Weight Loss Without Willpower – The Science of Willpower

As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Therapist and Mindset Coach I work with many female clients who struggle to lose weight and keep it off.

I developed a programme of Coaching and Therapy specifically for these clients called “Weight Loss Without Willpower” as I was passionate about providing a solution which works both quickly and sustainably.

For many of us, some or all of the points below will be familiar:

  • A sense of ongoing struggle to lose weight and keep it off
  • Coping with food cravings, constant thoughts of food, diet, figure
  • Overeating, not controlling portions, not knowing when are full, or eating when we know we’re full
  • Eating to feel better in times of stress or emotional strain, using food as a treat or reward
  • No energy or motivation to exercise
  • Poor body image – feeling unattractive, unsexy, withdrawn, depressed about our weight
  • Feeling stressed and managing a stressful life, juggling and keeping people happy
The effect of stress

Stress has become part of everyday life for many of us. There are many ways to work on managing stress, but it is particularly important in relation to clients who struggle to lose weight and keep it off, as stress also effects the physiology of our whole body and plays havoc with our metabolism and appetite. The effect of stress on our systems creates all the wrong conditions for weight loss and emotional wellbeing.

The stress hormone cortisol causes fatigue in the adrenal glands, which is like to lead to:

  • Cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Irregular appetite
  • Fatigue and poor sleep
  • Slow metabolism
  • Weight gain around the middle and abdomen
The Science of Weight Loss Therapy

Neuralplasticity is the term we use to explain the brain’s natural ability to change and make new connection and pathways. If you get the brain to be in a different, specific state, it learns and finds it much easier to get back to that state through the pathways which have already been created.

Hypnosis and NLP collapse any old neural pathways in the brain which are behind the old thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns. In turn through specific techniques and skillful language patterns, the skilled Therapist will guide the client to form new pathways and patterns in the brain which are in line with all the changes required around food, eating habits and exercise.

The Neuroscience of Willpower

During client sessions we focus on three components of willpower which correspond with three different areas of the brain with the pre-­‐frontal cortex which is found right behind your forehead.

Right side – “I Won’t” – This area is responsible for our ability to STOP doing something which is not useful or in line with our goals

Left side – “I Will” – This area is responsible for our ability to find motivation to do something, stick at it, stay on track even when it gets a bit tough, boring or inconvenient

Underneath – “I Want” – This area is responsible for our ability to have a really clear idea of what we want, what the point is, the bigger picture, WHY our goals are so important to us. This area keeps us in touch with remembering what we care about most.

With all of these areas of communication strengthened, and integrated, the old idea of needing strong willpower becomes less of an issue. It naturally becomes easier to MAKE GOOD INTENTIONAL CHOICES.

Practical Coaching Tips for Successful Weight Loss:

Before you begin taking action to lose weight, apply yourself to this exercise in full in preparation to do it more easily

  • Really identify what you want in detail, get in touch with it – The “I want”. 
  • Express that in positives, so it really is about what you want eg, health, freedom to make healthy choices, fitness, comfort in my clothes, wardrobe and style choices, energy, focus…. Negative language, even if it is internal chatter, is activating the most unhelpful neurological pathways in your brain for the job in hand. The power of words and language is immense, so choose it wisely to activate helpful neurology What will achieving that give you in positives.
  • How will it feel – How will you look – What will people say to you – What will you be saying to yourself.
  • Have reminders of your goal around if that helps – photos, outfits, holidays, wedding dates – whatever makes it REAL and keeps it in your awareness
  • Buddy up and have support from others -­‐  but keep the talk positive!
  • Plan and organize – shopping, schedules, recipes, Tupperware….THINK AHEAD so you create healthy choices for yourself and avoid getting hungry – that’s when the internal saboteur kicks in.
  • How do you need to be feeling, what states are most useful? Confident, focussed, motivated, calm, positive?
  • Choose a couple and get into those states by remember times when you were in those states before. Immerse yourself in them fully – see, hear, feel – get fully in touch with them and allow you brain to make these connections – the brain doesn’t know the difference, it just knows it is going into this state and firing off all this great neurology ready for you to use when you want it.
  • Practice simple paced breathing before eating ( or any time you want to relax ) , during cravings – If you focus your attention on taking deep slow breaths, and allow your out-­‐breath to be longer than your in-­‐breath ( in for the count of 5/6 out for the count of 7/8 ) The vagus nerve responds by putting the body into the relaxation which allows you better digestion, faster metabolic rate, better decision making to have your actions around food fully aligned with your goals.
  • Mindful eating -­ Enjoy the sight and the smell of your food. Enjoy each mouthful slowly, savouring the taste and texture. Eat slowly, taking breaks to put your cutlery down, stay in touch with the signals from your gut which tell your brain you are full and satisfied.
 Author: Lisa Bardell BSc ( Hons ) Psychology, Dip NLP Coach Clin Hyp, MBIH, CNHC Registered


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