I was looking into hypnosis weight loss success rate the other day but all I found were clickbait testimonies from fake online publications. With a degree in Psychology and experience in research, I decided to take a dip into the lake of scientific research for any scientific proof to find more reliable answers. To save you the effort of understanding highly technical studies, I’ve broken them down into simple excerpts!
Hypnosis Weight Loss Success Rate: Real Results from 14 Studies Explained!
Kirsch (1996) found a 97% success rate in the use of hypnosis on weight loss in his study that looked into the addition of hypnosis to treatments that involved changing cognitions and behaviors. Among 227 people, the ones who did not use hypnosis only lost 2.72 kilograms while the ones treated with hypnosis lost 5.37 kilograms.
Bellanti (1997) has pointed out that hypnosis propels you to a more successful and permanent weight loss by changing your behaviours.
The more I dived deeper into the studies, the more I find out about hypnosis.
Needless to say, it gets even better.
Suggestions for hypnosis caused the most weight loss
- Summary: In a study by Deyoub and Wilkie (1980), 73 women of 19-68 years old joined a weight reduction program that used either suggestions through hypnosis, mere instructions on motivation or none at all. At the end of the study, those who were treated with suggestions through hypnosis lost the most amount of weight.
Breakdown: This study perfectly illustrates how suggestions are most effective through hypnosis towards successful weight loss. As it has also been emphasized by the authors in their report, hypnotic induction or the process of seamlessly establishing the trance-like state plays a key role in the effectivity of hypnosis.
How many hypnosis sessions are needed for weight loss?
- Summary: Inglis (1982) conducted a study wherein 31 obese women aged 21-70 years old joined and used hypnosis and autohypnosis for weight loss. This involved visualisations, strengthening the ego, idealisations of reaching goals, change in attitudes, direct commands and associating unhealthy behavior with negative effects to eliminate them. The study concluded that more hypnotherapy sessions taken resulted in more weight loss.
Breakdown: This study shows how the more you undergo hypnosis, the more it will be effective towards achieving your goals. The study’s author also highlighted the role of emotional and marital problems when it comes to weight gain, emphasizing further the social factors that exacerbate the over-representation of women among the obese. The original text also cited the importance of motivational factors and the need to develop attainable but significant goals for a successful weight loss.
For how long does hypnosis work?
- Summary: Bolocofsky and his colleagues (1985) investigated the effectivity of hypnosis when used with a weight management program designed to reward positive behavior. The 109 people that participated in the same behavioral weight management program that either used or did not use hypnosis. All of them lost weight but 41% of the people who used hypnosis reached or exceeded their weight loss goals while only 11% of those who did not use hypnosis achieved similar results. After 2 years, even more, people who used hypnosis reached their weight goals.
Breakdown: This study not only proves the effectivity of hypnosis when it comes to changing behaviors towards successful weight loss, but it’s also direct evidence at how hypnosis can produce extended, long-term effects to weight loss. As behavioral changes is a crucial part of achieving weight loss, hypnosis makes weight loss successful by untangling the mind to create the automatic thought processes needed to make the necessary automatic behaviors for a more seamless experience with the least amount of conscious resistance. As a result, weight loss becomes an automatic process that only strengthens itself over time.
Can hypnosis work for everyone?
- Summary: Cochrane and Friesen (1986) conducted a study using hypnosis to treat 60 obese women which also involved their qualities such as suggestibility, self-concept, quality of family origin, age of obesity onset, education level, and socioeconomic status. After 8 months, those who used hypnosis plus audiotapes lost an average of 8 kilograms. Hence, the authors have cited hypnosis as a critical factor in weight loss. Interestingly, none of the qualities is significantly related to the outcome.
Breakdown: This study demonstrates how hypnosis can be effective for anyone looking to lose weight. As hypnosis approaches weight loss more holistically, it can even help beyond your weight goals such as processing emotions better, self-esteem and overall healthier daily habits. This complete lifestyle change makes it more feasible to lose weight and keep the lost weight off in the long run.
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Hypnosis aids in weight loss in people with sleep apnea
- Summary: In a controlled trial by Stradling and colleagues (1998), they compared the effects of hypnotherapy versus mere dietary advice on weight loss among 60 people with obstructive apnea. For the first 3 months, all participants lost about 2-3% of their body weight while the hypnotherapy group lost an additional 3.6 kilograms after 18 months.
Breakdown: In comparison to the mere use of diets, hypnosis still stands as a more viable weight loss solution that produces long-term, significant effects. Since diets only offer restrictive and short-term solutions, eating habits are not resolved or improved. With the help of hypnosis, your relationship with food completely changes so you will never have to diet again.
Can hypnosis wear off?
