Last updated: 18 August 2017
When it comes to food – as with nearly everything these days – there’s an abundance of choice.
Especially if you live in a big city, the number of restaurants, cafes, fast food joints, snacks stands, grocery stores and markets have never been as high.
It takes tremendous willpower not to give into temptation and indulge whenever hunger strikes – or simply when something looks or smells delicious.
But the thing is, availability is only part of the problem. The issue when it comes to overeating, or eating poorly, goes much deeper.
In fact, there are 5 key areas that need to be addressed when it comes to successfully using hypnosis for weight loss.
In this article, we’re going to take an indepth look at these issues and the hypnosis techniques you can use to overcome each of them.
As this in a comprehensive guide, for ease of use, you can jump to each of the 5 sections by clicking the links below.
However, to get the most out of this guide, we recommend that you don’t cheat and take the time to read it in full!
So put the kettle on, pull up a chair and get ready to discover how you can effectively use hypnosis for weight loss.
- Issue #1 – The Relationship Your Subject Has With Food & Their Food Culture
- Issue # 2 – The Relationship Your Subject Has With Food & Their Emotions
- Issue # 3 – Your Subject’s Understanding Of Nutrition & Their Genetics
- Issue # 4 – Your Subject’s Self Image
- Issue # 5 – Your Subject’s Relationship With Physical Movement
1. The Relationship Your Subjects Have With Food & Their Food Culture
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw tweet
Every culture has a relationship with food. Food is important to all living things, but it’s especially important to human beings.
It has social implications and there are rituals around it. It’s a central point of life. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of environment you were brought up in, food has played a part in your daily life.
That makes sense when you think about it. After all, for most people in the developed world, food is part of a ceremony that’s performed 3 times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some people minimize the importance of food in their lives by saying things like: "I only eat to survive. I wish I could just take a pill and get on with living."
However, that sentiment is more the exception than the rule. For most people, food has a whole bunch of different meanings and associations – some of which were formed when you could barely walk.
For example, take a little girl sitting at the table playing with her food. What does her mommy say?
"Eat up all your dinner, there’s a good girl."
"But I don’t want to, mommy."
"Show mommy how much you love her by clearing your plate."
Who hasn’t been there? It’s tough being a parent. Especially when you have a child at the age where they start pushing boundaries.
It’s enough to try anyone’s patience, and naturally you’re going to use whatever tactic is necessary to make sure your child gets all the nutrition they need.
Even if you have to resort to guilt-tripping.
It’s not the end of the world, right? Well, you see, the problem with this is that it creates an association in the mind. Food equals love. Food is the way I show love or the way I’m shown to be loved.
If a child grows up believing that, they’re likely to take the idea forward into their own adult life.
So they get married, and how do they show their partner the extent of their love? By spoiling them with food whenever they can.
The logic behind it can play out a little like this:
Had a bad day? Let me surprise you with your favorite cake!
And although your intentions are good, yours and your partner’s waistlines – not to mention long-term health, will paint a different picture.
In most cultures, food is at the heart of celebrations. Birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, christenings, engagements, anniversaries – and the list goes on.
Almost every special occasion revolves around food.
For example, you get a promotion. You manage to get into your chosen university. You land that dream job you applied for. What do you do? You go out for a meal and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.
Food has a different significance depending on the culture surrounding it. In some African cultures, for example, food plays an enormous ritualistic and social role.
In order to understand a subject’s relationship with food, then, you need to understand the culture they grew up in, or that they’re now a part of.
One way to find out these things is just to ask questions. Here are some examples of the kinds of questions you can ask that will reveal a subject’s cultural food references and preferences:
- "What did your parents tell you about food when you were young?" (Strong answers here will typically be about guilt, shame, and love.)
- "How did you celebrate with food? Did you celebrate with food and by eating together?" (Food is often associated with happy events or with major milestones.)
- "Has food been a crutch to fall back on when bad things happen?" (This will reveal how their emotions influence their relationship with food.)
You may need to dig deep to find out how a person’s culture has influenced the way they think about food.
How To Overcome Issues With Food Culture
For someone who hasn’t experienced a particular food culture growing up, this isn’t an issue. For them, food is just food. You eat it or you don’t eat it. For others, however, things are different.
They may have grown up in a family where food was linked to love, or to shame, or to guilt. The classic example is when first world parents tell their children not to waste their food. "There are starving children in Africa."
Again, you need to ask your hypnosis subjects questions. Specifically around: "What kind of things did your parents tell you around food when you were growing up?
Here are some examples:
- Did they ever use the “starving kids in Africa” line?
- Did they ever encourage you to eat more and how would they do so, if they did?
- Did you ever celebrate with food?
- Did you ever commiserate with food?
- In what ways did you and your parents use food growing up?
- What did it mean to you?
- What does a good meal mean to you?
As you can see, there are a lot of questions. This is a longer conversation that can take up to an hour, depending on what kind of associations people have developed with food as part of the culture they grew up in.
The aim is to tease out the frames of reference, to find out where they’re coming from. Once you’ve been able to do that, the next step involves reframing.
There are a number of ways reframing can happen, but it’s probably best to start with the simplest, the least invasive, and only escalate upwards if they get rejected along the way.
An example of a really simple one is the starving kids in Africa routine, the guilt trip.
You can deal with this using a deframe challenge to question the underlying wisdom of that idea.
For example, saying you should eat up because kids in Africa are starving and you’re wasting food, that’s a massive guilt trip.
But the question to ask is: is that actually true?
If you finish everything that’s on your plate, how does that help a starving child in Africa? Alternately, if you waste some of the food on your plate, how does that harm a starving child in Africa? You can see how this simple deframe is already starting to erode the concept.
The next thing to do is to look at what actually happens. When you finish everything on your plate, and especially if it’s an oversized plate, what you’re actually going to do is to stretch your stomach out.
Your stomach is meant to be a certain size, which is roughly the size of a fist. But some stomachs end up being the size of several fists, because the more you eat, the more they’ll stretch. Then because your stomach is bigger, it takes more food to fill it.
