How can hypnotherapy improve your eating habits?

Summer is just around the corner and, for many of us, our thoughts are leading us to think about being on the beach in our bikinis and baring our flesh to the world. Dread, fear, and just awful are some of what we might feel at the thought of the beach.


For many, this is a familiar story. Sam* had booked her summer holiday and was looking forward to the break with her husband and kids. The one thing ruining it for her was her body. She was carrying extra weight which she'd tried to lose many times over. She kept losing the weight and would do really well for a couple of weeks and then something would go wrong and she would put it on all over again.

Each time it would get more frustrating. Each time she put the weight back on it was a reminder to herself that she couldn’t do it. She vented, "Why can’t I just lose the weight? I know what I should be eating, but I just cannot eat it. What is wrong with me?"

There is nothing wrong with Sam. She has just developed a few habits that are hard to break. What she doesn’t see are all the unconscious thoughts and behaviours that are leading to those habits. They could have been there since childhood, such as:

  • being told to eat everything on her plate
  • being compared to her thinner siblings
  • being bullied at school for being larger than her peers

Factors like these all contribute to our eating patterns.

Ironically, we have learned to deal with our emotions by eating food. When we eat, we feel better. So, overeating and eating all of the sugary stuff makes us feel good in that moment. We do it until we do not consciously realise what we are doing.

When it comes to stopping, changing our habits can be hard because we have programmed ourselves for many years to eat the way we have been. We cannot see all of our behavioural patterns and thoughts and, therefore, change is not long-lasting.

We use not being able to change as a further signal for us to believe that we are incapable and this makes us feel worse. 

How do we change our relationship with food? 

1. Be kind

A big thing that keeps us stuck in our patterns is the way we speak to ourselves. We are often harsh and tell ourselves off. We tell ourselves we should be doing better. We know what we should be eating. The funny thing is, we could not imagine speaking to a friend like we do to ourselves, we would be aghast and would not dream of it because we would not want to upset them.

So we need to change that. Start by being kind and understanding of our behaviours. Start understanding why we eat the way that we do. This can help us to start to feel better and be curious about our habits which helps us increase our awareness of them.

2. Record your triggers

Many apps tell us to start recording our food intake. This is great for some people, though for many, it tells us what we already know – that we eat too much and eat the wrong things. It only serves as a reminder of how rubbish we are at controlling our food. It can make us feel worse about ourselves. 

A record is meant to make us aware of what triggers us into overeating and for us to see our patterns of eating. This can lead to insights as to what is behind our eating so we can start to manage it.

Instead of recording what and how much you eat, notice the times of day you overeat, and how you feel before and after eating. Noting, is food a substitute for feeling better or for stopping you from feeling something?

3. Swap food

Sometimes it is not as easy as simply stopping eating. There may be many behavioural patterns that support our eating. For instance, you hate having to think about what to cook, you are pressed for time so don’t have time to prepare homemade dinners and healthy snacks for the kids. So, think about healthier alternatives to what you currently eat:

  • Instead of chocolate bars, think about protein nut and oat bars.
  • Instead of crisps, think about fruit.

Make one or two small changes each week, and they will form new habits. 

4. Eat intuitively

We have been on diets for so long that we have cut off the signals from our bodies to our minds. This means we eat according to the rules of the diet. The diet tells us how much to eat and when and what. We don’t know how to trust our instincts and eat intuitively - that is, eating what we want, or what we feel we need and knowing when to stop by the signals we receive from our stomachs. Before eating another rule from the book, ask yourself what you really want to eat.

5. Relax

A lot of our eating is due to stress and our busy lifestyles. Many of us are under pressure to make enough money to pay the bills. We create lives that are busy and pressurised. We push to make sure we are good enough at work. We push ourselves to make sure we are doing all we need to for our children. We push to get everything done at home.

The work and pressure are non-stop. We need a break, some time out. Food often provides that time out or that pause to stop and relax. Instead, find five minutes in your day to just sit and relax, so you can break your dependency on food.

Using hypnosis to support you with weight loss

When we are caught up in our own cycles, our own thoughts, and patterns, it is hard to see what we need to change to break out of it.

Hypnosis is a fantastic tool to help you stop, pause, and to help you change. By deeply relaxing, we are relaxing the conscious part of our brain. The conscious part of our brain, argues with us, it tells us we can’t do things and makes up stories as to why. It keeps our heads full of chatter. When we relax this part, we become open to change. We become more positive and relaxed within ourselves and change starts to feel possible.

How can you do self-hypnosis for weight loss?

  1. Sit in a comfortable place. Ideally with both feet on the floor and your hands resting on your lap.
  2. Find some relaxing music with no lyrics. Soft, gentle music or, if you prefer, you can have no music.
  3. Set a timer on your phone for five minutes.
  4. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. Take deep slow breaths.
  5. With each out-breath, allow yourself to slowly relax. Allow yourself to drift down into your own relaxing world.
  6. When thoughts come in, let them come and go and focus on the feeling of relaxation. 
  7. When the timer goes, take some deep breaths in, and move your arms and hands to help bring you back to the present. 

Each time you practise self-hypnosis, you will notice feeling more relaxed and being able to relax. It will help you to manage your emotions better and to help stay positive and feel good about yourself.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Sunbury-On-Thames, Surrey, TW16
Written by Vanessa McLennan, Weight loss,Eating problems,Binge Eating Hypno-psychotherapy
Sunbury-On-Thames, Surrey, TW16

Vanessa is an eating problems, Binge and emotional eating, food addiction and weight loss specialist. She has studied psychotherapy,hypnotherapy, counselling, EFT, EMDR, CBT and naturopathy. She has an interest in health and was brought to this area by her own health issues. She loves helping people heal on a deeper level so they become happier.

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