True Secrets of Permanent Weight Loss: Part One
Healing Infantile Eating Habits
By David Quigley
Over 65% of Americans are overweight. According to researchers, Americans are getting fatter at the rate of ten pounds per decade despite a weight loss industry that is costing billions every year. As a hypnotherapist and hypnosis trainer for twenty-five years, I’ve dedicated myself to finding a solution. It seems to me that our approach to weight needs to address the underlying causes of our eating habits, rather than simply adding more superficial strategies which are not producing for many of my clients the long term results they deserve. While many weight programs seem to work in the short run, they frequently lead to cycles of weight fluctuation. Even if I help a client lose fifty pounds now, do I want my client to still be counting calories, struggling with new diet plans, and obsessing about their weight ten years from now? Should I consider that a therapeutic success? No, I believe we can do better. Let’s deal with the sources of the problem. That’s what this series of articles will address.
Most of us know friends whose lives do not revolve around their efforts to manage and control their eating. They just naturally seem to eat the types and the quantities of food that keep their bodies slender and energized. We will learn how to match our subconscious eating habits and metabolic patterns with theirs, so we can experience the freedom and energy they naturally enjoy.
"My first 'diet' began in kindergarten... Only Alchemy worked. I lost 40 pounds effortlessly. No diet, no exercise, no attention to losing weight at all. I had tried everything. Now I've been slender for four years. I use Alchemy - one or two sessions a year - to keep weight off."
Rohnert Park, CA
Former Director of Positive Changes Hypnosis, Santa Rosa, CA
There are two primary elements of this challenge. First, there is the client’s tendency to eat too much of the wrong foods, and at the wrong time (eating at night, for example, is the wrong time because the body cannot effectively burn the foods you eat.) These eating habits are not simply random errors, easily correctable by education or self discipline. They are based on “emotional eating habits” we learned as children. We will learn to recognize these eating patterns and, more importantly, how to change these habits in the subconscious mind, so that our weight loss is easy and natural.
A second and equally important element of these articles is to explore our metabolic programming to keep fat on the body. If you’ve ever wondered why your clients can’t seem to lose much weight even on the most rigorous of diet plans, if your friend gains back all that lost weight within months of losing, if you can’t seem to eat a single croissant without wearing it around your waist, listen up. We will be addressing the causes of this metabolic programming to stay fat, and will learn to eliminate these subconscious programs.
First, I’ll address some underlying causes of our inappropriate emotional eating habits. An “Emotional eating habit” is a way of using eating as a mood-altering behavior. This behavior is unrelated to the body’s natural hunger, and for many of us produces not only excessive body fat, but can lead to such proven health consequences as diabetes and heart disease. We’ll learn how with advanced techniques of hypnosis we can heal these patterns.
The first of these emotional eating habits I call infantile eating. I ask my overweight clients these questions in our first interview.
Do you crave sweet foods or dairy products frequently, especially at night?
Do you feel a deep emptiness when you eat these foods, or a sense of grief, or despair?
Do you tend to wolf down meals without tasting them, craving the satiety of a full belly?
Do you experience dieting as a source of despair or a kind of self-punishment, an empty stomach that says nobody loves me?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then infantile emotional eating habits may still be haunting your efforts to lose weight. Most of us have completely forgotten where these patterns began. But hypnotherapists have known for years. They know that as infants at our mother’s breast, or on the bottle in our lonely crib, we begin to develop the emotional eating habits of a lifetime. So the choice that our caregivers made breast or lonely bottle --has enormous implications for a lifetime of overeating!
Let’s examine the ideal experience of the infant at the breast. The infant sucks hard and works hard to get the milk, while experiencing lots of affection, cuddling and play with mother. The child is nourished in body and soul, while taking a long time to fill its stomach with the warm liquid that is synonymous with love. This ritual is especially important at night, so the baby can sleep through the night, or for at least a few hours, free of hunger.
Bottle-fed babies, in contrast, when the caregiver ignores the child’s needs for attention, discover that it’s easy to guzzle the milk from the bottle. So this poor infant learns that the only way to experience nurturing is to wolf down the proffered meal as quickly as possible, trying hard to ignore his body’s feelings of loneliness and abandonment, until his tummy is so full that he can drift off to sleep. Filling up with food quickly, therefore, becomes a substitute for our basic needs for love and affection. So we learn very early to become “compulsive eaters”, eating sweet foods, eating too fast, filling up too full, and eating at night or when we are lonely, depressed or sad.
Some of my clients with this pattern protest, “I was nursed!” I inform them that their nursing experience was very likely troubled or too brief if they show all the signs of infantile emotional eating. It is highly unlikely that they received the two to five years of healthy nursing on demand characteristic of all primeval cultures. One client remembered after a bit of prodding: “My mother told me she was a heavy smoker when I was a baby. She said I became allergic to her milk, so she had to quit.” Problems like this are all too common among my overweight clients. Although only a skilled hypnotherapist can take us to the true memories of infancy, I have learned that if my client shows the symptoms I’ve described, they probably have this conditioning. The body does not lie.
By taking our clients back to infancy in a hypnotic trance, we hypnotherapists help them experience and understand all the pain and hurt that the body has been running from all these years, running to food. But far more important, they’ll have the chance to experience through hypnotic suggestion, as that infant, the real love and nurturing that comes from an ideal mother. We implant these blissful experiences in the subconscious mind. We embed these suggestions in the mouth, the stomach, the heart of the client. Then we implant these blissful bodily feelings into those times, usually at night, when the client is craving sweets or feeling that familiar ache of loneliness. Every act of eating can be infused with these happy feelings. Our clients can then experience the sheer joy of eating slowly, chewing thoroughly and eating much less while enjoying eating far more…the way properly raised humans are supposed to enjoy eating. Or they may discover that they aren’t really hungry and simply close the refrigerator, perhaps choosing a hypnotic nap in the arms of their inner mother instead for a few minutes. In just a few sessions, lifelong habits can be changed, as the client learns to access this mother/child bond on their own. Other addictive patterns, notably cigarette and drug cravings, can also be reduced or eliminated through this technology. Food allergies also will vanish sometimes, as food assumes different roles in our emotional lives.
One hypnotherapist described this technique to me as a “Radical new approach.” Radical, yes, because no other hypnosis school in America teaches these techniques. But this methodology is based on Sigmund Freud’s “oral complex”, one of the important foundations of psychoanalysis for the last one hundred years. My belief is that while Freud brilliantly described the nature of this fixation, his own life-long addiction to smoking demonstrated that insight alone is not enough to break the patterns of the oral complex. To the extent that nearly our entire society suffers this complex because of modern parenting strategies, more must be done. The evidence is within our bodies here in America. Through hypnosis therapy, an answer is available.
This is just one of the emotional eating habits we will be addressing in this series. Next issue we will explore the role of stuffing negative emotions in compulsive eating.
This article is by David Quigley, Founder and Director of The Alchemy Institute
He conducts private weight-loss sessions in person and by telephone.
Call David at (707) 539-4989 or (800) 950-4984 for a free weight-loss consultation.
Clear the Metabolic Programming that Prevents Weight Loss