To cope with the effects of lockdown many people have turned to snacking and comfort eating or drinking. Others have become less active due to the abrupt halt in their usual work, leisure and sports activities. What about you? Are you snacking more or have you gained weight? Whilst this is understandable, those weight gains are not only uncomfortable; they can pose real health risks too.
The government’s anti- obesity strategy begins with the stark warning that overweight people who contract coronavirus are more likely to need intensive care and, sadly, to die from COVID-19. With a second wave of the virus now upon us the need to reduce our risks has become even more urgent.
Why might people with obesity be at risk of serious Covid 19 complications?
- Obesity causes inflammation in your body, which can affect its ability to fight viruses.
- Being overweight can reduce the function, volume and capacity of your lungs.
- Patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are routinely turned to lie on their front to improve oxygen flow to particular areas of the lungs. In people with obesity this is much more difficult and in those with severe obesity it may be impossible.
- Obesity is also a risk factor for other conditions, like type 2 diabetes.
How might this affect future health?
Professor Tim Spector (of King’s College, London) says that people across the UK gained between 0.78 kg (1.6 lbs) and 3 kg (6.5 lbs) on average during the first lockdown. Of course many of us will know people who have put on even more than that. These lockdown weight gains are about twice the amount usually gained over the Christmas holidays. Being overweight doesn’t only make you more at risk of serious coronavirus complications. As Professor Spector explains “the UK already had an obesity problem before the pandemic and our data show that first the lockdown made it worse. It’s vital to help the public understand the implications this will have on their long term health.” “If we don’t act now, this will create even more heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”
Here’s the big deal
Many of us have tried diets, slimming clubs, gyms and more only to lose weight and put it back on. Unfortunately, as many heavier people know, diets rarely help you to lose weight permanently. The Institute for the Psychology of Eating cite a stunning statistic that’s been around since 1959 and it’s still shocking: 95% of all dieters will regain the weight they lose within one year. Diets rarely work long term, you can feel deprived and constantly exerting willpower is exhausting. Most of us can’t sustain this. Personally I spent many years going round this cycle until finding more effective ways to lose a substantial amount of weight and keep it off. I did this easily and naturally, using mind power, not willpower. You can read more about these methods below.
When I talk to clients, friends and colleagues it’s clear that most of us know what we need to do to lose excess weight. It’s rarely about discovering the right method, it’s about motivation and confidence to eat differently or exercise a bit more. It’s also about being able to keep it going, even in the face of challenges. What’s your take on that? Do you find it hard to become and stay motivated too? Our emotions strongly influence our eating and exercising behaviour. For example, many research studies have shown clear links between stress and weight gain. Understanding the beliefs and thought patterns behind why, how and what we eat and changing our emotional responses can help us to achieve lasting change.
The good news is
A new, scientific research-based method for weight loss called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) is achieving fantastic results using mind power, not willpower. Participants in the FIT research study lost on average five times more weight than those in the control group. They even continued to lose weight after the study had finished. This technique is designed to help turbo- charge your motivation and confidence to lose weight and keep it off. It’s also been effective for increasing fitness and other positive behaviour changes. Change for Good therapies is currently the only therapy practice in Scotland and one of very few in the UK to offer this effective, new therapeutic technique.
A problem with most diets and fitness regimes is that they generally focus on what you ought to do and what isn’t allowed, it’s just not fun! This can lead to more stress and tension and, ironically, increased levels of stress hormones reduce our ability to lose weight. FIT does things differently. It aims to produce a ‘mind-set shift’ where individuals exercise or eat healthily because they want to, not because they feel they have to.”
Professor Jackie Andrade at Plymouth University explains. This new method is “based on two decades of research showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought.” This is what can make cravings so powerful. Functional Imagery turns that around and uses that powerful, emotionally charged imagery in a positive way to help you achieve your goals. There is also a fantastic cravings buster exercise designed to get you through any weaker moments. You can read more about the research here
Participants in the research study have said:
“It’s all about changing one’s mind-set isn’t it? I feel so positive and motivated because I never looked at it like this before.”
“I find it so easy now to keep the weight off because the imagery has become second nature, no effort. A lapse over a holiday or weekend is no big deal. I simply use the imagery exercises to get me back to where I want to be.”
More good news
The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) quote evidence from clinical research showing that hypnotherapy can also help people to lose weight. Hypnotherapy focuses on losing weight in healthy and sustainable ways. It involves gently guiding you into a state of calm and suggestibility, then focusing your imagination and unconscious mind to bring about positive changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. By quieting the conscious part of your mind and reaching your powerful, creative unconscious a skilled hypnotherapist can help reframe any unhelpful thought patterns.They can also make positive suggestions to help you change lifelong negative habits around food and body image.
Hypnosis can also be combined with aspects of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and other mind techniques to create the best results for each individual. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) gives this example: “If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then a hypnotherapist can help you understand why and help you create new healthy self-management techniques.”
Hypnotic gastric band therapy, combined with reframing thoughts and beliefs around eating and body image can also have impressive results. Like the two sisters recently featured on TV’s This Morning programme who had lost over 5 stones each. It works extremely well for some people, especially for those who have large portions of food at meal times. Many clients who choose this approach say they find it completely life changing as it allows them to gain control over their eating and feel satisfied with much smaller amounts of food. However, it doesn’t suit everyone and a reputable therapist will aim to find the solution that best meets your needs and preferences.
And here’s what some of Liz’s Slim for Good clients had to say:
“Before the sessions with Liz I found it really hard to lose weight. I‘d tried diets in the past and could never stick to them. I was convinced that at age 62 I had no chance of success. Liz helped me use visualisation and mental imagery instead of willpower, making it easy to eat in a healthier way. I started to enjoy longer walks with the dog too, which has boosted my fitness. I’m now an amazing 28 pounds lighter and feeling fantastic! I’m so grateful to Liz, I couldn’t have done it without her.” J. Murray, Midlothian
“I’m delighted at achieving my fitness and weight loss goals. The mental imagery is really keeping me on track. Thanks so much for your help.” E. Cummings, Glasgow
“Wow! Awesome weight loss and feeling great! Thanks, the hypnosis and imagery really works.” M. Hattie, Crieff
What’s the bottom line?
If you want to lose weight, feel better and reduce health risks, including those associated with obesity and Covid 19 then get in touch. You are unique so, together, we can create a personal Slim for Good weight loss plan for you. It might include hypnotherapy and/or functional imagery to harness the power of your imagination and unconscious mind. This can boost your motivation and confidence to achieve and maintain successful weight loss.It is not a quick fix or magic wand, but if you want to change for good and are prepared to work with me, it can be easy and effective.
You can call or text me on 07415499156 or email [email protected] for a free, no obligation, initial consultation.
Or just email [email protected] to ask for your free Slim for Good (Mind Power not Willpower) Special Report