Everyone has different eating habits – when, what and how much they like to eat. In addition there may be different aspects affecting their habits – learned eating habits and messages in childhood, allergies, diet foods – low carbohydrate, low fat, low sugar- religious or “ethical” choices -vegetarian, organic, vegan, kosher or halal foods) or eating at certain times or places due to work or home commitments (shift work, microwave or ready meals, sandwiches at a desk). However problems with food or eating habits can develop. Food can be used to cope with distressing or unpleasant emotions: boredom, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, feeling ashamed or angry. Eating can then become a way of dealing or coping with unpleasant situations or feelings (as in the common phrase “comfort eating”) or for relieving stress. This can lead to compulsive over-eating, or binge eating or even to an eating disorder.
Some people have problems attaining or maintaining their desired weight. This can be due to hereditary factors, eating habits taught in childhood, unhelpful eating habits in adulthood (snacking or habit eating, eating when bored, eating for comfort etc) or having developed an unhealthy relationship with food due to previous dieting, negative messages and loss of confidence/esteem..
NB: Whilst some people have problems with “habit ” eating or over-eating most seeking professional help do so because they wish for an extra boost or have been unable to achieve their goal of weight change/control by themselves . Due to the complex relationship between food, feelings, and eating habits it may be helpful to choose the expertise of a well-informed therapist, with knowledge of eating disorders and compulsive eating patterns, even if you think your problem is a simple habit or weight loss issue which only requires simple hypnosis.
So what causes weight problems?
Weight problems or dissatisfaction with body image can be due to over-eating (or under-eating), chaotic eating patterns, low self-esteem or distorted or inaccurate perceptions of one’s body. For many women ongoing, long-term problems can actually be the result (and the physical and emotional effects) of compulsive dieting or a compulsive dieting and overeating cycle! Whilst those with ongoing weight problems are exhorted to make behavioural changes (diet and exercise) to solve the problem this rarely deals with the underlying issues causing the weight problem and consequently, for many, seldom brings a long-term solution to the problem. This approach also fails to take into consideration that in long-term weight problems, compulsive dieting and food ‘restriction’ can often be part of the problem! In fact, Orbach points out that for women “fat is not about lack of self-control or a lack of will-power.” It makes sense, in which case, why diets ‘don’t work’ for 95% of those who adopt them! Compulsions to over or under-eat are described below – including more common tendencies to binge or “comfort” eat (Binge Eating, Compulsive Overeating)
Eating Disorders involve more complex issues and are serious conditions which need expert, specialised professional help. Statistics from the Eating Disorders Association (EDA) show that women of 15-25 are most likely to develop an eating disorder – although sometimes problems can occur in middle age.
Many women also have a negative relationship to their bodies – either not liking a specific part (hence the complaints “I hate my thighs” or “does my bum look big in this?”) or a more general overall dislike of their body. Negative images or feelings can also be as a result of body changes- during pregnancy, menstruation or even surgery. There may be links between low self-esteem and body image. In some cases the goal of a better body may come to represent a better life: thinness may become equated with happiness, being accepted or being loved or feeling ‘good enough’. Excess weight may serve as a protection against unwelcome or threatening male attention or food can be a consolation for painful feelings. Messages may teach us that to be worthy, lovable or acceptable we need to be thin, or attractive or even beautiful – in the way our culture defines that at our particular time. This robs many women of a sense of their own essential worthiness and loveableness.
The rise of Obesity with statistics of 25% of the population being or becoming obese in the next decade are obviously a major cause for concern. Obesity puts pressure on the body and leads or contributes to increasing health problems including High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Stroke, gallbladder disease, gout and osteoarthritis. Obesity shortens life span and reduces mobility.
Many of those termed ‘obese’ struggle with their weight due to compulsive overeating.
It’s official – diets don’t work! Statistics show 95% of people who go on a diet fail to achieve the desired goal..
Research shows hypnosis works for weight loss………and carries on working up to 2 years after treatment!
Hypno-psychotherapy is not about diets. It’s about effortlessly retraining your eating habits using the power of your subconscious mind so that you find you can feel satisfied when you eat whilst still losing weight! It’s about learning a different approach to nourishing yourself so that you can lose weight without feeling deprived! Hypno-psychotherapy at Persephone can help you reconnect and reclaim those essential feelings of worth and loveable ness that you deserve – but may have lost touch with during your battle with weight. It can help you improve a negative body image and replace it with positive feelings about yourself as well as help you lose weight and develop healthier lifestyle and eating habits which will maintain your desired weight easily and naturally using the power of your unconscious mind.
Treatment for Compulsive eating
It is possible to develop a healthier relationship with food and develop a positive relationship to yourself and your body.
Identifying the feelings and the causes that triggered the eating habits along with the feelings, behaviour and thinking patterns that are maintaining the problem will allow you to develop healthier eating patterns and strategies of dealing with emotions or situations that currently trigger the eating behaviours. It is important to work with a professional who understands the complexity of food and eating issues if you feel you have a problem rather than those who see weight loss or over-eating in a more one-dimensional format.
Hypno-psychotherapy for compulsive eating is not about diets – it’s about healing a painful relationship with food and your body-image and developing more positive, fulfilling eating patterns by dealing with the issue behind the eating/weight problem in a more effective way. It’s also about developing a rewarding, comfortable, permissive relationship with food – rather than a love-hate, restrictive one – and changing those thoughts and responses that make you feel guilty and ashamed when you ‘lose control’ or give in to your desire for a favourite or ‘forbidden’ food.
To find out more about how hypnosis and psychotherapy could help you with eating problems Contact me now to discuss your situation or arrange a Consultation.
NB: If you think you may have an Eating Disorder, such as Anorexia or Bulimia, you should also contact your GP for expert help. Eating disorders are serious conditions and, whilst Hypno-psychotherapy can be beneficial in the treatment of Eating Disorders, it should not be viewed as a replacement for medical assessment or for specialised support, such as is available from the eating disorders association; B-eat.
To find out how hypnosis and psychotherapy could help you achieve mastery over your weight contact me now.