Archive for the ‘visual imagery’ Category

Occupy Beauty! A letter from 31:26:36

Occupy Beauty! A letter from 31:26:36.


News from the UK: Hypnosis is the Fast Route to Weight Loss

By Nigel Burke, Daily Express writer

WE’RE halfway through January and for most of us the resolutions have slipped a gear and it looks like we won’t be delivering the slim, non-smoking, de-bugged Self 2.0 that we promised to launch. There is one way to get back on schedule: through hypnosis – the dark side. For at least a century hypnosis has been trying to bury the image of the swinging watch and waxed moustache.

It has been promoted as a mere relaxation technique and has ended up in the same aisle as crystals and whale-music in the self-help supermarket. But a new gastric band hypnotherapy treatment that has helped hundreds of people to lose rucksacks of fat is likely to bring hypnosis back where it belongs and where it works best: as a dark art that bamboozles your mind into behaving itself by the power of suggestion.

In gastric band hypnotherapy the obese patient is hypnotised and lied to. Through verbal suggestion and play-acting the Hypnosis patient is made to believe that they have undergone gastric band surgery. Their appetite is drastically reduced.

This has proper Svengali overtones, recalling George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby in which the sinister hypnotist turns an ordinary woman into a theatrical star whom he can manipulate.

The 80 per cent success rate of hypnotic treatment beats the 70 per cent success rate of real gastric band surgery comfortably. Yet the reputation of hypnosis remains rocky with mixed reports about its success.

Gary Barlow has been successfully treated for a fear of spiders. Russell Grant used hypnosis to propel himself through Strictly Come Dancing on a bad hip and Joanna Lumley beat panic attacks with the help of hypnosis.

On the other hand the England football squad was reported to have been hypnotised to believe they would be unbeatable in the 2002 World Cup and Kate Moss is supposed to have tried hypnosis to give up smoking. Hypnosis can do good but it can’t do miracles.

I know hypnosis works because I learned how to hypnotise people from a doctor who worked at a psychiatric hospital and had treated several of my highly strung friends.

As his private student I was allowed under supervision to lead several volunteers into a trance. I could talk consenting friends into falling backwards helplessly without them even knowing that they would be caught.

Experimenting on myself I found it easy to dismiss sensations of cold by suggestion so that I was able to walk around in shirt sleeves in winter as if I were a Geordie.

When I went shopping for hypnotherapy years later I was disappointed to find that most hypnotherapists aren’t very interested in the power of suggestion.

They want to sell you 10 weeks of talking sessions in which you are supposed to unearth rotten old thoughts and memories such as that terrible day when your dad spanked you with a butter pat while dressed as a clown.

It can help some people but it won’t get you over that crippling phobia of clowns nearly as well as old-school hypnosis, in which a charismatic and authoritarian hypnotist puts you under and tells you you’re fine about clowns.

I discovered several distinct species of hypnotherapist: there is the Gadget Boy Hypnotherapist who sits you on a hydraulically reclining Mastermind chair, puts you in headphones and hypnotises you through a microphone with a slight reverb.

There is the Nursey Hypnotherapist, a deceptively nurturing older lady, probably an ex-NHS psychiatric worker. Then there is the Hippie Hypnotherapist, likely to try to steer you towards crystals, spirits and energies. I even encountered a holistic healer who offered a package deal of hypnotherapy with colonic irrigation. I told her what she could do with her irrigation.

For the rich there are celebrity hypnotherapists such as Paul McKenna. Even if I could afford him I’d wonder.

Despite writing a book called I Can Make You Happy, at times he strikes me as being unhappy and unfulfilled as only a man who owns several Ferraris can be.

The important thing is to find a hypnotherapist willing to cut down on past-life chit-chat and help you tackle irrational fears and filthy habits.

It’s a good sign if they offer hypnotic gastric band therapy. It’s probably a bad sign if a hypnotherapist offers too many fringe therapies.

One practice sells a £12.99 hypnosis CD for non-surgical breast enlargement. Hypnotic breast-enlargement is controversial, although thinking yourself buxom looks like a better bet than silicone right now.

Another practice offers “past life regression” therapy in which clients are encouraged to remember traumas from past lives. I don’t believe in it, though I have witnessed “class regression” in which a hypnotised subject dropped his mockney accent and spoke the received pronunciation that his parents had taught him.

It’s tough to find a hypnotherapist who will really hypnotise you but it’s worthwhile when you do.

How to start your day like a rockstar

I love these thoughts.  We should all tap into our inner celebrity!  this post is brilliant.  i only wish I had thought of it.

How to start your day like a rockstar.

Don’t Diet–Pursuit Pleasure for the New Year

The second in my suggested list of non-dieting resolutions was to pursuit simple pleasure.  I need to clarify this before someone gets the idea that I’m advocating hedonism.  We should review a few principles about true pleasure.

