Symptom Vs. Cause in Weight Loss

Author: Sonia Devine

The other day one of my clients said to me: ‘I have a friend who tried hypnotherapy for weight loss, but it didn’t work for her.’ She was wondering why some people seemed to respond to weight loss hypnotherapy, while others did not. I explained to her that not all hypnotherapy is equal; that some therapists focus very strongly on eliminating the symptoms of being overweight, which are usually overeating, lack of motivation to exercise, sugar/fat addiction and alcohol addiction.

Many people believe that their eating patterns are simply habit, and that hypnotherapy can help them to break that habit. In some cases this is true. But in many cases, the overeating is serving a purpose. Sometimes it alleviates anxiety. Sometimes it provides comfort. It may even serve to numb emotional pain. Whatever the case, it is not the vice that is the problem, but the need for the vice.

This is not to say we should ignore the symptoms of being overweight. These are definitely part of the problem and they need to be addressed; but if you treat the symptom without addressing the cause, it’s like trying to heal an infected sore with a bandaid. It will not work; or at best, it will work only for a short while, and then the symptoms will return; usually even more rampant than before. This is essentially why dieting doesn’t work. When you go on a diet, you are looking for a short term fix (whether you know it or not), and you’re not addressing the real issue, which is your attitude towards food.

In fact, food restriction sometimes exacerbates the problem because when you decide to reduce your food intake, you may find yourself becoming fixated on food, preparation of food and what you are going to eat for your next meal. By trying to eat less food, you are focusing on food and therefore creating a paradox. It’s kind of like saying ‘Don’t think of an Elephant!’ So instead of trying ‘not’ to eat certain foods, try in stead to focus on changing your eating habits.

Some time ago, ‘Carolyn’ came to me for help with her addiction to jelly-lollies (or ‘candy’ if you’re not an Aussie). She explained that some months ago, she had seen another hypnotherapist for her addiction to chocolate. This had worked brilliantly, she told me. Almost instantaneously, ‘Carolyn’ lost her desire for chocolate. The only problem was, now she was addicted to the lollies. And this, she figured, was where I would come in to save the day.

Apparently I was to use my magic to remove ‘Carolyn’s addiction to jelly-lollies. At this stage, she had done no real self-exploration; she figured she had a bad habit and I was going to help her eliminate the habit. I suspected there may be an underlying cause of this problem which contributed to my client’s need to binge on one specific food type; and on further investigation, there was. Quite simply, ‘Carolyn’ was her own worst enemy.

A relentless exercise addict and perfectionist, she was unhappy with her body, her mind and her soul. I might add that the woman before me was a beautiful, slim, fit and intelligent lady; only she did not see what I could see. I knew it was useless trying to convince her that she was a beautiful, normal and healthy woman. In every light she perceived herself as unacceptable, and that was that.

Nonetheless, I told ‘Carolyn’ that I didn’t believe she had a weight problem; rather that she had a serious body image and self esteem problem. This was manifesting itself in extreme self-punishment and food restriction followed by bingeing on ‘forbidden’ foods. ‘Carolyn’ pleaded with me to try the therapy anyway. She explained that I was her last resort, and that she was at the end of her tether. She was absolutely convinced that if she could just stop eating the lollies, everything would fall into place.

Against my better judgment (this was in my earlier days of practise), I did the therapy with her….and guess what??? She stopped eating jelly-lollies! Soon afterwards she began bingeing on health bars. The moral of the story? Too much of anything is a bad thing. If you remove the vice without addressing the underlying issues that contribute to the need for the undesired behaviour, this will simply result in you taking up another vice. Work from the inside out and you will get a much better result.

About the Author:

Sonia Devine is one of Australia’s leading experts in weight loss hypnotherapy. Want to learn more about how to treat the cause of weight gain? Claim your FREE Weight Loss E-book here =>

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