10 Ways  Hypnosis Can Help You Lose Weight—For Good
By  Jean Fain
Close your  eyes. Imagine your food cravings floating away. Imagine a day of eating only  what’s good for you. Imagine hypnosis actually helping you lose weight—because  the news is: It does. Harvard Medical School psychotherapist Jean Fain gives you  ten hypnotic suggestions to try right now.
When I tell people how I make  much of my living—as a psychotherapist hypnotizing people slim—they inevitably  ask: Does it work? My answer usually brightens their eyes with something between  excitement and incredulity.
Most people, including my colleagues at  Harvard Medical School, where I teach hypnosis, don’t realize that adding trance  to your weight loss efforts can help you lose more weight and keep it off  longer.
Hypnosis predates carb and calorie counting by a few   centuries, but this age-old attention-focusing technique has  yet to be embraced  wholeheartedly as an effective weight loss strategy.
Until recently,  there has been scant scientific evidence to support the legitimate claims of  respected hypnotherapists, and a glut of pie-in-the-sky promises from their  problem cousins, stage hypnotists, hasn’t helped.
Even after a persuasive  mid-nineties reanalysis of 18 hypnotic studies showed that psychotherapy clients  who learned self-hypnosis lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t (and, in  one study, kept it off two years after treatment ended), hypnotherapy has  remained a well-kept weight loss secret.
Unless hypnosis has happily  compelled you or someone you know to buy a new, smaller wardrobe, it may be hard  to believe that this mind-over-body approach could help you get a handle on  eating.
Seeing is definitely believing.
So see for yourself. You  don’t have to be entranced to learn some of the invaluable lessons that hypnosis  has to teach about weight loss. The ten mini-concepts that follow contain some  of the diet-altering suggestions my weight management clients receive in group  and individual hypnotherapy.
1. The answer lies within.  Hypnotherapists believe you have everything you need to succeed. You don’t  really need another crash diet or the latest appetite suppressant. Slimming is  about trusting your innate abilities, as you do when you ride a bicycle. You may  not remember  how scary it was the first time you tried to bike, but you kept  practicing until you could ride automatically, without thought or effort. Losing  weight may seem similarly beyond you,  but it’s just a matter of finding your  balance.
2. Believing is seeing. People  tend to achieve what  they think they  can achieve. That even applies to hypnosis. Subjects tricked  into believing they could be hypnotized (for example, as the hypnotist suggested  they’d see red, he flipped the switch on a hidden red bulb) demonstrated  increased hypnotic responsiveness. The expectation of being helped is essential.  Let me suggest that you expect your weight loss plan to work.
3.  Accentuate the positive.  Negative, or aversive, suggestions, like  “Doughnuts will sicken you,” work for a while, but if you want lasting change,  you’ll want to think positive. The most popular positive hypnotic suggestion was  devised by doctors Herbert Spiegel and David Spiegel, a father- son hypnotherapy  team: “For my body, too much food is damaging. I need my body  to live. I owe my  body respect and protection.”  I encourage clients to write their own upbeat  mantras. One 50-year-old mother who lost  50-plus pounds repeats daily:  “Unnecessary food is a burden on my body. I’m going to  shed what I don’t  need.”
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