HOW EASY IS IT
REALLY TO LOSE THE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF?
When you take a look around at people in any typical street, you would perhaps assume that very few people had been on a diet these days, as slender frames become less and less of the norm. The truth of the matter is, that according to Mintel (2014), at least 14 million adults are on a diet 'most of the time' that means 1 in 6 of us are permanently on some kind of restrictive diet to reduce body weight! And for most of us, it won't be the first time we have been trying to fight the flab!
THE DIET INDUSTRY....
The diet industry is one of the most lucrative ever, earning a massive £2 billion a year in Britain alone...each dieter spending an average of £600 per year on diets, diet food and aids, gym memberships, exercise camps and groups. There are more people using the slimming clubs than ever before, and GP's are even prescribing free membership for their struggling patients. So what's going on? The amount of ways to lose weight out there is mind boggling....we are given a new diet or slimming pill every week, and we don't mind spending our money on getting help to lose the weight. There is obviously something missing here....the elephant in the room....something so obvious that we barely even notice it, never mind what that actually means for us as a society. The elephant being? Calorie restricted diets DON'T work! Clearly!
When we look back just 50 years, our nation's frame was a very different one...slender was the norm and overweight, something that wasn't. what was different? No junk food? I'm not so sure, as lots of my clients come to me for help with losing weight, and they rarely eat junk food. Did they all eat a low fat diet in the past? FAR FROM IT! I remember the food we all ate as children was fried in lard, we ate the bacon fat and the chicken skin....my mum would regularly feed us on bread and dripping! So what was different? One of the very biggest difference is food availability. We didn't have anything like the choice of foods that we have now, as global shipping of meat and exotic fruits is now huge, and the shops weren't open anything like 24 hours a day. We shopped once a week, and we bought the same staple foods week after week....frozen food was limited to fish fingers and frozen veg, everything was cooked from fresh ingredients, and processed food was just not in our mindset. We began to see the diet industry emerging in the late 70's with the likes of Rosemary Conley and her low fat diet plan, as processed food and a huge sea-change in our food availability began the flourish. Now, a generation or so on, food shopping and cooking is unrecognisable from what it was even 30 years ago.
We have always eaten well as a nation, out little island is practically self sufficient, there is an abundance of home grown foods, so why didn't we get fat before? why was that not the norm? Simply because we couldn't! It wasn't available in the shops, the process for making low nutrition, high calorific products hadn't been designed back then, and we were all so much the healthier for it.
But, to the present problem, how do we get rid of our weight now without dieting? So the elephant in the room can be ignored no longer! We have to somehow convince ourselves and our bodies that we can shed the pounds and yet not be missing out of the vital nutrition from the unprocessed and nutritionally dense food that our bodies crave so strongly that they sabotage each and every attempt to shed the pounds for good!
CHANGING YOUR BRAND?...
In the JUICE MASTER, Jason Vale called it 'changing your brand', deciding to like something else instead. Now we know that we can indeed persuade our brains that we like something different from the thing we liked before, and sometimes that might be all we need....like training your brain to like the feeling after exercise instead of the feeling from lounging on the sofa all night, but this is not an easy change! We are creatures of habit and we often need a really big nudge in the right direction, a drastic wake-up call such as a health warning or some kind. the habits that we have make life easy for us, so we don't have to consciously think of every move, but they work against us when we decide to change them.
One way we use in hypnosis is to make it as it as easy as possible by giving yourself the chance to act as if you already do have the new habit. So if you decide that you're going to start drinking your tea without sugar in, then throw all the sugar out and behave as if you've always drunk your tea without sugar in...naturalise that habit and you will trick your brain into thinking that you've always done it. It takes us 3 weeks to make new neural connections, so you don't have to wait long till you forget that you ever used to drink your tea so sweet!
Some habit changes can be really as simple as this, but others may take a little more hard work to convince your brain to take up, especially if that particular habit is more of an addictive response, such as sugar....the habit is far more complex and is tied up with all sorts of different behaviours...changing your brand to a life without sugar can feel like you're just plain denying yourself your simple little pleasure, or your favourite treat, or your little 'friend'....no amount of brand change will help with that! The trouble with denial? Our brain then thinks we are on a DIET, and the whole yo-yo cycle will begin again.
PERMANENT SOLUTIONS? ....
