How can something like hypnosis reduce powerful desires to eat the wrong kinds of things?
When people are trying to slim down and stick to a healthy diet, they can find it really tough to ignore their brain’s incessant desire for the occasional sugary snack or calorie-laden treat.
Food cravings are actually more powerful than normal hunger pangs and when individual’s struggle to get over these feelings, they often give in to food binges. Sometimes it feels that the food controls them.
I’ve had some clients who swear that there are two sides to them; a well-behaved, prim and proper, healthy side who knows what they should be eating, and a ‘don’t give a damn’, rough around the edges, rebellious side that urges them, in a Barry White voice to eat a Cadbury’s Creme egg (ok,that’s just me)
Do you having cravings for these foods? Thought not…
Studies suggest that the most common foods men and women crave are sugary snacks like chocolates, cakes or confectionery. If food desires are not controlled, they can trigger a habitual eating pattern, the most well known being chocolate addiction. It is a genuine problem, especially when we consider that some of us may be naturally more predisposed to being addicted in the first place.
There are several reasons behind food urges. Chemicals in our body can affect our brain. Serotonin makes us feel relaxed and happy, but low levels make us vulnerable. Endorphin levels are also thought to affect our state of mind in the same way.
Some food items such as chocolate have in them an amino acid called phenylethylamine, which controls the release of endorphins that make us feel happy and relaxed.
Meeting the desire for chocolate can therefore make us feel good. No wonder some people find it hard to stop buying unhealthy food, especially if they are feeling bored, sad or lonely.
It is worth knowing that other ingredients in foods like chocolate may generate a desire, particularly caffeine and iron, both of which can negatively affect the body if eaten in large quantities. Usually your body will let you know when you need certain supplements, but not always in the best way, as your brain may associate good nutrition with the wrong foods.
The fact is, food is always available. A chocolate bar doesn’t judge and is cheap and convenient. And shops like Tesco don’t help us when they insist on selling boxes of the stuff for just £1!
Using Hypnotherapy for food cravings
Hypnotherapy can help to manage powerful cravings for food by targeting the specific parts of the brain in command of habitual responses. A hypnotherapist like myself will find out what the client is doing in her mind to reinforce the cravings and then help her focus on what she would prefer to be thinking and doing instead.
I have also used hypnotic techniques, mindfulness and NLP to help my clients break unconscious patterns of behaviour. For example, one technique, the ‘Pause Button’, gives the person a chance to evaluate an eating decision before they go ahead and give into the craving.
They are taught to mentally ‘pause’ the craving (an image of a tasty bit of food in front of them usually comes with this) and then fast forward to the point where they have finished eating too much unhealthy food and are feeling sluggish, frustrated or guilty. When rehearsed enough in the mind, the result is often an intense desire to not give into the craving.
Hypnotherapy can assist in breaking negative and unconscious patterns of thinking and behaviour and help people choose a healthy and beneficial substitute, like exercising, that releases endorphins in a natural way.
For more information on whether hypnotherapy could help you reduce food cravings, why not take advantage of a free consultation or start off by downloading my free anxiety tip-sheet and relaxation audio?