Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss
(inc. Hypnotic Gastric Band)
There is no shortage of theories as to why we overeat. Maybe it’s because food activates pleasure centres in the brain. Or maybe we fear waste and feel we must always clear our plates – a drive inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors whose lives veered between feast and famine, and reinforced by parents who were drilled to avoid waste at all costs. Some people overindulge in an attempt to address a psychological need created by childhood trauma, relationship issues, low self-esteem, or to relieve stress.
It is often said that 9 out of 10 diets fail – they require considerable effort and can be difficult to sustain. The initial results can be good, but often the weight is regained, as the mind controls eating and other habits very powerfully (which is why hypnosis can be so successful when everything else has failed).
h2 Hypnotherapy offers weight loss clients a choice of approaches, both available in four-session packages. The hypnotic gastric band (see below) is increasingly popular, but traditional suggestion therapy combined with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is provided for those who do not desire or require the band. The important point is that every client is unique and we will tailor our approach to individual needs. You do not need to sign-up for a package as we can tailor sessions to your requirements - please phone to discuss how we can help!
The stomach-brain feedback loop
Sensations of hunger and satiety regulate our feeding behaviour and involve various hormonal signals passing from stomach to brain. Appetite is stimulated when the stomach is empty and releases a hormone called ghrelin into the bloodstream, while fatty tissues decrease production of the hormones leptin and insulin. These signals are transmitted to the lateral hypothalamus, a region of the brain involved in feeding and other motivated behaviours, generating the sensation of hunger.
Eating ceases under the influence of several satiety signals. When the stomach is full, a signal is sent via the vagus nerve, which has many endings in the wall of the stomach. The signal goes up to neurones in the medulla at the base of the brain, signalling that it is time to stop feeding. If you eat slowly and with attention ('mindfully'), this satiety signal is likely to register louder and stronger than if you wolf down your food, chat or are otherwise distracted while you are eating, when it is more easily overridden.
The gastric band surgical procedure
A gastric band is an adjustable band (also known as a Lap-Band) that is placed around the top part of the stomach, via keyhole surgery, in order to create a pouch about the size of a clenched fist. The band, when filled, slows the progress of food into the lower part of the stomach and as the smaller pouch at the top of the stomach fills up quicker, the brain receives exactly the same hormonal and nervous signals as when the whole stomach was filled up. In this way the person gets a feeling of being satisfied quicker than they would otherwise, which leads to them eating less and they lose weight as a consequence. Further details of the gastric band system can be found here.
The hypnotic gastric band
The hypnotic gastric band can be applied to a wider BMI range as no actual surgery is taking place. With a hypnotic – or virtual – gastric band the client could achieve the same results without the risk, waiting time for an appointment to see a consultant and for the surgery itself, and not to mention the very high cost to cases not covered by the NHS. The hypnotic gastric band approach is perfectly suitable where:
The problem is overeating and not recognising the point of being full-up (satiety). Or ...
There are stones rather than just pounds to lose. As a rough guide, anyone with two or more stone of excess weight may consider this type of hypnotherapy. In addition, clients are likely to be in the BMI (Body Mass Index) range of 25+ (overweight) or 30+ (clinically obese). Or ...
Weight has successfully been lost by dieting in the past, but that weight (and probably more) has subsequently been regained. Or ...
There has always been a problem of being overweight.
The hypnotic gastric band makes the body behave in exactly the same way as if it had undergone the surgical procedure. It allows a person the reset their brain-body feedback system, allowing the feeling of satiety sent by the digestive system to be registered by the brain and acted upon. People that are chronic overeaters appear to override these natural signals and never feel full. With the hypnotic gastric band in place, the recipient feels full sooner, has a clear signal of the point of satiety, eats less and may also prefer to eat healthier foods.
The hypnotic gastric band in its current form has been used since 2008 and there are various proprietary methods and techniques currently available. I choose not to directly simulate surgical procedures or the environment of an operating theatre as many people have a fear or phobia of these. Experience confirms that it is sufficient to suggest the idea that a gastric band is in position and operating the way it should. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) will be integrated with hypnotic suggestion therapy into the four sessions included in the standard package. The whole process typically takes around five weeks and CDs are provided for the client to maintain progress thereafter.
There are various 'branded' hypnotic gastric band treatments marketed that can cost upward of £400 for 4 or more sessions, whether these are all actually needed or not. Whilst approaches vary from client to client, typically I will do two sessions of CBT and suggestion therapy, followed by a third session during which the hypnotic gastric band is 'installed' and a fourth session to reinforce and adjust the band, deal with any difficulties and provide the client with helpful resource tools. It is important to mention that there may be psychological causes for excess weight. Issues around guilt, low confidence, low self-esteem, abuse and others from past events may have caused someone to have an unhealthy relationship with food. As a part of the treatment for the hypnotic gastric band, these aspects will be investigated if they are inhibiting progress in responding to the weight-loss suggestions. Additional sessions are therefore required in such cases, or where further dietary advice or food intolerance testing is requested.
Help with your diet too!
As a unique optional additional service, h2 Hypnotherapy works in association with h2 Natural Health's qualified and experienced natural health therapist who can provide dietary and nutrition advice to clients to complement the programme of hypnotherapy for all weight control treatments. This can also include food intolerance testing. Please enquire for details.
IMPORTANT! Please understand that the key to success is YOU! No weight loss system will work unless you are committed to losing weight and are prepared to change your eating habits and lifestyle. Weight loss is only possible as part of an appropriate diet and exercise programme. If you are totally serious about losing weight then it will certainly work for you. Like any medical or therapy procedure there can be no definite guarantees, however the mind is a very powerful instrument and by following the hypnotherapy programme and associated advice you will have the tools and power to change your eating habits. However you decide to do it, the only way to lose significant amounts of weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn in exercise! Please be aware that it is important to seek the advice of your doctor before making any sudden changes to your lifestyle.
About body mass index (BMI)
Your BMI gives an indication of your health risks. A BMI between 18 and 25 is regarded as "Normal", between 25 and 30 is classed as "Overweight" and a BMI between 30 and 40 is in the "Obese" range. If you have a BMI over 40 you are classed as "Morbidly Obese." Not only can obesity affect life expectancy it can be responsible for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes Type II, stroke, cancer, joint problems such as osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure. According to the most recent annual Scottish Health Survey, 28% of adults were classed as obese in 2018. The average adult body mass index (BMI) in Scotland was 27.7, up from 27.1 in 2003.
A BMI Factsheet is available here: BMI Factsheet
Body Mass Index (BMI) is determined using the formula - body weight divided by your height squared. To make it easy for you to calculate your BMI, follow this link to Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator.