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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Eating Disorders & Weight Issues

Summer is coming to an end and enter the colourful season of the year.  It's a time to get back into schedules with kids going back to school and holidays a memory.  Summer gives some of us a break from life's tribulations so fall is also a time to start taking action.

Whether it's stopping smoking, tackling procrastination, reducing weight, overcoming phobias and anxieties, healing medical issues outside of pharmacopia, Hypnosis offers effective, safe and long lasting results.  Something to think about as the leaves fall off the trees ...... But ACT before they hit the ground :)

I attempt to offer information on a few topics each blog and in this one, it's Eating Disorders as well as Weight Issues.  So sit back, sip a cup of tea or coffee and read on.

Eating Disorders - A Hidden Behaviour

I recently re-read the information below regarding Eating Disorders as I've worked with a number of clients with this issue. It is a prevelent condition that not only affects adults but now is seen more prevalently in our adolescent population.

Eating disorders are not about the symptoms, even though they are scary.  It is about the emotions that drive the behaviour.  It's a coping mechanism for much deeper subconscious issues.  In a society where much emphasis is placed on the outer appearance and the "ideal body type" (just pick up any fashion magazine to illustrate), anyone who has deep self esteem issues such as not being good enough, perfect enough, etc, will be instantly left feeling lacking.

There are over 6 billion people in the world and MILLIONS of them are dissatisfied with their physical appearance.  Now that doesn't mean that all of them have eating disorders, but with the shear numbers, many do!  In fact, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre estimates that up to 40% of nine year-old girls have dieted to lose weight, even when they were of a normal weight level.  9 years old!!!!  Eating disorders don't discriminate. They cross cultural, racial, gender, age, and economic boundaries.

Here are some more staggering statistics:

* Eating disorders are the most common chronic illnesses in the female adolescent population, with an incidence of up to 5% (Golden et al., 2003).
* 95% of reported hospitalized cases of anorexia and more than 90% of hospitalized cases of bulimia in Ontario were women (Gucciardi et al., 1995)
* Some studies have found that young men represent about 10% of individuals with eating disorders (Steiger and Séguin, 1999)
* Men are more likely to be affected by binge eating disorder than any other type of eating disorder (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2002).
* Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, between 18-20% (Cavanaugh, 1999) .
* A study published in 2001 reported that 23% of adolescent females were dieting to lose weight (Jones et al., 2001).
* Surveys have shown that 7.7% of men have a strong fear of being overweight, compared to 18.5% of women (Gadalla and Pran, 2007) .
* In 2005, more than 500,000 Canadians suffered from some sort of eating disorder (Canadian Mental Health Association).
* One study suggests that unhealthy dieting behaviours are reported in girls as young as 10 years of age (McVey et al., 2004).

Our society's preoccupation with body image is reflected in the fact that, at any given time, 70% of women and 35% of men are dieting. More seriously, a 1993 Statistics Canada Survey reported that in women between the ages of 15 and 25, 1-2% have anorexia and 3-5% have bulimia. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, with 10% to 20% eventually dying from complications.

It can be difficult for a person with an eating disorder to admit they have a problem. Knowing how to support someone with an eating disorder can be a challenge. Treatment is available - it can be a long process, but an eating disorder can be overcome. If you think that you, or someone you know, has an eating disorder, it is important to learn the facts. Gaining an understanding of these conditions is the first step in the journey to wellness.

Three chronic eating disorders have been identified.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by severe weight loss due to extreme food reduction. Symptoms include:
    * refusal to keep body weight at or above the normal weight for one's body type
    * dieting to extremes, usually coupled with excessive exercise
    * feeling overweight despite dramatic weight loss
    * loss of menstrual periods
    * extreme preoccupation with body weight and shape

Bulimia nervosa results in frequent fluctuations in weight, due to periods of uncontrollable binge eating, followed by purging. As well as a preoccupation with body image, symptoms include:
    * repeated episodes of bingeing and purging, usually by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics - methods which are both ineffective and harmful
    * eating beyond the point of fullness

