The June 2004 issue of Time magazine devoted an entire issue to the subject of obesity. One study reported that the children of today believe that fast food is healthier than home-cooked meals and another stated that today’s youth is predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents for the first time in American history.

A recent study reported medical spending due to overweight and obesity to be as much as $92.6 billion in 2002 dollars or 9% expenditures. (Finkelstein EA 2003) Another study reported how, in the last 30 years, obesity has dramatically increased for adults and children. The prevalence of obesity in adults 20 to 74 years of age from 1976-1980 increased from 15% to 33% in the 2003–2004 survey. (

I conduct more weight loss hypnosis sessions than any other course of treatment. Obesity-related patterns like poor nutrition, sedentary living and emotional eating become problematic with repetition. Over time, unhealthy patterns become rooted in the subconscious mind and, as a result, individuals feel powerless to change. Like a computer hard drive, the subconscious stores whatever information it is given.

Unfortunately, the traditional response to obesity is dieting, a conscious-level solution to a subconscious-level problem. The multi-billion dollar dieting industry focuses on the weight rather than on the pattern. An analogy would be if a physician only treated the cough, rather than prescribing antibiotics for the infection, which caused the cough.

My approach with weight-challenged clients is to help them change their goal from losing weight to living well. During hypnosis the subconscious mind can be directed in two very positive empowering ways: to release unhealthy patterns, and to begin focusing on the life they want. When clients release the unproductive past, they begin to see and feel a new healthier, fitter version of self.

Hypnosis melts away the struggle, making it easier to move forward. I help weight loss clients create a linear connection between where they are now and where they want to go in life. With all the frustration and failure removed from the equation, thoughts and images of freedom and success begin to take shape, and by routinely repeating this process, they train their brain to initiate whatever healthy changes need to be made, to succeed.

My hypnosis sessions enhance the desire to be fit for life. They empower individuals to sever  the connections to emotional eating, and pull past healthier patterns forward in time. They also help individuals make a positive connection to exercise and a more active lifestyle.

By routinely listening to home reinforcement CDs, individuals become proficient imagining what their ultimate goal means to them. These powerful images influence their actions, supporting new positive values and beliefs. If your overall goal is to live well then the weight takes care of itself.

I also ask clients to limit weighing themselves to once a month. We live in an extremely polarized, pass/fail society. Frequent weigh-ins can result in disappointment because of unrealistic expectations as to how much and how quickly weight loss should occur. By focusing more on how they feel about their plan, and how loosely their clothes fit, they will remain more centered and directed too long term success. It takes a long time to accumulate excess weight, so it should take a period of time to become healthfully free of it.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH