Strange diets and hypnosis

What is a strange diet?

It can range from “can’t eat this one thing” to “won’t eat anything but this one thing”. Anyone who regards their diet as a problem in terms of what they can or can’t eat will be familiar with this.

The usual problem hypnotherapists encounter is a desire for weight-loss and (very rarely) a need to gain weight but this is a bit different. Some examples are:

  • The client on a “4-ch” diet – chips, chocolate, chicken and cheese – that’s all.
  • A school pupil who would not eat fish, chicken and roast beef – in that order. His fear was that he would choke.
  • Pizza and burger diet – other food textures not accepted.
  • Fish and chips only, and in one case chips only.
  • Burger chain food only (but everything on the menu). Cannot eat anywhere else.
  • Only ‘’hard’ food like an apple. Any mushy textures were just rejected
  • No veg or fruit but potatoes and beans OK.

Apart from the school pupil these were all adults in a variety of jobs from a bin man to accountant to business owner - male and female. They were all having problems with their restricted diet in the sense that it was affecting their health (vitamin deficiency, skin problems, IBS etc,) or that it was socially difficult when going for a meal out.

Causes

These are real examples drawn from case files and causes varied from an irrational fear of choking to (more usually) a lax parental response to fussy eating when young, or parents themselves passing on a preference. No one had any trauma associated with their diet but the part of the mind governing habit and patterns now had their dietary preferences programmed in. Because this part of the mind (subconscious) retains patterns more powerfully than their conscious thinking they could not consciously change things. Patterns established earlier in life have more power over behaviour, which includes what we choose to eat. Subconscious programming of this sort could be said to be a form of negative hypnosis.

Solving the restrictions  

The last sentence gives the clue to the solution and unsurprisingly (or maybe it will surprise you) means the use of hypnotherapy to reverse and change the mind programming in childhood. A three session regime (or less) usually fixes things, beginning with listening carefully to the individual concerned as to what they can or cannot eat, taking into account any known medical problems such as diabetes and establishing in a league table the ‘problem’ foods. The road in is to get some agreement that the client is willing to try out and test the least problematic ‘bad’ food.

Then to do a first session to desensitise the negative tastes on the league table involving suggestion therapy and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques.

The client reports progress before the second session especially on trying food with the least effort. Usually they have also tried some more and liked them even in small amounts, in one case a client had used his phone to photograph what he had eaten in the past week.

The second session helps to reprogramme further by use of ‘Parts’ (of the mind) therapy – sometimes what might be termed the ‘creative, exploring’ part versus the part reluctant to try things. This can produce useful insights into what these apparently competing parts want to achieve and how they can come to some agreement without disrespecting the other. Needless to say, the different parts belong to one and the same mind – they should merge back reconciled.

The third session if needed is to consolidate the outcomes of the first two sessions with encouraging suggestions about diet variety and a continuing desire to explore new tastes. So by the end the client has leveraged his or her way out of the old ‘programme’ to their new, fresher, tastier outlook. In some cases dramatically different and in others, less so, but encouraging enough to improve.   

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Written by John Moonie, HPD, SQHP, GHR(Reg), MBCS, CITP

John Moonie is a professional, registered hypnotherapist of 12 years experience based in Perth, Scotland UK, and has a wealth of experience of many different types of case. He runs diploma level practitioner hypnotherapy courses accredited by the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council. John has frequent referrals from GP and dental practices.… Read more

Written by John Moonie, HPD, SQHP, GHR(Reg), MBCS, CITP

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