Festive times are upon us, and with that comes plenty of holiday eating. Lots of delicious, fatty, sweet calories. Whether you’re at your company’s holiday party or sitting around the table on Christmas Eve or the last night of Hanukkah, you’re likely to treat your body a with greater abandon during these times.
So what can you do? The secret could by hypnosis.
Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is a growing area of interest for people trying to improve their self-control and discipline. The goal is often to eliminate the urges and impulsive thinking that spark bad habits.
Take, for instance, the case of Flora DeCandia, a business manager from Texas. In an article published in the New York Times, Ms. DeCandia described her intense sugar addiction: “I would eat a pack of cookies. I would devour a bag of trick-or-treat candy. I was a binge-eating sweets person.”
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Despite her best efforts, it seems the subconscious side of Ms. Decandia’s brain had control over the part of her that knew that massive sugar intake was bad. She needed help, so she flew to New York to meet with Elena Mosaner, a hypnotist based in Manhattan. After two sessions with Ms. Mosaner, Flora Decandia found that she had absolutely zero compulsion for sweets.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
As alternative medicine has grown in the past decade, hypnosis has lost some of its stigma as a zany field filled with magicians and quacks, and is instead becoming seen as analogous to meditation or yoga.
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A large part of hypnosis therapy is tricking the brain into new patterns of thinking, using techniques like affirmation. For example, Ms. Mosaner had Ms. Decandia repeat the phrase: “I say no to sugar. I’m now in control.” Ms. Mosaner says that her sessions run more like a guided meditation, seeking to calm the client first, and then moving on to make changes to the psyche.
Of course there are still skeptics, especially from those in traditional medicine. The successes, they say, are skewed, as those who are seeking out hypnotherapy, are already making an effort to make change. Thus, those who see success from hypnosis are already self-selected.
Skeptics also point out that there is little data that suggests hypnosis is a long-term solution, saying that the effects may wear off quickly. The sessions, too, are not cheap—Ms. Mosaner charges $200 an hour.
However, anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of hypnosis is strong, and it’s benefits appear to extend to any negative habit patterns, such as drinking, insomnia, smoking and other addictive behaviors.
The key, according to most observers, appears to be combining traditional techniques with hypnosis. Like everything else in life, there is no quick fix to any problem. But if you find yourself incapable of controlling yourself at the dessert table this Christmas despite your best efforts, perhaps a hypnosis session would help.