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Hypnosis and Weight Loss

by Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom

Hypnosis has been documented to help with smoking cessation, and it’s also been advertised to help with weight loss. Can you really think yourself thin?

The mind-body connection is well documented in supporting a successful weight loss effort. But can hypnosis help? It can be effective, for some people, for certain behaviors. If that sounds like a lukewarm response, read on.

When it comes to weight loss, it’s all about calories in and calories out. Studies show that where hypnosis can help is to support positive behavior change. If your expectation for hypnosis is to take away your hunger, that’s an unrealistic expectation.

When it’s effective, hypnosis can modify a specific behavior related to eating. Eating behaviors like eliminating candy, not eating in the movies, or cutting out processed foods can be changed with regular practice of hypnosis. And the key work is regular. Like other behavior changing strategies, hypnosis is not a one-shot treatment. It must be practiced regularly, over time for sustained effect.

If you’re interested, look for a credentialed specialist. Many psychologists have special training and are certified in this area.