Chances are, like most of my clients seeking to lose weight, you have already tried more than once. Generally speaking we think that all we have to do is choose a good diet, stick to it, and the weight will come off.
In fact, it usually starts pretty well, because we are pretty motivated at first, and it isn’t too hard at the beginning to make a few temporary changes to our eating habits. After a week or two, a little bit of weight has come off and we feel pretty good, and we may even think, gee, this isn’t so hard. Unfortunately, however, we have not taken something into account – our own sabotaging thoughts.
These are the thoughts that tell us “it won’t hurt to have a piece of cake just this once” or “I got that job, I deserve to celebrate with a big meal” or “how can I turn down that dessert, when she spent all afternoon making it for me?” These and the dozens of other excuses we make for ourselves mean that in short order we gain back every bit of the weight we have already lost – and sometimes more.
“I have been a yo-yo dieter for year, but nevertheless managed to keep my shape within reasonable limits. Then two years of serious stress from my job did me in. I allowed myself to eat anything, and I ballooned. I had never been so heavy in my life. Working with Deborah, over the course of six weeks I was able to drop 4.2 kilos, but most importantly, I have learned a new way of thinking about food that has permitted me to lose another two kilos since finishing the program. Not only that, I find this new way of thinking is applying to a lot of things in my life, an extra benefit I didn’t expect. Thank you, Deborah!
If you think back to the last time you were dieting, you can surely remember having this kind of thought, and if you are like most of my clients, you can see the faulty reasoning. Chances are you even knew at the time that you were eating when you really shouldn’t, if you wanted to succeed your diet. But sabotaging thoughts are very powerful when they occur. The good news is that it is possible to counter them with the powerful tools of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); you will learn how to have thoughts that help you to lose weight, not thoughts that help you get off your diet.
Unlike many other weight-loss programs, I don’t focus on what my clients eat. You can use any diet you wish, as long as it is nutritious and includes some kind of reasonable program for exercising.
Choosing a Diet
Your diet does need to give you enough nutrients in the form of a variety of whole, fresh goods (grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, a bit of unsaturated fat), and should not restrict the calories beyond a reasonable amount – nutritionists generally recommend eating between 1,200 and 1,600 calories a day. In any event, it is important to check with a health professional to be sure it is a safe and nutritious; if you are uncertain, are would like a diet plan adapted to your specific needs, we have an excellent dietician in our clinic that I partner with in such cases, and I can refer you to her.
Choosing an Exercise
One persuasive reason to exercise during a weight-loss program is that it does burn calories; but it also has the advantages of improving your overall health, improving your state of mind, and giving you energy. You should not pick a form of exercise just to get your weight down; it needs to be a regular, permanent part of your life for you to be in the best shape you can be.
We all know that, but making regular exercise a part of life if not just a matter of deciding it one day. As part of making your overall weight-loss program successful, you need to choose something that you really enjoy: it could be dance, swimming, playing tennis, exercising to a DVD – anything as long as you like doing it.
Another key to making it all work is scheduling your exercise time; fitting it in around the rest of your life is a good guarantee that it will soon get pushed out by other obligations. You will also need to think of what you can do in your exercise time if a rainy day or a broken DVD player intervene with your plans.
Last, find ways to fit in “one-off” exercise sessions:
- take a morning and afternoon break from your desk and go up and down the stairs in your building for ten minutes
- take your dog for long walks
- walk completely around the store before doing your shopping
- park far from the supermarket and walk instead
- get off the subway or bus several stops early and walk
- take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- in airports and train stations, walk instead of taking the moving carpet
- start your day off to a cheery start with five minutes of dancing to music
Six-Week Six-Session Treatment Plan
This begins with a number of assessments, in this case as to your dieting history, motivation, current eating habits, but also your reactions foodwise to a variety of situations.
I will then train you in practical steps to promote success, but also train you in how to replace sabotaging thoughts with more helpful ones; learning to distinguish hunger from cravings, techniques of mindfulness, noting and monitoring your food intake in a journal, and setting achievable goals will all contribute to the probability of success. Training also includes eating out, dealing with others sabotaging your diet plan, avoiding unplanned eating, and many other techniques that will help you lose weight.
Hypnosis for Weight Loss
Most importantly, this work will be supported with hypnosis. A major study (Kirsch, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996) determined that when hypnosis was added to CBT techniques for weight loss, the mean weight loss over the course of the study was 6.03 lbs. (2.74 kg) without hypnosis and 14.88 lbs. (6.75 kg) with hypnosis. Further analysis showed that the benefits of hypnosis increased over time.