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I Got Hypnotized for Weight Loss: An Experiment

Submitted by Bethany on Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:36

So I got hypnotized last Friday night.  It was… an interesting experience that lasted about two hours total.  

I arrived at the hotel about 2 minutes before the scheduled start time.  A guy in the hall recognized I was there for the seminar and rushed me into the room, scurried me through the paperwork, and I barely had time to sit down and take my coat off before the presenter began his fast talking, high energy spiel. 

He started by asking the group (there were about 25 people present) how many of us had parents who are, or were at one time, overweight.  Everyone in the room raised their hands.  Then he proceeded to tell us that “Congratulations!  It’s not your fault you are fat - it’s your parents fault!”  Well, phew, that’s a relief.  I love it when I can blame someone else for my problems.  He talked about things we learn about food as a kid - when you aren’t allowed to leave the table until you’ve cleaned your plate, or when we were told to eat our food because there are starving people in *insert other country*.  These are all things that teach us to eat past the point that we are full, to pay more attention to outside signals about when we should stop eating, than our own internal body signals about when we have had enough.  This seemed like pretty good points. 

After this he started lecturing on basic nutrition.  It was all stuff I already know, just fail to implement -  don’t skip breakfast (you don’t have to tell me twice), eat six small meals a day instead of three big ones, these meals should consist of fruit, veggies, whole grains, protein and not much else, drink more water, get eight hours of sleep a night, and of course, exercise.  Throughout the spiel he kept promising that after tonight we would have no problem doing all of these things - they would come as naturally to us as breathing.  Well sign me up for that!  Oh, I guess I already did sign up, that’s why I’m here. 

Then the lecture went in a different direction - aversion.  He told us to picture foods we like as really disgusting things (ranch dressing as pus, for example).  He talked about how obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease and cancer - would we take a syringe filled with those things and stick ourselves with it?  Of course not!  Yet that is what we do with our eating/exercising choices every day.  Even further, he asked us to picture the children in our lives (circling back to that whole blame your parents thing from the beginning) - what are you teaching them with your habits?  Would you stick them with that syringe?  Picture yourself dying and leaving them all alone - worse yet, picture them ending up in the same unhealthy situation you are in now, and dying because of it, because of you.  Yikes, ok man, we get it.  In your mind fat = death.  

After this the talk began to take another turn - have a hard time avoiding carbs? Bread? Pasta? Alcohol?  No worries, I have a special pill - just take it before you consume any carbs, and the carbs will magically pass through you without any of their typical harmful effects.  Need help getting jump started in the morning?  I have a pill for that!  Need help avoiding snacking and then getting your eight hours of shut-eye?  I have a pill for that, too!  I have to say, the speaker did a good job of hawking these pills.  They sounded amazing, almost too good to be true (and you know what they say about that).  If I had a lot of extra money to spare right now I probably would have been talked into buying some, after all, they probably won’t make me gain weight, and if they help me lose it, well, I can use all the help I can get.  But since we are saving money for an upcoming adventure, I refrained, though I was one of the few in the room to do so. 

We were given a short break in which to buy pills, run to the bathroom, and stretch before settling in for the main event - what we all came for - they hypnosis.  Here is where my memory gets a little fuzzy, understandably.  We were instructed to place our feet flat on the floor, hands in our laps, and close our eyes.  It started out like a guided meditation, listen to my voice, walking us through relaxing various parts of our body.  At one point we were asked to count backwards from 100, I made it to about 40 as far as I can recall.  Then suddenly I heard his voice telling us to wake up and slowly open our eyes.  When everyone had come to, he asked us how long we thought it had been.  It felt like five, maybe ten minutes.  It had been 27 minutes.  

I’m not really sure if I was hypnotized or if I just fell asleep.  I don’t know exactly what he said to us during that time or if it will have any lasting effect on me.  My conscious memories of the event are mostly filled with an equal mixture of skepticism and hope - hope that it might actually work as promised and help me lose weight - and skepticism that it’s really just a scheme to sell high priced supplements.  

It’s been less than a week since, and I don’t feel like I’ve really been affected.  The next day Joel commented that it didn’t seem to affect my appetite, as I wolfed down some Chinese food.  The day after that, however, I ended up really sick, like stomach and digestion issues sick - we are assuming food poisoning at this time.  Joel joked that hopefully the hypnosis didn’t just make me sick anytime I ate too much food.  (Thankfully a friend who went with me has not had these issues, so I feel like we can rule that out as a cause).  

The saltine cracker diet I’m sure will help me to lose some weight this week.  But I am curious to see how my habits change going forward.  Part of me feels like if they do change, I can chalk it up to my previous intentions to live better and lose weight, rather than the hypnosis.  I’m sure there is a part of me that wants to continue on as before, if only to prove that the hypnosis didn’t work.  If I do lose weight - will I give the hypnosis credit?  Or will I regard it as mere coincidence?  Time will tell I suppose. 

Overall, I’m not sure the experience was worth it.  I’m not disappointed enough to demand my money back (they do have a guarantee that allows you to get a full refund for the session up to one year later), but I’m not impressed enough to recommend the experience to anyone else, either.  I do think hypnosis has a role to play in weight loss - but not necessarily in these large group settings tied to supplement sales.  If you want hypnosis to be a part of your weight loss journey, I would recommend seeking out a certified hypnotherapist and doing individual sessions - where you can be sure the experience will be tailored to you and your specific needs. 

I’d love to hear from you!  What are your opinions regarding hypnosis for weight loss?  Have you tried it and been successful?  Unsuccessful?  Would you try it in the future?  Sound off below!

XOXO, Bethany