Weight loss: All in our head?

by Amy Renee
Weight loss: All in our head?

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog post about the latest research study that came out about low-fat versus low-carbohydrate diets for weight-loss and health. Maybe you read it or maybe you heard about it. If you did hear about this stupid (sorry folks) research study on one of the news programs, PLEASE read my post. I BEG YOU!

But what if our approach to weight loss is all wrong? I mean, of course proper nutrition is key – not only to maintaing a healthy weight, but also for reducing your risk of several chronic diseases and increasing longevity. After all, if you live well into your 90s don’t you want to be spunky and agile? Who wants to live that long if you can barely move!?!? That’s no way to live. So PLEASE take control of your life NOW! There’s still time to turn your bad habits into good ones! And guess what? A healthy lifestyle is FUN! Yes, fun! And healthy food tastes delicious! INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!

But I digress…as I usually do…

An interesting story aired on the popular ABC news program Nightline last night. It was about using gastric bypass hypnosis for weight loss. Sounds crazy, right? Maybe not. Our brain is the most complex organ of our body and it is capable of doing amazing things. There is so much we still do not know about the brain. And although there are many skeptics out there, why not try something more natural than invasive?

I find it so incredibly disturbing that so many people are so quick to do unbelievably harmful things to their body, from taking all sorts of weight loss pills and supplements to extreme surgeries, yet a simple plant-based diet or hypnosis is deemed “ridiculous.” Hypnosis in combination with a healthy, plant-based diet could not only help someone lose a tremendous amount of weight, but it could extend their life by several years. Not only that, but it could dramatically improve one’s quality of life.

Hypnosis has been used successfully in medical practice for irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, cancer pain, and even to reduce alcohol cravings.

But is the key to weight loss as simple as hypnosis? There are a lot of things we can do naturally to get back in tune with our hunger and satiety cues. The mind body connection is a very true and strong part of our being.

The brain is such an amazing organ and is capable of much more than we know. Here are some things you can do to help get yourself back in tune with your body and finally start losing and/or maintain your weight.

Eat Mindfully – This seems like such a simple thing to do yet so many of us forget to do it: enjoy our food! Instead of just plopping down in front of the television with a plate full of food and inhaling it in five minutes why not create ambiance – set a beautiful area to eat, light a candle, set out a pretty placemat and use nice dishes. Then serve yourself. Never eat while standing! Put the food on your plate, sit down, and enjoy every single bite. One thing I try to remind myself to do is to put my fork (or spoon) down after every bite and take the time to chew. Seriously! Think about it. Do you really chew your food? Do you even taste it? Or do you just inhale it and suddenly realize your plate is empty before you even feel satisfied? It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to register that we are full, so if you eat super fast you are likely to over eat since you haven’t given yourself time to feel full. Here’s a tip: I live alone so I often eat alone. Even so, I try to pretend that I am eating with someone I just met for the first time. That way I take my time instead of just shoving fork-fulls of food down my throat. And it works!

Yoga – There are so many benefits to yoga that EVERYONE should be doing it! It helps with flexibility, balance (important as we age), stress and anxiety, and also weight loss and maintenance. In a study by McDermott et al, participants who practiced yoga 3 to 6 times per week for 8 weeks had significant reductions in weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, and total cholesterol. Participants also experienced enhanced psychological well-being. Talk about getting the most out of your time! Instead of joining a gym, maybe you should join a yoga studio.

Meditation – Meditation has several health benefits such as helping to reduce blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and yes, it can assist in weight loss. Emotional eating is a common reason why most of us battle the bulge and meditation can be a huge help. Learning how to meditate as few as five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night can help you get on track with weight loss success.

Hypnosis – As mentioned above, hypnosis could help many individuals find their way to a healthier lifestyle. There isn’t a lot of evidence to support this though, and some evidence suggests certain individuals have a stronger response to hypnosis than others. That being said, there is no reason you shouldn’t give it a try. As with any complementary alternative medicine, this would likely work best when used as part of an integrative approach to weight loss that includes nutritional counseling, exercise such as yoga, and meditation.

Acupuncture – There are five key points in the outer ear that are linked to hunger and appetite. Some studies, such as one by Schukro et al have found beneficial effects on weight loss (significantly lower BMI and risk factors for type 2 diabetes) when compared to placebo (those receiving needles in non key areas).



  1. Chang J. Woman’s weight-loss secret: hypnosis. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/womans-weight-loss-secret-hypnosis-25241540. Broadcast on September 3, 2014. Accessed on September 4, 2014.
  2. Lee HH, Choi YY, Choi MG. The efficacy of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2014;20(2):152-62. doi:10.5056/jnm.2014.20.2.152.
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  8. Mindful eating 101. Harvard Health Newsletters. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.harvardhealthcontent.com/newsletters/69,N0113f. Accessed on September 4, 2014.
  9. Weight loss and complementary health practices: what the science says. NCCAM Clinical Digest. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/weightloss-science. Published in June 2013. Accessed on September 4, 2014.
  10. McDermott KA, Rao MR, Nagarathna R, et al. A yoga intervention for type 2 diabetes risk reduction: a pilot randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 201414:212. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-212.
  11. Horton J. Does meditation help you lose weight? WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/meditation-hypertension-and-weight-loss. Reviewed on August 1, 2014. Accessed on August 5, 2014.
  12. Zeratsky K. Is weight-loss hypnosis effective? Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/expert-answers/weight-loss-hypnosis/faq-20058291. Published on November 3, 2012. Accessed on August 5, 2014.
  13. Reinberg S. Ear acupuncture may hold promise for weight loss. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20131217/ear-acupuncture-may-hold-promise-for-weight-loss. Published on December 17, 2013. Accessed on August 5, 2014.
  14. Schukro RP, Heiserer C, Michalek-Sauberer A, Gleiss A, Sator-Katzenschlager S. The effects of auricular electroacupuncture on obesity in female patients: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled pilot study. Complement Ther Med. 2014 22(1):21-5. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2013.10.002.

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