There are some great recipe books out there for low sugar alternatives, but you do have to be careful not to give yourself the message that you are somehow eating a substitute to the 'real thing', as, again, we're back to that feeling of being on a diet. Going cold turkey works for a while, but as soon as sugar is (often accidentally) introduced into your body, you will be back to the old addictive urges again. We need to be armed against the amount of hidden sugar in unbelievably unlikely sources, and find a way to stop ourselves feeling like we're missing out....I really do think this is where hypnosis can help massively...to just 'turn off' that little voice that tells us we're missing out, and give us the chance to turn towards more meaningful nutrition instead. It's not a mystical magic wand, we now know so much about how the brain operates, and how hypnosis fits in as a 'tool' for helping to change long term habitual and addictive thinking. If you want to try it for yourself, and get a feel for what hypnosis feels like when using it for weight loss, then click on the link below and enjoy 15 minutes or so of peace and quiet, and a little relaxation thrown in too! enjoy, and please do let me know what you think :)
Bridgette x 2018
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HYPNOSIS, MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION?
This is a frequent question from clients and group members too, so I thought I’d share a little information here so you have a better idea of what they are all about. You can make up your own mind up over what might be the best one for you, if you've ever been curious to understand these different disciplines.
First of all, I would say that actually they are all similar in their approach. Working on a particular part of brain that influences the Fight or Flight reaction in your nervous system, these techniques create subtle physical changes in blood supply and brain wave activity that help to shift the brain out of Red Alert mode, and into a more naturally comfortable state known as Rest and Digest. They enable you to enjoy a stronger sense of perspective and, over time help to re-discover natural resilience and problem solving, this creates the right environment in the brain and nervous system for, well, really! Each approach does it in a slightly different way, so your personal preference will help you decide the best route to Rest and Digest for you. (Think of the usefulness in evolutionary terms of the Fight or Flight response, as it helps you to fight or run away from predators, or chase down your prey…now Rest and Digest would have been what you did AFTER all that excitement!)
You can actually practise all these approaches if you wish, you don’t necessarily have to pick and choose. They can work together to create very powerful changes in the brain. These disciplines will literally alter the structure of the brain over time. They open up communication with the subconscious. They gently lift anxiety, negative thinking and emotional trauma, over time. So don’t get too bogged down in descriptions really, as they all easily blend with each other, and there’s lots of crossovers into one another.
As an example-daily meditation (especially in the morning) creates a natural trigger for moment of mindfulness to spontaneously happen during your day. Hypnosis has such a positive impact on thinking processes that people are often naturally motivated to carry on, taking up techniques such as daily meditation and self hypnosis.
Although the brain wave patterns are very similar for hypnosis and meditation, the difference lies in the practise:
Is actually just deep relaxation. You are guided by a trained therapist to a state of pleasant physical relaxation, but will be encouraged to stay mentally alert. It’s very similar to daydreaming, but the focus is sharper, and there is very little mental resistance to the state (especially after practise). You can often drift off and barely feel engaged in the process, as the brain wave gently drops into the long slow theta state. You will take note of suggestions subconsciously, and you will make necessary changes at that level.
Your subconscious will always work in the best interest of your own desires, and no one can ever make you do anything you don't want to, despite what you may see on the telly! This means that the hypnosis is used as a trigger for positive change, and will often be life-long. It's a natural state, something we all do every day, and this is why it's a complete myth that you can be hypnotised against your will. You absolutely have to consent to the process. If you don’t want to go…you won’t. This is why it’s important to find a therapist you can trust. You have to feel comfortable to allow process to work.
As the brain may take a little time to become familiar with the process, I always provide self hypnosis downloads for clients to listen to at home. This makes it easier for the hypnosis to happen at the next therapy session. The subconscious will then take over and do the work more readily. Think of the hypnotherapist as a guide, rather than a magician! We can’t tell you what to feel, but we will have a very good idea of what your subconscious would like to hear in order to gently re-programme any negative thoughts or feelings. Because the relaxation process can be much deeper than meditation, it will happen more spontaneously, and with less mental resistance.
