Pyramids

Hypnotherapy for Women Who Feel Challenged By Their Eating Habits

020 7585 1181

  • Overwhelmed By How Much Weight You Want to Lose?

    Have you ever decided not to start something because it feels like too much work? This happens a lot with people who feel they need to lose weight I have noticed. Say you want to lose 3 stone, or at least you think this is how much you need to lose to become a healthy weight. How do you see this in your mind? Does it look like a big mountain to climb for example, can you not see yourself the weight you want to be, does it feel like something others can do but you can't?

    Recently, I mentioned to a client that a healthy weight loss was about 2lbs per week which meant that she could be a good half a stone lighter in a month's time. This is something I say to most of my clients actually but for this client, this was very meaningful. It meant that the 'task' of losing weight had been broken down. She could align herself with this smaller chunk that meant she was on her way to her goal.

    We did a variety of work within the hypnotherapy sessions to enable her to 'make the changes she wanted to make. She only had 4 sessions in fact. She felt galvanised by the idea of losing weight a step at a time and that she would be able to see some results in a relatively short space of time. As a result, even after we had finished working together, she updated me on her weight loss progress. She was delighted.

    One step at a time and putting one foot in front of the other is a good way to think of it. Take one day at a time. You can probably think of many things you have done in your life where you have taken just this approach. It takes the pressure off. Treat it like a project that you value because your goal is as valuable to you as any other. Realise you have the resources within you to do this and hypnotherapy can help you access them and bring them to bear on your weight loss goals.

    If you hit a snag, something that you feel is holding you back then you may have some kind of block that needs attention. I will be talking further about this in another post. This is where hypnotherapy comes into its own, helping you identify and release such inner obstacles.

    The other thing to realise is that it is very difficult to work towards something unless we have a clear picture in our minds of what we are aiming at. Hypnotherapy helps with this too.

    I am offering a free session until February 10th. Do take advantage of it by calling me on 020 7585 1181.

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  • The Power of Commitment

    Recently a young woman came to see me wanting to stop bingeing, something she had been doing for many years and found was becoming more and more frequent. We found that this behaviour was largely tied up with comfort eating and self image. We met for four sessions and pencilled in a 5th for one month later. I told her if she didn't feel she needed it, to cancel it which she did. The email I received from her doing so was joyous that she felt the sessions had changed her life for the better and she had in the 3 weeks since we had last met lost a further 6lbs, making a total of 12lbs over a period of 2 months.

    In my opinion, she probably didn't really need the 4th session. Apart from what we did in the sessions however, I believe one of the most important factors in this client achieving the results (and more) that she wanted is testament to her commitment.

    First of all, after the second session she arrived saying she had decided that in order to get the changes she wanted she must make a lifestyle change. Instead of going out every night and accepting every invitation, she was pencilling in evenings to herself so that she could give herself time to devote to herself. After she had this in place for a while, she said she really enjoyed these evenings and looked forward to them. She also planned her week's meals on Sunday evenings and booked her exercise sessions into her diary.

    I always give clients things to do between sessions to move things along and bed down the changes the client is experiencing. In this case this included:

    1) self-hypnosis. Together with the client we worked out post-hypnotic suggestions she could use that would be most helpful at the time

    2) listening daily to the free recording available from my website

    3) as a result of a discussion we had about an upsetting experience she had during the course of the treatment, following up on the incident and turning it to her advantage

    4) carrying out a daily exercise designed to reduce the negativity and self-doubt she was experiencing in relation to her capabilities. This last she was reluctant to do but found that contrary to what she thought would happen, the exercise helped her notice what she does well. This was instrumental in changing her feelings about herself.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the sessions and between session work together brought this client what she wanted – and in a relatively short period of time. And in a short period of time she was able to say that her life had changed – for the better.

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  • The Power of the Group

    The other night whilst out with an acquaintance I hadn't seen in about 3 years, she mentioned something which I thought was a simple yet genius idea.

    In her office, there are many people who want to exercise regularly and/or exercise more. So, they have a spreadsheet which they can all access on which they log their physical activity throughout the week. As a result, my friend found that not only did she make sure she exercised, but also found she was exercising more. I think this is an elegant spin on the Weight Watchers method - the fact that your colleagues can see what you've been up to means you don't want to be the one who isn't keeping to the commitment.

    This is the power of the group to motivate and sustain. Perhaps it would work for you.

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  • Getting The Bigger Picture

    This is a topic I have written about in another blog but it is such an important part of my work with clients that it bears writing about again.

    For simplicity, let’s say that your mind has a number of levels to it. We are familiar with terms such as “conscious mind” and “unconscious mind”. You may even have heard the term “collective unconscious”. When we speak of the conscious mind, we are referring to those things we know about, things we can speak about such as our opinions, ideas and thoughts. When we refer to the unconscious, we are talking about those things that are not immediately available to us. We may for example realise that we are confused or unsure what we really think about something, and have difficulty accessing that information.

    This is where working with imagery comes into its own. It is thought that language only came into being when man evolved into a social animal and the human brain developed accordingly. In fact, language may only be about 15,000 years old. Prior to that, the human brain probably only thought in pictures and thus the image-making faculty of the brain is much older, more primitive and therefore perhaps less complicated.