- Summary: Stanton (1975) has conducted a study on the use of hypnosis for weight loss which consisted of over four one-hour sessions that involved the creation of positive realizations, hypnotic induction that strengthens the ego and the teaching of self-hypnosis for daily practice. It resulted in the participants achieving their goal weight and maintaining it even after 2 years.
Breakdown: The significant effects of hypnosis has shown to last even after the 2-year follow-up of the study which illustrates how its long-term effects can easily be integrated into your life. Since hypnosis creates these changes from the core of your mind, the automatic thought processes that control your behavior completely shifts to simply lean towards being healthier permanently. Even more, this study is strong evidence that you can still enjoy the benefits of hypnosis long after your treatment.
Can hypnosis be permanent?
- Summary: Kirsch and his colleagues (1995)analyzed 18 weight loss studies that compared treatments to change thinking and behavior with and without the use of hypnosis. Generally, the study concluded that those who had hypnosis had more progress than 75% of those who did not. Additionally, they’ve also found that the differences between the two groups increased within 6 months and the group who received hypnosis maintained significant progress 2 years after the treatment.
Breakdown: These results confirm that hypnosis shapes the way we think which seamlessly takes effect in our behaviors. Especially in achieving weight loss goals, these are two of the most important factors in compounding real, permanent lifestyle changes.
Can hypnosis help with food addiction?
- Summary: Barabasz and Spiegel (1989) measured the relationship between hypnotisability and weight loss among 45 obese women who were previously unsuccessful in losing weight from at least 3 different diets. With suggestions that included “for my body, overeating is poison”,” I need my body to live” and “I owe my body respect and protection”, it has been found that hypnosis along with behavioural self-management works best in weight loss. They concluded that this was possible because the participants learned to separate themselves from their desire to eat so that instead of restricting themselves, they just found unhealthy eating habits to be “poison” for their body.
Breakdown: This study demonstrated how hypnosis could really shape eating habits in changing the way you think about food. In this case, hypnosis completely eradicated overeating by reshaping their perception of the eating habit and correcting this towards completely changing their relationship with food. As an integral part of a successful weight loss, being able to use hypnosis to seamlessly change eating habits is an unparalleled advantage.
How can I set my mind to lose weight?
- Summary: Humphreys (1986) have conducted a decade-worth of literature review regarding the use of hypnosis alongside therapies that change behavior within 1970-80. It has been found that clinical studies support the effectivity of hypnosis in modifying behavior among a wide range of difficulties such as obesity, depression, and phobias. It has been noted that the use of hypnosis is a marker of a more progressive shift in attending towards more complex predisposing factors rather than simply focusing on presenting problems.
Breakdown: This is a decade-worth proof of scientific data that show how hypnosis has repeatedly produced significant effects in changing behaviors towards successful weight loss. Since hypnosis allows access to the unconscious that holds the habits we do even without thinking, modifying those thoughts can significantly improve behaviours needed to successfully lose weight.
Hypnosis helps women in losing weight with proper diet and behavioral changes
- Summary: In a study by Johnson and Brinker (2001), they examined the use of diet, hypnosis and overt aversion interchangeably and together on weight loss among overweight and obese women. It has been found that participants who were treated with all three lost the most amount of weight.
Breakdown: This shows how hypnosis works best in modifying behaviours, paired with proper diet towards a more successful weight loss. This works best because a successful weight loss relies on proper nutrition and a more active lifestyle. To change automatic behavior to do the necessary changes revolving around food and exercise to lose weight, hypnosis can yield remarkable results.
The more hypnotizable, the more success in weight loss
- Summary: Andersen (1985) analyzed the relationship between the degree of hypnotisability and success in weight loss. The 30 people that joined had to complete 8-week individual treatment sessions with a 13-week follow-up assessment. The findings showed an average weight loss of 9.16 kilograms and linked a positive relationship between the degree of hypnotisability and success in weight loss. The study concluded that highly hypnotizable individuals resulted in more success than medium or low hypnotizable ones in weight loss.
Breakdown: While everyone can be hypnotized, others simply respond more to hypnosis. Since hypnosis is a state of mind, people who simply reach that deep trance-like state completely absorb suggestions more effectively. Suggestions become more effective when the subconscious is more susceptible to them. With the right mindset, commitment and trust in hypnosis, a deeper trance-like state can be achieved.
The deeper trance reach, the more weight loss
- Summary: Jupp and colleagues (1986) examined components of susceptibility to hypnosis and depth of trance among 47 overweight women as a part of a weight loss program. It has been found that individuals who reached a deeper trance have lost more weight.
Breakdown: Hypnosis can be experienced differently from person to person but it is most effective in people who can go in a deeper trance-like state. Since the subconscious mind is most aware during this state, suggestions can then be most effective towards changing habits and behaviors for better, longer-lasting weight loss results.