During this deframe, you can pop in some embedded suggestions to get the idea implanted into their unconscious. For example, you could say something like this:
You speed over the “feel hungrier” part, making a suggestion that it’ll take longer until they feel satisfied.
You’re embedding the idea of feeling satisfied, as a result of which they end up having to consume more food, which they don’t need. Where does that food go? On their waist, where it could end up creating medical complications.
Not only is it incorrect that they’re harming kids by not eating everything, they’re actually harming themselves.
They may even be harming the world because the more food they eat, the less excess food there will be for deprived areas. This is the kind of logic you can use to challenge and deframe the idea.
There are other ways to help starving children in Africa, other ways to celebrate, and other ways to commiserate.
There are other ways to deal with your emotions. This focus on their food culture is something that can be woven into sessions as a conversation leads you towards it, and not necessarily something that you would need to spend a session on exclusively.
Also, within the deframe challenge, if they really get stuck on the idea, then you might want to try something like Mind Bending Language to open them up and then get back to the deframe, so they can then reframe their relationship to food again.
If those things don’t work for any reason, then the next step would be regression.
A fantastic regression model to use in cases like this is the re-imprint, which is basically a hypnotic re-education process.
Once their intellect understands that finishing everything on their plate is bad for them and for the world, you need to go back and inoculate their younger version symbolically through a re-imprint so they can re-parent themselves in a better way.
The re-imprint method is a sort of regression plus. The idea is to embed resources within it that they can rely on in the future, like the ability to say no to food when it’s excessive.
The key here is to repeat this pattern over time, so the pattern embeds in their mind. And just to clarify, when we say over time, we mean that you will give the suggestion to the child during the regression.
Then you’ll repeat this suggestion as you grow the inner child up at the unconscious level. So you’ll take them through late childhood, teenage years, young adult right up to the present moment repeating your suggestion.
This way you can teach them how to think about these issues.
>> For a complete guide on how to use hypnotic regression therapy, check out our two-part series:
- [ADVANCED GUIDE] How To Master Hypnotic Regression Therapy – Part I: Essential Principles To Profoundly Transform Your Subject’s Emotional Trauma.
- [ADVANCED GUIDE] How To Master Hypnotic Regression Therapy – Part II: Proven 12 Step Method To Successfully Dissolve Anxiety, Phobias and Traumas, Plus Bonus Video Training
2. The Relationship Your Subject Has With Food & Their Emotions
“Food is not a means toward resolution. It can’t cure heartbreak or solve untenable dilemmas.” – Kate Christensen tweet
This is a huge category which could potentially be tackled in one session – or it might take several sessions to fully uncover.
The idea is simply to discover what your subject’s relationship is with their emotions and overeating.
On one level, of course, this is a very deep question. But you don’t have to be a Buddha contemplating life on a mountainside before you can lose weight.
The issue is that people use food to overcome negative emotions.
When they have a lot of stress in their life, they find solace in sugar. That’s because stress burns through sugar (in the form of glucose reserves) like nobody’s business, so it has to be replaced.
These glucose reserves are the body’s emergency supplies. As soon as you burn through them, your body goes into super hungry mode telling you to replace them.
When people are too stressed out they’re burning their glucose very quickly. That leaves them constantly hungry, so they end up constantly snacking on candy bars and the like to replace the glucose they’ve lost.
Plus, there’s another issue to watch out for when you’re feeling stressed or low. You see,
your body will want to balance your mood by releasing serotonin, otherwise known as the “happy hormone.”
All good, you might be thinking? Well, while its intentions are pure, it can lead to intense cravings for sugar – which is your body’s way of increasing serotonin.
So it’s important to eat other foods that naturally produce serotonin, such as those that are rich in B6 (i.e. spinach, salmon, celery, tuna and poultry), in addition to protein and fermented foods and drinks.
But there’s actually another issue with stress, which goes beyond what someone’s putting into their body.
You see, when you’re stressed, you release 3 hormones: cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones are also responsible for your fight or flight response after you’ve become stressed about a danger that’s ahead.
And because of this perceived danger, your body holds onto fat in case you need it in an emergency, for instance, in the event that you run out of food.
While this was a handy mechanism for our great ancestors, say if a saber-toothed tiger cornered them in a cave for days on end, it’s less essential these days. Typically, it causes severe bloating in the stomach, and what’s more, studies have shown that long-term stress makes it difficult to lose weight.
It’s a vicious cycle, and one that becomes exacerbated as the body gets accustomed to burning glucose rather than fat. Ironically, it’s fat that is actually the more superior (and longer lasting) fuel.
Besides stress, there are other emotional components to eating. People use food to repress bad emotions.
For example, take the typical North American stereotype of the man or woman who gets dumped. The man who gets dumped goes out with his buddies and drinks to console himself and forget his troubles.
The rest of the time he sits at home eating pizza and drinking beer. The woman who gets dumped might go out with the girls and overdo it on white wine, or she might stay at home and binge on chocolate and ice cream.
These stereotypes have become culturally ingrained, thanks in part to the power of advertising. Advertisers certainly use these concepts to sell their products to us.
Another emotion that can lead to weight gain is depression. Depression and weight gain are very intimately linked for both biochemical and psychological reasons.
You have to be careful when dealing with depression, because the laws of your country might forbid it as part of your therapy. But even when someone just feels down – rather than being clinically depressed – that can also lead to bad food choices and create a negative spiral.
What you want is to have longevity in any program that deals with weight loss and weight control to ensure you address the emotional side of things.
This way you’re setting yourself and your subject up for success.
For example, gastric band hypnosis is getting a lot of interest at the moment. This is based on a psychological metaphor of an actual physical gastric band, the medical procedure where an elastic band is placed around their stomach to decrease its size.
They end up with a stomach that’s half as big, so they get full quicker, and theoretically will eat less.
But there’s a problem with gastric band surgery. It’s a physical limitation placed in the stomach. If they eat a little too much, the part of the stomach that hasn’t been taped off is still able to grow. Over time it can expand, and can keep expanding, until they’re right back where they started from.