I personally believe hypnosis to be the most powerful therapy around. Many top sports people, CEOs and industry leaders use it as a matter of routine, and its seen as vital tool for ongoing success. Your input is the key…it’s absolutely vital that you’re engaged in the process as it isn’t magic wand, you make the change. We are just here to give you the right tools and techniques to help your brain make it happen. You can read more about how the natural hypnotic state is used for personal transformation here
Is a more focussed state of attention, as the work comes from your own self-directed thinking. Awareness tends to be heightened and attention becomes very alert. There is often not the same kind of physical relaxation, although this can sometimes be so if the meditation is guided, such as at the end of a yoga session...I would say the lines between hypnosis and meditation become very blurred then!
However there are some changes in bodily sensations, with deeper meditation having the experience of 'not being able to tell your nose from your toes!' It’s very pleasant, and helps the body let go of any anxiety experienced in the nervous system. Meditation is often repeated daily, and will have a cumulative effect on thinking patterns and emotional resilience over time.
Regular meditation will naturally lead the brain to drop into the theta state, over time. So subconscious programming, and the lifting of old negative thinking and emotional trauma can happen for the practitioner. This is a very natural process, and often requires very little effort. Compassion and feelings of self acceptance are often an outcome for someone who regularly meditates. There really is no 'right way' to practise it. Just sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes a day, focussing on something that doesn't stimulate thought, such as the humming of the fridge, will create the perfect state for the brain waves to alter of their own accord over time.
The word here is patience, though...it may take some time for this to happen, so diligence and a dedication to creating a daily habit is a must for anyone looking to make deep seated changes.
Meditation is a lovely practise, and deceptively simple! I’ve been meditating for 10 years now, and I’ve come to the happy conclusion that we are never ‘done’. It’s a very relaxing state, and helps to re-set the mind back to calm. It’s a quiet revolution in a lot of ways, but brain scans have shown that there are defined structural changes in a part of the brain called the amygdala (responsible for the Fight or Flight response) after only a few months of daily meditation. If you'd like to know more Sara Lazar talks about it here in a TED talk: https://youtu.be/m8rRzTtP7Tc She demonstrates that a continued attention to quiet creates more relaxed approach to life's little and large problems. It is highly personal of course, and we will all meditate in a slightly different way.
Over time, disconnecting the reaction we have to the Fight or Flight mechanism allows us to re-connect back to the vagus nerve, which is the part of the nervous system responsible for collaboration, compassion and connection to others. It helps us to not only be nicer to others, but also to ourselves. Over time this kind of practise has positive benefits for our relationships, and our approach to challenges in life too. It slows down thinking, helps the body to manage pain and anxiety better, and has been shown to strengthen the immune system.
And because meditation is the formal practice that trains the brain to be focused and present, mindfulness is something that will naturally occur for someone who regularly meditates, without really having to work at it.
Is the capacity to be completely present and attentive ‘ in the moment’. A common definition used is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”.
As a practise, mindfulness helps to promote a sense of constant, non-judgemental awareness to the present moment. Without making a decision on whether something is good or bad, without judgement. This attention to the present helps slow down our thinking processes, and is involved in the control of addictive and impulsive behaviours. Many people who practise mindfulness will say that they have a better experience of life, and feel more 'in the moment'.
It is lifted directly from the practise of Zen Buddhism, and has been used by the Buddhist community as a way to promote a peaceful and calm experience of life since the 8th century.
Living in the moment helps to enrich lives by allowing a sense of engagement, and help to reduce negative thinking. This is because the practise encourages a non-judgemental observation of thought processes, rather than getting caught up in them. Non-attached thoughts tend to resolve themselves as they will have a reduced effect on the thinker.
All mindfulness requires is to sit and observe the breath. Taking the observation further out, to the body and how it connects to its surroundings. Although it sounds very simple, like meditation mindfulness takes a lifetime to learn, and will show the benefits of a constant, dedicated practise only over time.
Having said that, early benefits in all 3 practises will quickly motivate you to carry on- because it feels nice!
There’s no right and wrong way of doing all of this…so just remember, no one knows better than you how to meditate or be in the moment with yourself.
It's all up to you, and is an exciting lifetime adventure into learning more about yourself and your own quirky ways, and leads to a gentle acceptance of yourself and your humanity, as well as those around you…it’s a win/win for everyone!
Contact us if you’d like to know more about hypnotherapy and how it can help alleviate many common issues, such as anxiety, trauma and food addiction.
Bridgette @ The PHC Oct 2019