Alison Ralph Hypnotherapy and Counselling

A hypnotherapist's guide to changing your mindset towards food and becoming healthier

Written By Alison Ralph                               June 2022

Are you a mindless eater? Maybe your trying to take back control of your eating habits but are struggling to change your mindset towards food. It might be that you have tried many diets but always seem to go back to your old ways of eating. In my hypnotherapy practice I help many people who want to get into the right mindset about food and I am going to share with you some of my strategies that you can use at home. 

Yo-yo dieting seems to have become a common thing. I’m sure you can think of a friend, family member or colleague that is constantly on and off the diets and maybe you are too. However, yo-yo dieting is unhealthy for the body and, for most, does not create lasting changes. Fad diets cause us to restrict in a big way and the brain doesn’t always respond well to these restrictions. It sets off a type of alarm for the brain, especially if you have done them before in the past and failed. We then revert back to our old ways of eating because this is what the brain knows.

In this blog I am going to be talking about changing your mindset towards food, exploring behaviours linked to food and relationships with food. 

I will provide you with free resources to use and my top tips for changing your mindset towards food and creating a healthier way of living. 

You will find the following information for changing your mindset towards food:

  1. How do behaviours affect my eating?
  2. My top tips for changing your mindset towards food
  3. A downloadable workbook for you to use to change your mindset towards food
A plate with the word weight loss

How do behaviours affect my eating?

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is one of the most common areas I work with when people come to me to help them lose weight. It often links back to the fact that in childhood people are rewarded with food, and food as a reward or comfort is extremely common. For example, after a hard week we may have a take-away meal or a few glasses of wine. We may also do the same after a good week and we might reward a little win in life with a chocolate bar.

When we are stressed, we release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can trigger us to crave salty and sweet foods. When we eat food we experience a natural increase of serotonin – the feel-good hormone which reassures the brain that we are okay. The next time we are feeling stressed the brain will crave the feel-good hormone and if this is something that we feel is helpful for us then food will be the thing we turn too. 

It is therefore important to recognise what it is causing you stress and if you can do something to help relieve the stress then make that the focus, otherwise look at other ways to relieve the feelings of stress and avoid turning to food. For example, a breathing technique or self-hypnosis. Note that this should be something fairly easy and accessible just like food!

Habits

Habits play a huge role in our eating habits. People will always say to me ‘I like to start having a drink at 5pm once I get home from work’. ‘I always seem to have a 3 o’clock energy crash and need something to eat’. I always have a snack at 11am’. These statements and more are ones I here often from my clients. 

You may decide to have food at a certain time to work around your work plan and once this has happened a number of times the brain recognises it and it becomes a habit. The fact that food also releases serotonin in the brain causes the brain to reinforce the behaviour because it was something that was enjoyed. 

If you look at your habits, whether that be activities completed during the day or eating habits it will help you to cut down on your eating. For example, it might be that you decide to have fruit for one of your work snacks or you may change your routine so that at the 3pm energy crash you go for a walk. There is a section in the workbook which will help you to recognise your habits and how they are linked to food. 

Image showing all the things the mind filters

My top tips for changing your mindset towards food.

  1. My number one top tip that I like to share with everyone is ‘Thinking of a lifestyle change NOT diet. When we tell our brain we are on a diet the brain immediately links to other times we have been on diets which can bring about thoughts of failure, restriction and lack in confidence. If we think from the start that it is a lifestyle change and we can accept that it may take longer, this will give you the best possible start. 
  2. Drink more water! Yes, it’s the one that people always go on about, but it really does work. Water helps to speed up your metabolism as well as helping with other areas of health.
An image showing the benefits of drinking water

3. Get in tune with your body and notice hunger. Many people don’t every actually feel hungry because they are constantly grazing on food. When you go for a snack, ask yourself if you are hungry and notice any sensations in your stomach. There are two types if hunger to be aware of – head hunger and physical hunger. Physical hunger is the message to the stomach from the brain that we need food and the digestive system will start to prepare for the food. We feel this in the stomach when our stomach ‘grumbles’. Head hunger is when we tell ourselves that we need or want something to eat. We are not actually hungry but using food to satisfy another part of us. For example, for comfort or enjoyment.

4. Write down your typical daily eating habits from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed at night. Include drinks too. Then make healthy changes to your eating or moving habits. You may decide to replace one unhealthy snack with one healthy snack, you may decide to be more active or even change the type of milk you drink. The changes must be small and manageable to begin with to avoid failure. You can increase them once you become more confident. See the workbook at the end of this blog for a food diary.

5. Use affirmations! Have you ever been on a diet or trying to cut down and suddenly something doesn’t go to plan, and you start to eat unhealthy again and then think ‘sod it’ and go back to the old ways of eating? Affirmations can stop this from happening. They are positive or reassuring statements that you repeat regularly to yourself or out loud and they help the brain to remain positive. They also cause the brain to believe that what you are doing is what you want, and the brain will then help to steer you in that direction. To find out more about affirmations you can read my affirmation blog here.

The workbook for changing your mindset towards food

Here you can access the workbook which includes, a food diary, a focus activity which helps you to identify your goals and a food/emotions diary which helps you to recognise the behaviours that are having an impact on the ways you eat. I hope that you find each activity to be useful. If you have any questions about the workbook, please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer your questions. If you would like to find out more about the subscription package, I offer to help you stay on the right path and lose more weight then click here Hypnotherapy for weight management

Use these links to access the different activities that make up the workbook. 

My goals

A weekly food diary

Food and emotions diary

Gaining control of your eating habits and losing weight can be a huge challenge, especially if it has been a long-term habit and emotions play a part in the way you eat. However, following some of these suggestions and using the activities should help that journey to be easier. Remember that everyone’s weight loss journey is different and that it will work for you when you are ready to make the commitment and become that healthier version of yourself. 

Get in touch...

If you would like to improve your sleep and would like to find out how hypnotherapy or counselling could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346