Can doing the hokey-pokey help you lose weight?

container of bird seed

Do you still clean your plate because there are starving children somewhere in the world?

Since moving to Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve had to find a new source of food for Peek and Twinkie, the budgies.

Maybe you don’t know that birds are picky eaters. Sort of like toddlers. In fact, parrot-type birds have the intelligence of a three- or four-year-old human.

You might have more experience with toddlers than with birds. If so, you know what it can be like to get them to eat something.

The subconscious or nonconscious mind is kind of like a toddler. It likes things simple, uncomplicated, and routine. That’s why many people have trouble changing habits, because they approach them the way an adult would–not the way a toddler would.

I was talking to a woman who had been to a hypnotist before, and although it worked, and she lost weight and changed her eating habits, she was somewhat mystified by the process.

“He told stories and talked in a funny voice,” she said.

There are many versions of the “hypnotic voice.” It can be monotone, singsong, excited, or soothing. It can use rhyme and rhythm like poetry. It can also sound like normal speech. It sometimes sounds like the kind of thing you’d say to a toddler.

The subconscious mind speaks a different language

Certain vocal qualities and speech patterns more easily bypass the conscious mind–which is the whole purpose of hypnosis. When we bypass the conscious mind, we can communicate directly with the subconscious or nonconscious mind, which is where habits reside.

This toddler approach can get greater leverage with your nonconscious or subconscious mind, because you’re communicating in its native language.

One of my successful weight-loss clients created a suggestion that she was, “Healthy, happy, active, and attractive.” Can you hear the rhythm and rhyme in this short phrase? This suggestion worked well for her because it was from her heart, and the rhythm, rhyme, and simplicity perfectly meshed with the toddler approach.

Going back to my first question–Do you still clean your plate because children somewhere are starving?” Your conscious, rational, logical mind knows that you will never put food in someone else’s mouth by cleaning your plate, but you do it anyway because of a message you received from an adult when you were a child. These childhood messages stay with us long after they have outlived their usefulness! How do we erase these messages? By creating new messages using the same toddler language.

You can test this out for yourself by creating a short, fun, rhythmic, or rhyming message. If that sounds like a lot of work, schedule a strategy call. I have listened to clients come in with these childhood messages for more than 15,000 hours. You aren’t alone, and what worked for them could work for you. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

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Once I had a fear of spiders

spider sitting on green leaf
spider sitting on a leaf
Photo from Pexels, uncredited

A friend of mine once said that spiders are unnerving because they have too many legs and too many eyes.

I remembered this the other day as I’m driving home and happen to notice a spider on my windshield. Cute little guy about the size of a nickel—not tarantula-sized, but not tiny. Lots of legs. Lots of eyes.

I roll up my window so it doesn’t blow off the windshield and into the car.

I’ve had bees blow into the car, and while spiders don’t pose the same threat, I’d still rather have him outside than inside.

Then I notice that he’s not outside.

And now he’s not cute, and he’s definitely the size of a tarantula.

Fear creates strong memories

My emotions aren’t going to make him crawl faster or slower. They aren’t going to transport him out of the car.

There was a time when I would have actually screamed and either wrecked the car or pulled over to the side of the road and stood there sobbing. I had a traumatic experience with a spider in grade school; for decades afterward, I had a fear of spiders and couldn’t be in the same room with one.

On this particular day, as soon as I feel the panic, I remember that he’s probably been sitting there for quite awhile before I even noticed him, he hasn’t attacked me, and he seems pretty securely attached to where he’s sitting.

That’s when he starts to crawl up the windshield.

Panic doesn’t strike, but I’m definitely getting nervous.

I evaluate my choices:

I can let my imagination run wild, visualize how he’ll drop onto me, I’ll scream and wreck the car, he’ll bite me and I’ll die;

I can pull over and try to get him out of the car; or 

I can just keep doing what I’m doing: Driving home.

Worry is a poor use of imagination.

I keep doing what I’m doing, he eventually reaches the top of the windshield and disappears somewhere above the visor, and I reach home safely with my yoga mat and groceries.

Have you been struggling with a fear of some kind? Let’s set up a free strategy call and talk about what life would be like without it.

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How hypnosis is like setting up a tent

Tent lit from within among pines at night
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Every spring, my dad volunteered to chaperone my high school’s Math/Science Club and drove roughly 180 miles north to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (alma mater of “Weird Al” Yankovic) for the college’s Math Bowl competition.

Sitting in an auditorium listening to math problems read aloud and solved for several hours, may not sound like fun.

What was fun was camping at Morro Bay State Campground. There were campfires, canoeing, great food, walking on the beach, snipe hunting at night on the golf course, playing hearts, telling stories, and sometimes music.

If we left Los Angeles on time, if we hadn’t dawdled at lunch, if we hadn’t pulled over for too many bathroom breaks, if we hadn’t taken a wrong turn, we arrived at the campground with plenty of daylight to sweep the ground before setting up camp.

Why was that was important?

Know why you want the change

Eucalyptus–those tall, fragrant trees with long, tapering leaves–shed a seed pod that could be a camper’s nightmare. Literally.

Some of the seed pods were as big as walnuts, and if your sleeping bag happened to be positioned over one, you’d spend the next three nights in your eight-person tent trying to curl your body up to avoid that rock-hard knot.

Decide on your first goal

The first thing we did when we arrived at camp was decide where the tents would go. Flat, level ground was best, not too close to trees.

