If you’ve done enough reading to realise how absolutely horrible refined sugar is for us, you’re probably wondering now how exactly you can kick this habit for good and move on to a better diet. You’re in luck, because we have an important treatment for sugar addiction to tell you about: Hypnotherapy for sugar addiction.
Read on and see if hypnotherapy for sugar cravings might work for you.
Are you addicted to sugar? If you haven’t read a whole lot into the topic, that may sound a little ridiculous to you. Addicted to sugar? Like being addicted to drugs? That’s impossible, isn’t it!
Have you ever heard that alcohol and caffeine are drugs? Well, in the same way, refined sugar is too. Your body can become depended on the chemical reactions that happen inside of you when you eat refined sugar, so getting off the stuff can be really, really hard! Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to resist eating a big fat piece of chocolate cake even if you know you’ve had too much sugar already?
You may be thinking back to all of those cravings you’ve had for your favourite sweet treats and worrying because you think you’re addicted. Well, first the bad news: You probably are. The average Western diet contains far, far more sugar than is healthy, and it’s extremely easy to get addicted to it given the kinds of foods we typically eat from day to day.
A lot of the times, you don’t even realise you’re eating sugar when you are. Things like ketchup, salsa, fast food meals and more can have a whole lot of hidden sugar that you know nothing about. That’s why it can be so very hard to break the addiction. You’ve been eating it all your life, and it’s lurking in just about every food you’re used to eating.
Why You’re Addicted to Sugar
The short answer to why you’re addicted to sugar is that it is in nearly everything you eat if you tend to eat the modern Western diet. Refined sugar has been put into so, so many of the products we eat from day to day. Cereals (yes, even the ones that claim they’re healthy), juices, drinks, condiments, sauces and meals are chopped full of this stuff, so it’s hard to get away from even when you want to.
When you’re body is so, so used to eating this stuff, it’s simply hard to break. Sugar releases certain chemicals in your brain related to happiness, and that’s what can give you a sugar “high” after eating a big chocolatey dessert. This is programmed into you because our ancestors needed to seek out sugars in order to nourish themselves. That response is now wired in us, and it leads to the same kind of addiction that other drugs which stimulate happiness can create.
There’s another more in-depth answer to this question that I’d like to discuss, however, as it relates specifically to hypnotherapy.
You see, we tend to want to restrict “addictions” to being addicted to substances. Sugar addiction IS a substance addiction, but it goes further than that. What an addiction is, by nature, is a pattern the brain has become accustomed to and therefore pushes you to go through.
If you’re addicted to sugar, the pattern your brain has built up is one which tells your body to seek out the nearest dessert, eat and enjoy the high. Your brain has gotten so used to that spark of positive energy that it thinks it needs it in order to function properly. Your neurons tend to want to keep firing in the ways they always have, so when they’re used to firing in the pattern created by sugar intake, they’re going to cause sugar cravings.
Luckily, there is a principle which says that these patterns in the brain are not permanent, and that’s called neuroplasticity. Through neuroplasticity, you can actually change the patterns in your brain to create better habits, and that’s exactly what hypnotherapy aims to do.
What is Hypnotherapy?
You’ve probably heard about hypnosis, but you may not have heard of hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a practice that is used during hypnosis to change and alter the perceptions, thoughts and feelings of the person being hypnotized. By offering up positive suggestions to the brain while it is in a state in which suggestions are easily taken, the brain may be convinced to internalise them.
This practice can be used in a very wide range of practices, from everything from stress and anxiety to weight control. It has also been used to increase confidence, public speaking skills and even sport performance. The essential idea is that many, many things in our life begin in our thoughts, and if we can successfully alter our thoughts, we can actually alter our behavior and perceptions.
There are several different approaches to hypnotherapy, and I’ll give you a brief overview of two of them here:
This is when a person who is being hypnotised is given direct suggestions. For example, they may be told “you do not suffer from anxiety, you do very well in group settings, you always know what to say” if they are being treated for social anxiety. This approach can work very well if the subject is someone who takes suggestions easily and often does what they are told without questioning.
This method is just a bit more indirect and, rather than giving direct suggestions, it gives metaphors and suggestions that hint at the desired outcome.
Using the above example, someone who is undergoing Ericksonian hypnosis may be told “You may have convinced yourself at some point in your life that you are not good with people, but this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps the people in your life think you work much better with others than you yourself believe.”
By not making direct suggestions, a person who feels doubt or resistance when it comes to change will be less likely to reject the therapy.
