When clients come for help with managing their weight and eating habits, almost all of them already know what they need to do. The issue is, why aren’t they doing it? Most say that they need more discipline to resist cravings, more motivation to exercise, that they are lazy or weak-willed. However, the real issue that I have found, in most cases, is the energy drain experienced when we are holding onto that lifetime accumulation of fear, stress and tension and don’t know how to release it.
Consider the sheer physical amount of energy it takes to constantly hold tension – in the face, neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, legs, etc. Many of us don’t know how to let it go even we sleep; we continue to hold tension by clenching the jaw, grinding the teeth, tossing and turning, waking up still feeling tired. There just isn’t a lot of energy leftover for exercising or extra-curricular activities. And when we’re tired, down, stressed, we crave highly processed foods because the more processed the food (or we might call it “edible product” instead of food) the more quickly it gives a boost to blood sugar levels. Unfortunately that boost, like the quick boost of caffeine, nicotine or certain other drugs, cannot be sustained and the blood sugar level falls off just as quickly as it was raised. Then we’re on a negative feedback loop – now we feel tired or depressed again and so we crave the unhealthy, highly processed foods once again.
Restorative Hypnotherapy breaks the negative feedback loop and replaces it with a positive feedback loop. By releasing the deep clenching hold of fear and tension in the body-mind your natural energy can begin to flow again and your desire to overeat or to eat unhealthy food is greatly diminished. You have the energy now to enjoy exercising, prepare healthier meals and learn new ways of relating to food and your body. It makes managing your weight, eating healthier and exercising an exciting process that daily helps you to feel better and better, in all aspects of your life.
Easy does it, subtle is significant, the tortoise and the hare.
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Does Hypnosis Work for Weight Loss?
A: Hypnosis, if done by a trained professional, can be a very useful tool for weight loss. It should be part of a comprehensive approach that includes a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and self-care strategies such as setting aside time for yourself, getting enough rest, and making time for recreation. Research has not been conclusive regarding the benefits of hypnosis, but some patients find that it can be a useful part of their program.There are many theories as to how hypnosis can be of benefit, but in our work with patients, we find that they can often use hypnosis to help "turn down the noise" in their thinking and focus their attention more clearly on their goals. Patients often report that hypnosis helps them discover new insights about themselves or their barriers to weight loss. It can also allow them to focus their efforts or take a fresh look at some of their triggers.
Another common use of hypnosis is to help individuals better understand and manage difficult emotions. It is not uncommon for people to use self-hypnosis to enter into a highly relaxed state. This helps them to clear the thoughts and feelings that may be causing them distress. In addition to hypnosis, there are many other, similar techniques, such as mindful self-awareness, relaxation breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery, that when practiced with some regularity can really help you to move forward with your health and weight-loss plan. (For home use, you may be interested in the guided self-awareness audio CD available from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.) So, yes, go ahead and give hypnosis a try -- you may get good results!
Stress and Diseases
Whether from a charging lion, or a pending deadline, the body’s response to stress can be both helpful and harmful. The stress response gives us the strength and speed to ward off or flee from an impending threat. But when it persists, stress can put us at risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other illnesses.
Perhaps the greatest understanding of stress and its effects has resulted from a theory by George Chrousos, M.D., Chief of the Pediatric and Reproductive Endocrinology Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
A threat to your life or safety triggers a primal physical response from the body, leaving you breathless, heart pounding, and mind racing. From deep within your brain, a chemical signal speeds stress hormones through the bloodstream, priming your body to be alert and ready to escape danger. Concentration becomes more focused, reaction time faster, and strength and agility increase. When the stressful situation ends, hormonal signals switch off the stress response and the body returns to normal.
But in our modern society, stress doesn’t always let up. Many of us harbor anxiety and worry about daily events and relationships. Stress hormones continue to wash through the system in high levels, never leaving the blood and tissues. And so, the stress response that once gave ancient people the speed and endurance to escape life-threatening dangers runs constantly in many modern people and never shuts down.
Effects on reproductive system
Stress suppresses the reproductive system at various levels. For example, stress hormones inhibit the testes and ovaries directly, hindering production of the male and female sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
The gastrointestinal tract and stress
Stress can result in digestive problems. Stress hormones directly hinder the release of stomach acid and emptying of the stomach and can directly stimulate the colon, speeding up the emptying of its contents.
Also, continual, high levels of cortisol – as it occurs in some forms of depression, or during chronic psychological stress – can increase appetite and lead to weight gain. Overeating at night is also common among people who are under stress.
The immune system and stress
Stress interacts with the immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds and flu, fatigue and infections.
In addition, the high cortisol levels resulting from prolonged stress could serve to make the body more susceptible to disease by switching off disease-fighting white blood cells.
Conversely, too little corticosteroid, can lead to a hyperactive immune system and increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases – diseases in which the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. Overactivation of the antibody-producing B cells may aggravate conditions like lupus, which result from an antibody attack on the body’s own tissues.
One of the major disorders characteristic of a chronic stress is melancholic depression. Chrousos’ research has shown that people with depression have a blunted ability to “counterregulate,” or adapt to the negative feedback of increases in cortisol. The body turns on the “fight or flight” response, but is prevented from turning it off again. This produces constant anxiety and overreaction to stimulation, followed by the paradoxical response called “learned helplessness,” in which victims apparently lose all motivation.
Hallmarks of this form of depression are anxiety, loss of appetite, loss of sex drive, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Other conditions are also associated with long-term stress.
These include anorexia nervosa, malnutrition, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, alcoholism, alcohol and narcotic withdrawal, poorly controlled diabetes, childhood sexual abuse and hyperthyroidism.
The excessive amount of the stress hormone cortisol produced in patients with any of these conditions is responsible for many of the observed symptoms. Most of these patients share psychological symptoms including sleep disturbances, loss of libido, and loss of appetite as well as physical problems such as an increased risk for accumulating abdominal fat and hardening of the arteries and other forms of cardiovascular disease. These patients may also experience suppression of thyroid hormones, and of the immune system.
Although many disorders result from an overactive stress system, some result from an under-active stress system.
For example, in the case of Addison’s disease, lack of cortisol causes an increase of pigment in the skin, making the patient appear to have a tan. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, loss of body hair, nausea, vomiting, and an intense craving for salt.
Lack of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) also results in the feelings of extreme tiredness common to people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Lack of CRH is also central to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the feelings of fatigue and depression that plague some patients during winter months.
Chrousos and his team showed that sudden cessation of CRH production may also result in the depressive symptoms of postpartum depression. In response to CRH produced by the placenta, the mother's system stops manufacturing its own CRH. When the baby is born, the sudden loss of CRH may result in feelings of sadness or even severe depression for some women.
Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)