If you don’t take care of the emotional components, a person can break through pretty much anything.
The unconscious mind has the ability to ignore reality when it has a bigger purpose to achieve, whether that purpose is healthy or unhealthy.
And the same is true of the hypnotic equivalent. If the emotional component isn’t being taken care of, you can risk sabotaging everything else that you’re doing, because you’re creating in a conflict.
Of the 5 reasons discussed in this article, managing the emotional component is the most important.
If you get that bit right, then 9 times out of 10 everything else tends to fall into place. Ideally you should try to help them build an entirely new lifestyle around food and their food choices.
How To Overcome Emotional Issues With Food
Again, you can start things off by simply asking questions. For example:
- How happy are you with your life?
- How satisfied are you on a scale of 1 to 10? With 10 being “I’m so blessed and I wake up in the morning bursting with happiness” and 1 being “I wake up in the morning questioning why I am actually living still because I just don’t see the point of it.”
Notice how the questions are rather harsh. That’s because most people will be somewhere in the middle.
Most people aren’t desperately unhappy, but they’re not desperately happy either. So then you need to find out what’s missing.
If they’re a 5, what are the 5 points missing that will get them to 10? Typically, there are two things to watch out for, either what’s missing or what’s present that prevents them from moving up the scale.
Stressors could be the result of a tough job or boss, relationship problems, financial problems or difficulties with a child that’s acting out.
What’s missing may have to do with life choices. They may feel that they’ve settled for something that they didn’t want, or are stuck in a career choice and are afraid to move. All these feelings can lead to frustration and possibly even more stressors.
From one point of view, these things can be improved by simply making more of the life they have.
As a hypnotist, however, your job is to empower people to lead better lives, and not to badger them into doing it.
To do that, you need to focus on two things:
- How to process problem emotions, bounce back and recover from them – and do so in a healthy way
- How to enjoy a better lifestyle overall, to live a slightly happier life each day
There are a couple of tools you can use to achieve both of these. When it comes to processing emotions, the deframe challenges and reframing will play a big role.
This is because people often misunderstand their life in a way that stresses them out. They basically attribute more intention and importance to other people’s behaviors and wind up turning their life into a soap opera.
Soap operas are crazy. A world of emotional roller coasters and endless drama. But it’s cheap drama, a highly emotional drama, written in such a way as to keep you engaged.
So if someone is rude to you – and you view things from a soap opera perspective – you might consider them to be a jerk. It’s more one dimensional: they did something to me on purpose.
In real life, however, this person might just be having a bad day. He or she might have lost concentration because they just got some bad news. They could be racing to the hospital to deal with an emergency.
Those are two very different emotional conclusions. On the one hand, the person’s a jerk. On the other hand, they’re having a bad day. You need to find out how they came to their emotional conclusion by challenging it.
The NLP Meta Model is really good for this. Again, you can learn a lot by asking questions, such as:
- How do you know?
- What happened that makes you think this is going on?
- What makes you think that they think this about you?
- What makes you think this is an actual direct attack on you?
It may be an actual attack or it may not be. If it’s ambiguous, they’re actually better off not noticing an attack than dealing with it. Why?
Because if it’s passive aggressive, there’s no harm in ignoring it. The only person who gets harmed is the passive aggressor because they get ignored, whereas if they respond to it, then what’s their response going to be?
It’s going to be some form of anger, frustration or fear because they’re getting into entanglement.
Here’s a quick story to illustrate the point further…
That story brings up another important question. How many problems in life aren’t really problems except that we make them so?
We dwell on them too much. We ruminate on them. So what you need to do is to give people the ability to question their emotional reaction, so they can find out if they are responding appropriately in any given situation.
Most of the time, people create their own drama by looking at the world in a certain way.
Regression is going to be a key component here, especially if their approach to life is more anxious, nervous, and stressed because of past trauma.
There’s actually a strong connection between overeating and unresolved trauma. That trauma could be something like sexual abuse, abandonment or it could be neglect.
It could be an accident, or when they went through a hard time. If they experienced poverty in their youth and they didn’t always get enough to eat, when they’re older and wealthier they promise themselves never to go hungry again.
These kinds of promises people make to themselves can be partly cultural and partly emotional, and they blend together.
A regression or a re-imprint might be useful to deal with this. For example, you could re-imprint a pseudo childhood that was filled with plenty, with abundance. That can do a lot to recover their present moment where abundance is actually their reality, even though they may not feel it.
For most people, a revivification is all it takes. They can look at their own daily problems from a different light. What happened this week? This happened, this happened, and this happened.
Then you revivify moments of success, moments where they were empowered, moments where they did well and where they handled people deftly.
For example, let’s say someone was shattered by their boss. They burst into tears, went home, and ate a tub of ice cream.
Now you revivify things they did that were a success, like the way they helped a work colleague down the line, the volunteering they did in a charity, where they did something really nice for someone else and they felt good about it.
When you revivify them, take it to the point where they are really glowing with a sense of satisfaction about how good they are. Then give them an identity to encapsulate the revivification, such as:
- What kind of person does this?
- What kind of person helps these people?
- What kind of person helps colleagues, volunteers for a kitchen, is economically brilliant, and so on?
They might say it’s a caring person or a kind person or a smart person. Great. Those are useful labels. They’re the conversational equivalent of a hypnotic trigger.
Then you could ask, how might a kind and smart person have reacted to your boss’s anger? What you’re doing is triggering the resources you’ve spent the last few minutes revivifying in the context of the problem.
The problem is the anger, and being able to deal with hostility. They’re being empowered in the moment. And that’s actually the PCAT formula in action, but in a more conversational sort of way.
If you’re not comfortable doing it in a conversational and free fashion, you can use classic hypnotic triggers to revivify powerful experiences of self-success and power in general. It’s a more direct approach that works equally as well:
Another thing you can do within more of a coaching framework is to randomly talk about a positive event that has nothing to do with the issue they’re facing. The challenge comes when they’re glowing with the positive vibe of that experience.
