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Gaining weight with hypnosis

12:20am, 12/12/13

Weighing scaleThe efficacy of hypnosis in helping people to lose weight and living a healthier lifestyle is becoming well known, thanks to popular practitioners like Paul Mckenna. In a culture obsessed with weight loss, we are constantly bombarded with (often photoshop enhanced) images of beautifully slim models and celebrities. This conditions us to believe that we have to shed some pounds to attain a nice looking physique and consequently feel good about ourselves. Itís not just about looks however Ė for those who are overweight, slimming down has numerous health benefits which can dramatically extend oneís life expectancy.

In a world where slim equates to beautiful and healthy, it is somewhat inconceivable that there are people who want to gain weight rather than lose it. But for many people, primarily men, the desire to put on weight and attain a more masculine physique is very real. Due to the male tendency of dealing with embarrassing issues in private rather than sharing them, the psychological traumas associated with being skinny are not ordinarily talked about. Whether from a lack of eating sufficient calories, lifestyle choices or simply a genetic predisposition to being slim, many men are highly self conscious about their lack of body mass.

The psychological symptoms associated with being underweight include: feeling emasculated and inferior, a lack of confidence (particularly with the opposite sex), an aversion to mirrors or being photographed, dissatisfaction with purchasing clothes and high degrees of self consciousness in social situations. Some men are so reluctant to avoid negative social feedback regarding their weight that they develop coping strategies, such as wearing multiple layers of clothing, even in scorching hot weather!

For those battling with eating disorders or with a self image condition such as body dysmorphic disorder, breaking down the psychological barriers that stand in the way of gaining weight can be extremely important, sometimes life saving! Fortunately, there are many ways in which hypnosis can tackle these psychological issues and deal with the underlying problems that prevent people from putting on weight, whether for aesthetic or health reasons.

Psychological barriers to gaining weight

To gain weight in a healthy manner, a combination of increasing your daily intake of calories and exercising regularly (including resistance training) are usually whatís required. While this sounds relatively straight forward, there are often huge psychological barriers which prevent people from embarking on this course of action, they include the following:

- My girlfriend/boyfriend might no longer find me attractive if my body changes
- I donít enjoy eating
- Iíve always been skinny so trying to gain weight is hopeless
- I just donít have the time/energy to go to the gym
- Iím worried about what people will think of me when they see how weak I am in the gym
- I know nothing about nutrition and exercising

MirrorFor the person who suffers from a condition which makes them see their body in a distorted way, they may already believe themselves to be overweight, even when the opposite is apparent to everyone else. This person might experience guilt over eating and become obsessed with cardiovascular exercise to try and lose weight, even while on a huge caloric deficit! Fortunately, hypnosis can help these individuals to reassess their idiosyncrasies and start perceiving their body in-line with objective reality.

Hypnosis and transforming old associations

One of the ways that hypnosis can help people resolve their inner conflicts pertaining to gaining weight in a healthy manner is to transform the associations they have with food and exercise. For instance, perhaps when you come home after a hard days work youíd rather eat a quick and easy snack than take the time to cook a healthy, nutritious meal. A qualified hypnotist can help you to associate pleasure and other positive emotions to cooking a healthy meal, and negative emotions to not doing so. Some of the positive associations could include: enhancing your culinary skills to impress your friends, increased energy levels, the beautiful smell and succulent taste of the food, feeling and looking healthier, and so forth.

While hypnosis can be used to help people undertake the lifestyle changes that are required for improving their physique, itís important to remember that the problem is the way they feel, not how they look. Therefore, if a lifestyle change isnít an option, hypnosis can be used to alter the way people feel about themselves and give them the tools they need to become less reactive to other people’s vindictiveness and belittlements.

(Photos by peter_w and gkdavie)

© 2012 Don Ely, all rights reserved . last update: 23/11/17