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Practical Planning for Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

Updated on March 11, 2010

When someone comes to Berkshire Hypnosis seeking to lose weight, I explain that the ultimate goal is to achieve and maintain a certain healthy weight WITHOUT being forced into eating an impractical diet and an unrealistic exercise regimen.  We attempt to develop a plan that's workable - one that eventually becomes just a natural part of their lifestyle.

This is often a significant challenge, however.  Most people I see fall into one or more of the following situations:

·         Have kids that are too young to be left alone for more than 15-20 minutes and without the means for a daily babysitter

·         Have kids and are too dead tired to exercise after cleaning the house AFTER putting them to bed

·         Do not have a free hour or two every day to devote to exercise

·         Are so rushed throughout their day that they don't have time to prepare and/or eat a healthy, balanced meal in a healthy manner

·         Have knee or back problems, or some physical challenge that limits their ability for cardio workouts

·         Have jobs or home situations that require 60-80 hours a week, leaving little time for regular, healthy exercise regimens and diets

Yes, ultimately, these are just excuses and if someone really wanted to lose the weight, they would find the time.  But as a therapist and as someone who is being asked to find or make that time FOR them, and as someone who falls into several of these scenarios, I fully understand that, while getting pumped and psyched up and logically finding that free half-hour every day that I usually just waste, works for maybe a week to a month, the major challenge is to sustain these weight loss behaviors for many months and... well, for life.

In other words, a person should not need to be pumped up (or go to weekly meetings) to lose weight and keep it off.  We come up with a plan that can simply be a way of living.  The impetus to this plan is this, which is something I need to hear the client actually say:

"There is not a magic pill that'll just whack off 40 pounds.  Something I'm doing must change because I can't seriously expect to live the same way and somehow just start losing weight."

And so, with this realization, I ask if there's anything they can do to both increase the calories burned and decrease the calorie input (or the calories NOT burned, such as those from snacking, eating late at night, etc.).  At this time, most people have a good list of things they know they SHOULD be doing.  They offer these up, but often without conviction because they know deep down, they don't really have all the motivation they need to stick with such things for months, let alone years.

It is at this point that I begin my 5-point weight loss discussion.

First: I quickly go through a list of things they probably already know (just to make sure they haven't missed something).  There's a significant reason for putting all this information fresh into the mind, which I'll explain later. You can find many such lists on most weight loss articles.  Here's my list:

Tips for a Healthy Body (that you probably already know)

1. Chew your food slowly, thoroughly. This improves digestion and nutrient assimilation, helps you become more mindful of what is eaten, and leads to #2.

2. Know that it takes 10-20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full. Eat slowly and stop eating just before you feel full.

3. Eliminate/reduce sugar and processed foods (when your body has to work diligently to break down those things not natural, it takes away from breaking down the foods that get stored into fat cells)

4. High fat foods cause people to eat unnecessarily larger portions

5. You want foods that are more natural - fruits and vegetables, lots of them

6. Eat lots of fiber (this, alone, may yield the greatest overall health benefit) - it does so much more than add to your stool. Buy pectin (natural apple fiber) or psyllium (or something similar) and just sprinkle it on your foods. You won't notice it's there and you'II do a world of good.  (Remember to drink a lot of water when eating fiber.)

7. Replace white bread and pastas with whole grain or whole wheat

8. Drink plenty of water.

9. Eat something green and leafy with as many meals as possible as they provide enzymes to help your body digest your food.

10. Make your lymphatic system work efficiently and effectively:
a) Best tools: trampoline and deep breathing
b) Reduce intake of toxins - processed sugar, white flour, preservatives, sugar alternatives, candy, chips, soda, etc

11. Do not eat late in the evening (give your body some rest instead of making it work all night digesting food)

12. Eat a light breakfast, ideally fruit (you are "breaking a fast" -- treat the body gently)

13. Never eat fruit AFTER something else. If so, it'II just sit in the intestine and rot while prior foods digest.

14.  More muscle burns more calories

15. Do ANYTHING that might cause you to get out of breath. Be active. Take the stairs. Park further away. Walk faster. Stretch or do twists (or anything) while watching TV, on the phone, etc. There are simple yoga moves and positions which are super-effective for cardio AND loosening up fat cells.

16. Avoid artificial sweeteners and commercial fruit juices and soda. Multiple long-term studies have shown that fake sugars are worse than real.  And if you must eat sugar, find the natural, non-processed sugar.

17. Relax, meditate - stress stores food into fat. Meditation/hypnosis reduces stress

18..Bottom line: Be active, eat natural, eat less processed foods, don't stress out. Treat your body with respect Treat it like you would a champion thoroughbred horse: Would you feet IT Doritos and beer?

Second: I make sure they really understand what "Ketosis" is: Only when the carbs are out of your system will the body burn fat for energy

Third: I briefly explain what foods should and should not be eaten together, and give them a handout and a chart (which are in this article about Food Combining), "http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Secret-to-Eating-and-Health."

Fourth: I discuss most of the 20 Unique Ways to Lose Weight without Diet or Exercise that most people don't realize or haven't considered before:  http://hubpages.com/hub/20-Unique-Ways-to-Lose-Weight.

Fifth: I briefly explain the Reticular Activating System - a "netlike" group of cells at the base of the brain whose function is to filter out everything that is not a threat to you or not of importance to you.  It's the reason why you suddenly start seeing your new car everywhere and why you are able to hear your name at a party or your child crying over significant noise levels.

Many studies on meditation have found that something very interesting happens as one begins to meditate or relax regularly...

Their mind opens up to new possibilities and new solutions never considered before, and then the body begins to give stronger signals or desires for foods and behaviors that lead to long-term health.

People who thought they’ve tried everything to no avail, people who could find no healthy foods appealing enough to allow those to become a regular meal, now make changes, gradual changes, that lead to long-term weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

It doesn't happen instantly and miraculously, though.  People can choose to ignore what their bodies are telling them.  And they are able to do this more easily if they don't make the effort to periodically take relaxation breaks, mini-meditations, or practice normal meditation or hypnosis.

Let it Develop into Natural Activity

And so, with all the information fresh in their conscious brain, the session begins.  They are guided to visualize and feel all the information and activity moving in and through the body and the subconscious mind.  The combination of the two becomes a powerful tool that provides the motivation to do just what they already know in order to achieve and maintain their natural and healthy goal weight.

Bottom Line:

  • a)      Review what you know and maybe learn a few new things about exercise and nutrition
  • b)      Calm the body and mind, breathe deeply, and give yourself frequent moments away from the world
  • c)      Make a little effort to achieve your goals - success won't just be handed to you while you sit on the couch
  • d)     Follow your intuition - really do what you know to be right

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