"I wonder what that experience has to teach you about your situation?"
At first, they might say: "Nothing."
If they do, challenge them further by saying: "Really think about it."
You need to come across with some certainty, like you see something they don’t see: "Really think about it. I think you’re missing something."
Then they’ll start wondering:
"Well, possibly this."
"Just develop that a bit further."
Bit by bit, they will make a connection themselves. They will suddenly say: "Oh, my gosh. It’s like …" As soon as you get to that point, you know you hit “T” in the PCAT formula and the transformation stage is complete.
Initially, they’ll be slow and hesitant, so expect that.
Once they start making connections and their enthusiasm explodes, you know that it’s starting to take.
And remember that emotion is always going to be a big part of what you do. It’s the backbone to any weight loss program. Get that component right, and everything else will fall into place.
3. Your Subject’s Understanding Of Nutrition & Their Genetics
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” – Mark Twain tweet
This wasn’t much of an issue in the past, but it’s becoming increasingly so given the variety of food that’s now available.
That’s because nutrition can be very confusing. For most people, it’s not so easy to understand the nutrition guidelines on food packaging.
Secondly, the fast food lifestyle means that children are not learning to cook for themselves.
They’re going to more restaurants and getting involved in the fast food culture. They eat pre-cooked meals.
They don’t become cooks, they become re-heaters. Stick it in the microwave, stick it in the oven, stick it in a pot or put it on the hob.
And failing that, they go out for a meal or have take out.
Why are these things problems? Well, first of all, a lot of restaurant food is not very good for you. They put stuff into it that makes it appealing so you come back, but health is not necessarily their number one priority.
It’s flavor that makes you spend more money by buying the next cheesecake.
Secondly, the same is true of the packaged food industry. Their business is to sell packaged food, and they’ll put crap in it if it makes you want to buy it.
A lot of it is sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, almost like an open invitation to diabetes and similar diseases.
Our biology is attracted to sugar because it’s rare in the wild. It’s a useful energy source that also happens to be very addictive. In fact, research suggests that sugar actually triggers the same part of the brain that alcohol, cocaine and tobacco does. So make no mistake: it can be highly addictive.
And if a food manufacturer can get you addicted to their product, you’re going to buy more of it.
The upshot of all this is that even when people try and eat healthily, they don’t know how. For example, the idea that fats make you fat is mostly not true. Yes, eating more fat than you can burn will result in weight gain. But healthy fats are great for brain functioning, and are of course better for you than processed fats.
People have tried cutting all the fat out of their foods for the sake of a diet, and have ended up being worse.
Why? Because healthy fat is an important nutrient that translates to your own body fat very indirectly. It has to be broken down and rebuilt again – it doesn’t just go from one to the other.
As a hypnotist dealing with weight loss issues, it’s important that you can give your subjects good advice about nutrition.
Otherwise they’ll be unable to make good food choices that will help them create the kind of lifestyle that keeps their weight under control.
One of the big things to remember is that racial heritage is important. For example, Northern Europe is a very cold climate, not ideal for crops and fruits.
It’s perfect for a meat- and dairy-heavy diet, and the people who live there have the genetic makeup to process lactose well.
Southern Europe, in places like Spain and Italy, has a very warm and moderate climate. There’s an abundance of fruit and vegetables which are easy to cultivate. Meaning people from this part of the world tend to have a digestive system that’s good at dealing with fructose and the like. But they tend to be more prone to lactose intolerance and related problems.
So nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all equation. Your subject’s genetic heritage has a role to play. Take the Inuit people for example. Their diet consists of 50% fat, most of which is whale and seal blubber. But their bodies can handle it. In fact, they need it to keep warm!
There are hypnotic techniques you can use to help them lose weight, but your subject also needs to understand some basic nutritional science.
The enzymes in their body have been shaped over thousands of years to deal with the foods that were locally available to their ancestors.
Humans learned to specialize, to eat the kinds of foods that provided all the nutrients they needed.
And just as that can vary from Northern Europe to Southern Europe, so too it can vary from person to person.
That’s why a combination of foods that might work for someone else, might not work for you. It may not be the right combination for your personal heritage.
Digestion is a complex thing. It happens not just in the stomach but in your gut primarily. There’s a bunch of bacteria and probiotics and enzymes are involved in the process. Each person has a different flora.
The more you abuse your gut, the more damaged it becomes, and the more you may have to go through a regimen to build up a certain part before you switch to something else. Or if you go through a huge physical change, such as pregnancy, you will also notice changes.
Apart from morning sickness, what are some of the typical things people associate with pregnancy, especially in relation to food choices?
They have unique cravings. But why? Because they’re feeding two and the baby needs a lot of nutrients.
A baby sucks up a lot of resources, so the mother’s minerals and vitamins will have been depleted by the fact that they’re eating for two.
It’s not the volume that’s the issue, it’s the mineral content or the nutritional content.
The body’s a great lab, good at detecting the content within foods. That’s why we like potato chips and candy because the body is designed to like sugar and salt.
It’s very hard to get in the wild, and sugar is a cheap and easy energy supply if you can get it. Which is one of the reasons people binge on it.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body senses a depletion in certain minerals and she’ll have cravings for something that will replenish them.
When you crave certain kinds of weird things, including the smell of rubber on concrete, it’s because those smells or flavors have triggered the body into expecting a certain nutrient to be present. That’s where the craving comes from.
And when it comes to food intolerances, there’s a simple way to gauge this. It’s your pulse rate. When you eat something that you have an intolerance to, your pulse accelerates. Your pulse goes up because your body gets stressed by being very mildly poisoned.
How To Enhance A Subject’s Understanding Of Nutrition
Nutrition is our first actual behavioral component. In other words, you want to switch the way your subject does food.
It’s important to get some education so you can advise them correctly. There’s plenty of information online, of course, but don’t get sucked in by any current fads.
Simply put, understand your food groups, your proteins, your carbohydrates, your fats, and your minerals and vitamins.