Binge-eating disorder, or compulsive eating, is often triggered by chronic dieting and involves periods of overeating, often in secret and often carried out as a means of deriving comfort. Symptoms include:
    * periods of uncontrolled, impulsive or continuous eating
    * sporadic fasts or repetitive diets

Eating disorders can be difficult to detect. Many people view dieting as a normal activity and this can obscure a person's eating problems. It can be difficult for a person with an eating disorder to admit they have a problem. Knowing how to support someone with an eating disorder is also a challenge. Treatment is available - it can be a long process, but an eating disorder can be overcome. If you think that you, or someone you know, has an eating disorder, it is important to learn the facts. Gaining an understanding of these conditions is the first step in the journey to wellness.

Warning signs
Eating disorders can be difficult to detect. Someone suffering from bulimia can have a normal weight, but the activities they are engaging in can be deadly. Here are some warning signs:
    * low self-esteem
    * social withdrawal
    * claims of feeling fat when weight is normal or low
    * preoccupation with food, weight, counting calories and with what people think
    * denial that there is a problem
    * wanting to be perfect
    * intolerance of others
    * inability to concentrate

What causes an eating disorder? I'd like to preface that my belief is that by whatever name you call it, it's a LABEL.  As a clinically trained Hypnotherapist, the presenting "label" is effect.  The cause is the goal for changing habits and self limiting beliefs.  And the cause is something that happened in the person's past that made them feel feelings that compromised their sense of self (self esteem).

I partner with clients, using simple Hypnotic techniques, to access the Subconscious Mind, the seat of all emotions, beliefs, perceptions, imagination, habits and permanent memory, which has the answer.  My approach is a holistic approach - Mind AND Body.  The Body's symptoms (depending on the symptoms of the labelled disorder type) are its way of saying NO.  NO to the emotions felt in the body directly relating to a subconscious belief that is negative.  We are feeling beings and those feelings, good, bad or ugly, are felt physically.  The body says OUCH when you can't or won't, either consciously or subconscious  (unknowingly).  My clients learn to 'listen' to their body to guage the feelings causing their issue and thus the thoughts that drive the emotion.  A client, when asked how they feel about his/her body, may respond, "it's too fat (when in fact I am seeing a thin person sitting before me).  But this response is conscious and a thought.  When we work together using the subconscious mind, with eyes closed and focused inward, the answer may be something to the effect of, "I hate myself"; "I have no control" (Thought) and that makes me feel angry/sad/lost/lonely (feeling)". we're cooking with gas and can go to work and follow those feelings to the root cause.
This is not a "one session wonder" modality.  There is no such thing.  There are deep rooted issues here with deep rooted causal events.  The average number of sessions for any issue is 6.  It could be more, depending on how much the client is willing to roll up their sleeves and work with me.

When someone has an eating disorder, their weight is the prime focus of their life. Their all-consuming preoccupation with calories, grams of fat, exercise and weight allows them to displace the painful emotions or situations that are at the heart of the problem and gives them a false sense of being in control.  But when working subconsciously, guided by me, there is no hiding from the emotions.  Heal the emotions, the body heals and the symptoms abate and/or disappear.

If you think someone you know has an eating disorder, learn what you can about these conditions. Express your concerns calmly and in a caring way. You can't force someone to change their behaviour, but you can let them know that you care and want to support them. Encourage the person to seek professional help. Don't lay blame and focus discussions on feelings, not food. Examine your own issues around food and weight. Be supportive, but do not enable the behaviour.  Remember that the answers lie within and a well-trained Hypnotherapist can be a viable partner for healthy change.

As Seen on the June 20th, 2011 Dr. Oz Show 6/20/2011 (Taken from Dr. Oz's website)
Dr. Oz thinks that hypnosis has profound powers to put to rest the demons inside of you causing you to overeat. Dr. Oz says that hypnosis changed his life when he found out about it when he was going to college.

