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Think yourself thin: Forget painful gastric bands, hypnosis makes slimming down a case of mind over platter
By Louise Atkinson Mail Online
UPDATED: 13:27, 26 October 2010
Fern Britton’s rapidly diminishing form is testament to the growing popularity and effectiveness of obesity surgery, but it takes great bravery — and a degree of desperation — to go under the knife to lose weight.
For the thousands who undergo gastric band surgery every year, the operation is only part of the story.
To lose weight, they must adhere to strict portion control, slow eating and repetitive chewing to accommodate their dramatically reduced stomach capacity.
‘Gastric mind band’: The treatment combines hypnotism with a programme of education, which allows patients to successfully lose weight just as effectively
It’s a very different way of eating, but one which — even without the band — offers the promise of steady, safe and long-term weight loss.
So when a patient asked hypnotherapists Martin and Marion Shirran to hypnotise her into thinking she’d had a gastric band operation, they realised they’d hit on something.
For the past three years they have been running a successful clinic in Spain offering a programme of what they call ‘gastric mind band’, combining hypnotism with a programme of education, which allows patients to successfully lose weight just as effectively as if they really had had surgery.
Gastric band operations have shot up ten-fold since
2000 – they now cost the NHS £32million a year
Now they have released a book packed with tricks and tips, as well as a clever self-hypnosis technique to convince you that your stomach has shrunk.
Here, Martin and Marion explain how it works.
The key to making your gastric mind band work really effectively is to eat small portions, very slowly as if you really did have a gastric band.
After surgery, the banded stomach is reduced in capacity from around one litre to just 20ml. The most you can eat in any meal is six tablespoons of food — compared to the average meal the size of two clenched fists that would fill a normal capacity stomach.
BANISH EATING TRIGGERS
DON’T THINK: ‘The bread smells wonderful, I want some, I probably need it anyway.’
THINK: ‘The smell is delicious, but I ate an hour ago, so I don’t need to eat now.’
DON’T THINK: ‘If no one sees me eating, then it doesn’t matter.’
THINK: ‘Everything I consume counts towards my daily intake of food.’
DON’T THINK: ‘I have to eat everything on my plate because I can’t waste food.’
THINK: ‘It’s better to waste food by putting it in the bin than it ending up on my waist!’
DON’T THINK: ‘I need this bar of chocolate because I’ve had a bad day.’
THINK: ‘Emotional eating is never the solution. I need to solve the problem without food.’
DON’T THINK: ‘I ate a biscuit so I may as well go ahead and eat the whole packet now that I’ve blown it completely.’
THINK: ‘Yes, I ate some food I didn’t plan to, but I can get back on track again now.’
With gastric mind band you don’t have to be so restricted but, from now on, no portion of meat should be bigger than a pack of playing cards (around 3oz) and a healthy portion of fish should not be bigger than a cheque book (4-5oz).
Your portion of pasta, when cooked, should not be bigger than your fist. Take smaller bites, chew it properly, eat more slowly and concentrate on what you’re eating.
If you eat quickly, you’ll eat more because, by the time your brain gets the message that you’re full, you will have swallowed more than you need.
Try using chopsticks or swapping cutlery hands to slow yourself down.
Gastric band patients are encouraged to eat their meals in a certain order (meat first, because it hangs around in your tiny new stomach for the longest time).
If you find you’re feeling full before you get to the potatoes … STOP.
After real surgery, no fork-full of meat can be bigger than the nail on your little finger and must be chewed ten times to ensure it is properly digested.
You are not so restricted, but make every mouthful count. Study the colour and texture of your food.
Analyse the taste — your taste buds are in your mouth, not your stomach, so the longer the food stays in your mouth, the more pleasure you’ll obtain from it.
Eat slow, best bits first, and be happy about leaving some on your plate. And stop worrying about wasting food.
Excess food is wasted whether it passes through your body first or goes directly in the bin. Don’t treat your body like a bin. You deserve better.
People who have had gastric band surgery lose weight slowly, a few pounds a week. By eating sensibly as they do, you can do the same.