    Sometimes when a client comes to see me for the first time, I will do some imagery work with them right at the beginning of our work together. Often, they have been thinking about their issue and have a sense of confusion about why they feel the way they do. Imogen was a recent example of that. She felt unable to move forward with her ambitions with regard to her work life and as a result, was eating more than she wanted to and eating things she didn’t really want to.

    First of all, we clearly defined the problem. Then, in a state of relaxation, I asked to think about the problem with all the thoughts and feelings that accompany it. Then I asked her to allow an image that represented the issue to come into her awareness. The image that came forward was one of herself, but how her “self” presented itself in the image was very revealing to Imogen and gave her great insight into how she was holding herself back. The statement that a picture is worth a thousand words was a true one in this case! In addition to that, when she at my suggestion imagined communicating with that image, she came into contact with another part of herself that was calm and poised. This was a surprise to her too. In addition to the information that arose from the imagery work, Imogen also had other meaningful thoughts and insights that floated into her awareness even before she called forth an image.

    All in all, this was a very productive exercise for Imogen and gave her plenty of material to go away with and work on and I gave her some ideas of how she could quite easily do this.

    When something is out of our awareness, we cannot deal with it; we cannot bring our resources to bear on it. In this case, Imogen had already spoken about some of the feelings which were central to her life in the present time, but quite how she was allowing them to affect her was less obvious to her. In fact, Imogen said she felt empowered by the understanding she had gained through the imagery work, and when one feels empowered then one is tapping into inner resources and moving out of “victimhood”.

    This is the beauty of imagery work. It bypasses the conscious mind which can put up defences to greater understanding of ourselves. It therefore gives us the “bigger picture” and because it comes from us, it feels real. We can then choose to own what is revealed to us and work with it, or not.

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  • Eating When Stressed: Understanding Ultradian Rhythms

    Understanding our biological rhythms and using them to our advantage is enormously beneficial not only for our health but also for our productivity and creativity. You have probably heard of the Circadian Rhythm. The Circadian Rhythm is a cycle of approximately 24 hours which governs the sleep/wake cycle we all experience every day.

    Other rhythms to which we are subject are known as Ultradian Rhythms. An ultradian rhythm is simply a rhythm that occurs several times a day, of which there are many in the body. Some of these relate to hormone secretion and regulation of body temperature. The one I want to focus on is the Basic Rest Activity Cycle. This is a continuous cycle that also operates during sleep. After you wake in the morning if you are not too stressed, you have a period of between 90 and 120 minutes of focused attention. After this time, you will want to "switch off". You may start to feel woolly in your head. This period of reduced focus lasts roughly 20 minutes. Very often this is the time when people go for a cigarette break at work, or make themselves a cup of coffee. Then you come back to work and are able to focus for another 90 to 120 minutes and so on throughout the day.

    Now, it appears that this rhythm is nature's way of allowing you during that 20 minute period to build up internal supplies of available energy and assimilate the activity of the previous 90 minutes, gearing you up for another hour and a half or so of good work or play. It appears that many famous highly creative individuals throughout history have recognised that by going with their natural cycles in this way, they would often have fresh insights and solutions on resuming work. Leonardo da Vinci himself advised his students to periodically go away from their painting so that when they came back they would see their work with fresh eyes. This is something I am sure we have all experienced.

    Ernest Rossi who has won several awards for outstanding contributions to the field of psychotherapy has actually written a book called "The Twenty Minute Break" in which he refers to the Ultradian Stress Syndrome. He maintains that not honouring this natural biological need we have causes tiredness, irritability, loss of mental focus, frustration, accidents and can ultimately lead to sickness. Typically in an 8 hour working day, most people experience 4 to 5 peak periods when they are at their best in making decisions, planning and doing. In his opinion, it therefore makes no sense for employers to try to get people busy every minute of the working day. Taking a 20 minute break every couple of hours or so allows the mind/body to catch up with itself and create the ideas and energy that is needed to optimize the next work period.

    Dr. Herbert Benson an American cardiologist of Harvard Medical School discovered that by bringing the brain to the height of activity by intense focus for a period of time and then suddenly moving it into a passive, relaxed state that it is possible to stimulate much higher neurological performance than would otherwise be the case. He stated that over time those who learned to do this as a matter of course consistently performed at higher levels. He called this switching in this way invoking the Relaxation Response. To invoke the Relaxation Response, Herbert teaches a practice that combines deep muscular progressive relaxation with focus on a neutral word such as 'one' as you breathe out. He suggests doing this for a continuous period of 10 - 20 minutes. You can find the exact instructions on what to do on the Relaxation Response website. So whilst Herbert Benson makes no mention of ultradian rhythms, what you can see is that he is suggesting a way to maximise the way we are naturally designed to work.

    So how can you best use your 20 minute break? Following on from Dr. Benson's findings and the fact that your brain is not responding sharply to stimulation during this period, an activity that invokes the Relaxation Response is the most appropriate. These activities might include deep relaxation, a self-hypnosis technique such as taking yourself in your mind to a peaceful place, doing some yoga, jogging or even praying. And for best results, all should be done away from your desk.

    For my 4 week relaxation course and a free mp3 relaxation recording, please visit my website www.catherinechadwick.co.uk

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