Hypnosis and weight loss habits

What’s best, to break an unhelpful habit or create a new, helpful one?

This is an interesting question. From a psychology point of view, we know that if you say to yourself: ‘Don’t whatever you do eat that chocolate bar’, your mind becomes fascinated with the idea of eating the chocolate bar! You will find yourself imagining eating the chocolate bar, how it will taste and how you will feel whilst eating it. This will consequently create a ‘craving’ for chocolate and it will become harder to resist. Psychologically, this is known as Coue’s Law of reversed effort. The full law states: ‘When the imagination and the conscious will are in conflict, the imagination wins the day’. The conscious will part in the previous example is the part of your mind that ‘wants’ to do something (or not, as the case may be) and the imagination is the part that imagines eating the chocolate bar. Because these two parts are in conflict, the imagination wins over, unless you exert control over your behaviour. The brain doesn’t really comprehend the word ‘don’t’.

Exercise: I’m going to ask you in the next sentence not to think of something. Ready?

Don’t think of pink elephants.

How did that go for you?

Essentially, the harder you try to not do something, the less success you will have of actually not doing it!

There is a way around this, however, which brings us back to the original question. And that is: to imagine what you want to happen, not what you fear might. As soon as you start focusing your mind (both your conscious will and your imagination) on what you want to happen, you automatically programme your mind to achieve it. So if you want to stop and break the habit of sitting at lunchtime scrolling through your social media feed, you will have more success if you imagine what you want to do instead. It may be going for a quick walk and then meeting up with workmates to eat your lunch. By imagining what you want to happen, instead of focusing on what you don’t want to happen, you will find you get much better results.

In our food example, it would be imagining what you would like to eat (a healthier choice/healthier portion size) instead of focusing on what you don’t want to eat. 

Hypnosis can help to reinforce new healthy habits by harnessing the power of the imagination. I use hypnosis with my clients to help install these new, healthy, desirable habits. Whilst in hypnosis, the person visualises themselves doing the new habits/behaviours and really getting into how they feel having done them. This could be feeling proud, in control and happy, etc. This helps to anchor in the new behaviour and motivate going forward. It’s worth looking to hypnosis to help with weight management! 

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