by Dr. Trudie Bartholomew
I would like to tell you about The Great Weight Lie. According to statistics of the American Dietetic Association, there are over 1500 different diets for weight control and over 50% of American women are on a diet at any given time. This may be attributed to advertising, especially in the so called 'sunshine states', that women must be thin to be admired and accepted. One of the myths about being overweight is that being thin is the potential cure-all to any problem that exists. These advertisements would have you believe that if someone loses weight, everything in their life will suddenly be fantastic, they can do anything, be anything, go anyplace and everybody in the world will love them. In other words, "lose the weight and it will be a magical end to all the problems in life".
Another myth is the belief that finding the right diet will solve the problem of being overweight. There are many diet books on the market today. It seems that almost anybody who can write a book has written a diet book. The titles entice potential readers and each new diet usually claims to be the best. The one thing most diet books have in common is the myth of the 'quick fix'. This is not to say that diet books are not beneficial and useful, however consumers should be aware of the difference between a diet book and a food plan for living. During an informal survey conducted by the Therapeutic Hypnosis Group at over-eaters support groups over a two-year period, it was found that diet books did not significantly help overweight people with their problem. Most people who were overweight already knew what they had to do to lose weight.
Even the word diet has a negative meaning to many weight clients. One woman said she objected to the word diet because the first three letter spell 'die'. Another woman objected to the way the benefits of hypnosis were explained to her by a poorly trained hypnotist. Apparently this hypnotist insisted that overeating was the same kind of habit as smoking and that hypnosis would quickly remove the habit. This woman resented the implication that her problem was as simple as giving up cigarettes and stated: "What made him think that I could stop heating cold turkey. If you never smoke another cigarette it won't kill you, but you can't just stop eating!"
Selective Awareness Therapy for people who have problems with permanent weigh control must address the emotional and human dynamics of a compulsive personality in the area of food. Overeating is generally a manifestation or symptom of an underlying problem. You might say that overeating is filling a hole, filling a void where something is missing and the role of the therapist is to help that person discover the missing piece. Most of the time these emotional issues started before the age of five, or even while the person was still in the mother's womb. There is a consciousness and awareness as a fetus and in regression we take a person back to a time in the mother's womb, where I discovered that the baby was aware of everything that was said from day one. Therefore, we recommend one or two sessions of Regression - also called Analytical Hypnotherapy - to find and correct any emotional issues. Where a person had a very traumatic life, more sessions over a longer period is recommended.
It is generally recognized today that overeating is a disease much the same as alcoholism is a disease. It is a blameless disease and not the result of a weak-minded person or someone who lacks willpower. As with any disease, if untreated it gets worse like any disease process.
The idea that people who are overweight are lazy is another myth of the 'Great Weight Lie'. Low self-esteem might be the result of trying too hard to be accepted by others. Often the overweight person has been put down most of their life in one way or another and has come to feel that they are a 'lesser than' person. Someone who is overweight can do and accomplish as much as anybody else, but after years of society often ignoring their positive accomplishments, it is hard for them not to internally accept that they are in fact 'lesser than' and in fact can't do and therefore self-esteem is deflated and they settle for less than they should.
Selective Awareness Therapy accepts the fact that being overweight is a disease process. A blameless disease process! Stress and guilt are predisposing factors and often inhibit the healing process. We supply the client with two CD,s that is designed to help weight clients and is formulated to avoid compounding feelings of past guilt and allow you to forgive yourself for human mistakes and move forward. It is also important that you come to understand and realize that taking one small step forward can be more beneficial than trying to take a giant step with a 'quick fix' diet or setting new unrealistic goals.
People who are overweight are often angry at themselves for being overweight and anger is an emotion that turns inward - producing guilt. Unhealthy anger and guilt in turn reduces a person's sense of self-esteem and self-worth. The imagery used in this program allows you to take off the burdens of life, is relaxing and can produce instant emotional weight loss. Losing weight requires a new food plan for living with a proper balance between 'food for thought' to meet emotional needs as well as food to maintain physical health.