People need a balance of these. Proteins do certain things, as do carbohydrates, oils, fats, vitamins and minerals.
You need to discuss these with your subjects and make sure they know what these things are, what they do for them, and what foods are good sources.
For example, when you think about protein – most people think of meat. Meat has a pretty high protein content, but there are non-meat protein sources that most people don’t consider.
These include nuts, eggs, and believe it or not, Parmesan cheese – which has an insane amount of protein.
What you’re doing is giving people options, making them curious, and helping them develop alternate food choices. If you can make them curious to find out things about food, then they’ll teach themselves a lot about nutrition.
The idea is to be provocative, to tease them with some crazy fact about food and then bug them into proving you wrong. To get them to look it up and then have to admit that it’s true:
"Look. It says it right here. It’s on Wikipedia. It’s on this MD site. It’s on this food site. It must be true."
They’re starting to get excited about food facts and nutritional information. They’re making nutrition part of their dialogue.
They’re putting nutrition up on their reticular activating system, the part of the mind that pays attention to things. It becomes a priority.
What you don’t want is for them to start compulsively eating right, something called orthorexia. You want them to understand food groups so they have a balanced diet that they enjoy.
For example, you can’t live without carbohydrates, but there are slow carbs and there are fast carbs.
Slow carbs like beans and potatoes last longer and give you sustained energy, while fast carbs like candy and popcorn only give you a quick lift before you need another boost.
Remember that these things are part of a longer program. You should probably introduce the idea of nutrition early and throw out little quizzes and facts for them to check. The more curious they become, the better educated they will eventually be.
And as an added bonus… if you want to direct them to a resources that will be really blow their mind around the food industry, get them to watch a documentary changed Hungry For Change. You can check out the trailer below – but this hard-hitting documentary will change the way you and your subjects think about the food industry:
At some point, they’ll probably get stuck, confused by fads and other sources of misinformation. When that happens, you need to go back to your deframe challenges to open them up again.
You don’t want them to get hindered by an external source of nutritional information. You want to orient them into an internal authority.
There are a couple of ways of doing this, the cognitive strategy and the unconscious strategy.
The cognitive strategy is a good one to lead with. It’s to introduce the difference between a mouth food and a stomach food.
What’s a mouth food? A mouth food is a food you eat because it tastes good. You want it in the moment. You’re craving the taste of it right now.
Stomach food is food you eat because it gives you energy and makes you feel good. In other words, when you eat a mouth food, you feel good now, but typically, you’ll feel bad in half an hour.
With a stomach food, you may or may not care about it right now, but in half an hour you’ll be glad you ate it.
You can use a hypnotic blitz and a future memory to build up an elaborate experience. Weave questions into it, such as this:
In order to answer you, they need to project into the future and think about how they’ll feel an hour later. Are they glad they ate it all? Does it make them feel good or does it make them feel bad?
If it’s a candy bar, do they have a sugar crash and feelings of guilt? If it’s a salad or something similar, do they feel it was satisfying? Are they glad they had it?
Because even with comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, there may be a time when that’s exactly what you need. If so, then eat it. Don’t deprive yourself of it.
If you start giving them a future orientation, you’re getting them sensitive to the Pregnancy Principle device, the part of the mind that tracks nutrition and creates cravings to be able to balance out nutritional deficiencies.
You’re sensitizing them to it with the mouth food/stomach food distinction. For a lot of people, this is enough.
Another technique involves creating food cravings for healthy choices. People are afraid of diets because they eat stuff they don’t like and they have to give up stuff they do like. But what if there’s no giving up?
If they crave something that’s healthy for them, there’s no giving up. They’re just indulging their cravings. The mouth food and stomach food distinction initiates the idea that some things can be craved that are good for you.
What you’re basically doing is creating a mental pause button so that there’s a stage between "have craving, eat food." There’s got to be a stage in between. Then if they want to indulge in that food, by all means do so. No big deal.
In time, you can build this up into actually craving healthy foods. The goal is to help them develop a solid, healthy lifestyle.
The simple, direct approach is to create a list of foods that are good and then describe them hypnotically in a compelling way.
The taste of watermelon exploding in your mouth with delicious flavors, the salad that just makes you feel refreshed and full of energy. These are the more direct suggestion styles that will work reasonably well.
You may prefer to take a more indirect, unconscious approach. You can do this by just revivifying healthy food choices, the times when they craved something healthy.
For example, on a hot day when they’re parched, they come home and drink a big glass of water. You ask them:
"Why didn’t you drink a glass of Coke? Why didn’t you drink a glass of beer?"
"I just wanted a glass of water. I had the Coke after, but the first thing I wanted was water."
In doing so, you’re reminding them of a positive food choice they’ve made.
When it comes to nutrition, a strong component of that is to drink lots and lots of water. Water is healthy. It flushes out toxins, salt, eases hunger pangs, and fills up the stomach. Helping them develop a good relationship with water should be one of the key things you do.
If they have problems with water, you can use a deframe challenge to break it down. If they think water is boring, then they might enjoy it in different formulas like teas. Teas and infusions can be a wonderful way of drinking water that’s still relatively healthy.
You can revivify healthy food choices initially just as a form of storytelling because it primes them. The chances that they’ll start spontaneously living a little bit better between sessions is pretty high.
Once you’ve revivified a few stories, you can start adding identities to it. For example, what kind of person does this?… so they start living up to that identity.
Finally, you can move on to sensitization. In other words, how did it feel to have a healthy food craving versus an unhealthy food craving?
In other words, you’re taking the stomach food and mouth food idea and refining it towards healthy and unhealthy cravings. An unhealthy craving is going to be a mouth food and it’s going to be based on an emotional issue.
A typical reframe on that one is something like this:
Or perhaps you were really, really thirsty and no matter how much water you drank in the dream, you were still thirsty? It was never enough because, of course, your body was thirsty and dream water didn’t quench it.
Now here’s the reframe. There are certain cravings that we have that will not be satisfied in the way that you think.
