Can hypnosis help you lose weight?

The idea of ​​moving into a state of unconsciousness and waking up able to resist cravings and lose weight sounds too good to be true for most dieters.

Hypnosis is widely used to help overcome phobias and change certain behaviors, such as alcohol or tobacco use.

Interestingly, some claim that it can also promote weight loss.

This article discusses the evidence to determine if hypnosis can help you lose weight and not get it back.

What is hypnosis?

Woman lying on mat

Hypnosis is a state of consciousness that implies greater attention and concentration, less awareness of the environment and a greater response to the suggestion.

There are two different theories about how hypnosis works.

The theory of "state" suggests that subjects enter an alternative state of consciousness with altered brain function, which explains the effects of hypnosis.

Meanwhile, the theory of "no state" says that hypnosis is not an altered state of consciousness. Instead, the subject responds to the suggestion and participates actively in the session, instead of being under the control of the hypnotist (1).

There are several hypnosis techniques. One of the most common is the technique of fixation of the eyes, which consists of keeping a steady gaze on a shiny object until the eyes close gradually.

Once you have entered the state of hypnosis, it is more suggestive and is more likely to be receptive to making positive changes in your behavior.

Entering a hypnotic trance is often described as a relaxed state of consciousness. Once in a trance, the hypnotist will give verbal suggestions, such as "when he wakes up, he will feel more motivated" or "he will not drink alcohol".

Some claim that hypnosis can help to recover repressed memories, cure allergies, treat addictions and reduce anxiety and depression.

SummaryHypnosis is a state of consciousness that implies greater attention and responsiveness to suggestion. Once in a state of hypnosis, you are more likely to be open to making positive behavioral changes.

Hypnosis could influence certain behaviors

Some studies have found that hypnosis is effective in modifying different types of behavior, including smoking and drug use.

In one study, 286 smokers underwent standard counseling or hypnosis to help quit smoking. After six months, 26% of the hypnosis group had stopped smoking, compared to 18% of the counseling group. This difference was still significant even after one year (2).

In another study, nine methadone patients who used illegal drugs went through 10 weekly group sessions of hypnosis. After six months, all the patients had stopped using drugs (3).

In addition, other studies have found that hypnotherapy can improve self-esteem, reduce anger and impulsivity, control anxiety and treat insomnia in certain groups of people (4, 5, 6).

However, current research on the benefits of hypnosis is limited and focused on small specific groups of patients. Larger studies are needed to determine how it can affect the general population.

SummarySome studies have found that hypnosis can help people stop smoking and drugs. It can also improve self-esteem, reduce impulsivity, control anxiety and treat insomnia. Larger studies are needed to determine how it can affect the general population.

Hypnotherapy can improve weight loss

In addition to its potential ability to modify behavior, research shows that hypnosis can increase weight loss.

In one study, 60 obese people with sleep apnea received dietary advice, hypnotherapy to reduce stress or hypnotherapy to reduce caloric intake.

After three months, all groups lost comparable amounts of weight. However, only the group that received hypnotherapy to reduce stress maintained their weight loss after 18 months (7).

In another study, 109 people underwent behavioral treatment to lose weight, with or without hypnosis. After two years, the hypnotherapy group continued to lose weight, while the control group showed fewer additional changes in weight (8).

In addition, an analysis of several studies found that adding hypnosis to a cognitive behavioral treatment for weight reduction resulted in almost double the amount of weight loss (9).

However, research on the potential effects of hypnosis on weight loss is limited. More studies are needed to measure how hypnosis could benefit weight control.

SummarySeveral studies have found that hypnosis could improve long-term weight loss. However, research is limited and more studies are needed.

Hypnosis should be combined with other methods of weight loss

There are very few studies that analyze the effects of hypnosis alone on weight loss. Not to mention, those that do have errors in their methodology that could bias the results (10).

Most studies that have shown a positive effect of hypnosis on weight loss have used it in combination with a weight control program.

In these studies, hypnosis improved weight loss when combined with dietary advice or behavioral treatment.

More quality research is needed to determine how hypnosis alone can affect weight loss.

For best results, hypnotherapy should be added to a treatment program that includes changes in diet and healthy lifestyle.

SummaryMost studies that have found that hypnotherapy helps you lose weight have used it in addition to a weight control program. To achieve weight loss with hypnotherapy, it must be combined with a healthy diet and changes in lifestyle.

Hypnosis may not work for everyone

Studies show that certain individuals may be more susceptible to the effects of hypnosis and, therefore, more likely to benefit from it.

In particular, certain personality traits can predict how susceptible a person is to hypnosis.

Characteristics such as persistence, self-denial and openness have been linked to greater susceptibility to hypnosis (11).

In addition, the fantasists, or those with a vivid imagination that are more dissociated from reality, are more likely to be easily hypnotized (12).

Conversely, research shows that those who rush to make judgments are less likely to be susceptible to the effects of hypnotism (13).

Other studies have found that hypnotic susceptibility increases after age 40 and that women are more likely to be susceptible, regardless of age (14).

If you show these personality traits or fall into these demographics, hypnosis is more likely to be effective for you. For others, hypnosis may not produce the same beneficial results.

SummaryCertain personality traits such as persistence, self-denial, openness and a vivid imagination have been linked to greater susceptibility to hypnosis. It is also thought that susceptibility is higher in women, as well as in those over 40 years of age.

Hypnotherapy is not a quick fix

Although it has been shown that hypnosis improves weight loss in some studies, it should not be considered as an independent treatment or a magic cure to lose weight.

In fact, most studies that have found a benefit for hypnosis have used it in addition to behavioral treatment or a weight control program.

Hypnosis should be used as a tool to help modify certain behaviors that can contribute to weight gain. You must still put in extra time and effort to see the results.

Eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce your intake of processed foods and sugar and be sure to do regular physical activity to lose weight, with or without the help of hypnosis.

SummaryWhile hypnosis can improve weight loss, it should not be considered as a quick fix for weight problems. Use it in combination with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle to get the best results.

The bottom line

Studies have found that hypnotherapy could be an effective tool to improve weight loss, especially when combined with a behavioral treatment or weight management program.

To keep your weight under control, modify your diet to include more whole unprocessed foods and increase your daily amount of exercise.

Whether you decide to do a hypnotherapy or not, making these simple changes in lifestyle can lead to lasting weight control.

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