A Nation of Losers
As levels of obesity go off the scales we are becoming a nation of sad losers. In a typical dieter’s lifetime it is possible to lose the equivalent of your entire body weight several times over. And the tragedy is that, in order to do so, we are repeatedly piling the weight back on again.
Adding insult to injury is the perception that those who struggle with their weight are somehow morally inferior to slimmer counterparts, as if strength of character can be judged by tape measure. Compounding the misery is the belief that we must suffer the prolonged deprivation of a diet programme in order to achieve our ideal body weight.
The social and cultural attitudes surrounding obesity are a unique kind of cruelty. We are surrounded with the most delicious and bountiful choice of flavour-enhanced food ever known to mankind which food manufacturers spend billions on exhorting us to over-indulge in. But the same media which advertises excessive consumption damns those who do with obsessive coverage of lollipop-headed celebrities, portraying them as ravishing icons of starvation as a lifestyle choice.
This is not a political rant but an observation of how difficult it is to feel happy in your own skin, whatever your shape or size. It’s no wonder that teen eating disorders are becoming more widespread with cases emerging of middle-aged sufferers of anorexia and bulimia.
Everyone has their own unique relationship with food based on a complex combination of nature and nurture. An emotional connection with food is established from birth with feeding always accompanied by comforting cuddles. From an early age we have clear personal tastes and quickly learn that our eating behaviour can be a means to achieve control, win attention or gain rewards. Then there’s our appetite and individual physiological response to the nutrients we consume. Another variable is how active we are. Some people simply enjoy moving around more than others.
In an age of consumer abundance, all these factors lead to an almost inevitable epidemic of excess. We’ve literally forgotten how to listen to the signals our very efficient bodies give us when we need refuelling or when the tank is full. Many overweight people rarely experience hunger, eating before the pangs begin, except when suffering the discomfort of constant starvation on the latest fad diet. And instead of stopping when full, many of us are conditioned by the ration-book generation of parents and grandparents to 'waste not want not' and be grateful we're not 'starving Africans'.
A lot of this unhealthy, self-esteem sapping behaviour is habitual and seated deeply within the subconscious, outside of our conscious control or rational powers of reason. Thus it is easy to be overweight, believe you don’t eat very much and be genuinely baffled as to how this could have come about.
The process of deconstructing misleading beliefs and expectations starts with our emotional state. Many people think they can only be happy when they are thin when, in fact, creating a happy, positive and motivated state of mind is the first step towards a slimmer waistline rather than the end result.
It is then possible, using the 'modelling' principles of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), to start thinking, feeling and behaving like a person with a healthy body and lifestyle. NLP is a powerful force for change which enables people to see their world differently and work towards realistic goals using all the skills and resources available to them. Applied to weight control objectives, it provides the vision to break the painful and destructive feast-famine cycle of binge-dieting.
Hypnotherapy helps by accessing the habitual hardwiring within the subconscious mind which creates the compulsion to overeat. New eating patterns and a routine increase in physical activity which take into account personal preferences and lifestyle choices can be easily assimilated on a permanent basis. It’s this that is the key to long term weight control.
A combined programme of hypnotherapy and NLP provides the awareness, desire and capability to stay slim for life.
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About Karen Martin
Karen Martin has many years experience treating a wide range of conditions and disorders. Anxiety in its many forms, from phobias to panic disorders, and behavioural change, like weight management and smoking cessation, are issues she specialises in and has a consistent track record of successfully treating.