I left off my last post having booked my hypnosis sessions with Karen; three sessions, a week apart. That gave me two weeks to ponder, get excited, get nervous, and anticipate what it would be like. Two weeks is a long time, so lather, rinse, repeat (over and over and over). I’m not sure I focused well on anything during that two weeks but it eventually passed and the big day arrived. My hands were in the candy jar all morning, and my appointment was at 3pm.
I got to the office and meekly stuck my head in the door. I was greeted warmly and invited in to sit and chat for a little bit about the process and my goals. I had completed some forms ahead of time and passed those to Karen, and tried to settle into a very large comfy leather chair. The chair was a like a pillow but my anxiety was at an 8 on a scale of 1-10, so my muscles were all tensed up. I thought “I’ll never be able to be hypnotized today, I’m too uptight!”, but I was still hopeful and was determined to see how it went.
We spent about 45 minutes discussing why I was there (I can’t stop eating sweet crap, I need to lose weight, I want to be healthy), and what hypnosis does and why it works. First of all, you have to desire to make a change or it will not likely be successful. Yeah, nobody desires to eat junk and be fat and unhealthy so I’ve got that covered! Karen told me that the reason I couldn’t change the behavior I so desired (to stop eating crap all the time) was because in a battle of wills the mind will win every time and my mind, my subconscious, had a desire to consume the sweets. The good news she said, was that it could be changed surprisingly quickly. All we had to do was change the rules in the subconscious. Change those neuron connections. Not gonna lie, it makes sense logically but at the same time sounds a bit too much like a parlor trick, slight of the hand type thing. But hey, desperation put me in this chair and I have an open mind (and it did work that time for smoking), so let’s give it a go!
Okay, time to relax. I was so tense I was sure I’d strain a neck or jaw muscle, but Karen was able to get me to relax by closing my eyes, taking some slow deep breaths, and visualizing calming scenarios. I can’t even recall right now what exactly but I do remember thinking, “okay this is better”.
This is a brief summary of what occurred while I was under hypnosis. I was under for about 45 minutes so when I say brief, know that it truly is summarized. She talked to me, leading me on a (imaginary) journey on a trail in the woods, and up a hill, overlooking a cliff. I imagined I was carrying a backpack full of emotions and experiences, good and bad. I took out the good ones and dropped the rest off the cliff, and took a much lighter hike back down the trail. Surprising to me, I felt sad dropping that bag of emotions. Not sad in my visualization, but sad in reality, outside of the hypnosis that was occurring. I could feel my chin quiver and felt a few tears roll down my cheek. I found it odd, but didn’t dwell on it.
Next thing, she brings me back to the room, just me, a table, and a stack of boxes. In these boxes are life experiences that were either emotional or stuck with me for one reason or another; maybe some guilt, maybe some sadness, maybe some confusion, maybe some second guessing. My task was to take the biggest box and unpack it, acknowledging the contents and setting each thing on the table as I went. When that box was empty, I moved to the next one. Again, I felt a few tears while unpacking the boxes, but not as much as up on the cliff. I didn’t dwell on it, just noticed it. When I had emptied the last box, I walked out of the room and closed the door, knowing I had acknowledged each experience or thing. I no longer needed to keep them around, so I left them behind when I left.
I am NOT an emotional person. I don’t cry. I don’t even know how to interact with someone that is crying. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and generally feels like a waste of time, rather like wringing ones hands instead of DOING something. So these tears I experienced really were a bit perplexing.
Karen then told me she would be slowly bringing me out of hypnosis, but would offer me some suggestions to help me get over the junk food habit. She said things like, “you won’t want to have the cakes and candies, and other unhealthy foods”, and “you will crave nutrient dense foods”, and even under hypnosis I thought “Seriously?? I’m paying for THIS?? I tell myself this all the time, but it doesn’t work that way!”
As she was starting to “wake me up”, she gave me a post hypnotic suggestion that the color red would be a reminder that I no longer need or want the junk food and that I would crave healthy foods, and eat more lean meats and fruits and vegetables. The color red would just be more noticeable to me, but I wouldn’t have any action to take or specific things to remember when I noticed red. Just that it would help. As she was saying this to me, she said things like “When you notice the red of a stop sign for example, you will be subconsciously reminded that you crave vegetables. Red, red, red, red, red. The color red, red, red, red, red, will be brighter and more vibrant when you notice it”. And I thought “Red, red, red, red, red!! She sounds RIDICULOUS! Don’t giggle, don’t giggle, don’t giggle, hold it in, don’t giggle”.
She woke me up and I felt so relaxed and refreshed, just like they say in the movies! Except for the soaking wet face I had. I cried more than I realized. I was thinking 8 or 10 tears. My face felt more like I had just gone through a good long sob session. My nose was running, my shirt was wet where tears had run down my face and neck onto my shirt. What the heck happened? I told her I don’t DO emotions. She said “You may not do them, but you certainly have them. Everyone cries in that chair. It’s fine and perfectly normal.” Whatever Karen, don’t make me FEEL things!
So, it was a far more emotional session than I expected, and all those tears came from somewhere so maybe something good did happen. But would it really work?
My appointment was on a Tuesday afternoon. By Friday, all I had since my session that was “unhealthy” was a single cup of hot cocoa because I was freezing in the office and I don’t like tea or coffee. On Saturday, I had a baby shower to attend. I was not sure what was going to happen because…cake. I love me some cake. This could take me right back to square one faster than you can say “yum!” When the cake was served, I had a small piece and while I tasted the frosting I found it too sweet and ate only the cake between the layers of frosting. I enjoyed it for what it was, and didn’t feel glutenous. I didn’t scheme about how to sneak a second piece without looking like a pig. What a foreign yet wonderful feeling!
I had another cup of cocoa Saturday night because I was cold. When I wanted a snack after dinner two nights that first week, I had peaches. I had ZERO cravings for anything junk food. None. The first week was incredible.
And for the record, those first few days, all kinds of red things just jumped out at me. Car taillights, a border on a sign in my gym, clothing people were wearing, the can of static remover on my desk at work. Huh…
Stay tuned for the next installment, I’ll share thoughts about my second session and the week that follows. If you like what you’re reading, tell a friend!