Research tells us that around the world, increasing body-mass index (BMI) is a major public concern. Rightly so, according to this international collaborative analysis of almost 1 million people, followed from middle age in 57 prospective studies. A J-shaped mortality curve is observed, with optimal survival at a BMI of 22•5–25 kg/m2. Above this range, mortality from several causes—especially vascular diseases—was increased. Moderate obesity (BMI 30–35) was associated with 3 years’ loss of life. People with extreme obesity (BMI 40–50) lost 10 years of life, equivalent to the years lost by lifetime smoking. (Editors’ note). Below the range 22·5—25 kg/m2, BMI was associated inversely with overall mortality, mainly because of strong inverse associations with respiratory disease and lung cancer. These inverse associations were much stronger for smokers than for non-smokers, despite cigarette consumption per smoker varying little with BMI. (1)
Attempts to tackle childhood obesity are failing, according to a paper from the Productivity Commission. About a quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese, prompting ongoing concern about the health consequences.(2)
However, in another article Dr Jennifer O’Dea, Associate Professor in Health Education and Nutrition from the University of Sydney points out, while not downplaying the serious health problems that flow from a life of obesity, the scale of this problem for Australian children has become increasingly overblown. Dr O’Dea says; “People have to stop exaggerating the numbers about childhood obesity – that’s not to say that it is not an issue but you know, hysteria, fear campaigns and exaggeration are not very scientific.”
“In children and teenagers, obesity has been stable really since the late 1990s … and around Australia, it is still about six per cent.” Childhood obesity rates in Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the US, China and many European counties, have barely budged in the past decade.(3)
Another interesting article tells us that people spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.
The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.
The research estimated that only 4.6 percent of a person’s happiness in a given moment was attributable to the specific activity he or she was doing, whereas a person’s mind-wandering status accounted for about 10.8 percent of his or her happiness.(4) One might ask, with all this media concern about weight issues, how that might affect the mind in its efforts of losing weight.
The role of Addiction cannot be ignored in the obesity epidemic as pointed out by Dr. Valerie Taylor, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster and Director of the Bariatric Surgery Psychiatry Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and her co-authors, who argue that food addiction in some individuals may be a reality and needs to be considered in the management of weight problems.
The authors state that like other addictive behaviours, food can cause an increase in the amount required to achieve satiety. During dieting the addict can experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes. As well, after gastric surgery for obesity, a subset of patients exhibit other addictive behaviours.
“The current ‘blame’ mentality that is often applied to individuals with obesity needs to be re-examined,” the authors write. “Although medicine may not yet accept compulsive overeating as an addiction, we cannot ignore evidence highlighting the role played by biologic vulnerability and environmental triggers.”(5)
An increasing number of obese adolescents, particularly females, are undergoing gastric bypass surgery. There is a possible link between gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls and an increased risk for neural tube defects, which can lead to varying degrees of disability such as paralysis and mental retardation due to damage to the nervous system, in their future children. Documented cases of children born with neural tube defects are thought to be due to maternal nutritional deficiencies, particularly malabsorption (when the body cannot absorb nutrients), following bypass surgery.
It is well documented that gastric bypass surgery leads to malabsorption causing multiple nutritional deficiencies, including folate (folic acid), which is a key element in the prevention of neural tube defects. Although daily folate replacement can reverse this deficiency, adolescents often don’t comply with medication regimens.(6)
The cost of surgery depends on a number of factors including the type of surgery, surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist’s fees, the hospital where the procedure is done and any medications that might be prescribed for you after surgery. For example, on average gastric band surgery ranges from approximately $A 10,000 to $A 14,000, and is not covered by Medicare.
There are a number of possible complications; infection and migration, leakage, slippage of the band and pouch dilatation, punctures in the silicone band and port dislocation and other complications have occurred.
There is no guarantee that the surgery will work without fault for the rest of their life and the risk of reoperation will always exist, even if none of the above-mentioned complications occur. The possibility of reoperation is an integral part of the overall management of morbid obesity. Reoperations are considered a technical measure that is sometimes necessary.
As with any surgical procedure using general anaesthesia, there is, of course, a risk of complications with even the possibility of death. It is suggested that patients ask their doctor for more detailed information before embarking on such a procedure. (7)
In New Zealand, associate health minister TarianaTuria has announced up to 300 extra weight-loss operations to be funded over the next four years, at a cost of $2 million a year. Included in the funding package are additional procedures which preceded and follow on from successful bariatric operations. After struggling with diabetes and having her stomach stapled in 2009 she shed 13kg and her diabetes disappeared. She said that she was concerned about the stigma attached to people who have to live with diabetes and obesity.(8)
I myself have worked with weight loss on a lady that had undergone gastric bypass surgery. She informed me that she lost 10 KG but had now put it all back on again. Her concerns now are that she still has the band in place and what other problems she may now face since regaining the weight in the upper part of her stomach.
For the thousands who undergo gastric band surgery every year, the operation is only part of the story. To lose weight, they must adhere to strict portion control, slow eating and repetitive chewing to accommodate their dramatically reduced stomach capacity.
It’s a very different way of eating, but one which – even without the band – offers the promise of steady, safe and long-term weight loss.
So, what about the hypnosis alternative?
‘Gastric Mind Band’
When a patient asked hypnotherapists Martin and Marion Shirran to hypnotise her into thinking she’d had a gastric band, they realised they’d hit on something.
For a number of years they have been running a successful clinic in Spain offering a programme of what they call ‘gastric mind band’, combining hypnotism with a programme of education, which allows patients to successfully lose weight just as effectively as if they really had had surgery.