When you have a craving for a mouth food, it will never be satisfied by a mouth food. It’s an emotional issue.
It gets satisfied with an emotional technique, which is where we go back into the emotional coaching side of it.
As they build a repertoire of skills to handle their emotions, then they’ll be handling the emotional craving responsibly, not nutritionally.
You’re teaching them to discern the difference between states of body versus states of mind, or states of emotion, so they can tell that what they’re craving is not a head-based thing. It’s something their body needs.
Your goal is to create a craving for healthy foods. Why? Let’s assume your body knows what’s good for it.
Remember that your body will hit stress mode when you eat something that it hasn’t got a tolerance for.
Whether or not you can consciously detect that stress, your body will know. But the awareness in itself doesn’t really matter.
What matters is this: does their behavior default to healthier food choices and do they enjoy it?
In other words, do they have a craving for it?
You can create those cravings by constantly revivifying cravings for healthy food choices.
Between sessions, they will always have a success of some sort. Even if in 7 days they only make one good food choice and they enjoyed it, then you revivify that one.
You might spend half an hour on just that one success. If they have several, you might spend 10 minutes on two or three of them for the same impact.
The point is that very few people will be in the position where they made no good food choices. There is no-one who hasn’t craved something healthy, something that’s good for them, at some point in their life. It may take some digging to find it, but it’s in there somewhere.
Why is revivification such a useful tool?
Because you want to make sure that the nervous system has feedback as to things that are actually good for you.
Having a little bit of nutritional understanding is important so you know that when they craved candy bars that that probably wasn’t the right thing to revivify.
When they have cravings for fruit, vegetables, meat, and nuts, you need enough of a nutritional understanding to know that these aren’t, per se, unhealthy.
Then you can start revivifying the craving component of it so that it teaches the unconscious to do more of this.
Essentially, they’re going into a craving state without the actual birth of a child, the weight gain, or the morning sickness aspects of it, just the craving parts, so they start craving things that are good for them.
Another thing that’ll happen is this: when people start eating healthier over time as a routine, if they then cut out the healthy component, they feel like something is missing from their life.
That’s the place you want to get them to. The problem is that when people do this spontaneously, they might fill that missing something with an addiction, with sugar or something else, which gives them a high but covers up the issue.
The way you deal with that is by constantly training their attention towards a healthy craving, so when they feel the sense of loss, the question they’re asking themselves is: Is it an emotional something, which means they make use of the emotional toolkit that you’re giving them?
Or is it a nutritional something, in which case what stomach food will satisfy their craving? Either way, they’re making the healthy choice.
#4: Your Subject’s Self-Image
“When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.” – Lao Tzu tweet
By self-image, we’re talking particularly about body image. When people have a bad self-image, this feeds back into the emotional component.
The worse someone’s body image is, the less likely they are going to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Why?
There are a couple of reasons. One is encapsulated in the sentiment: "Why bother? My body is ugly, it’s horrible, it’s my enemy anyways, why should I bother to try and take care of it?"
And then there’s ignorance, expressed in this kind of sentiment:
"Oh, I don’t even know what’s happening. I’m so afraid of my body, I don’t like how it looks and I ignore it so I’ll go for the feel-good right now rather than the feel-good in half an hour’s time."
Lots of feel-goods right now add up to a very unhealthy lifestyle. When someone’s body image is out of balance, when they try and disassociate from their bodies, then the eating component becomes less relevant. Ironically, they go for worse foods rather than better ones because it doesn’t really matter. It’s a shame cycle where they eat to feel better right now.
Now let’s look at someone who has a healthy body, with a healthy self-image, whether they’re spiritual or not spiritual.
If they’re spiritual, you can use a very simple reframe along the lines of:
The whole idea that your body is your temple is one type of reframe.
For people who haven’t got the same sort of inclinations, the idea that their body is their main interface with the world can also work as a valid reframe.
It’s like an internet connection. If you have a slow dial-up modem compared to high-speed broadband, it’s easy to tell the difference.
The same is true when it comes to your subject’s life experience.
The more in touch they are with their dietary and physical needs, the better their brain and mind will work – meaning the better their life experience will be.
Of course, if they don’t have an issue with self-image, there’s no need to deal with it. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
One way to find out whether or not there is an issue is to ask a set of near-magical questions:
- How do you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror?
- Have you ever looked at yourself in the bathroom mirror, in the nude? How do you feel about what you see?
- When you close your eyes and just imagine yourself as you are right now, what do you see? Describe yourself.
These questions are near-magical because they evoke a response. Listen out for words, and especially the adjectives, in their descriptions.
If they use negative disapproving language like “horrible, disgusting, sick, not good, unhealthy, awful” then chances are they have a problem with their self-image.
If they use overall compassionate language, they probably have a decent self-image.
You also need to pay attention to their emotional tone and facial expression. The language might be generally compassionate, but if the emotional tone is repulsive, for example, then they’re probably making a hidden judgment.
They might be trying to be socially polite by saying what they think you want to hear, but their emotions will betray them.
How To Help People Improve Their Self-Image
There are two key element to self-image. The first is self-compassion, and the second is confirmation bias. Let’s deal with each of these separately.
Self-compassion is basically about being nice to yourself. Knowing that you’re good enough, that you’re okay.
Self-compassion starts from where you’re at. So even when you’re making bad choices, you don’t want to beat yourself up about it.
If you do, you’ll create a cognitive dissonance. You won’t want to think about those times because they feel bad. That means you won’t learn from them, and the chances of repeating them are high.
When it gets really bad, you can actually manifest a part of yourself that will binge eat to punish you in some way.
The bad behavior comes out and you have no control over it. It’s almost like you’re creating an alter ego that does the binge eating.
Self-compassion prevents that. It lets it go. You know you made a poor food choice and binged, but it’s okay. Forgive yourself. Tomorrow you’ll do better. And the next day.
Being compassionate with yourself doesn’t mean you let yourself slack off. It just means you give yourself some leeway to make mistakes occasionally.
