We have all been there, we start on a new diet and all we can think about is the food we cannot eat. We don’t have fantasies over eating an apple or taking another helping of broccoli at dinner, its always chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Why? Eating like many other things in our life is based on habit. We do it every day and it sinks into our subconscious and we do not think about it any more. But when we first start a new diet, like anything new, it is unfamiliar and we tend think about it a lot in our conscious mind. When you are thinking about your diet, you don’t tend to think about the food you can eat, but rather the food you cannot eat. While you are doing this your subconscious imagination kicks in and gives you images and tastes of all the wonderful things you could be eating.
Your conscious mind (willpower) tells your imagination to keep quiet because it is not allowed to have these foods. This in turn only encourages your imagination with even more thoughts of the wonderful thing that it is not allowed and so, battle commences. The problem is that like walking up a down escalator, the will eventually gets tired and you give up and you start eating all that wonderful food the imagination has been telling you about.
To overcome this, we need to get our will and imagination working together, so that when your conscious mind says I cannot eat that, your imagination brings up enticing thoughts of what will happen if you don’t eat it – that is to say a new slimmer you.
To get your will and imagination working together requires a bit of planning. First create a dream of how you will look and feel once you have lost all that weight. Really imagine it, really think it, really feel it – imagine just how good you will feel when you have lost all that weight. Imagine how good you will look. Next consider the actual benefits you want to gain from the diet and write these down in 3 or 4 positive statements – I will lose 2 dress sizes by Christmas, I will feel fitter, stronger, sexier etc. Then, work out an action plan with a few different actions for achieving your positive statements, for example your diet regime, your exercise regime. For me personally one of my actions in the plan was keeping a food diary. I really found that this helped.
Every morning as soon as you get up spend 5 minutes dreaming your dream. Don’t say I do not have time – use your time in the shower, on the loo, cleaning your teeth. Just dream your dream and imagine how good it will be once you have lost the weight. Then 2 – 3 times throughout the day repeat your positive statements and carry out your actions to support your positive statements. After a few days (it can take up to 28 days) this message will lodge in your imagination and after a couple of weeks when you think about bad food your imagination will deliver your dream, not visions of choccie biscuits.
What has this got to do with Hypnotherapy you ask? Well what we are talking about here is self-hypnosis. Everyone can hypnotize themselves into changing their lives. Some people however, need some support in getting there. This is where the Hypnotherapist comes in. If you need some help getting to your weight target, I can offer structured weight loss programmes and run regular group classes – give me an email or call.
I saw an interesting view on how we look at foods. It fits into the ideas above, and may be of help to you.
There are four types of eating:
1. Fuel Eating: This is the food that we know does us good. It will be individual to us and not dictated by a particular diet. It is the food that we can easily eat to pleasant satisfaction and be able to stop. We should be eating this 80% of the time.
2. Joy Eating: This will be the food that we love but also know isn’t great for us. For me this is Pizza and Ice Cream. You can do this about 20% of the time.
3. Fog Eating: Mindless eating where you don’t really taste it and suddenly stand up realizing you’ve eaten a 15″ pizza and a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s, (I would like to say that I have never done it). As you can see, the danger arises when Joy tumbles into Fog.
4. Storm Eating: Angry bingeing to cover another emotion. Eating until you feel stuffed and nauseous in order not to feel something else.
The idea is to live your life in Fuel and Joy. You need to become conscious of Fog and deal with whatever lies beneath Storm eating.