The assisting hypnotist (Paul Mckenna) says that you can reprogram your mind to make positive changes in your life. When you are hypnotized you are in an altered state of consciousness. Members from the audience were hypnotized before the show. Many of the audience members didn’t know they were actually hypnotized. During the show he said that he could immediately put them back into the trance. Paul Mckenna then “re-hypnotized” certain members of the audience. It was quite amazing to see. The hypnotist had the hypnotized audience members laughing hysterically in their trance before he brought them out of their trance.

Dr. Oz talked about the main patterns for overeating.

Emotional Eating – Emotions trigger a response to want to eat. When your happy, when your said, when it’s time to celebrate, or even when you are tired. Emotions are the #1 reason why people eat.
Obsessive Dieting – Obsessive dieting is when you try every diet out there. It’s a continuous cycle where you go from one diet to the next.

Rosa's Comments~
In a society where obesity is a growing problem, not only in adults but in CHILDREN, this is cause for concern.  It has been described as a global epidemic linked to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. Even though we hear more about it via U.S. statistics, it is a major concern for Canadians as well.  Our statistics may be better, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not something to smile about.
Statistics for Adult Obesity in Canada vs. U.S.A.:

Taken from
2007 to 2009, the prevalence of obesity in Canada was 24.1%, over 10 percentage points lower than in the United States (34.4%).

Among men, the prevalence of obesity was over 8 percentage points lower in Canada than in the United States (24.3% compared with 32.6%) and among women, more than 12 percentage points lower.  That's still over 24% of our population!!!!!  Currently 59% of Adult Canadians are either overweight or obese!

Statistics for Child Obesity in Canada:
Taken from
in children have almost tripled in the last 25 years. Approximately 26% of Canadian children ages 2-17 years old are currently overweight or obese.

The issue of weight is NOT about what you eat or when or how much.  It is the subconscious programming below the level of conscious awareness that is driving the behaviour to fulfill an emotional need.  All weight issues are emotional and what we are doing as a society is EATING our emotions, filling an emptiness that food just can`t satisfy.  If our car is out of gas, you don`t fill it up the window wiper fluid.  We are giving our bodies what it does not need, which is food when the body IS NOT HUNGRY. 

In my experience assisting clients with their weight challenges, whether to reduce by 10 pounds or 60 pounds, in following the feeling about their weight TODAY (eating when frustrated, bored, stressed) I use Hypnosis as a technique to guide us with the feelings of now to the root event that the subconscious mind is protecting, and in most cases it is to satisfy SADNESS as a child (our past experience forgotten consciously).  And  this is a moment in time in childhood where the child reached for food (as a treat) and they `felt better`.  Each time this happens, it becomes a habit.  And the subconscious mind is a goal oriented mechanism, it`s a habit forming mind that doesn`t judgement our acts.  That`s the domain of the logical, thinking mind.  It is 90% of our mind.  The logical, thinking mind is 10% of the mind and doesn`t feel .   Think of a tug of war with 1 person on 1 end and 9 on the other end.  Who do you think will win....  The 9 side, of course, because it has more energy and strength! 

The subconscious doesn`t evaluate that eating when sad (feeling) about something (a thought) is taxing the body or making the person gain weight or that the person isn`t even hungry.  It is not a THINKING mind but a FEELING mind.  And when the treat satisfied the feeling, it continues to use food to overcome the negative feeling.  When the feelings of sadness hit us as Adults, the same applies.  The subconscious mind gets you up in front of the fridge or cupboard at any hour of the day to `make you feel better`.  Not rational.  Emotional.  Note that when this happens, you may not even be aware of the feeling of WHY you are needing chips or a sandwich at 11pm.  But the subconscious mind knows.  It knows that you are lonely (sad) and that food makes you feel better.  And the cycle continues.

Hypnosis is one of the most enduring and efficient modalities to help people gain CONTROL of their emotions so that new habits can be formed.  The subconscious mind CAN relearn new habits by being directly educated that this habit no longer protects you (you have healthier skills that your inner child did not).  With control of the habit, you have control of your life!  Change your Mind, Change your Life!

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