Many people who overeat are angry at themselves. They eat to suppress their anger and their feeling for life in general. They are angry at themselves, angry at the world around them, angry at people who perceive them one way when they are not that way at all and angry that they cannot stop overeating and blaming everyone else around them for the way that they feel. You might say that feeling of anger actually creates a larger emotional void in the overweight person that requires them to push down even larger amounts of food to fill the hole that continues to become deeper and wider. Oftentimes anger is suppressed because the overweight person feels that if the anger ever comes out they will literally explode.
Another myth of The Great Weight Lie is that overweight people are funny and have a great sense of humour. Many people think an overweight person can always bounce back, but the truth is that overweight people are not necessarily anymore humorous or funny than anyone else. They may be perceived as funny by society because they generally are people pleasers. They tend to do anything for anybody so that others will like them. The overweight person often attempts to be an over-achiever in order to supply that missing something to their feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. Realizing your own exceptional qualities, will help you to turn hidden assets into visible rewards. The rewards of enhanced self-worth and self-image are more emotionally filling and produce longer lasting results than the best diet plan available.
Another myth in the 'Great Weight Lie', is that the overweight person who loses weight only to gain it back just hasn't found the right diet or went through the wrong weight loss program and this time things will be better. The truth of the matter is that every time someone attempts to lose weight and then gains it back, lowers their self-esteem and belief that they can accomplish their goal. This may be termed the Yo-Yo effect. When a counsellor in a weight program or any person the client perceives to be knowledgeable, tells a client that they will lose the weight and they guarantee it, they are potentially establishing an unfulfilled expectation on the part of the client. When the client begins to gain some of the weight back, they often feel even more frustrated. This frustration can then decrease their already low sense of self-worth and self-esteem and make it even harder for them to lose weight the next time.
One need only to watch the many ads on television or in the newspaper for weight loss programs to realize how many of the claims made in the ads are a type of hypnotic suggestion. When the client responds to these ads they have a heightened sense of expectation about the results no matter how unrealistic the results might be for the given client. Unfortunately their expectation is centered on the claims of the program and not centered in their own consciousness.
Hypnotherapists know that permanent change in any unwanted behaviour or habit must begin from within and grow from within. Hypnotherapists also know that for change to be permanent, the client must be given something they can use to help them for a lifetime rather than a method that teaches information and then leaves the student on their own.
Selective-Awareness Therapy for Weight Loss is particularly affective for permanent weigh control because it teaches clients how to develop new emotions and coping tools that they can use for life. In Selective Awareness Therapy, weight loss is not the goal or really even the most important aspect of therapy. We develop an attitude change and build a belief system. The goal of Selective-Awareness Therapy for Weight Loss, is to help you see yourself for what you really are and believe in yourself.
It must be emphasized that since being overweight is a symptom of many different underlying factors, the therapy program is designed to meet your individual needs, stress factors, anxiety and tension that may be contributing to your problem. However, there is no guarantee that you will lose a certain number of kilo's in a certain time period or that by completing a program in hypnotherapy, you will have no desire to overeat.
The desire to overeat is a result of other stress and anxiety factors. Therefore what the program can do for you is to teach you new ways to deal with problems you feel is responsible for you being overweight, and teach you techniques you can use for a lifetime to maintain the level of physical and emotional health you want to have. The objective of the program is to teach you new skills for a new way of living, not how to lose pounds or stay on a diet.
During this weight-loss program I want your focus to be on feelings rather than kilo's to lose - and remember, a hypnotherapist cannot do a 'quick fix' to make you lose weight instantly. I can help you to work through the emotions and feelings, but you are the one who creates the changes and you have the talent and ability and knowledge to make it happen.
It is advisable to have a few sessions focusing on the various stress factors associated with your weight problem, followed by therapy sessions addressing new ways of eating. We spread these sessions over a few months, to enable your body to adjust to the change in emotions.
In any weight loss program, reduces caloric intake, exercise and appropriate attitude change and motivation interact to produce weight loss. The first weight to go is water weight and the last weight to go is stored body fat.
The CD supplied with the program is designed to teach you total relaxation, self-hypnosis (called Selective Awareness), regression - to look at your eating habits, and imagery for weight loss. You do however require a few sessions for regression, where we go back in time and find the cause of the emotions causing you to overeat or simply holding on to the extra body-fat.
Dr. Trudie Bartholomew