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Using Hypnosis for Post-Holiday Weight Loss

by Dr. Scott Lewis

After a holiday season filled with culinary temptations and overindulgences, we all start off the New Year with the best of intentions to lose weight, eat healthier foods, and commit to an exercise program. We might be successful for the first few days or even weeks, but slowly our resolve breaks down, and we gravitate to our unhealthy habits for a variety of reasons.

According to a 2009 study published in the Guardian, a university psychologist found that 78 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions do not follow through on these vows. Another study, published in 2002 by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, found that only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolutions.

Hypnosis as a scientifically valid therapeutic tool is widely misunderstood and underestimated by the general public. However, countless studies conducted over the last 60 years by institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and the Mayo Clinic prove that hypnosis works as a healing, an anesthetic, and a pain-management tool—providing real, measurable health benefits to patients, either on its own or in conjunction with other therapies and treatments.

In the struggle to keep resolutions and commit to losing those extra holiday pounds, many people are looking to hypnosis for weight loss. While hypnosis can influence perception (such as of pain control) or actual physiological processes (such as lowering blood pressure), hypnosis is also a valuable tool for effecting behavioral change. Studies have shown that hypnosis in conjunction with nutrition education and a cognitive behavior program for weight loss can yield remarkable results that last over time.

In an analysis published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Dr. Irving Kirsch assessed the outcomes of five weight-loss studies that used hypnosis as a supplement to cognitive behavioral therapy and found that subjects who used hypnosis lost 11.83 pounds, compared with subjects who did not use hypnosis and lost a mean of 6 pounds (a 97 percent increase in treatment efficacy).

So how can we prevent the temptations that sabotage our best intentions in the New Year?

One possible solution is my 4-Step M.I.N.D. Method. Following these easy steps on your own can help you achieve your desired goals:

× Map - a clear vision of the goal you wish to attain

× Initiate - the first step toward your goal

× Navigate - dealing with temptations and setbacks

× Drive - continuing action toward your goal

The 4-step M.I.N.D. Method is designed to help people take the actions necessary for keeping their resolutions and achieving the results they want—whether the goal is to lose weight, go to the gym, take a daily 30-minute walk, avoid sweets, and much more. In conjunction with hypnosis, however, the steps can be greatly facilitated and enhanced:

× Map - Hypnosis can help clarify this vision; it can enhance motivation by focusing on the exciting benefits obtained by reaching your goal.

× Initiate - Hypnosis can help overcome procrastination and provide the motivation to take action.

× Navigate - Hypnotic techniques provide tools for overcoming temptations, controlling eating habits, staying focused, and not allowing a setback to cause abandonment of goals.

× Drive - Hypnosis keeps the goal and all the exciting benefits that will be attained through reaching that goal at the forefront of your mind and encourages the actions to get there.

I’m also a veteran of constant failed resolutions to lose weight. When I found myself 41 pounds overweight, bingeing on chips, ice cream, and soda at night while watching television (in addition to drinking 3-4 cans of Dr Pepper throughout the day), I realized I needed to try something different. Motivated and dedicated to change, I used self-hypnosis techniques to free myself from some very specific and powerful food addictions.

Of course, hypnosis alone will not result in weight loss magically or without effort, but hypnosis used as an enhancement to a nutrition and fitness regimen can make a big difference and help you achieve significant, lasting results—and maybe this year, you will be able to keep those resolutions all year long.

Dr. Scott Lewis is a clinical hypnotherapist and chiropractor who has devoted over 25 years to educating people about hypnosis and using hypnosis to help patients. Dr. Lewis lectures to thousands of people each year and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs throughout the world. He works with corporations, helping their employees stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve better health through hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques. For more information on the 4-Step M.I.N.D. Method, visit www.DrScottLewis.com.

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