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Does Hypnosis Really Work for Weight Loss?

By Forrest Lamb ; Updated July 18, 2017

Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective aid in the process of weight loss in some cases, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Most people wanting to lose weight report that they have specific issues that they battle with specific foods. For example, many dieters say that they struggle with sweets, while others say they their challenges lie with salty or crunchy foods. Dieters often report that particular times of the day are an issue for them. In cases in which eating patterns and habits are the cause of weight problems, hypnosis can help to recalibrate eating patterns.

Changing Perspectives

The main objective of hypnosis is to change a person's perspective or attitude in certain situations. Giving the subject a look, taste or feel of an alternative reality lets their subconscious mind know that there are other options other than the one it has been clinging to so steadfastly. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality. Introducing it to new perspectives can quickly broaden its outlook.


One of the primary ways that a hypnotherapist can begin to alter a subject's perspective is through disassociation. People have a strong inclination to associate who they are with the thoughts and the images going through their minds. Under hypnosis, it is easy to disassociate a person from his thoughts and even the concept of his body, demonstrating to him that in his essence he is the observer of his thoughts, not the thoughts themselves.


Another technique that is crucial for anyone wishing to lose weight is reframing. Just as we associate ourselves with our thoughts, we also believe the stories that we tell ourselves. Paying close attention to our words, we find that we are constantly saying things like, "This is just the way that I am." The subconscious mind believes this and relegates itself to this reality. One of the fastest ways to change is to tell yourself a new story. Instead of "I am addicted to chocolate," try "In the past, I have been challenged by chocolate." There is a world of difference.

Awareness of Needs

People who are trying to lose weight often believe that food is the issue, while most often it is not. People tend to use food as a drug and just as with any drug use there is a secondary gain. Ask yourself, "what do I really want when I am having this craving?" It might be security, it might be companionship, or it might be not feeling tired, sad or depressed. Once you have figured out what you are actually needing, seek a healthier alternative to satisfy that need.

How to Use Hypnosis

By using hypnosis to lose weight, you are reprogramming your mind. By some estimates it takes 21 to 30 days of constant reprogramming to achieve long-term change. Listen to an appropriate hypnosis session at least once every day for that period of time. The more repetition the better. If you are seeking a hypnotherapist to help you, the most important factor is rapport. If you believe that a person has the ability to help you, she most likely can. If you don't like the person or trust her or her skills, hypnosis will almost certainly have no effect at all.

When Hypnosis is Less Effective

There are situations in which hypnosis may not be a viable solution. The first of these is if the subject doesn't believe that she can be hypnotized or that hypnosis can help her. These are self-fulfilling ideas and will most likely inhibit her success. Additionally, there are often specific medical conditions that keep people from shedding weight. Commonly found conditions that directly affect weight loss include thyroid imbalance, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, and the use of anti-depressants and high blood pressure medications.

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