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Want a HOT bod? Try hypnosis

Indrani Roy Mitra | September 30, 2005

How many of us envy that slim model on television or the chirpy colleague wearing daring clothes at the office? How many of us stifle sighs as we curse our shapeless selves?

While dieting and exercise have long been recognised as key tools to counter obesity, physicians and consultants abroad have come up with a new formula for that killer body: hypnosis.

According to recent reports, Americans are now turning to hypnosis in order to drop those extra pounds. It is being used as an alternative treatment in medical institutions to manage everything from pain and smoking addiction to weight loss.

Kevin Hogan, a US-based professional motivational and inspirational keynote speaker, believes that hypnosis may be one of the final solutions to weight loss. "University of California, San Francisco, researchers have identified a biochemical feedback system in rats," he says, "that could explain why some people crave comfort foods like chocolate cookies when they are chronically stressed, and why they are apt to gain weight in the abdomen."

The crux of hypnosis as an antidote is: you have to imagine a world where chocolate cake holds no temptation, where celery is an indulgence and food cravings float away in a balloon. Easier said than done, sceptics might say. But some professionals believe it's possible.

According to clinical psychologist Mona Nanavati of Benzer Nursing Home, Mumbai, hypnosis can play an important role in shaping one's diet and, thereby, one's body. She teaches her patients to repeat 'You have a perfect, healthy body and a free mind,' to themselves, and believes it helps counter obesity if you combine it with skipping unhealthy food and sticking to a strict food regimen.

"Do you eat something because you like it or because your body really needs it?" she asks. "Feeling good is what matters most. Talking of feeling naturally leads us to hypnosis." She intends to include it as a healing technique in her counselling sessions with clinically obese and overweight individuals.

Not everyone is convinced though. While dietician Seemma Tarneja believes food intake and obesity have direct links to one's psychological self, she doesn't think hypnosis will work in an Indian context. "It is interesting to note that the West has given the theory a nod. I am sure it will be interesting to experiment with it here in India," she says. As far as obesity is concerned, Seemma says the problem is multiplying at an alarming rate, especially among adolescents, thanks to fast food and sedentary lifestyles.

Taking a cue from Seemma's words, Humera Sakharkar, a nutritionist at Mumbai's Holy Family Hospital, says, "With people increasingly turning to alternative medicine, hypnosis definitely has a future in India. If we can control our minds, through hypnosis or whatever, we will definitely be able to alter our eating habits and counter obesity."

Think about it. The next time you feel the urge for chocolate, imagine you have already had some. With a little mind training, your body will soon toe the line.

With inputs from AP

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