Losing weight can be frustrating, especially in light of today’s processed-food diets, a constant barrage of fast-food TV ads… and weight loss programs that promise much but deliver little. There’s more to weight loss than simply not eating as much, as you will see. Willpower is not enough. The Silva Method teaches powerfully effective weight-loss techniques that address the root of unhealthy eating habits. One of these is self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is a way to overcome any desire to engage in unhealthy habits, making it one of the most powerful weight management methods available
The solution is in the mind.
How Habits Are Formed
There’s more to an eating habit than the physical action. There’s the psychological aspect. You may not know that the brain is actually hard-wired to pick up habits. The more it can relegate frequent thoughts or activities to the subconscious, the more working memory is freed up for more demanding tasks. All habits come about as a result of repetition and reward. We experience a reward (pleasant feeling) when we engage in a behavior; the next time we think about engaging in it, we remember how good it felt, and the feeling is reinforced when we engage in it again. So it’s not surprising that the next time, we are even more eager to do it! Not only that, but we become better and more efficient at the behavior every time we do it. Like the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” – but take it a step further – “practice makes permanent.” Practice makes habits.
Willpower alone isn’t enough to stop a habitual behavior. The truth is, imagination is far more powerful than willpower. You can stare at that carton of ice cream and force yourself not to eat it, but every single time you think about not eating ice cream, your mind brings up the image of eating ice cream, and the memory of how delicious and satisfying it is! Even now, as you read this, you are creating an image in your mind of eating ice cream, and you remember the sensation as well. If you don’t like ice cream, of course your memory of it is negative and your imagination doesn’t stimulate a desire to eat it. Do you see how powerful imagination is?
The Silva Method teaches you to identify the stimulus, or what causes the urge to engage in unhealthy eating habits, and become aware of the times when the stimulus generates a response. The stimulus-response behavior must be changed in order to derail the habit; and lifestyle must be modified for any lasting changes to take place. The trick is to identify the stimulus – because once the behavior is a habit, it’s mostly unconscious!
Keep the Pleasure, Replace the Habit
Humans are pleasure-seeking organisms. We don’t care (at some level) whether a behavior is “negative” or “positive” as long as we experience the pleasure.Food is one of the most powerful drugs. It can be highly addictive, so the pleasure-seeking activity of eating can lead to excessive weight gain. Real success, then, comes from replacing a negative behavior with a positive behavior that elicits equally powerful feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
The Silva Method employs several techniques to reprogram your mind to desire a healthy substitute for a negative behavior. This extremely effective approach is based on the power of imagination. Instead of imagining pleasure as a result from a negative behavior, the techniques bring up images and feelings of pleasure from a new, desired behavior. Program yourself to not be hungry between meals and to need less food because it feels good… and you will control your cravings and you’ll easily manage portion sizes. Program yourself to look forward to engaging in physical activity and you’ll get fit, fast.
You can reprogram yourself to prefer healthy behaviors over unhealthy behaviors. This is accomplished by entering the highly suggestible Alpha and Theta brainwave states (used in hypnosis and self-hypnosis), and issuing commands to yourself to alter your behavior. This is just like a hypnotist saying “you will scratch your nose when I count to three” while you are in the Alpha state. And sure enough, on the count of three, your nose becomes irresistibly itchy. You know this works because even now, when you are only reading about your nose being itchy, you can almost feel it starting to itch and you are picturing the act of scratching your nose… right? That is the power of suggestion – and you can learn to use it on yourself.
Your self-programming makes healthy behaviors feel as good or better as the old unhealthy behaviors.
Tips from Laura Silva on weight loss
How to Reprogram Your Mind for Success
As with all Silva Method self-reprogramming techniques, entering the Alpha brainwave state is essential for success. Once at “level” (the Alpha state), you can address the problem in several ways.
- Analyze the cause of your weight problem. Is it lack of exercise? Do you give in to cravings? Is it eating the wrong foods, or overeating? Is it just easier to not care about your weight? Is it emotional eating that does you in? As you list the causes of your weight problem, mentally mark each one with a big red “NO”. You don’t need to eat that. You don’t need to eat because you’re upset. You don’t need to sit on the couch when you could go for a walk. You don’t need to finish that huge portion. You don’t need to give in and promise yourself you’ll start your diet tomorrow.
- While in Alpha, you can eliminate the urge to give in to between-meal hunger by programming yourself to make the hunger vanish when you take three deep breaths.
- Using a blue-framed “mirror of the mind,” see yourself as you are now. Next to the blue-framed mirror, a white-framed mirror shows you at your ideal weight, with your weight and your clothing sizes written in the corners. Visualize yourself as the image in the white-framed mirror every time you think of your weight. Visualize yourself as you want to be.
- The Three Fingers technique helps by bringing up images of you at your desired weight, engaging in physical activity and eating healthy foods – and, feeling the pleasure that comes from choosing a healthy lifestyle. The Three Fingers technique is a simple physical action that triggers a mental response. With the Three Fingers technique, you program a desired thought/mental state every time you bring your thumb and first two fingers together and shift your focus inward. For example, instead of giving in to a craving for cheesecake, reprogram yourself to instantly release all feelings of hunger, and feel good about not being hungry.