As we begin a new year, many hypnotists will receive calls from clients looking to take back control with food intake and other “too much” behaviors. This is a common New Years resolution, especially after holiday parties and gatherings where people go “all in,” deciding they’ll get back on track with a fresh start after the holidays.
5-PATH hypnotists commonly approach these “too much” behaviors from an emotional standpoint, helping clients alleviate the fear, anger, guilt or sadness that the client is distracting from or stuffing down. I admit I rarely include “stress eating” with my clients, as their sessions usually reveal other feelings at the core of the issue. I was hit with a bit of inspiration during a recent session where “stress” truly was an important element to address in our sessions. I thought I’d share some ideas here to help others address “stress eating” in their sessions.
As a bit of background, in the session where this idea came to me, I had already set up several elements of emotional eating from Cal Banyan’s “The Secret Language of Feelings” book and patter scripts. As I was reviewing in session the various feelings of fear, anger, guilt and sadness and ways to respond to the feelings rather than eat, I added stress to the mix. “When you’re stressed, it means you’ve got too much on your plate.” My client smiled as we both had an AHA moment about her situation because she had specifically asked to address portion control that day!
I continued…. “I’d like you to think for a moment about what that means, you’ve got too much on your plate. What does that plate look like? I’d like you to fill that plate up right there in your mind.” I made suggestions that were appropriate for the client, but you can remind your clients about their various stressors or have them imagine them on their own. In my particular situation, it helped to keep in mind as many stressors as possible, so we filled that plate rather high with work, family, caring for elderly parents, the holidays, anything that had already come up in our sessions as triggers!
I continued: “Now as I mentioned earlier, when you’re stressed, it means you’ve got too much on your plate….I’d like you to imagine each of those stressors as they turn into food- all the food you’ve been eating rather than dealing with the stresses in your life.” If you know of specific foods that are triggers for your particular client, you can add them here. You can also substitute other “too much” behaviors here, such as alcohol or cigarettes.
“As you know, food isn’t going to fix any of those stressors, it has just been a distraction. The way to respond to stress is to get help with your to do list, to delegate, to say ‘no thank you’ to some of your responsibilities…. But of course, I understand that many of these stressors aren’t as simple as ‘no thank you’ or delegating or putting off to another day. But guess what you can say ‘no thank you’ to… the extra food! That’s what you have control over, and now you use that power to take back control where it comes to food!” You can insert specific foods here to really make the point with your client.
“Now you’ll always be in control where it comes to food… you might actually enjoy being able to say ‘no thank you’ in this area of your life, which will give you practice to say ‘no thank you’ in other areas of your life… which will help you deal with those stressors far more effectively!”
As with any hypnosis script or bits of patter, it’s best to tailor it to your clients needs. This series of scripting can be woven into a longer direct suggestion session or included to round out a session with deeper level work. I hope it is useful for you in your work with clients, especially combined with sessions focused on resolving underlying feelings!