Next, we’d sweep the ground, clearing away stones, eucalyptus pods, and other lumpy debris, and picking half-buried pods and stones out of the ground.

If we arrived at the campground late, the job was that much harder. God forbid we have to do it at dusk; or worse, in full dark, by Coleman lantern and flashlight. The low light made it harder to see stones and pods, and we were most likely tired, which meant we either fought fatigue and cleared the ground well, or we did a rush job, cut corners, and slept on knots for three nights.

Eliminate the most obvious obstacles

I sometimes think of hypnosis like that: sweeping away the lumpy, bumpy stuff that has fallen to the forest floor of our minds. Just like those rough in spots on the ground, worries and habits can make us lose sleep or twist ourselves up in ways we don’t like. 

Some clients have gotten the impression from movies and TV that hypnosis is magic. They don’t realize there are a few steps of preparation, and they want to rush through them. I help them slow down, because they get better results when they don’t cut corners, but instead feel plenty of motivation toward set clear goals and have high motivation.

If you don’t want to think through these steps on your own but want more time, energy, and success, let’s set up a free strategy call.

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Do you hate change?

woman covering her eyes
Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

I hear it all the time. “Change is hard.”

I have to disagree.

Personally, I think that if we look for examples of change being hard and difficult, we’ll find them. Negative experiences tend to stand out in our memories because our brains are hardwired to protect us. Our brains are designed to help us avoid danger and pain.

Although this mechanism protects us, it can work against us, too. For example, have you ever dismissed a compliment that someone gave you, but worried for days over one negative remark? Or maybe you have taken a test and spent more time upset with yourself over the one or two answers you got wrong than feeling pleased with the many answers you got right.

Bad times stand out. So do excellent ones, but we don’t usually think of them as changes.

Change gets a bad rap

When things change, we often get new problems to solve. But not always.

The truth is, change can be easy and magical.

Take a moment right now to remember a time when you had an “Aha!” moment… or a moment of bliss or awe… a time when you laughed… a time when you accomplished something you were proud of…

Those were moments of change.

An ocean is nothing but change, and people flock to the beach to walk along that ceaselessly changing seashore. Vacations exist solely for people to make a change: wake up in a different bed, eat different food, listen to different music. People decide to try new restaurants for a change. They decide to get a new shirt or shoes or lipstick for a change.

I’m not here to tell you that things shouldn’t bother you or that you should be happy all the time. If you’re going through a rough time and feel trapped–and want to change that–there are some techniques that can help.

What does “Change is hard” really mean?

I think people say, “Change is hard” as a shortcut for a variety of possible messages they want to express: empathy, reassurance, encouragement, etc.. It might translate as

  • Trust yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. Anyone going through what you are would be having a hard time. What you’re feeling is normal.
  • You’re not alone. I hear that you’re struggling, and I want to be there for you.
  • This is temporary. It will get better. You will get better. Remember that the payoff will be worth it.
  • Stop complaining; I’ve got problems of my own. (Hey, I know it’s not fun, but sometimes people simply don’t have the bandwidth to listen.)

There is research that shows when we name our feelings, we can lower their intensity. When we get more clear about what we really mean, we open up new possibilities.

How to avoid the pitfalls

The problem with saying, “Change is hard,” is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we say it enough, we can develop a knee-jerk reaction to change: avoid it! When we avoid change, we limit our ability to deal with it and making it harder to bounce back.

Here are some of the phrases I use to replace, “Change is hard.”

  • I didn’t realize that I was going to have to do so much right now.
  • I don’t feel prepared for this.
  • I underestimated the time and resources I was going to need to cope.
  • I don’t know what I should do next. Or even right now!
  • I’m exhausted. I wish I could just walk away and make it stop.

Who’s in control?

Notice the “I” language. If I own it, I can fix it. If the problem is out there somewhere, I have no control. Also, notice how there are seeds of solutions inside the new statements. This automatically helps with stress management.

Digging out the power statements hiding inside the the problems is similar to the exercise of making a list of complaints (what you don’t want) and then looking for the opposite of the complaint to narrow down what you do want.

So what are some of the possible power statements hiding inside frustration?

  • I didn’t realize how much I was going to have to learn or do right now.
    Power statement: I’m going to focus on one small step at a time.
  • I don’t feel prepared for this problem.
    Power statement: I’m going to learn what I need to know.
  • I underestimated the time and resources was going to need for this.
    Power statement: I’m going to make adjustments so my expectations are more realistic and manageable.
  • I don’t know what I should do next. Or even right now!
    Power statement: I’m going to ask for help from someone who knows more about this kind of thing.
  • I’m exhausted. I wish I could just walk away and make it stop.
    Power statement: I’m going to take the break I need to come back refreshed and strong. Or I’m going to push through for the next little while and see if I get a second wind.

Why it matters

Does this mean that life is all puppies and kittens? No! Of course not.

Does this mean some stuff is not really, really, really bad? Again, no.

Life moves. With movement comes divorce, death, remodeling, cancer, job loss, moving, bullies, auto wrecks, earthquakes, floods, landslides, wildfires, ice storms, dementia… you name it.

When we refer to “change” by naming the specific problem we’re battling at the moment, we make it a little easier to deal with and a little less painful. We put our attention on what we are in control of and can change. We are also training the brain to be more open to the possibility of good changes.

After all, a solution is also a change.

If you’re tired of trying to get everything figured out in the midst of chaos, schedule a free strategy call, and let’s talk about how hypnosis can help lower your stress.

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