Gastric bands, both real and virtual, have been back in the media this week. On Saturday (12th February) the Times had a feature article about The Shirran programme through which the client is hypnotised to believe that they have had a gastric band installed. The experience is so realistic that in the case reported the subject had an adverse reaction to the experience of the ‘operation’.
There are a number of hypnotherapists offering virtual gastric band procedures now. The virtual approach has the advantage of being cheaper than the real thing and avoiding the risks associated with operations and anaesthetic. What is important if you are thinking about this option is that the package includes some preparation beforehand to change your approach to food and eating. If the treatment is to be effective in the long term, then you need to change the pattern of behaviour that led to the weight gain and consider the emotions that have been attached to eating and food. Without this preparation subjects are likely to carry on eating in unhealthy ways – just less of it.
On Wednesday (16th February) Woman’s Hour ran an item on what happens after weight loss. “For some people there can be some unexpected outcomes such as divorce. Comfort eating can make way to brand-new addictions to shopping, drinking, even sex. A new study on worldwide obesity published in the Lancet this month has found that Britain now has the fattest women in mainland Europe. No surprise then that weight loss surgery is on the increase – between 2006 to 2010 the number of people having bariatric surgery almost tripled. But how much does its long-term success rely on psychology? Could the underlying emotional problems be harder to shed than the pounds?” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
The discussion underlined the need to plan for the consequences of weight loss, in particular the emotional issues. Emotional or comfort eating is characterised by coming on quickly and not being satisfied by food. In fact, if you eat when you have an emotional need you often end up feeling sick and guilty about what you have eaten. Hypnotherapy and NLP have a number of techniques for dealing effectively with this type of unmet emotional need and that means that you only need to eat when you are physically hungry and you can stop eating when your body is satisfied.
So whatever approach you take to weight loss, make sure that it includes some action to deal with the underlying causes of the weight gain so that the weight you lose is gone forever.