Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some magical easy way to lose weight? Arnold was hoping that hypnotherapy would be a magic pill to do it all for him. He had lap band surgery, with the hope that it would make him lose weight. Unfortunately for Arnold, weight loss surgery is not magic.
Arnold proudly told me that he deliberately sabotaged his surgery. He called me hoping that hypnosis could be used to somehow force him to drop those extra pounds.
There are stringent dietary restrictions that are necessary for lap band surgery to work. Lap band surgery patients are required to eliminate high fiber foods like vegetables and fruit. Fiber can block up the restricted pathway into the stomach created by the band. Patients also have to give up eating sweets or high-fat foods. Those extra calories are still capable of creating thunder thighs and expanding waist lines. If you’ve ever gone on a diet, you’ll recognize how much work those changes demand!
Lap band surgery is intended to compel patients people to eat dramatically less. For some, the concept of being forced to change is compelling. Having tried to change their eating habits with willpower and having failed repeatedly. They come to believe that by eliminating the possibility of making bad choices that they can succeed. Many of them are surprised when they discover that lap band surgery demands restricting food choices after the surgery just as much, if not more, than the diets they couldn’t maintain with willpower.
Lap band surgery is not magic. It may require even more work and willpower than following a strict diet. Additionally the surgery does not resolve the forbidden fruit syndrome. Those patients are forbidden from eating some of their favorite foods. Unsurprisingly, they feel deprived.
Lap band surgery does not help people eliminate hunger less eating. A great many find it difficult to lose weight because they eat to relieve stress, or when they’re happy. Nor does the surgery eliminate food cravings. Chocolate or pizza cravings, for example, can create a major obstacle to weight loss.
It seems like Arnold’s sabotage of his lap band surgery was an act of defiance. Arnold told me that he would drink lots of water after eating. The food in his stomach was pushed out. He ended up eating the same amounts of food, or even more, than before his surgery. Arnold did not lose weight. He actually packed on a few more pounds. (That will teach those surgeons who is the boss!)
Arnold did not get a psychological evaluation before his surgery. His doctors did not determine if he was a good candidate for a lap band. Obviously, given Arnold’s need to defeat the procedure to prove that he was the one in control, he was not.
Hypnotherapy can help someone who has had lap band surgery resolve issues of emotional, and stress eating. Successful hypnosis requires the active participation and involvement of the client to be effective. Had Arnold become my client, I would’ve started by helping him resolve the unconscious conflicts that caused him to sabotage his surgery.
Perhaps Arnold had gotten the common misconception that hypnosis is a kind of mind control from seeing a hypnosis stage show.
When he realized that hypnotherapy would require effort and a willingness to change on his part, it became clear that hypnosis would not magically force him to eat less. It became clear that he was unwilling to resolve the conflicts that prevented him from benefiting from his surgery.