It all started out as a routine hypnosis weight loss program. But, as the young woman named “Janet” started telling me about her issues with her weight, something very interesting came up. She told me that her only pleasure in life came from eating. That caught my attention, because it seemed like it could be a major roadblock to her dropping those extra pounds.
Of course, my next questions were about what other pleasures she might have in life. Travel was the only one, “But,” she said, “I have an elderly parent at home, and I can’t be gone overnight.”
And, the next logical question was,”What did she like about travel?” “Sampling different cuisines” was her answer.
I asked her about sex, since it is one of the more potent pleasures that humans can experience. Janet said she did not care for it, she had been married three times. The chances of success were definitely not looking good for our handsome, and intrepid hypnotherapist at this point.
So my plan was to hypnotically suggest that she expand her pleasure horizons. I told her stories about explorers traveling to new lands and finding delightfully new people, arts, and flowers. And, I made the obvious suggestion that she might find it interesting to take day trips to visit the wonders of Georgia and nearby states.
However, since Janet was so insistent that eating was her only pleasure, I needed a different kind of approach as well. So, I simply challenged her every time she said that she wanted to lose weight. “No you don’t. Eating is much more important. It’s your only pleasure.”
And, she argued with me stubbornly, and passionately that she DID want to lose weight, that eating was less important, and she did begin to somehow find some other pleasures in life. The more I disagreed with, her the more intense her resistance. And, that was the key. She built up such a huge emotional charge on losing weight that she made it a part of every food and eating decision that she made.
I saw Janet five years later, and she was much thinner than when she had first started her weight control program.
One of the great contributions of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) to hypnotherapy is that it teaches practitioners to become aware of the relevant behavioral patterns of their clients. When I noticed that Janet had such a strong opposition to being told that she valued eating over thinness, it was a simple matter to help her shift her priorities and values. She was NOT going to let me tell her that eating was more important to her than losing weight. And, she darn well proved it to me.