Hypnosis for Weight Loss and Fitness

Fact or Fiction: Hypnosis for Weight Loss and Fitness

Presented by BetterHelp

It seems like every day, there’s a new supplement or weight loss program promising rapid weight loss or improved fitness. From pharmaceuticals like Ozempic and supplements like Berberine to trendy fitness programs like CrossFit and influencers like Kayla Itsines and Joe Wicks, there’s no shortage of people, programs, and pills offering the quick fix to greater health and fitness.

However, there’s a treatment option that’s been around since the 18th century. Despite its age, this modality continues to gain curiosity and support for its potential to help people lose weight and increase fitness motivation. That treatment option? Hypnotherapy.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at hypnotherapy, including what it is, its effectiveness, and its potential risks. In the end, you should have a good idea of whether this is a treatment option you’d like to explore in your own health and weight loss journey.

What is Hypnotherapy?

When you say the word “hypnosis,” most people instantly get a picture in their head of a person swinging a clock in front of another person’s face while saying something like, “You’re getting very sleepy.” And while hypnosis can look like this, it definitely isn’t the full picture.

Hypnotherapy, or hypnosis, is a tool in mind-body medicine that practitioners use to help people reach a totally relaxed state. Practitioners believe that when people are in this relaxed state, it is much easier for the conscious mind to talk to the unconscious mind and influence behavior. It’s a form of meditation where the practitioner helps their patients fall into a deep state where they’re more open to suggestions and change.

What Happens During a Hypnotherapy Session?

During a legitimate hypnotherapy session, a clinician guides you through the hypnosis process. They’ll start by explaining how hypnotherapy works and by learning a bit about your goals.

Then, they might begin to speak in a calm and soothing voice to help you relax and feel safe. They may walk you through a visualization or breathing activity to help you reach a more relaxed state. Once you’re in a more receptive state, the clinician might suggest ways to help you change the habit that you want to change.

For example, if you want to make going to the gym easier, your therapist might say things like, “You enjoy going to the gym every morning,” or “You feel so happy when you wake up and move.” Alternatively, if you’re trying to lose weight, they may say things like, “You no longer like the taste of junk food,” or “Eating nutritious food makes you feel great.” What your clinician says will vary, but ultimately, it’s about communicating the changes you’d like to make with your subconscious mind.

To learn more about hypnotherapy and whether it’s right for you, check out this resource from BetterHelp.

Is Hypnotherapy Legitimate?

There’s a lot of skepticism around hypnotherapy due to the fact that hypnosis has long been used as a stage trick and thought of as a form of mind control. However, there’s some evidence to support the fact that it can also be used to treat an array of mental health and medical conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Phobias
  • Chemo Side Effects
  • Panic Attacks
  • Post-Surgery Recovery
  • Nausea
  • Intestinal Disorders
  • Skin Conditions
  • Childbirth
  • Hot Flashes
  • Sleep Problems
  • And More

However, it’s not effective for everyone, and in general, it’s most effective when used with other treatment modalities. For example, someone who is currently seeing a therapist and taking medication for their anxiety may be able to enhance their relief with hypnotherapy. By adding hypnosis to their treatment plan, they may get better results than someone who is just doing therapy and medication. Alternatively, it may not be as beneficial when it is the only treatment method being used.

But what about weight loss and fitness? Can it really help a person reach their fitness and weight loss goals?

Does Hypnotherapy Work for Weight Loss and Fitness?

So, what if you’re a person who wants to drop a few pounds or go to the gym more? Could you go to a hypnotherapy session and train your subconscious brain to make better food choices and be motivated to go to the gym? Maybe.

Research shows that using hypnosis can be more effective than exercise and diet alone for achieving weight loss and fitness goals. It can be an incredibly helpful tool for some people. However, it won’t work for everyone.

It’s also worth noting that there’s no research that suggests that hypnosis without behavior change will help you lose weight or improve your fitness. In other words, if you get hypnosis but don’t actually change any of your behaviors, you’re unlikely to lose weight or improve your health.

In that way, it works less like a medication or quick fix, and more like a motivational tool to help get you in the right head space to make the changes you need to do to get the results you’re after.

Potential Risks of Hypnosis

The biggest risks come into play with illegitimate practitioners. In general, it’s best to stick to licensed therapists for hypnosis treatment. You should always remain aware of your surroundings during sessions and recall what happened during sessions after the fact. If you start having new memories, don’t remember your sessions, feel out of control during hypnosis, or otherwise feel unsafe, it’s probably a good idea to stop your sessions and speak to a trusted doctor or mental health professional.

However, hypnotherapy is generally safe for most people when you go to a qualified practitioner. Occasionally, people can experience side effects like:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • False Memory Creation
  • Distress

In most cases, sticking with a trustworthy practitioner can help you avoid negative side effects. Also, if you experience delusions or hallucinations, it’s important to talk to your doctor before trying hypnotherapy.

Should I Try Hypnosis for Weight Loss?

Ultimately, whether you should try hypnosis for your weight loss and fitness goals is a personal choice. Hypnosis can be an effective tool for changing behaviors and emotions – especially when done by a trustworthy practitioner. So, if you’re struggling to lose weight or motivate yourself to go to the gym, hypnotherapy could be a modality worth exploring.


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