First, simple pleasure does not come back to haunt you.  There is a difference between pursuing pleasure and making mistakes.  You could enjoy the sensation of quitting your job and telling your boss what you’ve always thought of her.  That moment would bring you great pleasure. But…the aftermath would be bad.  If you’re overweight then you’re in the habit of choosing a pleasure that comes back to haunt you.  You’ve been choosing to eat junk for the good feeling of it and suffering the consequences later.  That’s not the kind of pleasure I’m talking about.  The pleasure I’m talking about isn’t stuffing yourself with food to gratify an immediate appetite.  I’m talking about something that enriches your mind and spirit. 

Second, simple pleasure does not have to be elaborate.  Sometimes the best things are the simplest.  In fact, to me, the best pleasure is the satisfaction of a job well done.  (That’s how I’ll feel after I post this J)  Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because something is small that it’s not special.  I have a bouquet of flowers on my dinner table right now that bring me pleasure.  Reading a good book in a bed with clean sheets is a great pleasure.  There are lots of non-food pleasures that you may have overlooked.  Find them.  They will be unique to you and they will be worth the effort.  You should try to have something pleasurable every day, no matter how small it is.

Third, simple pleasure will help you be happier and being happier will help you be healthier.  I believe that the world was made beautiful because God wants us to enjoy it.  He gave us taste buds, olfactory lobes, musical octaves and nerve endings that register tastes, smells, harmonies, and sensations because he knew we would need them.  Enjoying these things brings us to a state heightened peace.   You need to cultivate pleasure to escape from the stress of life.

Pleasure is one major reason why I will never diet again.  Dieting and Pleasure are mutually exclusive.  Dieting is about removing from your life the foods that bring you pleasure.  I do not want to do that.  What I want to do is add more pleasure to my life that has nothing to do with food.  I plan ahead of time (and I use visual imagery to help—more about that in a later post) to find pleasure that doesn’t involve food.  For example, when I get home at night I put on comfortable clothes and relax on my front porch for a few minutes if the weather is nice.  When I fix dinner, I think about the beauty of the food and the satisfaction of feeding my family the old-fashioned way—sitting down at a table full of homemade food.  In the evenings I think about the warmth of a cup of hot tea and the contentment of stretching out on the sofa.  I can fill an evening with simple pleasures that have nothing to do with food.  And, pursuing that kind of pleasure is a much better resolution than dieting.

No-Dieting New Year’s Resolutions

Have you dieted for months, charted your weight loss, and counted every calorie during every January for the last decade?  I used to feel like losing weight was a mystery.  I could do everything just right and see no results at all.  Or, I could just barely slip up and watch the numbers rise on the scale.  Because it seemed like it was out of my control, I got frustrated and depressed with the whole process.  Don’t set goals that focus on the results because you can’t always control results.  Set goals that encourage healthy behaviors.  You can control your behaviors.

May I suggest a couple of New Year’s Resolutions for you?

1.  Release stress.

What do you need to do to make your life less stressful?  Can you cut down your schedule or let yourself off the hook for something?  Should you stop dwelling on a bad relationship and move on?  Is there something hanging over your head that you know you need to do, but you just don’t have the motivation?

If anything is dragging you down, get rid of it!  Stress makes you fat and ugly.  It complicates your life and steals your joy.  You will age more quickly and less gracefully.  Much of life’s stress is unavoidable so don’t harbor any that you don’t have to.

2.  Pursue simple pleasures.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but living a good life is a lot of hard work.  Luckily, there are many things that make it wonderful and worth the effort.  Make a quick list of things that you encounter on a regular basis that bring you enjoyment and resolve to savor the pleasure in them.  Life will get in the way of pleasure if you let it.  But, you may find that if you make pleasure a priority you will find it more often.  Don’t deny yourself the joy of making yourself happy.

Now, I’m not talking about irresponsibility in any way.  Stupid decisions today could rob you of tomorrow’s pleasure.  I’m talking about a simple stop-and-smell-the-roses approach to life.

3.  Eat the highest quality, most natural food you can afford.

This is all about pampering your body from the inside out.  Fuel your body.  Do not use your body as a trash can or dumping ground.  If you had a very important dinner guest you would prepare a very special, fresh meal.  Well, you do have a very important dinner guest—yourself.

 4.  Embrace the best version of yourself.

How would you live if you were thin and healthy?  What would a thin, healthy you do after work or on the weekends?  How would it feel to stand up straighter and feel confident?  Imagine yourself that way and live as if it’s already happening.  The truth is this—When you live like a thin person, you will become one.  Do you know why diets never work?  Because when you’re on a diet, you eat like a fat person who is on a diet.  But people with a healthy relationship to food, don’t live like that.  They live and eat like thin people and they stay thin.  When you can live like you’re thin, you will be thin and you will stay thin.

5.  Find an exercise you can live with for the rest of your life.

You might have to experiment a little to find what you like, but resolve this year to find an exercise that you can grow old with.  May I suggest Pilates (or its Eastern friend yoga)?  Classes are readily available, videos are quite effective, and the routines are simple for all ages and fitness levels.  Combine Pilates with walking a few days a week and you’ve got yourself a formula for healthy aging.

