Overweight and unwell?

Overweight and unwell?


Finding it hard to be well? 
One of the goals of a therapeutic approach to losing weight is to resolve and release the stress triggers which can lead to carrying excess weight, and with obesity often comes Type 2 diabetes or a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.

Rates of obesity are increasing year upon year, and so is the incidence of diabetes. There is an insightful quote in Jeff O’Connells’s book called ‘Sugar Nation’.

He wrote, “The truth is, by the time you have or even flirt with type 2 diabetes, there’s probably a lot more out of whack with your life than just blood sugar’.

In my work I find this to be very much the case, and my therapy approach includes reframing and changing the mindset to enable people to alter their habits, adopt healthier lifestyles and step up to create the life they want for themselves.

Living with a chronic disease
For my clients living with a chronic disease, it is common for them to feel utterly overwhelmed with the degree of medical intervention they are dealing with on a day to day basis. Complex drug regimes can leave you so overwhelmed in fact that you can feel as though you have little or no part to play in achieving the best life you can live.

Sound familiar?
Feeling powerless is counter-productive to optimising your health and well-being and can keep you stuck in self-limiting beliefs and negative thinking. Powerlessness does not leave you with access to your emotional resources or personal resilience to draw upon to help you do whatever you need to improve your health outcomes.

It can leave you feeling as if your whole life is one long duvet day with your head under the covers
Are you newly diagnosed?
When newly diagnosed with a chronic illness a person can experience feelings of grief similar to bereavement. The person mourns their previous sense of self and all its future possibilities.

They often struggle to accept what is happening to them and can stay in a period of denial for quite some time. This denial can coincide with poor drug compliance or a delay in starting treatment which can make the long-term prognosis worse.

Other emotions that present can be issues around not deserving to be well; colossal self-blame; self-directed anger; long-buried resentment at others; frustration; self-punishment, and fear.

What could your secondary gains be?
On top of feeling unwell. All of these emotions are exhausting and can wear you down. When not taking care of oneself there are also secondary gains to be considered however uncomfortable that idea may be. Secondary gains are ‘benefits’ from being in any given position or state. They do not have to be positive and still count as secondary gains if the impact of them is negative for the person experiencing them.

In therapy work, these can be safely explored so that they can be released. It is only then that self-forgiveness and the development of self-worth and ultimately self-love can become the dominant feelings. These are crucial steps on the journey of living as well as one can.

An illness can also provide a person with a voice or a narrative when they felt they were not heard in the past. Although having an illness can be a ‘successful’ strategy for gaining attention a person pays a high price for this to be their voice.

overweight and unwell

Finding it hard to be well?

Stumbling blocks to well-being is always worthwhile through hypnosis to explore what a medical condition might ‘say’ for the person suffering it.

A therapeutic goal would be to reframe those feelings or emotions so that the person felt able to have their emotional needs met in new and different and more empowering ways.

Scientific evidence recognises that type 2 diabetes, for instance, can respond more favourably to changes in lifestyle more than the current drug regimes. Stepping up and making changes that can positively impact on one’s health is a big ask for someone whose self-esteem is on the floor and who feels it’s their fault they are unwell in the first place.

The desire to thrive can be blocked for a myriad of reasons and therapy can clear away those blocks to achieve your best self.

You can begin to feel more peaceful and accept everything that has brought you to this place in your life, and from there you can have a profound and beneficial impact on your health. Not just diabetes but all illnesses are exacerbated, to a degree, by cortisol hormone, a by-product of adrenaline, which is triggered by stress.

So, what this post aims to share today is that whatever health concerns you have, and we all have some, therapy is a powerful way to start making changes in how you think and feel about yourself so that you can star in your own life.

Make contact If you are feeling overwhelmed by your health issues and not sure how to move forward to maximise your health potential, then you can book an obligation free discovery call with me to find out what may be blocking your journey towards health and well-being.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.


Is IBS ruining your life?

Is IBS ruining your life?

