weight loss

Weight Loss: Revealing The Unspoken Reason Behind Weight Gain and Obesity…

So next on the blog menu is a topic that rarely gets spoken about but holds the keys to a deeper level of success with weight loss – yep, we’re diving into the unspoken, hugely important and often misunderstood world of… emotions.


Believe it or not, shedding those extra pounds isn’t just about what you eat or how much you exercise; often, it’s about how you feel.


The Symptoms and Struggles

Have you ever found yourself reaching for the biscuit barrel after a stressful day at work?

Or perhaps munching on, well, not just a strip of chocolate off the end of the bar, but the whole thing, while feeling down?

These aren’t mere coincidences; they’re your emotions steering your actions. Emotional triggers, for some, lead to stress eating, which can derail your weight loss goals in a mere moment.


It’s Not About Food, Diet, or Exercise—It’s About Stress!


Yes, you read that correctly.

Stress is often the hidden factor in the weight loss equation.

When stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that not only influences your mood but also makes you crave unhealthy food (think comfort food like ice cream and biscuits and cake and other sugary, carby, easy-reach naughties like that).

Now good news is your brain is doing exactly what it’s built to do; to fast-fuel your brain and body for survival (fight/fight).

And survival comes before anything else.


But, the not-so-good news is that these foods don’t do much for how we feel about ourselves, in the long term.

Your ‘hunger hormone’ (ghrelin) and your ‘I’ve had enough’ hormone (leptin) get all out of whack, and that cortisol buzzes around the system and makes you cry out for things that make you feel good in the moment.

And how often these in-the-moment goodies can lead to a long-term loss, and further feelings of guilt, shame, more stress, and then… more reaching for the momentary happy snacks.



The Milkshake Study – Weight Loss is Mainly in the Mind

The research results from Dr. Alia Crum’s (Stanford University) recent study on how the mind can affect weight makes very interesting reading.

In this study, two groups of participants were given milkshakes.

One group were told that their milkshakes were “indulgent” and calorie-rich to around 700 calories.

The other group were given “sensible”, low-calorie milkshakes to around 150 calories.

But the interesting part that no one knew?


It was the same milkshake in both cases.


Blood tests revealed that when people thought they were drinking an indulgent shake, their bodies reacted as if they had consumed more calories by slowing down their metabolism.

Whereas no physical reaction was witnessed when the second group consumed what they thought was the healthier option.


So, what does this mean for weight loss?

The groundbreaking results show that your perception of what you eat affects how your body processes the food.

If you’re stressed, and you find yourself diving into the not-so-healthy cupboard and gorging a little on those rainy-day tit-bits, the guilt/shame/stress cycle can have you potentially switching on your cortisol system, leading to more emotional eating, and around and around we go.


By seeing food as ‘guilty pleasures,’, or even as ‘I’ve earned them’ treats, you might be setting up your metabolism to store more of it as fatty tissue.

On the other hand, if you perceive your meal as healthy and satisfying, your body might just agree with you and burn those calories more efficiently.


So, you can (almost) think yourself thinner – however, Dr. Crum does go on to state that “just because your mind affects your metabolism, doesn’t mean you can go and eat a load of unhealthy foods and just ‘think they’re good for you’, and still lose weight”.

Very much not.


What you think matters, AND what you eat matters too.



The Importance of Self-Care in Weight Control

Good news is that you don’t need to go and search for the next fad diet or book in for the bone-crunching Hiit session just yet.

If we can manage stress, we can regain control, and we can manage weight.


So first things first, let’s talk about self-care

Here are a few homegrown self care ideas to work through (I’ve purposely left out exercise and healthy diet even though both of these have a brain gain and a body benefit).

And remember, self care ideas are COMPLETELY FREE! (apart from the time and effort in order to exercise them), so always try to shuffle these to the top of the list…


Creative Outlet:

Well who’d have thunk it – engaging in a creative activity like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument can actually serve as an emotional release, reduce stress, and help you lose weight. It allows you to express yourself in non-verbal ways and shifts your focus away from stressors.


Digital Detox:

Ahhh, you’ll know this old one (cause you may be telling the kids that they need to do this?). Taking time away from screens, especially social media, can significantly reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Naturally, you then begin to reconnect with yourself and your immediate surroundings.


Nature Walks:

OK, strictly speaking, this is exercise. BUT this is more about nature and the exercise is a side gain. Spending time outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can improve mental health (something to do with ions). The fresh air and natural scenery can reduce feelings of anxiety, help you become calm, and help you clear your mind.


Breathing Exercises:

Breathing exercises… YAAWWWWNNNN!! In fact, more sigh than yawn.

Simple deep breathing techniques, like a double inhale + a deep *sigh*, done 3x times, have been shown to lower stress levels almost immediately (have you ever seen people sigh when they’re stressed? Yep, well that’s the brain regulating stress subconsciously). It helps in lowering the heart rate and calming the mind.


Structured Downtime:

Now this is a whole blog just to itself. In fact, I’ve already done one already right here…

Allocating a specific time in your day for ‘doing nothing’ or just daydreaming can help reduce stress. It gives your mind a break from the constant stimulation and a chance to wander aimlessly through the corridors of your mind, which can be surprisingly refreshing.



Managing stress levels through exercising self-care ideas is a direct route to making your weight loss journey less rocky.

There are other things you can work through too such as relaxation techniques and engaging in positive relationships, so try to loosen the grip off of obsessive dieting and exercise routines (for now) and see what you can engage in consistently and persistently with any of the mentioned self care ideas.

But for those who struggle with initiating self care ideas?

Well, guided therapy may be the place to go for you…



Enter Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

By now, you might be asking, “What else can I do?”

This brings us to the intriguing subject of solution focused hypnotherapy.

This approach primarily uses hypnosis to facilitate changes in your brain and behaviour through neuroplasticity (that’s the brain’s ability to rewire itself, for those who are wondering).

It’s an effective method for alleviating stress, a pivotal factor in weight loss.


The emphasis here is about altering those circumstances in life that can cause stressful behaviours and reactions which, for some, lead to emotional eating.


Hypnotherapy is about shutting the gate before the horse bolts.

With hypnotherapy it’s about addressing the causes so that the following actions cease to take place.

Your efforts will be about noticing, observing and adjusting existing behaviours and engaging in small changes in order to stimulate a shift in the day-to-day. The outcome… long-term change.

Altering the way you deal with life’s circumstances can help you handle stressful situations without resorting to emotional eating.

The psychology of weight loss involves your ability to make long-lasting behavioural changes.



Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the path to effective weight loss is not merely paved with calorie counts and gym memberships.

It’s just as much about managing your emotions and stress levels.


Solution focused hypnotherapy offers a viable approach to tackling the emotional aspects of weight loss, leading to a more sustainable and wholesome lifestyle, and a healthy and happier you.


🌐 Sources

Cravings: Why Do We Want Carbs When We’re Stressed

Stress and Eating Behaviors

Why Stress Causes People to Overeat

Foods That Help Tame Stress

helpguide.org – Refined Carbs and Sugar



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