THERE are those who may doubt that a single session of hypnotherapy can change someone’s eating habits and enable them to lose weight.
But Helen Wood, 35, from Mirfield, has no doubts at all her two-stone weight loss in the past six months has been due to a technique called a ‘hypno-gastric band.’
Helen, a mother of two, has dropped a dress size since February and says her whole attitude towards food has changed.
"I have yo-yo dieted for years and tried slimming clubs but they never worked," she said. "I’ve always cooked from fresh ingredients and as a family we eat healthily but I was eating far too much and had hunger and thirst mixed up."
She sought the help of family friend John Richardson, a hypnotherapist specialising in weight management, who had recently discovered the ‘hypno-gastric band’.
"It involves programming the mind to look at food as fuel rather than eating through emotional hunger," said John who practises in Upper Denby. "It’s about re-setting your mind and body to eat when hungry and stop when full. As children we do this but then we become programmed to eat up everything on our plate and are told that we can’t have our ice cream until we’ve eaten all our dinner. This programme is still running from when we are young in the sub-conscious mind," he added.
John says it’s possible to prevent weight problems as well as treat them. "The band is not just for the very overweight but also for people at a healthy weight who struggle to keep it.
"I have treated models who have struggled with their weight who now find it easy to keep at a natural healthy weight," he explained.
Helen says she found the hypno-therapy session – during which subjects are convinced that they have had a gastric band fitted – deeply relaxing, and the effects were immediate: "I found I was no longer obsessing about food and was able to cut my portions down. I began eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was full. When I was constantly dieting I was always thinking about food and what I could have and what I couldn’t."
At her largest, Helen was a size 20 and 14 stones. When she had the hypnotherapy treatment she weighed 13 stones and is now 11 stones and a size 14. She’s aiming for 10 stones and a return to the size 12 she once was before having her children, now aged 11 and six.
"It’s taken a few months to lose the weight, but I have never found anything as easy," she said.
Helen says her weight problem really kicked in after having children and her attempts to diet meant that she was eating different foods from the rest of the family: "But now we all eat the same meals, it’s just that I am not over-eating. It’s better for the whole family because I’m setting a good example for the children. My daughter used to ask why I was having something different for my tea," she explained.
Now that she is slimmer Helen, who helps her husband Mark to run The Kirklees Gun Shop in Lord Street, Huddersfield, says she has so much more energy.
"My husband was so impressed that he had the treatment as well and has lost 1½ stones," said Helen.
More details on hypno-gastric band therapy can be found on www.feelbetterfast.co.uk or www.hypnogastricband.com
Gastric banding surgery costs around £7,000 if done privately and can cause side effects. Occasionally the band slips and further surgery is required. However, high profile patients have seen dramatic weight-loss success, leading to an increased interest in the procedure. It is only available on the NHS to people who are over 18, have tried conventional methods of weight loss but failed and are prepared to make a long term commitment to reduce food intake and take exercise.
Hypnotherapy, costs around £175 for a complete treatment of two sessions, is non-surgical and therefore has no physical side effects.