Opinion: The Battle of the Bulge

Even though there is no risk of famine, this urge to eat everything remains.
Even though there is no risk of famine, this urge to eat everything remains.
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As I write, there are definite signs of spring in the air – occasional beautiful blue skies and prolonged, uplifting patches of sunshine have us looking forward to longer, brighter days on a regular basis and maybe even summer itself.

For some of us, the idea of peeling off some of the layers of clothing we’ve been hibernating in these last few months fills us with horror.

Amanda Craven.

Amanda Craven.

And as for even thinking of revealing our ‘bikini bod’ or ‘beach-ready six-pack’ in the near future, well that’s just stretching it all a bit too far, with or without the help of lycra and secret support features.

Most readers can probably remember a time when their stomach was flatter, muscles firmer and the Big Reveal on the beach come holiday time was a much less stressful affair – but for some the Battle of the Bulge has been the work of a lifetime.

There are many reasons why some of us struggle to reach and maintain a healthy weight. I have heard clients who have yo-yo dieted for years berate themselves for ‘just being greedy’ or ‘being feeble-minded’ because they are unable to consistently reduce their calorie intake and reach/maintain a healthy target weight.

In reality, reasons why people overeat and apparently lack self-control are often multiple and complex, frequently stemming back to events and role models from childhood.

Furthermore, and going back millions of years rather than just a few decades, humans with strong survival genes were simply not wired to exercise restraint when eating – our hunter-gatherer ancestors never knew where their next meal was coming from and so stocked up at every available opportunity in order to ensure survival.

Even though there is no risk of famine in our society today, this urge to eat everything in sight appears to remain very strong for some, and makes losing/managing weight a very fraught experience indeed.

Even though we consciously know how we should be eating, and how much exercise we should be getting, we appear to regularly sabotage our own efforts. The battle of wills becomes relentless and unbearable, and we give in... until the next time our guilt or worry pushes us to start yet another diet or health drive.

Conscious decisions, and the use of willpower, take place in the conscious part of our mind. This part makes up only five per cent of our total mind. The subconscious mind, where our habits and behaviours are formed, makes up the remaining 95 per cent. By targeting the subconscious in hypnotherapy, we can uncover the root cause of unwanted eating patterns and undesirable lifestyles, and gently re-create new, healthier habits that can last a lifetime.

•Amanda Craven is a registered, accredited Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life Coach.