By: Sadie Trombetta
From celebrity diets to crazy fitness trends, people are willing to try anything to get healthy and lose weight. I know this because, for so long, I've been one of those people — one of the millions of Americans who struggle to meet the unrealistic beauty expectations of our culture. When my normal routine wasn't working for me anymore, I decided to ditch the diet books and try hypnosis to get healthier.
Whenever I was doing well, exercising, eating right, and feeling confident, I would inevitably hit a road block — a week without going to the gym, a night of binging junk food, an anxiety attack about the women around me who were always going to be skinnier and prettier than I was — and I began to make unhealthy, even unsafe, decisions.
My perception of body image was a negative cycle that I saw repeat itself over and over again, from my adolescent years into adulthood, and it was a problem, as I understood it, in my head, and not in my body.
A certified hypnotist, my aunt Mary runs her own full-time practice, Rubino Hypnosis, where she sees clients who are looking for alternative treatments for things like anxiety, stress, addictions like smoking or overeating, phobias, and weight management. Friends and family members of mine have seen her in the past. And thanks to her treatment, they were successful in quitting smoking, among other things — but I had always been nervous to turn to her for help.
Like a lot of people, I had this impression that under hypnosis, you lost control — like your mind was taken over by the hypnotist and you became powerless. As Mary explains, one of the biggest misconceptions about her work is just that, but it couldn't be farther from the truth.
Hypnosis, at the most basic level, is a state of deep relaxation coupled with the art of suggestion. While under hypnosis, your subconscious mind becomes open to receiving suggestions that can help change the negative behaviors you're targeting.
While you're guided by a hypnotist, someone there to help you reach a different level of consciousness and guide your predetermined suggestions, all hypnotism is actually self-hypnotism. Without your own active participation, you can't be hypnotized, so if you were worried about clucking like a chicken, rest assured no one can make you do that but you.
In her calm and quiet private office, Mary and I sat at the beginning of our appointment to discuss the goals of the session. We talked about why I wanted to be hypnotized, what I wanted to get out of the experience, and how I wanted to change.
I explained that I wanted to work out more — I wanted to get stronger, and I wanted to be able to run faster. For me, it wasn't about the numbers — I was hoping to lose weight, sure, but I decided that wasn't how I wanted to define my success.
After going over my wants and desires, we talked more about the process of hypnosis itself. She walked me through the different steps involved, the different sensations I might have, and what I could expect out of the session. We talked a lot about relaxation, visualization (one of the main techniques in hypnosis), and positive affirmation. She made it clear that it was a process we would be doing together, and that — after our session — it was something I could try on my own. While most clients will see a hypnotist for several sessions, I wanted to learn as much as I could from the session, and continue self-practice at home for the remainder of the experiment.
When it was time to start, Mary directed me to get comfortable in a large recliner in the corner of the room, and after finding a relaxing position for myself, she covered me in a warm blanket. The lights were dimmed and quiet nature sounds played in the background. I closed my eyes and focused on the sound of Mary's voice as she guided me into a deep relaxation.