Hypnotherapy capitalises on the idea of neuroplasticity by attempting to create new patterns in the brain when it is most open to accepting them. When it comes to an addiction, your brain may be stuck in the loop of believing its stuck to the habit, but a hypnotherapist can give your brain the suggestion that “you’re not as addicted as you think you are and you have a strong sense of self control”. If that new pattern sticks, it can weaken the old pattern, thereby weakening the addiction as a whole.
What Can Hypnotherapy Do to Help My Sugar Addiction?
Hypnotherapy can be used to address the more emotional and psychological dependencies on sugar that comes with any addition.
The process will vary depending on your plan and your therapist, but it will probably also include replacing your sugar addiction with something new. Instead of rewarding yourself at the end of the day with a chocolate bar or handful of cookies, your hypnotherapist may give you suggestions to reward yourself with fruit or tea.
You may also be given suggestions to rethink the way you associate yourself with sugar. Your hyp-notherapist may, while you are hypnotized, ask you to re-visualize yourself as someone who is not a sugar addict. For example, you may be given an elaborate guided talk-through which challenges you to visualize yourself as you are now, see that image shatter and in the background a new you who is not addicted to sugar emerges.
The techniques are wide-ranging and largely up to factors of your own personality and the style of your therapist, but they all aim to work to psychologically and emotionally alter the way you think about sugar. Your emotional mind has a lot to do with the decisions you make, so if you can alter that in your favor, you’re making serious progress towards your ultimate goal.
Why Does it Work?
When we think about the nature of our sugar addiction, we can probably identify with the fact that it typically starts in childhood. When we were little, there was nothing that was more exciting than getting a free grab at the cookie jar. But often, our parents scolded us, telling us we shouldn’t eat too much sugar or we would get a stomach ache.
And yet, at the most exciting points in our life, we’d often get sweets as a reward. Halloween, a super fun holiday full of costumes and ghoulish delight was topped off by a big bowl of candy at the end of the day. On Easter, we’d get a basket full of our favorite treats. Birthday mornings often meant pancakes with whipped cream for breakfast and a big fat piece of chocolate cake for dinner.
What results from this common situation is that, as children, we become emotionally depend on sugar in a unique way at a very young ago. With the sense of reward we get from our parents in regards to sugar added to our brain’s natural tendency to seek out sweet flavors, we’ve got a perfect storm to create a psychological, as well as chemical, dependency.
With hypnotherapy, the goal is to actually reprogram an emotional and thought response when it comes to sugar.
As it is, your brain is trained to see sugar as a positive reward, but with hypnother-apy, your therapist may be able to make progress in retraining your brain to create a new meaning for sugar through a series of suggestions in the form of verbal commands, visualizations and talk downs.
Is There Proof That Hypnotherapy Works for Sugar Addiction?
There has most certainly been many studies and medical experts that suggest the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is 100% legitimate. For example, David Spiegel of Stanford University did an experiment in which he scanned the brains of patients undergoing hypnosis who had been told they would see colored objects when they were actually shown black and white. He found that there were changes in the parts of the brain that register color, and the patients legitimacy reported seeing colours.
This would indicate that the power of suggestion during hypnosis can go a long way in actually changing the functioning of the brain, and thereby changing experience.
Studies have over and over agains showed that a hypnotic state of mind exists and is much more open to suggestions than other states of mind. In an example of hypnosis treating addition, a study was conducted by the American Lung Association of Ohio which found that, out of 2,800 smokers, 20% reported not smoking at all a month after being treated by a hypnotherapy session.
The evidence seems to be clear that hypnosis is a real mental state and, when used properly, it can have positive effects treating addiction and successfully giving suggestions to the mind. To truly see if it will work for you, however, you’ll have to try it yourself and find out. If you want to try it at a low cost, you can use free online hypnotherapy sessions, but be warned, these are typically of a much lower quality and may not function as well as therapy from a professional.
Where Should I Get Hypnotherapy Done?
Look around in directories and online in your area. You’ll want to make sure you find a practitioner who is licensed or certified as a mental health professional, and further more one who is trained and experienced in hypnotherapy itself.
Always check with reviews and former clients before committing hundreds of pounds to this treatment. You may even want to do a trial run before buying a bulk program.
What is the Price?
Hypnotherapy prices will obviously be depended on the area in which you live, the professional you choose to work with and the amount of therapy you want to get. However, the average cost of a hypnotherapy session tends to be between £50 and £90, and those sessions are about an hour to an hour-and-a-half long.
You may also find programs specifically related to the treatment you want (sugar addiction) which are at a bulk price of several hundred pounds for all included sessions. If you want to go all out with the treatment, this is probably the route you want to take.