Janet thought hypnotherapy might help her achieve a weight loss goal of about twenty pounds. She participated in a long session. The next day she felt empowered to take steps to discard a 250 pound burden instead.
Impossible? Perhaps...until you know the rest of the story.
Janet, though in her mid-fifties, was the lover in an illicit affair running some seventeen years. She had abided a succession of hopeful promises, yet the man remained firmly attached to a wife. Janet was a competent professional, but the lack of a stable relationship shook her self-esteem. She never felt pretty enough, thin enough, nor good enough to have someone totally commit to her in an intimate relationship. There was always that last twenty pounds to lose.
This time was no different. It was only the umpteenth time in her life to try to lose some weight. This anxiety over her body image comes from something deeper. If you saw Janet, you might wonder “Lose weight? Where?”
Too often weight loss has little to do with weight. Women in particular are socialized to become hyper-sensitive to issues of physical appearance in general, and weight in particular. For example, in Janet’s case, her body mass had shifted with age but her weight and body composition were within healthy ranges. Her desire to lose weight was simply a proxy for deeper unhappiness.
So, Janet really did arrange for hypnotherapy with the hope of losing physical weight. It was only in exploring her rationale for weight loss that she was able to identify and acknowledge her unhappiness. She was then ready to consider other options.
Janet was stuck in the past. She assumed losing weight would make her feel and look younger. The affair had lost its passion, but had run so long she did not want to sacrifice the investment; hoping that one day he would be free and the passion would return. (Many women in dull marriages feel the same way.)
Life seems futile when progress is monitored via the rearview mirror. The challenge is to spend more time focusing vision forward. More importantly, spend valuable time enjoying life in the moment.
The ‘other options’ facing Janet were based on her own definition of happiness (the now) and how to sustain that happiness (the future) without reference to prior socialization or perceived obligations (the past).
In other words, Janet was guided to uncover her true passion for life and plan a path forward. She soon quit her job and moved to another state to take advantage of a new opportunity. Oh, and the 250 pounds she discarded? She called the man and terminated the affair. Removing his weight from her shoulders allowed her to stand straighter, and indeed she was more attractive and vivacious for it.