Hypnotherapy and hypnosis have been around for quite some time, but recent-promising medical research is starting to bring it back into the spotlight. Most people know that it can effectively help manage fears, phobias, stress & anxiety. Current scientific studies have reported that it can be an effective alternative to managing symptoms of refractory irritable bowel syndrome. There are also quite a few studies in the literature that attempt to examine the efficacy of hypnotherapy and hypnosis for weight management. So how effective is it? Are the results clear-cut? Is hypnotherapy a viable option for everyone seeking to manage their weight more efficiently?
Despite current popular belief, hypnotherapy and hypnosis are actually a very useful treatment modality for many issues people face in their day to day lives. It is also a highly legitimate medical-scientific method, supported by numerous peer-reviewed research articles demonstrating the effectiveness of the therapy. Regardless, it isn’t always effective at what some practitioners claim it to be effective for. Although a very powerful therapeutic medium, it is important to objectively weigh current evidence to make sure that it is actually doing what some claim it is capable of doing. This article aims to review current available evidence that hypnotherapy can effectively help manage weight.
Challenges People Face With Weight Management
When you boil it down to its simplest form, weight loss can seem pretty easy. All you have to do is consume less calories than you actually burn throughout your day and voilà! You will lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple as many other things factor into that plan. Everything from the type of foods you eat, balanced diet and portion control, motivation to exercise consistently, finding the time to exercise, family or cultural pressure to overeat (I can relate personally to this one), and overeating at parties/festive events, all factor in.
With all of this taken into account, it can sometimes get overwhelming and derail your best laid plans. As we get overwhelmed some people tend to turn to food for comfort and eat more as you let your emotions get the better of you. Comfort eating and emotional eating are quite common. These are challenges many people face today and have a hard time overcoming. If your emotions or negative self-talk are getting the better of you, it can get very challenging to stick to your exercise and diet plans. There are various ways of overcoming these challenges and today we will further investigate the viability of hypnotherapy to help you with this.
Can Hypnotherapy Help You With Weight Management?
Scientists have been attempting to evaluate the efficacy of hypnosis for weight management since the late 1950’s. The results have been mixed due to various findings. Some report very positive results while others say that it does not really have that much of a significant effect on the individual's plan. While results are inconclusive scientifically, it is my opinion that some people may still benefit greatly from receiving hypnotherapy to help them manage their weight. It is important to note that proper diet, portion control and regular exercise are a very important component to a weight management plan and hypnotherapy alone cannot replace this.
That being said, if you are not in the right “mindset” to carry through with your diet and exercise plans then you may be self-sabotaging your end goals subconsciously. Some individuals have an easier time at being consistent and disciplined with their diet and exercise. As the old saying goes, the more you practice it, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. Overcoming initial “emotional” hurdles can sometimes be more difficult for some people. This is where I think hypnotherapy can benefit people most. If you suffer from comfort eating or emotional eating, such self-sabotaging behaviours may be overcome with hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy for weight management may not be ideal for everyone. It is used in very specific cases and can still be effective if the root cause of the challenge an individual is facing is mostly emotional. I believe further scientific investigation is warranted, but would not totally rule out the potential benefit hypnotherapy may have on certain individuals.
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Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, CHt - a research scientist & practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.