If conventional treatments have failed you, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) agree that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and specifically chronic IBS when symptoms have persisted for more than a year, or have not responded to pharmacology.

NICE Recommend hypnotherapy for IBS
The NICE recommendation is a research-based acknowledgement from independent committees which report to the government’s body responsible for providing national guidance and advice to improve the UK’s health and social care.

NICE recognise that IBS as well being a physical illness with very distressing and disruptive symptoms, also has an emotional component.  Every person who suffers from IBS has a unique experience of how the illness affects them and the impact it has on their life.

Many people experience a flare-up in symptoms corresponding with an increase in stress or anxiety. Alternatively, specific stressful events can trigger IBS symptoms.IBS can also be unpredictable with little or no obvious or conspicuous causal links. Because of IBS’s unpredictability,

it can make it difficult to fully relax and enjoy periods of time when symptoms lessen or abate completely. There is often a preoccupation of fear and dread that the symptoms will suddenly return, creating an unremitting and self-perpetuating cycle of stress and anxiety so that even when living free of IBS it can still dominate and limit one’s life.


Hypnotherapy as a way forward for IBS treatment
A therapeutic approach to IBS works below conscious awareness direct with the sub-conscious mind to quickly improve and increase day to day levels of calmness. Long-term stress and anxiety can also be released with hypnotherapy.

This would enable the fear and stress triggers which would have previously resulted in an IBS flare-up to be resolved and released.

It is also possible to influence the Amygdala when working with hypnotherapy. As the emotional centre of the brain, it controls the primitive fight or flight response. The Amygdala can get ‘over-cranked’ by years of stress so that it gets ‘stuck’ in high alert. Under hypnosis, a person can take a guided journey into their mind’s control centre and dial down their fight or flight response to reset it at a calmer level.

This powerful technique can in effect reset the brain’s habitual responses to pain, emotion, stress and fear, all of which play a critical part in the severity of the IBS symptoms. Hypnotherapy is known as an effective method for releasing long-term stress that may have originated many years previously. Improvements in levels of relaxation and calmness can be achieved even when the memory of the originating specific events are forgotten and lost in time.

Clearing negative emotions attached to old memories or events enable a person to be no longer bothered or triggered by their past. Lowering stress levels generally is beneficial for everyone. In particular, the mind and body can benefit from the reduced production of Adrenalin, and it’s bi-product Cortisol. Both of these stress hormones can increase IBS symptoms so feeling calmer improves digestion; lowers blood pressure; improves sleep patterns and many other physical improvements.

The benefits of hypnotism increase as the client allow themselves to relax deeper and deeper. The hypnotic process can then effortlessly create profound changes in the belief system and how a person thinks and feels about themselves. To be most effective the guided visualisation techniques and the appropriate hypnotherapy approach is customised to each person’s specific needs. As well as improving a person’s ability to relax it may also be necessary to clear negative emotions attached to old memories or events so that they no longer bother them as they used to.

Part of a holistic treatment plan includes teaching clients powerful self-help tools to manage their stress levels in the future so that they can release day to day stress before it builds into chronic stress.

There are many relaxation audio recordings and meditation teaching resources available online designed to help you to reduce your overall stress levels. Taking steps yourself can also help you to feel pro-active in the face of an illness that can often feel beyond personal control or influence. Be kind to yourself if you struggle with IBS.

Try writing down your feelings in a notebook if you find it challenging to express your emotions or find it difficult to access your real feelings. At the very least it may offer you some useful insights into the thought processes that influence you, plus you may also discover some of your triggers to your IBS too.

If you want to find out how hypnotherapy can be customised to help with your unique IBS symptoms or other health challenges, then please book an obligation free discovery call via the link on this page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.


Overcoming fear of giving birth – 7 top tips

Overcoming fear of giving birth – 7 top tips

Liz Hogon and I have often worked with women to prepare them for giving birth by helping to release their fears using hypnosis and other powerful therapy tools.

We also have also occasionally worked with mothers who have come into therapy many years later who were still harbouring critical judgements about themselves and how they managed their birth experience as well as feelings of enduring trauma.

