Does Weight Loss Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis is another piece of ammunition in the arsenal of weight loss options. Its goal is to reprogram the mind so that a person can effortlessly lose weight without hunger pangs and cravings. Hypnotherapists are using on the very thing that defeats our weight loss efforts; our minds.

Psychology research tells us that most weight problems, indeed many of our problems in life, come from our subconscious mind and how we think about food. How we are brought up and our relationship to food impacts our ability to successfully lose weight.

Clean Plate Club Syndrome

Some children are brought up in the ‘clean plate club’, where you finish all your food whether you are hungry or not. This is a risky habit to instill in children since it will follow them through adulthood, when cleaning up a plate that was over filled at the start will only encourage weight gain.

People have relationships and patterns with the foods they eat and crave. Hypnotists work under the theory that hypnosis will break the pattern of eating which results when we are stressed out, happy, celebrating, sad or other emotions that can trigger eating. It is one reason we call it comfort food.

Weight loss hypnosis is generally used in the same manner as positive affirmations; working to make you more self-confident and in control of your food choices. A hypnotherapist can be expensive but CD’s are also sold that claim the same effectiveness and are much more convenient.

Suggestions to the Subconscious

The basis behind hypnosis in the war against obesity is to open up the mind of the client so it is more receptive to suggestions. The suggestions are made to a person when they are in a relaxed state of consciousness. The scientific community also believes that people are able to achieve weight loss through hypnosis.

Weight loss hypnosis is based on two basic tenets:

1. Helping clients understand that permanent weight loss is based on a change eating habits. They stress that with a change you should feel less deprived than if you are strictly “dieting”.

2. Helping clients to think of food less. When people are dieting they can obsess on their potential weight loss and their next meal. If, instead, people are concentrating on one simple change to their nutritional habits, one change at a time, they are more likely to make the change and less likely to feel deprived.

Hypnosis has been shown to have success with people who have a willingness to open their minds and relinquish control to practitioners. Although most people can be hypnotized if they wish, not all people want this experience.

It is important to note that hypnosis will not be able to make a person do something they would not ordinarily morally and ethically consider. Since weight loss and eating habit changes are the goals, hypnosis is often the added boost that helps the program to be successful.


1. Mayo Clinic: Is Weight-Loss Hypnosis Effective?

2. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology: Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy: a meta-analysis.

3. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination: Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy: a meta-analysis

4. The Weight, Hypnotherapy and You Weight Reduction Program by Judith E. Pearson, Crown House Publishing 2007