In America we are storing fat more than ever and it is being fueled by one primary culprit. In 1990 only four states had obesity rates over 10 percent (body mass index of 30+). Now, 26 years later, EVERY state in America has an obesity rate of over 20 percent! If you live in Arkansas, West Virginia or Mississippi, that rate is sadly over 35 percent. What happened over the last 30 years?
This trend is nothing short of alarming, and the shocking part is our population has never been more into dieting and exercise at any other point in our history. People are desperate to lose weight. Endless infomercials are dedicated to eating healthy, diet fads, new workouts and create health-minded dishes at home. Books come out every week with special ways to lose weight and apps are developed to keep your waistline slim. But nothing is working.
I have been researching this phenomena for over 20 years, while working with thousands of clients, to figure out exactly what the underlying causes are, and most importantly, what we can do to fix them.
My conclusion is that the leading cause of obesity is stress. To understand this we need to understand how we are experiencing stress like never before, and the close relationship it has to the hormone cortisol. Generally speaking, “stress” is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. To be more practical, stress is a nervous system response to external circumstances or objects that require some sort of change. It is the product of living in isolation in an artificial environment. In short, everything we do and experience in our modern world causes various forms of stress.
When your cell phone goes off, that is a form of stress. When you are driving your car, that is stress. Money is a huge source of stress. All day long we experience very mild forms of stress and quite often very acute or intense levels of stress.
Let’s go back a few thousand years. Our ancestors experienced life-and-death forms of stress that demanded a biological response. There were wild animals, wars and famine, but no cell phones, cars or cubicles. Our ancestors would experience a life-threatening stress that often meant that there would be no food available for some time. How did their body respond? By stimulating a strong impulse to eat as much food as possible so that they could store up fuel in the form of fat. It was a survival mechanism for the species, plain and simple. The hormone that causes fat storage in response to fight-or-flight stress is cortisol. Every time we experience any form of stress our cortisol levels spike and induce a craving to eat and store fat!
Eating fast is also causing us to pack on the pounds. This results in less chewing and slowing down our digestive system. Our new fast-paced lifestyle combined with stress is resulting in the most over-weight population in America. The good news is that these two issues are easily fixed through hypnosis and meditation because it is all created inside our own head! Through guided hypnosis it is possible to deactivate this wiring so that the non-life-threatening stressors that occur many times a day do not trigger an eating response.
We first begin by allowing the client to slow their mind down. Slowing down, breathing and bringing our awareness inward is the first step in reclaiming our mindfulness. If we can train our mind to eat with intention it is almost impossible to gain weight. The first thing you will notice is that half the amount of food you normally eat makes you feel full! This is because the chemical signaling between your brain to the digestive system is now working correctly. Your digestive system is your “second brain.” By controlling your mind and eating mindfully the feeling of satiation occurs with less food and the hormone cascade of cortisol that causes you to store fat is stopped.
Impulse eating and stress are closely connected. By changing your mind through guided hypnosis you will never eat mindlessly again. Eating will become a deliberate and mindful event that brings health to the body instead of disease. This is why in so many cultures blessing the food first instead of wolfing it down is so important. I have seen weight literally fall off people when they learn to eat slowly and mindfully. This takes guidance and practice. With the right technique and practice a transformation takes place and a bad habit that was causing pain and suffering is now a joyful experience!