The key for any weight loss to work effectively is to eat small portions, very slowly as if you really did have a gastric band. After real surgery the banded stomach is reduced in capacity from around one litre to just 20ml. The most you can eat in any meal is six tablespoons of food so to make up for the deficiency in vitamins, these have to be taken in addition to the small amount of food you eat. (The average meal the size of two clenched fists would fill a normal capacity stomach.) Gastric band patients are encouraged to eat their meals in a certain order (meat first because it hangs around in your tiny new stomach for the longest time, then vegetables and lastly mushy foods which would otherwise slip through the gap too easily).
In the gastric mind band therapy clients under hypnotherapy, go through the entire process of having a gastric band fitted in hospital complete with sound effects and hospital smells. Suggested imagery of how big the portions should be, how well and slowly they chew are all part of the suggestions as well as affirmations on how they are able to achieve this themselves through self-hypnosis. The therapy comes with two CDs.(9)
All this comes at a substantially lower cost than the real operation without the side effects as told by 36 year old Emma Everleigh-Anderson who dropped five dress sizes in 6 months (size 18 to an 8). However, at the time of writing with at first taking gentle morning jogs, she now runs for 30 minutes most mornings. The cost of a real Gastric Banding operation the article said cost £7,000.00 ($A 11,312.00). The hypnosis Gastric Mind Band cost £980.00 ($A 1,583.70) x 4 sessions.(10)
‘Exercising In Your Sleep’
We have all heard of the benefits of exercising to speed up the metabolism that helps weight loss. But what about exercising in your sleep? Suzie Gibbs lost a stone in a month by exercising while she slept. The transformation involved three hypnotherapy sessions where she had to visualise herself exercising and doing sit-ups. She also listened to a hypnosis CD each night for a month. She felt the ‘exercise in your sleep’ programme was so effective, she said, that her stomach muscles contracted as she slept and her metabolism sped up, meaning she burned off calories quicker. The hypnosis also reprogrammed her mind into believing she loved exercise, leading to her becoming more active in her waking hours.(11)
‘EFT and Food Cravings Research’
In 2008 Dr Peta Stapleton and Terri Sheldon conducted a research study in conjunction with, Griffith University School of Medicine Logan Campus in Queensland Australia. The research was based on a grant received from the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (USA). It was conducted to investigate whether food cravings play a role in the field of weight loss and if willpower over food cravings is important in weight loss. A Randomised Clinical Trial investigating the effectiveness of The Emotional Freedom Technique versus a waitlist was conducted for food cravings. Participants attended a 4 week group based program run by EFT practitioner Mr Brett Porter. The Program taught participants how to use EFT and how to apply it to their food cravings.
The results of this randomised clinical trial of the meridian-Based intervention showed that EFT was associated with a significantly greater improvement in food cravings and a significant reduction in Body Mass Index from pre- to 12 months. (12) (NLP was used in this treatment.)
The above stories on innovative methods lead to phone calls as those that have difficulty in releasing weight look for another way in the hope for change. In fairness to our clients, not all people will achieve through all or any of the methods here. ‘What’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.’
Client centred hypnotherapy demands that we have many tools in our “tool kit” so that we can custom-fit the needs of the client, replacing one way with another as the situation demands.
The facts in the above articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and are for your information only as cited below:
(1)The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9669, Pages 1083 – 1096, 28 March 2009 – doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60318-4
(2)ABC Radio National, 1st November 2010, Childhood Obesity, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/australiatalks/stories/2010/3049970.htm
(3)AAP NewsWire. 8/11/2010. AUS’s childhood obesity an ‘exaggeration’, expert says. http://www.medicalsearch.com.au/News/AUS-s-childhood-obesity-an-exaggeration-expert-says-47776
(4)Matthew A. Killingsworth, Daniel T. Gilbert. A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science, 2010; 330 (6006): 932 DOI: 10.1126/science.1192439
(5) McMaster University (2009, December 23). Role of addiction cannot be ignored in obesity epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 6, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091222105231.htm
(6) American Academy of Pediatrics (2010, October 5). Loss of nutrients following gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 4, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/10/101003081446.htm
(7) Weight Loss Surgery – Gastric Banding Complications & Risks, Retrieved November 6, 2010 from http://www.weightlosssurgery.com.au/p25_Complications-Risks.html
(8) Source: AAP NewsWire, http://www.medicalsearch.com.au/News/NZ-Govt-announces-more-funding-for-bariatric-surgery-47625 November 3,2010.
(9)Daily Mail (London, England), The, 10/11/10. http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/daily-mail-london-england-the/mi_8002/. Article Louise Atkinson, ‘Think yourself thin, Hypnosis makes being slim just a simple case of mind over platter.’
(10) Mail Online Health, 16th July, 2010. “I lost four stone after a hypnotist convinced me to have a gastric band”. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1294631/Company-director-drops-stone-hypnotist-convinces-gastric-band.html
(11)Mail Online Health, 25th May 2010. “I lost a stone in a month by exercising while I slept: How hypnotherapy helped one woman go from a size 22 to a 14.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1280682/1-lost-stone-month-exercising-I-slept-How-hypnotherapy-helped-woman-size-22-14.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#ixzz0ubXx30gh
(12)Permission obtained from Dr Peta Stapleton to include this study, ref: http://petastapleton.com/research/ for full details.Article by Bruni Brewin President Emeritus Australian Hypnotherapists’ Assoc. http://www.bbbenefits.com.au