Mind Over Fatter

I love it when things come back into fashion with weight loss, it means I can drag old posts out of my archives and have a re-read and re-plug. This month, I'm talking about hypnotism, which I've written about previously in terms of weight loss here. I'm a massive fan of hypnotism when it comes to things like weight loss, quitting smoking and so forth; they're incredibly helpful if you can get yourself into the right mindset to use them. With that thought in mind, I pre-ordered myself a Kindle version of Anna Richardson's Mind Over Fatter to have go at as the New Year started (release date: 1st January 2015).

Mind Over Fatter Anna Richardson Does it work?
Inspiration photo, the book and the downloads

I'd had a good Christmas and despite many mornings in the gym, I still gained 5lbs. This meant if I want to get back down to a weight where I feel most comfortable I needed to lose between 16 - 21 lbs. Ooooof. I know most of my weight gain is inactivity, as even an hour daily in the gym doesn't match up to the 7 mile walking commute I do every day when I'm working, so a lot of weight drops off once I go back to work. When I was reviewing my year on New Years Eve I was thinking that I seemed to spend a lot of my year covering up bumps and feeling self-conscious. I'd worked really hard in 2013 to love my body more but due to a lot of things happening in my life in 2014, it seemed to have gone from my brain. Like any muscle, the brain needs to be trained, so I figured Anna's book might be able to help me train my brain whilst I get back onto my long walks and feeding my body less food in smaller portions.

So January 1st rolled in, and I got straight down to business. I read the book. I got weighed, I took measurements, I set a clear goal, I worked out what kind of eater I am so I can set up strategies on how to deal with my habits, made a mood board with inspiration photos on it and downloaded the hypnosis tracks to my phone.

First up: regression. Regression means letting my subconscious take me back to a significant point in my life where food first had an impact; be it negative, positive, emotional, physical, but you see where you land, spend a few moments there, try to understand what it's about and then write it all down and see how you feel about it. This brought up a very vivid, clear memory for me and had a very deep effect (tears were running down my face) but that's probably because I'm a very visual, creative and emotional person, so these things work fast and hard on me. I wrote it all down and then, after a few moments past, moved onto the therapy session. Again, that worked quickly on me and I settled on my visualisation pieces during these exercises very quickly (again, having a good imagination helps). 15 minutes later I was done for the day and ready to get on. I felt very calm for the rest of that day and very clear of thought (something which I had been lacking in recent weeks). The deal now is that I have the therapy session every day for the next 13 days, and then move down to a couple of times per week to reinforce the messages in my mind.  I kept a written diary for the whole period, so that I could reflect back on what happened day to day and also use it to jog my memory about the important things that I wanted to report about on here.

Day 3 was the day that things really took effect, be that because I was out in the real world so it was easier to notice or not, something in me changed. That morning I woke up with a word lodged in my head:  NOURISH. That's how it was written, in capslock bold letters right across my brain. I think I said it to myself many times whilst I was making my breakfast that day. Even my friends who I had met for lunch and shopping that day were a little unnerved 'is this hypno for weight loss or shopping?' they remarked as I resisted buying ALL THE REESE'S products in Cyber Candy. The next session something happened again; I noticed an entire sentence stream that I was convinced I'd never heard before, whether this was just key things standing out to me that day I don't know, but it felt new. It was the first time that noises from within the house didn't distract me either, I stayed under the whole time and was wonderfully conscious about what was happening around me.

On Day 5 I was back in work and hoping I'd done enough to keep me away from the leftover Christmas treats in the office. As I discovered from the book, I'm classified as a Habitual Eater, which means I always clear my plate, I eat fast (I wrote this off previously as someone who enjoyed their food A LOT), I tend to gain weight around my stomach and I hate waste. I do hate waste so much that I try not to have any. I'd sooner finish a packet of biscuits and ruin a good diet day as opposed to just throwing them in the bin. We don't waste. It's just the way I was raised. Being aware of these things immediately allowed me to make changes. If you're a fast eater, next time you sit down to dinner get your stopwatch started on your phone. I did this on day 1 and I could have easily cleared my lunch plate in 6 minutes. I managed to stretch it out to a comfortable 13 minutes and that wasn't even difficult. I don't just eat fast, I eat too fast. Blink and you'd miss it on some occasions. No wonder I always felt hungry shortly afterwards; my brain hadn't registered the meal. I know I eat fastest when I'm eating lunch on the go at work or when I'm tired in the evening at home, so these are the habits I am trying to break. Work was fine, by the way, I had no issues at all. I stuck to only eating when I was hungry and that was it. Easy money.

One thing you may have realised is that I hadn't mentioned a strict diet or gruelling exercise plan. The book has a 14 day food plan you can follow, but as I'm generally quite good with what goes in my body (and quite picky thanks to allergies) I decided to have a glance through the recipes, add some into my meal plans for the coming weeks and that was it. I didn't intend to eat too differently, but I did. Again, not me, just my subconscious at work. I exercised the same as I always do, which is enough to keep me ticking over and physically challenged. I didn't enforce strict rules because I wanted to see how my brain and body would work together if I just let them get on with it, feed it whatever and whenever required. I seemed to reduce my food intake without putting any effort into it. Suddenly my 1700 calories per day felt like loads, which meant my exercise calories that get tracked by my Fitbit every day went untouched (1700 cals is me working on a 500 cals deficit from my TDEE, this is just the right amount for my body to lose weight at a steady pace and not cause restrictions). My eating times moved and my portion sizes reduced dramatically. I've lost a lot of interest in sugar too.

Day 14 rolled around and at that point you can switch from daily hypnotherapy sessions to a few a week. I'd gotten into the lovely habit of listening at bedtime and after about 10 days it was putting me to sleep every time. I figured I might as well carry on as much as I wanted to and reassess as I go along.

I think at this point you might want to see some numbers, so here's what my scales said over the last few weeks:

Week 1: -2.4lbs
Week 2: -1lb (and 0.5 inches off my waist)
Week 3: -2lbs
Week 4: -0.4lbs (and another 0.5 inches off my waist)

Weight isn't exactly falling off me at a super fast pace, granted, but it is coming off at a steady pace and with no structured diet or exercise plan. I'm just eating & exercising intuitively, just like I've always wanted to be able to.

Things I have learned from this and will try to stick to in the future:
  • A bad habit is just that; a habit, which means it can be changed if you're willing to put the effort in. Before the year was out I knew I wanted to change how I ate and this allowed me to do so. I feel like my brain has reprogrammed my stomach. 
  • Eating slowly makes you eat less. Turns out those "I'M FULL, YO!" signals do get from my stomach to my brain, but they take about 20 minutes to do so. Turns out my dinner is not supposed to be treated like the Grand Prix. Who knew?
  • If I eat only when I'm genuinely hungry, then I eat better. For me this means ignoring set meal times and meal rules. Breakfast is later, lunch is later (and comes in two sections) and dinner is a smaller portion of food. 

I'm hopeful I can continue with this way of eating and having this different relationship with food for the foreseeable future, if that means listening to hypnotherapy a couple of times a week and be a bit more conscious when I do eat, then so be it. Hardly a chore!

Has it been worth the money? Hell yes. It did exactly what I wanted it to do; it helped me create better habits with a small amount of effort. I feel empowered that I will continue with the new paths my brain has created and have success with my weight loss efforts. Will it work for you? Not necessarily, I have epic willpower, an overactive imagination and love an excuse to daydream and visualise, but everyone is different.

However, if you're curious and have a spare £8, why the hell not?

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