The flip side is confirmation bias. When someone feels bad about their body, they imagine it to be worse than it really is. Their attitude is: What’s the point? They let themselves go and become that very thing.
For example, you’ll hear them say: "Look, I eat healthy. I’m still fat. I’m still overweight. I’m still ugly. I’m still unattractive. I’m still whatever, so what’s the point?"
They’re looking to prove themselves right. That’s confirmation bias, and it’s one of the hardest psychological effects to overcome.
It can be done, of course, using techniques such as the classic double blind and some Mind Bending Language.
If a subject has a really terrible self-image, you can ask them:
“What part of your body do you like? Just choose the part of your body you like even a small amount.”
“What’s one part of your body that you would say is possibly the nicest part?”
“What part(s) of your body do people often compliment you on?”
What will they say? Who knows? But they’ll have to say something. They’ll have to choose one part of their body. Then you give them a task.
Suppose their favorite physical trait is their smile. Ask them to notice their smile over the next week and then report back to you how often they smile.
What you’re doing is using a confirmation bias to start orienting them to increasing amounts of things that they like about their body.
It’s the old classic double blind from Ericksonian hypnosis: which of your hands is feeling lighter right now?
Which of your hands is feeling most unusual right now?
The fact that they’re answering means they’re hunting for a certain kind of information. They’re hunting for a confirmation.
You can also ask them to take note of which part of their body has surprised them, so that they actually like it more than they realize.
This is Mind Bending Language at work. It’s going to get them curious about their body in a way where their relationship to their body image is hunting for things that work.
For example, let’s say they’re overweight. They have some medical issues because it affects their breathing, their heart, and their cholesterol levels. BUT… they don’t have diabetes. That is very important for the following reframe.“You’re telling me you put all this stuff into your body and as a result, your body’s reached this state, but you don’t have diabetes. How on earth did your body manage to keep diabetes away when most people in your situation have it? That’s a pretty good job. How on earth is your body doing such a good job?”
That’s the key with self-image, finding everything they’re doing right. If they’re still alive, they’re doing something right. If they were doing everything wrong, then they’d have a different problem. They’d be dead… and there’s no cure for that.
If they learned to hate their body early in life, then you might want to do a regression and re-imprint.
You may need to do a series of regressions to recondition and reeducate them on how they relate to their bodies.
If they like the sound of their voice, then they need to recognize that their body is creating that sound. So you can congratulate them on that.
You can revivify their singing and speaking and wonder how their body’s creating it. And what a marvel their body is.
This is a strong Ericksonian trick, which is to tell them their body is unique. It’s an amazing organism. It’s an amazing machine that does amazing things.
If someone starts to appreciate their body as an amazing machine, they might want to start taking better care of it.
Like a man or woman who loves their car. They keep it clean, polished, and get paranoid if anyone gets too close to it, especially with food or drink. They appreciate it.
So what if someone began to cherish their body in the same way? People who really love their car won’t put cheap fuel or oil into it. It’s their baby. They love it. And they lavish it with attention and the best materials to keep it in tip-top shape.
So if someone could relate to their body with the same sense of wonder that a car aficionado does, they’d be keen to take extra good care of it.
That’s the essence of the self-image part of the process, to get them to love their body again, to see the wonder of it.
You can do that with simple facts about their body, little reframes that will lead towards a confirmation bias.
You’re training a mindset, which will ultimately result in them thinking their body is a pretty wonderful thing that is worth taking care of.
5. Your Subject’s Relationship With Movement
This is about movement, and not exercise.
Movement is completely natural, something we all do every day. When someone thinks about exercising, it can throw up all kinds of images.
Going to the gym. Sweating. Working hard in a kind of artificial way that’s not guaranteed to make you feel any better. Maybe even surrounded by the smell of gym equipment and other people’s bodies puts some people off.
On the other hand, movement will probably be something completely different. Going for a walk. Gardening.Yoga. Rollerblading. Playing baseball.
See the difference? Exercise makes some people think of a gym. Gyms can be intimidating. The more out of shape you are, the more intimidating they become, because some of the people who go to gyms are in great shape! It’s a self-fulfilling cycle laced with shame:
"So, I’m overweight and there’s a skinny little thing over there in amazing shape. I feel inadequate so I better get in shape before I go to the gym."
The other problem is knowing what to do when you get to the gym. You might get an introduction about how to use the equipment safely, but then what? What’s a good program? How do you warm up? What’s a good regime? How do you know you’re pushing yourself or not pushing yourself? What’s the difference between cardio and strength training and all these other things? It’s confusing.
The point is that exercise and suffering usually go hand in hand, whereas movement involves using our physical bodies to do things that we really enjoy.
Playing with children or grandchildren, going swimming with dolphins, playing games: anytime you move your body you’re exercising, putting the right kind of strain on your body. You don’t have to go to the gym to do that.
It could be the gym, but the point is that there’s always a choice. Any kind of movement that’s enjoyable and satisfying will do.
It’ll help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. And when they’re eating healthy and moving healthy, they’ll be healthy overall.
They can explore all kinds of movement to find some they’ll actually enjoy, like boxing or dancing. Not only will their health improve and their weight decrease, but their quality of life will go up too.
The chances of maintaining a program that they enjoy are high, as opposed to a program that they do because they have to. And if the unconscious mind is behind it, it’s going to manage itself.
The key is to create a protocol or program at the end of which someone actually looks forward to the right lifestyle. They should enjoy eating a certain way, moving a certain way, and miss those things if they’re deprived of them.
If they’re blocked from doing it they’ll feel frustrated and want to get back to it. As soon as the block disappears they’ll go right back to the healthy lifestyle automatically. It’s a self-correcting mechanism.
Your goal is to create a lifestyle that presupposes their weight issue is not going to be there anymore.
Everything they do in their life confirms and reaffirms their healthier choices, and that makes it easier for them to stay on track.
How To Encourage & Appreciate Movement
Have you ever been on a long flight, car ride, bus trip or train journey and been confined to your seat for a considerable amount of time?
