Changing your mindset to establish a healthy weight
If you’re looking to address excess weight, you may need a gentle nudge and encouragement to create space and time in your life for improved healthy food choices and increased exercise. But there may be deeper issues underlying weight gain, and often it isn’t so much what people eat but why people overeat.
Emotional hunger vs. physical hunger
Often emotional hunger is an issue. Emotional hunger is entirely different from physical hunger, which is patient and comes on slowly. Emotional hunger is sudden and is rarely satisfied. As a hypnotherapist and weight loss coach, when I see pounds of excess weight I view this as pounds of unhappiness. Emotional eating takes many forms, often a result of boredom where regular overeating has become habit.
Food used as medication
Sometimes, as a result of deeper hidden emotional issues, food is used as a form of medication. For some, food literally squashes down unwanted thoughts and feelings and triggers a serotonin high which brings temporary relief. But more food is required to get the serotonin hit. Depression, unresolved issues (often from childhood) together with self limiting beliefs are often played out in the subconscious mindset of the overweight client. Dealing with any unresolved emotional issues first and then learning to eat according to appetite is an effective approach to weight and self esteem.
Hypnosis is a great way to help resolve issues and switch to a positive mindset, allowing freedom around food. It can enable individuals to feel in control, become leaner, fitter and healthier, and with an improved relationship with food. There are many helpful books on self hypnosis (Adam Eason’s ‘The Secrets of Self-Hypnosis’ is a good guide).
Food addictions and trigger foods
Once eaten it’s difficult to stop consuming trigger foods. Common examples are crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks. Trigger foods are often processed and laden with chemicals which contribute to an addiction. In the book ‘Food Rules’, Michael Pollen encourages us to eat foods made from ingredients that we can actually picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
Help is at hand as there is a simple NLP technique that allows the mind to no longer desire the trigger food. This is effective when health is sabotaged due to a food addiction. By thinking of a food that you loathe until you get a gag response you then simply imagine it mixed with the trigger food, in your mouth. Consider the smell, the taste and the texture vividly as they mix with your saliva, and you’ll find it difficult to swallow (even though you are only ‘imagining’ the process). When this exercise is practised you will no longer crave the trigger food. Many people find they never eat the trigger food again as they feel sick just thinking about it.
Increasing sleep and reducing stress to maintain a healthy weight
When stressed the body activates our fight or flight response and we run on adrenaline (producing cortisol which in turn encourages weight to be stored around the middle to protect our organs.) Lack of sleep is another factor in weight gain.
Tom Rath’s book ‘Eat Move Sleep’ sums up why changing the mindset promotes the benefits of eating well, moving more and getting adequate sleep. Good sleep promotes the likelihood of eating a healthy breakfast. When we have adequate sleep our body feels rested and our mind is refreshed. In contrast, poor sleep and feeling cranky sets us up for craving unhealthy food as we struggle to get our mind and body focused on the day ahead. We’re more likely to opt for a sugary breakfast and caffeine to temporarily boost our energy levels (which then crash mid morning). A healthy breakfast provides longer term energy throughout the morning, which allows and encourages us to exercise and move more. More movement and energy expended throughout the day in turn enhances better quality sleep.
By exploring why we overeat, we can positively change our stress levels, sleep patterns and exercise regime, which all adds up to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Eating well, moving more and sleeping better!
Donna Kenny is a hypnotherapist and weight loss coach. She is committed to helping women create balance and harmony when they are frazzled, by helping them change their mindset. In addition to her client based work Donna co-founded Women to Inspire Me, a community for women to come together, inspire one another and raise money for charity. Donna is a skilled hypnotherapist and trained with Paul McKenna and Dr Richard Bandler, the co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. To read more about Donna, click here
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