Good luck in the coming year.  For the next few days, we’ll look at each of these recommendations one by one and see how we can use them to make ourselves better, happier people in 2012.

Getting Ready To Be Vegan for New Years

I have to be honest with you—I’m not always a great vegan.  I cheat.  I don’t eat meat, but I do eat cheese sometimes and things baked with milk or egg.  I’m not proud of it, but I will admit it.  Those occasional failures serve to remind me of why I went vegan in the first place.  After a week or two of tolerating failure I’m like to have a stomach ache, a general feeling of lethargy and tighter pants.  Then, I’m ready to knuckle down and clean out my food choices.

Well, that’s where I am now.  I’ve eaten one too many Christmas cookies around the water cooler at the office.  I’m ready to get back to normal!  I’m sure I’m not alone.  This is about the time of year when thousands of Americans start planning the diet that starts in January.  Would you like to join my family and be a better vegan in January?  Here’s how we’re getting ready:

  1. Gathering recipes.  I’m keeping my eyes open now for quick, easy ideas and making them as often as I can.  Why wait to feel great?  I can eat vegan today and feel good today.  Plus, in January, I’ll already have pulled together some ingredients and tested out a few things.
  2. I’m using up and giving away all my non-vegan food.  Friday I will be on a mission to bake and use up all the eggs, milk chocolate, hot cocoa, etc. that is taking up space and threatening to weaken my resolve in January.  I’m going to make hot cocoa, invite over my kids’ friends and serve the all the stuff I make.  What’s left is going home wrapped tightly on paper plates or is coming with me to my large family get-together on Sunday afternoon.  (My brother will eat it.)
  3. Everything I buy from here on out is going to be vegan.  The dish I bring to mother’s Christmas dinner?  Vegan.  Our intimate family gathering on Christmas Eve with just the kids?  Vegan.  I can’t control what everyone else serves (and wouldn’t even try!), but I can assure that I have a choice that I’m happy about.
  4. Visual imagery.  I don’t know that I can stress enough how helpful it is for me to rehearse situations in my mind before they happen.  Here’s an example:  When I visit relatives, we almost always put the desserts on the kitchen table, pour a cup of coffee and sit down around the table and talk for hours.  Inevitably, I pick and snack all afternoon.  I can’t just walk away or I’ll miss the conversation.  I can’t suggest that everyone move because they like sitting around the desserts.  This year I’m going to do something just a tiny bit different.  I’m going to fix hot tea instead of coffee (I associate coffee with dessert), hold the mug in my hands and lean back in the chair.  I’m going to make sure that the desserts are not in my line of sight and are more than an arm’s length away.  I’ve rehearsed in my mind how I’m going to look at the faces of my family instead of at the goodies on the table and how relaxed and calm I’ll feel when I’m sitting and talking and not cluttering my attention with food.
  5. I’m going to eat whatever I love.  The keyword is “love.”  I’m not going to eat something just because I like it or it’s okay or there’s nothing else.  I’m not going to eat it just because I felt obligated to or because it’s still on my plate.  I’m not going to eat it because it’s time to eat or because everyone else is eating now.  However, I will eat whatever I love.  And, I will eat it as long as I love it.  Which means, I may stop halfway through a slice of pie because it’s starting to get sickening sweet, or I may eat the whole thing.

I feel really good about the next 10 days, and I am really excited about starting 2012 feeling better than I did when I started 2011!

Use Visual Imagery to Help you Lose Weight and Keep it Off

We were watching The Biggest Loser the other night when we noticed how many of the contestants talk about feeling like a different person or being one kind of person trapped inside a fat body, etc.  Some may dismiss that talk as drama, but, as a person that has struggled with her weight her whole life, I understand what they mean.

When  you have a mental picture of yourself as a fat person, being fat is normal for you.  We tend to do what is normal.  It’s like the default settings on a computer.  We go back to what we know.  To achieve long-term weight loss, you have to change your normal.

For some, I guess it’s possible to just behave differently and feel different.  I’m not that way.  I have to think about stuff.  I had to be very still and close my eyes and try to imagine myself thin and happy with my body and in control of my desire for food.

Conjuring those images were very hard for me.  I could not simply think of myself in any other terms than fat, dieting, hungry and guilty.  I didn’t even realize the hang ups I had about my appearance until I made myself try to see myself thin.  I had been harboring a doubt all along that I would even look good thin.  I had been thinking, without knowing it, “What if I do all this work and lose weight and still don’t look good?”  I was worried that being thin would make me less fun to be around.  I wasn’t sure that once I lost weight I could ever keep it off, so why bother? I didn’t know how to have fun that wasn’t food-related.   With those thoughts in mind, I could have dieted all day long for years, but I would have never been thin.

Now, I’m not saying that changing your mind is all you have to do (vegan-ish and fitness, remember).  But, no matter what else you do, if you don’t change your mindset, your weight loss will be temporary.  I’m not perfect and I still have work to do, but I have changed my normal.  I’m not a fat girl trying to regain my self-worth.  I am a healthy person trying to get healthier.

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