What’s the first thing you want to do when you reach your destination? You’ll probably stand up, shake yourself, stretch, and really enjoy being able to move without restrictions. And in this instance, physical exertion feels really good.
There are lots of hacks you can do associated with movement. For example, you could ask them to recall a time they felt great using their body – such as while dancing or even kicking a ball around the park with their child.
So could say:
"What if moving your body in general felt like that?"
Then they revivify the experience or create a hypnotic trigger and trigger it off on their preferred way to exercise.
Perhaps they like to take long walks in the park. Then the hypnotist will create a future memory of walking in the park and, as they move and take another step, fire the anchor, and wow, it feels so good to take a walk.
The point is: most people will be able to identify a time where using their body felt great. Your job is to discover when this was.
The idea is to equate movement with pleasure and pleasant sensations. Ask people what kind of movement they like. It might be yoga, skipping, walking the dog, or even kneading bread as part of the baking process.
People who commute could get out a station early and walk an extra block or two to the office. Instead of taking the elevator, they could take the stairs. These are simple things they can build into their daily routines if they find them enjoyable.
That’s the key, to make it enjoyable. Just walking up and down steps is not enjoyable. Instead, try to revivify feelings of enjoyment and then project them into walking up the steps.
Do a future memory. Pre-vivify walking up the steps and feeling amazing. Get them to the top of the steps, with their heartbeat thundering, so they say:
"Oh, my gosh. I did it. I feel so good!!"
One of the secrets in terms of movement is not to overdo it. There’s a sweet spot where their heartbeat becomes slightly higher than during their normal day-to-day activities.
As soon as their heart rate goes up slightly, they’re already getting into the zone. Eventually, they’ll be in their optimal zone.
Another signal is the burning sensation in the lungs, which means they’re oxygen deficient and are trying to draw in more and more energy.
So it’s important that your subject doesn’t do too much too soon, otherwise they’ll burn out and the whole thing will have a negative association.
Of course, lung burn’s not necessarily a healthy signifier. Using their breath rate should be enough.
As soon as they have difficulty holding a conversation with someone, they’re in the zone. For most people, a good target is when their breath is slightly more labored than usual.
There’s also elevation in body temperature and in respiration. They start feeling warmer and breathing just a little heavier.
They could still have a conversation, but it would take a bit of extra effort. When their respiration and temperature are elevated, their heartbeat will be elevated too. It will not be in a stress zone, which puts a lot of people off, but it will be in just the right zone.
The beauty of this method is that, over time, they start acclimatizing to whatever exercise or movement they’re doing.
They won’t feel as warm anymore. Their breath won’t be as labored anymore, which means they’ve got to challenge themselves a little to stay in that zone.
Meanwhile, when they come to see you, you’re constantly emphasizing the pleasant part of movement. You’re adding confirmation bias around increasing their body temperature and increasing their respiration.
Whether they’re walking, running, climbing stairs, using a StairMaster, rowing, swimming, dancing, playing football, soccer, tennis… It doesn’t matter. As long as it increases their body temperature and their respiration.
The trick is to find a happy balance, between where they can’t talk at all and where it’s easy to talk.
When their speech starts getting a little bit labored, they’re there. They don’t need machines or technology to tell them how they’re doing, because their body will know. If they’re a tech junkie, however, by all means they can use it. It’ll add value to the whole thing.
Hacks For Weight Loss
There are a few hacks you can also encourage your subjects to try:
- Take Cold Showers: The human body has two types of fat; white and brown. Brown fat tends to be around the areas of the shoulders and the chest. When these areas get cold, it triggers a cascade that burns fat. When someone puts an icepack on their chest or on their shoulders to cool them down, it triggers a fat-burning reaction. Likewise, people who take cold showers or ice baths will tend to slim down automatically because of this.
Don’t Make The Fruit Totally Forbidden: Remember, what someone denies becomes more desirable. The idea is for your subject to cut out candy and sweets, but occasionally, they can cut themselves some slack – for example, once a week – and eat what they’ve been resisting.
This takes care of the emotional stress of avoiding candy and similar foods. You don’t want to encourage eating them to excess – but allow them to give into temptation once in awhile. The key is moderation.
- Change Their Serving Plates. Encourage your subjects to buy side plates to serve their meals on. This is all the food their stomach needs anyway. It’s a visual thing. Once they finish what’s on their plate, they can decide whether or not to have more. With a larger plate piled up with food it’s much easier to overeat without realizing what they’re doing.
- Leave Something On Their Plate. You might start them off with just a few leftovers, moving toward the point where they’re throwing away half their food, or saving it as leftovers. When they get frustrated with throwing food away, the next step will be to give them half the portion so they don’t have to waste away. And eventually they’ll develop the habit of eating a small portion, even if it’s a bigger plate.
Encourage Mindful Eating. Ask your subjects to chew slowly when eating. Get them to identify the textures, flavors and even the origin of their food. They might be tempted to rush this when they’re particularly hungry, so suggest that they swap their knife and fork around to make eating more awkward.
Another trick to help them slow down is to use chopsticks – unless they’re a pro with these, they’ll be forced to eat slower. But the overall goal here is for them to become more aware during the act of eating – not only when it comes to what they’re putting into their mouth, but how they’re actually doing it.
Keep A Food Diary. This is a great way to keep track of exactly what and how much they’re eating, especially in the beginning stages because it will highlight exactly what they’re putting into their body.
There are plenty of tips, tricks and further hacks online. Encourage them to spice things up and to break old habits and mindsets.
Last but not least, remember that using hypnosis for weight loss is not always a quick fix!
You usually need to do a minimum of 10 sessions with a subject (although, this can vary depending on severity). However, to really change the relationship they have with food, their beliefs and their cravings at a deep level – 15 to 30 sessions is ideal.
This way you can present a complete package that looks at their entire lifestyle. A full life makeover that’ll have them eating healthier, being more active, feeling happier and looking slimmer.
And what’s more, the results are longer lasting that any diet or fad treatment out there because you’re dealing with weight loss at a holistic and profound level.