The 97% Hypnosis Weight Loss Success Rate
- Summary: Kirsch (1996) re-calculated and re-analyzed the data sets of 6 studies that examined how hypnosis enhances treatment that change thinking and behavior towards weight loss. He found that the average weight loss for those who did not use hypnosis was 2.72 kilograms while those who used hypnosis was 5.37 kilogram. He concluded that the addition of hypnosis resulted in an additional weight loss of 2.64 kilograms, representing a 97% increase in the treatment efficacy.
Breakdown: This evidence substantiates how hypnosis effectively changes thinking and behavior which are two integral parts of a successful weight loss. Hypnosis resolves root causes of unhealthy behaviours which are often underlying issues that can only be accessed by the treatment. It is also important to emphasize that Kirsch (1996) detailed in the original text how the impact of hypnosis increases over time which is most ideal for the long-term maintenance of weight loss.
How do I stay committed to lose weight?
- Summary: Bellanti (1997) conducted a case study of a 35-year-old woman who was treated with hypnosis for weight loss. The treatment involved proper induction, imagery, visualizations and direct suggestions. She’s also provided with a weight loss chart to visually demonstrate progress for the woman’s visual confirmation, further reinforcement, and motivation. Four weeks after the hypnosis treatment ended, the woman lost 5 kilograms of weight. The researcher specified the change of eating and drinking habits as well as being more active to be the main factors of the weight loss but it was cited that the primary factor that brought about all these changes was hypnosis.
Breakdown: The results of this study substantiate the effectivity of hypnosis as a treatment for weight loss as it directly targets the most important components that contribute to successfully losing weight. Being able to effectively shit your automatic thought processes, hypnosis can then directly change your behavior towards doing the necessary actions to achieve your weight loss goals.
How Hypnosis Actually Tricks Your Mind to Lose Weight
There are many ways hypnosis can help your mind to propel you in losing weight. Generally, hypnosis helps in untangling subconscious barriers that hold you back in losing weight and at the same time enhances your chances of success through the use of positive suggestions.
Numerous parts of the mind can be rewired and shifted to align your mind and body towards a completely holistic and permanent lifestyle change.
As underlying issues rooted in the mind are resolved, old and unhealthy habits are completely eradicated from the core of the mind replaced with stronger and healthier ones towards a fuller, more energetic life.
Some of the effects of hypnosis in tricking your mind to lose weight involve:
- The propagation of a self-support system that simply prompts you to make changes despite being faced with challenges to do it
- Reinforcing your strength and confidence through positive associations towards your abilities and perceptions of self-efficacy in doing the necessary changes
- Visualizing the idealized goal to have been already achieved to initially emulate the positive emotions that go with it so your mind will find the changes rewarding immediately
- Strengthening the part of your subconscious that wants to make the change by accessing and reinforcing it
- Resolving doubts and issues that might be holding you back in making the necessary changes to prevent slipping back to old, unhealthy habits in the future
- Completely understanding the role of weight in your life and in achieving your long-term goals to propagate a deeper, intrinsic connection between you and your idealized goals
- Completely changing your relationship with food which also includes your habits revolving around it, your preferences and how you view food in general
- Enhancing healthier habits that can help you cope more effectively with daily stressors, processing emotions more efficiently, improve communication and enrich Intra- and interpersonal relationships
- Exercising the mind to build a stronger foundation for healthy habits to be more feasible in being automatic and permanent
Weight loss in itself can already be challenging to many but keeping the lost weight off is a completely different can of worms. Hypnosis helps is making you succeed in both by creating automatic healthier habits towards a more holistic, permanent change.
Can everyone be hypnotized?
Andersen (1985) concluded in her study that more hypnotizable individuals have more success in weight loss. This can be explained further through the findings of Jupp and colleagues (1986) describing how suggestions are more effective on people who can reach a deeper trance state.
Can hypnosis help with compulsive eating?
As found by Barabasz and Spiegel (1989), hypnosis can completely change your relationship with food by changing the underlying causes of unhealthy eating habits. Within their study, they’ve associated overeating to be “poison” for the body on their participants by way of hypnosis which led to successful re-shaping of eating habits.
Content Manager | Psychologist
Merb is Psychologist with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Before joining Awaecnan he was a former research assistant at Mindanao State University - Iligan City, Philippines. With a background in psychology, he’s been able to apply various cognitive and behavioural concepts through out his work. Merb has a knack in photography and recently discovered a newfound interest in fitness as he explores his wellness journey through hypnotherapy.
To Find out More about Merb connect with him on LinkedIn
CEO & Founder | Clinical Hypnotherapist | Weight Loss Specialist | Health Coach
Leading the charge is Jodi Clarke, the CEO and Founder of Awaecnan who is also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Having studied at The Academy of Hypnotic Science, an Australian government accredited Clinical Hypnotherapy training academy, Jodi’s hypnotherapy skills are both effective and award-winning as she supports clients to achieve positive changes in their everyday lives.
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