To lose 1lb a week, you need to cut back by 500 calories a day — by making a few small adjustments the calorie deficit can soon mount.
It’s that glass of wine or handful of crisps before dinner. Say no once, and you’ve got 500 calories in hand.
TYPES OF MEALS
There are are only two types of meals — the ones that matter (a meal with friends, or with a partner, perhaps on a Friday or Saturday night) and the ones that don’t (the rest of the week).
Enjoy a bottle of wine or a desert occasionally but, five nights a week, your meals don’t have to be gourmet.
Think scrambled egg or beans on toast.
Spread butter on your toast, but be aware that a teaspoon of butter (enough for a thin layer) is 37 calories, but a tablespoon (a generous covering) is three times as much (111 calories).
Put dressing on your salad, but learn to weight the vinegar in favour of the oil. A teaspoon of oil may be 45 calories, but a tablespoon is 135. That one extra tablespoon of oil every day amounts to a stone weight gain over a year.
Switch to sweetener in your tea or coffee. Cutting out two spoons of sugar in your tea three times a day creates an annual calorie deficit of 37,000 calories, which could be enough to shed more than 11lb.
Have ice cream occasionally, but just one scoop (about 150 calories) and never eat it straight from the tub. Enjoy a few nuts with a drink, but stop at one or two (a small 4oz bag will set you back 600 calories).
Food and sweet drinks are so much a part of our everyday lives, few overweight people remember what true hunger feels like, but it is important — for the gastric mind band to work — that you eat only when hungry. When hunger strikes, try drinking a glass of water.
HOW TO FIT YOUR GASTRIC MIND BAND
In the clinic, clients will, under hypnotherapy, go through the entire process of having a gastric band fitted in hospital complete with sound effects and hospital smells.
But you can achieve similar results through self-hypnosis.
Get a golf ball and, before you go to bed each night, lie down, holding it in your dominant hand.
Talk yourself into a state of deep relaxation by picking a spot on the wall or ceiling in front of you so you have to raise your eyes slightly to keep fixed on it.
Staring at the spot, mentally say: ‘As I count from five down to one, my eyelids are feeling heavier and heavier, and when I get to one my eyes will close and I will completely relax.’
HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON
Try this technique when toxic cravings strike:
- Imagine you are holding a remote control for your life. When chocolate enters your brain, hit pause.
- Imagine yourself eating the chocolate.
- Fast-forward to five minutes after you’ve finished. Are you feeling guilty? Sick?
- Rewind back to the present — imagine resisting the temptation.
- Fast-forward to five minutes ahead again and see how virtuous you feel.
- Hit your pause button to remind yourself of the consequences of indulging your craving. You do have the power to control cravings — it’s your choice.
Repeat this three times then, slowly, count down from five to one, taking a deep breath in between each number. As you reach one, close your eyes and allow yourself to relax.
Starting at the top of your body and working down, release all the stress and tension and relax every muscle as you mentally repeat to yourself: ‘Relax, let go, deeper and deeper relaxed.’
Imagine a beautiful staircase with ten steps leading down to a special place where you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed and count slowly down. When you get to one, picture yourself in your special, private, safe place. Now you should be relaxed and ready for the visualisation part of the exercise.
Clench your fist. That’s about the size of your stomach, but imagine it tightening and shrinking. Squeeze the golf ball. Feel the size of it. That’s your capacity for food. You’re not going to be able to eat as much as before and you’ll feel satisfied with smaller portions.
Picture a band being wrapped around the top of your stomach. Squeeze the ball tighter as you imagine the band being clicked into place. Breathe deeply, then very slowly count yourself up from one to five imagining that you have enjoyed a wonderful relaxation. At five, you will move into a normal and natural sleep.
Hunger = If you haven’t eaten for three hours and you have an empty rumbling sensation in your stomach.
Desire = If you’ve just had a big meal and you want more or you last ate two hours ago and food is on your mind.
Craving = A strong urge to eat a specific food, usually after smelling it or seeing someone else eating it.
Contact : Linda Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org 07875 493 358 / 0141 632 1440