Mark came to see me with a presenting issue of weight. He felt he was 3 stone overweight due to what he described as his ‘voracious’ appetite. He was also vegan and was always hungry. At the weekends his two young boys would stay over and he would have to cook separate food for them which he would invariably eat the remains of before sitting down to a huge meal of his own. Throughout the day he constantly picked and snacked on french bread, crisps and nuts, drinking copious amounts of fizzy drinks.


Mark was 44 and in a relationship with Sarah. They lived separately, and a distance from one another. He felt increasingly uncomfortable and self-conscious about his weight gain and felt clumsy physically during love-making. He was losing self-confidence and felt it was affecting his input in his relationship. His state of mind was made worse by his constant snacking and he was on a downward spiral.

The client’s goal of therapy-expectation

He said he wanted to curb his snacking and decrease his portions and lose a target weight of at least a stone.

My aims as a therapist

My aim was to help him get his food intake under control. I also aimed to introduce exercise into his life, although he said he didn’t enjoy it. I decided to encourage country treks with his girlfriend and cycle rides with his sons as a means of introducing exercise without it seeming a chore.

The technique

I used a course of 4 sessions with rapid and progressive inductions using hypno-analysis, gestalt, suggestions, metaphor, timeline and NLP.

Treatment 1

During the initial interview we established his goals and compiled a detailed profile of his lifestyle, family life, social life and relationship with Sarah. We established that his portions had escalated way out of control and his ability to refrain from constant snacking was beyond him. We established he needed to get his portions under control, his food consumption to meal times only. We also decided he needed to control his compulsive eating. We isolated certain foods that we could remove from his present diet by implementing an aversion to them. Although Mark was loathe to incorporate exercise into the regime we were creating, I discussed ways of being more active without it feeling like a drudgery. I suggested adventurous country rambles and cycle rides with his sons, and romantic walks taking in scenic locations with his girlfriend. He seemed amenable to this. I spoke in some detail about the hypnotic process and how it worked. We arranged to meet the following week and then twice afterwards.

Treatment 2

During the second meeting I took him into hypnosis. Firstly we looked at a fork in the road and the downward fork symbolised moving down a timeline where he made no adjustments at all to his present lifestyle. We then moved up the uphill fork to see a timeline where he was in control of his eating and had lost the weight achieving his target weight.

I then did a script that focused on taking control of his life, his eating, when he ate, and how much he ate. I then made him visualise bread on one plate symbolising all the breads he liked to eat. I did the same with ice cream, chips and crisps. I then made him taste one after the other changing the flavour, smell and texture to vomit. I then brought him out of hypnosis and we arranged the next session for 6 weeks later as he was going on holiday for a month.

Treatment 3

Mark was extremely happy with the results of the hypnosis session prior to going away. He had stopped eating outside meal times and had halved his portions. He hadn’t eaten anything that we had given him an aversion to.

He also reported cycling and playing badminton with his sons, and walking with his girlfriend! He had lost 2 stone in weight over the 6 week break and was very pleased indeed.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Mark was a very willing hypnotic subject. He was very easy to work with and very enthusiastic. His initial expectations were tinged with apprehension and was very relieved as soon as he saw the results.

4 months later he contacted the Clinic regarding a training programme and discussed that he was still doing just as well and had lost another 3 stone and 3 pounds.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Wilson works for The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy she specialises in hypnotherapy for childbirth and weight control. She has over 7 years experience and achieves great success.