For many people, when we hear hypnosis, we may associate that with a hypnotist in an entertainment setting that may include making someone do anything embarrassing the hypnotist says to do.
So, with this frame of mind, thinking hypnosis working for weight loss may seem drastic and risky.
However, hypnosis for weight loss is quite safe and can be very effective.
Hypnosis has been used for various behavior changes such as smoking cessation and an effective tool with eating disorder treatments (1).
With the rise of global obesity and health problems associated with obesity, the need for novel therapeutic strategies for treating obesity is in high demand.
Treatments for obesity aren’t lacking; there are so many diets, supplements and programs that are offered for treating obesity.
Yet the rate of obesity continues to rise probably because most of these diets or supplements don’t help with long term weight loss success.
A drastic treatment for obesity is gastric bypass surgery which has been shown to have success for weight loss.
However, a 2017 study (2) suggests hypnosis may be one way to avoid radical weight loss surgery.
More research is needed for hypnosis for weight loss, but studies do suggest hypnosis could really work for successful weight loss.
What is hypnosis for weight loss is NOT
Health psychologist and certified clinical hypnotist Dr. Stein in a SHAPE article (3) suggests hypnosis for weight loss is an experience where the patient is well informed and comfortable through the whole process.
It’s really just focused attention inward in a healthy way. There is no need to be worried you are going to do something you wouldn’t normally do otherwise if you weren’t hypnotized! You should always feel in control.
Hypnosis for weight loss should NOT be tricking you to do anything you wouldn’t normally do.
Rather, it focuses on increasing awareness of issues with emotions, eating and feeling of fullness.
Hypnosis isn’t convincing you of what foods to eat, but rather it is focusing your attention on how food can alleviate hunger NOT as an emotional outlet.
It is a tool to help equip you to make healthy choices; you still need to apply the focus to make it work for you.
How hypnosis can help for weight loss
Hypnosis is a way to address underlying issues that are intertwined with eating.
Following a healthy diet and/or exercise program for health is important, but just trying to follow a healthy eating plan doesn’t always help with root issues of unhealthy eating behaviors.
Hypnosis can help change the way of thinking about food and can help increase relaxation. It may also help you realize what some mental road blocks you may have for weight loss efforts and how to get around them.
Hypnosis can be a tool to increase mindfulness with eating and also increase your confidence and focus.
A 2014 CNN article (4) also notes hypnosis may help weight loss through a method called “hypnosis gastric bypass”.
Instead of actually going through real gastric bypass, a hypnotist walks someone through a simulated gastric bypass experience so the mind believes the stomach is smaller and appetite is decreased.
Will it work right away?
Unlike certain fad diets or weight loss supplements, hypnosis may not cause dramatic weight loss immediately.
While, just as anything results may vary, but hypnosis weight loss addresses behavior and mental shifts meant for long term changes.
Therefore, weight loss through hypnosis may be more consistent over the long haul instead of an immediate drastic change.
Immediate, drastic weight loss may happen with hypnosis, but it may not for everyone.
However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent from trying hypnosis since long term shifts for weight loss is recommended for successful weight loss.
Addressing root issues around food can be beneficial for long term health and weight maintenance.
Research for hypnosis and weight loss
Is hypnosis another fad for weight loss? There hasn’t been a lot of research around hypnosis for weight loss, but the research that has been done suggests it can be successful.
With the rise of obesity, more novel approaches for treating obesity are needed. Researchers from a May 2017 study (5) are interested in hypnosis as a viable, non-invasive approach for treating obesity.
A 1996 review article (6) analyzed the results of five studies that involved hypnosis for weight loss.
All five of these studies showed hypnosis had significantly greater weight loss compared to people who were losing weight compared to cognitive behavior therapy.
One study suggests hypnosis may have the greatest results if hypnosis is individualized for each person.
A 2014 article (7) suggests hypnosis for weight loss may impact appetite and satiation hormones which can also positively impact risk for type 2 diabetes.
What to keep in mind for hypnosis and weight loss
Hypnosis can be a viable option for many people for weight loss, and it could be a successful tool for long term weight loss.
Hypnosis is NOT a diet plan. Therefore, while working on mental focus, it is important to remember incorporating a healthy, balanced diet with an active lifestyle.
Research (8) from Stanford University also suggests not everyone is able to be hypnotized.
It is important to address any underlying metabolic or other health issues for weight loss.
Hypnosis can address mental focus, relaxation, emotional eating and mindfulness, but other medical guidance may be needed for underlying health issues.
People that have success with weight loss hypnosis often say they have tried many different diets in the past without weight loss success.
Hypnosis may provide a breakthrough for weight loss success where other diets have not worked.
Currently, there does not appear to be any adverse effects from trying hypnosis for weight loss.
In fact, people without mental health issues may even be able to follow an at home self guided program designed from a clinical hypnotist.
Research studies have shown positive results with weight loss hypnosis, and studies suggest hypnosis could be a novel, non-invasive weight loss strategy.