The Psychology of Weight Loss
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WEIGHT LOSS
Why using the power of the mind can help you get your health on track…
Words: Holly Louise Eells
If you piled on the pounds during lockdown, you’re by no means alone. Many of us ate and drank more than normal as we looked for ways to cope. As restrictions ease and we adjust to our new normal, we might be looking at how to get our weight back on track.
Key to this is the right mindset and there are psychological tools that can really help.
“When it comes to weight loss, it is essential to create a partnership with your body,” says Daniel Browne, a speaker and author on healing and the evolution of human consciousness. “Your body is not against you, but it is working with its old habits, emotional patterns, genetic inheritances and probably a whole host of things you don’t recognise and it doesn’t know any better.”
Daniel overcame his own habits of self sabotage and procrastination and has since helped many others by showing them how to tap into the power of the mind. He adds: “You’ve got to work with your body to retrain it and bring awareness to your thoughts, emotions and habits.”
The mind is a beautiful thing, but it can be dangerous too. “A lot of people start off on the wrong foot, hating the way their body is,” says Daniel. “This just creates more resistance in the end and makes your weight loss efforts more difficult. Imagine sitting down and having a loving caring talk with your body and telling it that we are going to change our weight. It may be a long process but we’ll get there.”
Dennis Relojo-Howell, the founder of award-winning Psychreg, an online platform that shares thought-provoking psychology, mental health and wellness information agrees: “There is a wealth of scientific evidence that demonstrates how the mind can influence behaviour,” explains Dennis. “For example, studies have shown that the technique of mind imagery [forming a mental picture of something] can be a helpful tool to encourage people to lose weight.
He adds: “If an individual would like to build a weight loss mindset, they’ll need to do more than just work out or change their diet. They should muster enough intrinsic motivation to lose weight permanently – a person must feel confident in their ability to succeed, and believe they have learned skills to prevent weight regain. Indeed, ‘mind over weight’ is an essential psychological weapon that we can add to our arsenal when it comes to shedding those extra pounds.
Victoria Spencer-Kibble, a RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) therapist and founder of VASK Therapy, says it takes 21 days to rewire your brain to change behaviours. She says: “Stop focusing that you’re gaining weight, but understand why you’ve gained weight and move forward. Have realistic beliefs; you’re not going to go from a size 24 to a size 12 overnight. Visualise yourself slipping into those size 12 jeans and you’ll get there.”
Victoria used RTT after her husband Carl Spencer, one of the world’s most accomplished deep-sea wreck explorers, tragically died on a diving expedition. “I found it so beneficial, that I trained to become a therapist myself to help others,” she explains.
“RTT is a solution-based treatment offering fast, effective and long-lasting change,” says Victoria. “We use methods to get the client to try and understand the root cause of their problem – and when we find that root cause, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. It usually takes three sessions to rewire your brain and to transform your life, but it all depends on the individual.”
Clinical hypnotherapy can also help. It’s not a magic wand though and you still need to put in the effort. “Essentially all hypnosis is self-hypnosis and it’s up to the individual to put the suggestions to work,” says Leo Versace, clinical hypnotherapist at the award-winning, family-business clinic, Versace Therapy in Wimbledon and Harrow. “I can give you the tools and suggestions, but it’s up to the individual to make use of them.
Its gastric band hypnosis convinces patients they have had the surgery without ever having to go under the knife. He says, “With each individual, the most important part of any treatment programme is listening to their life story because that is where you break down the natural barriers and access the subconscious mind.”
“Through my own life experience and overcoming my own challenges, I am able to relate to nearly all my clients’ problems and challenges.”
Kate experienced this specific hypnosis at the end of April with Leo. So far, she has lost a stone and also feels more confident and has noticed that her joints feel better, too.
“I believe I’m an optimist and I was determined for this treatment to work,” she says. “After a year with a slimming club and losing 4.5 stone, lockdown happened. This is when I struggled with my emotions and at the beginning of the year, I had regained two stone.”
Kate adds, “I feel like Leo’s therapy has reset my brain to cope with emotional situations in a different way as opposed to reaching for the crisps, which is normally my go-to option. However, I have not had any crisps since my treatment!”
Weight Loss Do’s and Don’ts from RTT Therapist Victoria Spencer-Kibble
- Do not deny yourself anything; that deprivation will have negative connotations.
- Think about the words you use when describing your weight. Use positive words and visualise what you want to look like.
- Have an old photograph of yourself looking how you’d like to look stuck to the front of your fridge to spur you on.