Losing weight can be challenging, particularly when remaining consistent in a weight loss program that involves dietary restrictions and exercise. Therefore, there are a series of medically supervised weight loss programs, including behavioral changes, pre-packed meals, pharmacotherapy and surgery. Additionally, there are alternative methods such as weight loss hypnosis or hypnotherapy, particularly when previous and more traditional attempts have failed.

Difficulties in maintaining a healthy diet or entering the cycle of “yo-yo dieting” are not uncommon problems that make the management of a stable and healthy weight difficult, which may be aggravated by stress, low self-esteem or feelings of boredom. Weight loss hypnosis is used to alter thinking patterns in order for a patient to be able to control their food cravings and eating habits. The treatment is expected to result in patients feeling more motivated to diet and less depressed.

How Weight Loss Hypnosis Works

Hypnosis is a technique that conducts patients into a state of interior concentration and absorption, similar to a trance. Weight loss hypnosis is performed during regular visits with the purpose of targeting the unconscious mind and alter the patients’ habits. Patients are induced in the hypnotic state, which allows them to be highly focused in their goal of losing weight. Under hypnosis, patients are more open to suggestions, such as behavioral alterations.

The hypnotherapist uses verbal repetitions and mental image prompting — techniques called “suggestions” that are designed to increase the patient’s confidence about their bodies, eliminate negative thoughts involving eating, and help them lose excessive weight without emotional drawbacks. The ultimate goal of the hypnosis is to create a healthy and positive relationship between the patient, food and exercise.

Who Performs Weight Loss Hypnosis

Despite the fact that this is not a conventional method to lose weight, weight loss hypnosis is performed in several countries worldwide, including in the United States. Weight loss hypnosis is usually conducted with the support of a hypnotherapist. There is no formal regulation about hypnotherapist certification, but the International Certification Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy encourages professionals to seek out educational courses and receive a proper certification to practice.

Washington, Connecticut, Colorado and other states limit the use of the term “therapist” to medical doctors and require hypnotists to register with the state. There is no scientific research on the benefits of weight loss hypnosis, but it may be a resource for overweight, obese or morbidly obese patients. The hypnosis won’t provoke direct weight loss directly, but it may possibly help patients have more positive thinking and feelings that encourage them to remain on a diet and exercise regimen.

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