that hypnotherapy can help those wishing to adopt a healthier lifestyle, whether the objective is weight-loss or ongoing health benefits. For instance, while coaching can help with refining the goal, it can then be ‘visualised’ in hypnosis to help strengthen motivation. In addition, rehearsing new habits while in hypnosis is as good (or better than) practicing them for real!
So what can you expect if you visit a hypnotherapist for help with changing your lifestyle. Some hypnotherapists work in conjunction with a clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. That means that you will get personalised nutritional and exercise consultancy and advice in addition to the hypnotherapy programme.
Hypnotherapy is used to deal with whatever issues the client believes may be obstacles to successfully making the change and achieving their goal. These can include:
- Beliefs about food, exercise or their ability to make changes. These can be beliefs gained from others or from earlier experiences.
- Dislike for certain foods that they would like to add to their diet, either because of the taste or the texture (or both!).
- Body image issues, including concerns about body shape, which can only be affected in a very limited way by diet and exercise.
- Focus on the short term ‘benefits’ of eating certain favourite (usually unhealthy!) food instead of concentrating on the long term goals of weight loss and health improvements.
- Using food to help cope with anxiety or to fulfill other emotional needs, for example, the classic ‘comfort eating.
Two things that hypnotherapists will do with clients wishing to adopt a healthier lifestyle are:
1) As mentioned above, spending time in hypnosis means visualising all aspects of life once the goal has been achieved and also the benefits that are achieved on the way to reaching that goal. Hypnotherapists will give their clients a life path choice very early on - asking them to imagine walking along the path of their life and coming to a fork in the road.
Together the hypnotherapist and client then look out along both paths from now, years out into the future, really sensing all the consequences of continuing with the same lifestyle along the left hand path. This is followed by visualising the effects of changing to healthier eating and more exercise along the right hand path.
You can also do this by just taking a few moments to close your eyes, relax your body and calm your mind and then float out above each path in turn really imagining what your future will be like in your two possible alternate ‘lives’. Then it is time to decide which path you choose and repeat that decision to yourself. You can always revisit the right hand path whenever you need to boost your motivation.
2) Rehearsing ‘mindful eating’ by using all your senses to savour and enjoy every meal. Again this is done in hypnosis but can be done while resting in a chair with your eyes closed. Imagine eating a favourite meal, without any distractions (TV, a book, your smart phone) just concentrating on the food.
Firstly enjoy the look of your food – the colours, shapes and textures. Then take time to notice the delicious aromas. When it is time for the first mouthful, take a small bite and take time to enjoy chewing it slowly and eventually experiencing swallowing and the food moving down into your stomach. Take time between mouthfuls so that you can really notice what you’re eating and to allow your body the opportunity to tell you when you are comfortably full.
Practice this as often as you can, in imagination and when actually eating, so that your learn new eating skills and develop new habits that will help you to adopt your new healthy lifestyle - for life!
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