I had a chance to interview Erika Flint, award-winning hypnotist and author of Reprogram Your Weight: Stop Thinking About Food All the Time, Regain Control of Your Eating, and Lose the Weight Once and For All (Difference Press 2016). Having reviewed her book on this site, I wanted to discuss how she approaches sustainable, healthy weight loss through hypnosis — and why hypnosis is such a powerful technique.
What makes losing weight so difficult for most people?
There are three main reasons. First, we’re conditioned to eat wrong from a very young age. Most of the things we’re taught about food as children don’t apply effectively as adults. For example, are you a member of the “clean plate” club? Did your parents tell you there were starving children in Africa or China, and if you didn’t eat your food they would suffer?
How about the idea that in order to grow up big and strong you needed to eat as much as possible? Or, that you need to eat because the clock says so — it’s breakfast time — and not because you’re hungry. These ideas teach us to disconnect from our body’s wisdom of knowing when to eat because of actual hunger.
Second, it’s difficult for biological reasons. We have a built-in reward system in the brain to eat sweet tasting foods. Yet, if we eat too much sugar, the result is often a sugar crash that leads to feeling tired or wanting to eat even more sugar.
Lastly, we’re also conditioned to eat for emotional reasons and not because of true hunger. So we build up unhealthy habits and relationships with food. For example, we turn to ice cream when we’re stressed, or we eat potatos chips in front of the TV when we’re bored.
How does hypnosis differ from traditional weight loss methods?
Hypnosis helps in two primary ways. First, it gets at the underlying emotional reasons that people turn to food when they’re not actually hungry. Often the reasons for emotional eating are feelings of inadequacy, loneliness or stress. Hypnosis can help to diminish those issues in a few sessions, and replace them with a new, updated understanding of what’s going on.
Second, hypnosis is highly effective at transforming habits in a very short amount of time. This means with the power of hypnosis, a bad habit like eating in front of the television can be transformed in a week or two into a different, healthier habit. These automatic responses to daily living cause a lot of turmoil and frustration for most people wanting to lose weight, because their habitual eating patterns disrupt their success.
How does hypnosis help to counteract bad eating habits?
Hypnosis provides the ability to stop the knee-jerk reaction to stressful situations and habitual patterns of eating so that people have awareness, insight, and are highly motivated to follow through on healthy eating behaviors instead.
How does hypnosis lead to more sustained weight reduction?
Hypnosis works with the brain and body, not against them, to lead to sustained weight reduction. Many diets work against the body’s natural design by having dieters focus on food — counting and weighing food. What that does in the brain is increase the appetite. Other diets work by deprivation. But deprivation is not a long-term solution. It actually generates a sense of fear in the brain that food is scarce, and then the underlying function is to eat as much as possible when it’s available.
On the other hand, hypnosis helps remove the desire to eat for emotional reasons, removes all old beliefs and ideas about food that may be inhibiting weight loss, and transforms unhealthy habits to healthy ones. In order for hypnosis to truly work it must be customized for every client — and when it’s done properly, it provides a sustainable approach allowing the client to lose a little weight, week after week, and keep it off for life.
Learn more at Cascade Hypnosis Center.