Hypnosis for Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?

Weight loss can be a tremendously tiring journey. Some people go on trying to lose weight by eating healthy and hitting the gym, but the weighing scale does not seem to budge. It can be a long journey if one has much weight to shed.

Some people eat salads imagining them to be chocolates, some listen to extremely loud music while working out so that they do not think about how tired they are getting, and this also keeps them motivated.

There are times when one may feel inferior to those who are fit, begin to lack self-esteem, get impatient and bored of the routine and ultimately get close to giving up on their weight loss goals. These things make weight loss very tough to attain and harder to sustain.

While many people begin to follow a diet plan which focuses on what they eat, how much and how often they eat, there is another method that can deal with what people feel about whatever they eat.

This method involves targeting the subconscious mind with the help of powerful suggestions as well as techniques. It may also help, to some extent, maintain a healthy attitude towards physical exercises and food. This method is called “hypnosis” or “hypnotherapy.”

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy involves the induction of a hypnotic trance (a deeply relaxed state) where the person being hypnotized can take suggestions in a better way in order to change their behavior or get relief from various symptoms that bother them, such as pain or discomfort.

For example, the hypnosis practitioner could suggest that the patient would no longer find the consumption of alcohol necessary or pleasurable. This suggestion could help the patient quit alcohol for good.

Such suggestions can be made for their effect to take place during the trance (direct hypnotic suggestion) or after the trance ends (post-hypnotic suggestion).

Can Hypnosis Help In Weight Loss? An Evidence Based Review

Hypnosis is a technique that is capable of turning healthy eating into a habit. It can help people conquer negativity, help them feel happy about the healthier eating choices they make and also improve their self-esteem.

According to an analysis that was conducted on 18 studies where the clients received hypnotherapy to treat obesity and lose weight, there was a significant weight loss observed even after the treatment ended.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnosis combination has profound benefits in weight loss

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy used for the treatment of unwanted behavioral patterns and mental disorders. It changes “cognitions” (attitudes, beliefs and thoughts) in order to develop coping strategies for the various problems the person is facing.

It is capable of treating depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder and some other mental health conditions and psychotic disorders. Hypnotherapy, when used along with cognitive behavioral therapy was found to be effective.

According to a study published in “Journal of Clinical Psychology” in 1985, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), when complimented by hypnosis, substantially enhanced the treatment outcome for those who were seeking weight loss.

The subjects kept losing weight even after the treatment was long over.

An analysis reported similar findings. Upon the addition of hypnosis to cognitive-behavioral therapy, the subjects lost more weight as compared to cognitive-behavioral therapy alone. The difference in weight loss between the group receiving CBT and the group receiving CBT along with hypnosis was about 4 kg.

A few subjects who underwent behavioral weight management program dropped several pounds. However, after hypnosis, additional weight loss was observed.

What does this mean?
Hypnotherapy can be used as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral management programs in order to enhance weight loss.

2. Hypnosis benefits in controlling Obesity

Hypnotherapy can also be used to gain control over obesity. Hypnotherapy, when combined with cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy enhanced the treatment outcome for cases of obesity. Six studies, when taken into account, proved that weight loss was enhanced.

Stress is also a huge contributor to eating disorders and obesity. It was observed that under stressful conditions, there are a couple of chemical reactions in the body that encourage more food intake that serves as a pathway to obesity.

Hypnosis helps in the treatment of anxiety as well as stress. Irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and migraines can be treated by hypnotherapy as well.

What does this mean?
Hypnotherapy helps in controlling obesity as well as a risk factor that contributes to obesity, such as stress.

3. Hypnotherapy can improve eating habits and benefit in eating disorders

Sometimes, when a person has an obsessive desire to lose weight, an eating disorder may occur. The person may experience bouts of extreme overeating which are followed by self-induced vomiting, depression, fasting or purging.

This disorder is called Bulimia Nervosa. The disorder may also become life-threatening as many conditions may co-occur such as substance abuse, self-injury, and impulsivity.Many patients have been treated with hypnotherapy in order to deal with bulimia nervosa.

Hypnotherapy was found to enhance the effects of interactional strategies and cognitive behavioral therapy. It could help in the discovery of many other pathways as well, for the betterment of the therapeutic process.

What does this mean?
Hypnosis helps in the management of binge eating disorders thereby helping with the weight loss process.

4. Hypnotherapy is beneficial for weight issues in Diabetes

The most important issue for every diabetes patient is weight control. Controlling the blood sugar levels and diet is what matters the most and so does taming the desire for unhealthy food as well as changing the bad eating habits. Abnormal blood sugar and insulin levels also promote weight gain.

According to a review published in “The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis” in 2014, hypnosis could modulate satiation and appetite-associated peptides and hormonal levels in order to yield many additional physiological benefits in type 2 and type 1 diabetes.

As there is no cure for diabetes as of yet and there are a number of psychological aspects associated with diabetes, hypnosis can be considered as an adjunct therapy for diabetes.

Hypnosis can help in the management of peripheral blood circulation, regulation of blood sugar levels and an increased compliance, a study reported. This prevents obesity and related complications and also keeps the body weight under control.

What does this mean?
Hypnosis can be used along with insulin treatments to decrease peripheral vascular complications and stabilize blood glucose levels, thereby helping in the management of type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. This in turn can help with weight loss and sustain the same.

How does Hypnotherapy Work?

Hypnotherapy can help the patients feel good about what they eat and control their diets. Apart from that, it also develops a sense of self-worth in weight-loss treatments. A review suggests that commercial and professional programs might not be effective enough for overweight individuals.

Hypnotherapy can bring about self-efficacy in overweight individuals, enhance self-worth and repair ego damage as well so that they become more positive and self-reliant.

When someone feels intelligent, fit, attractive and adequate, they behave accordingly. Hypnotherapy works on how a person feels about themselves.

Nowadays, applications are also available that can be used on mobile phones and tablets that enhance the delivery of hypnosis. The various targets of such apps include boosting of self-esteem, weight loss, stress reduction and relaxation.

However, these need to be tested for efficacy.

What does this mean?
Hypnosis is done to make an individual let go of the negative emotions and feel positive about life. It can be conducted even through apps available on the Android and Apple stores. However, their efficacy is still questionable.

Precautions associated with Hypnosis and Weight Loss

Obesity and weight loss can be more prevalent in the aging population as people of that age group tend to have sedentary lifestyles and lesser time to hit the gym as the office hours do no permit them to do so.

Such people might tend to make use of hypnotherapy. However, since the trials conducted are limited and it might pose a potential risk, further studies must be conducted before considering it as a reliable option for dropping those extra pounds.

It also poses a risk for adolescents, as was reported in a study. It was done for those adolescents who had experienced failure in achieving their weight loss goals through all other means. Those who were not in a deep state of hypnosis were found to be disappointed and comprehended this as another failure experience. Anxiety and fears also developed.

Conclusion

Hypnotherapy can help people lose weight by a number of ways and techniques that dieting and working out can’t achieve. It is a very gentle way of tapping into the subconscious mind and giving positive suggestions that also enhance confidence and self-worth.

However, it should be performed only by an experienced hypnotherapist for maximum results, safety and efficacy.

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