We've worked with some new fathers too who got caught up in a particularly stressful or distressing birth experience with their partner. Although rarely acknowledged, some men can be left feeling overwhelmed and powerless observers of nature as it's most raw.

It is most often beneficial in these cases for them to access therapy for what can be symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that if left untreated can lead to depression.

Although every woman faces this time with her unique perspective, and expectations in clinical practice we have observed several core issues common to many expectant mothers.

Here we have selected our seven top tips for you to consider in advance of your big day to help empower you to have the birth experience you want.

1. Think positive
Emile Coue was a famous French hypnotist who coined the phrase now known as Coue’s Law - ‘Whenever there is a contest between the conscious mind, and the imagination, the imagination will always win.’ Therefore the more you focus on a positive, life-affirming experience of giving birth the more likely this will be the outcome of your experience.

2. Speak up
Get clear about your birth preferences including who you want to be present at the birth. Women can often feel obliged to rely on just having their partner present when in fact they would value the support of a trusted friend or relative as well. Voice your preferences well in advance.

3. Be open and flexible
Women are often encouraged to compose a detailed birth plan which can lead to carved in stone type of expectations. When reality diverts to Plan B or even Plan C, it is easy to feel like you failed.

It can be a positive process to create your birth plan while at the same time acknowledging that whatever happens, it will be OK.

4. Self-belief
Women have given birth since the dawn of time. You are part of this amazing, and powerful continuum. You too can do this. Take this as your mantra and repeat it to yourself regularly.

5. Visualising
Rehearse visualising your body is relaxed, and open. Take an image that works for you, perhaps a gorgeous sunflower unfurling its petals and facing into the sun or beautiful lotus flower. Whenever you have a few moments to spare, close your eyes, and imagine this effortless transformation taking place.

6. Strengthening your ‘No.’
From the day you tell people you are pregnant, the nay-sayers can target you with the exaggerated horror monologues of their own birth experiences.

The majority of women have a natural labour and have positive experiences of giving birth, but they are not so inclined to keep reliving their stories.

Interrupt the scaremongers by calmly, and assertively stating your refusal to listen.

In many circumstances, women can find it difficult to say ‘No’ to other people's demands. If you recognise this in yourself, then it is useful to practice strengthening your ability to say no in your everyday life so that it becomes easier and easier for you to state what you want. Practicing your ability to say no with clarity can be immensely helpful in facilitating you having the type of birth you want to have as you will find it is easier to speak out when you feel it is necessary.

7. Be calm
Anxiety and panic release the hormone Adrenalin which is known to increase the pain receptors in the body potentially making your birth experience more challenging than it needs to be. In preparation note down your imagined fears around your impending birth so that your negative thinking is not allowed to escalate into catastrophic thinking.

When working with pregnant clients, we use a mix of therapeutic approaches to dispel birth fears, erase negative thinking, and reinforce confidence for positive outcomes.

Many of the techniques are easy to learn as self-help tools including one of our primary therapy approaches which work brilliantly to help discover the underlying reasons for limiting beliefs.

For instance, a woman who has experienced a previous difficult birth can face the prospect of giving birth again with even greater fear and trepidation. We work to break the emotional connection to those old memories so that although the memories remain, they no longer carry an emotional charge and do not trigger fears for the future birth either.

(This feature was commissioned and first appeared on an NHS website designed for mothers-to-be.)

Contact me if you are feeling fearful around giving birth or still feeling overwhelmed following your birth experience. You may need some help to resolve your old memories and let them go. Click the button at the top of this page to schedule a call.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.


No Pressure! How to lose your pre-baby weight in an instant

No Pressure! How to lose your pre-baby weight in an instant

​Of course, there is enormous pressure in our modern, western culture to return to your pre-birth body in what can seem like less than a fortnight after giving birth!

The media is crammed with images of rich, and famous celebrities who are supposedly back to their original slender selves almost on the day they are discharged from their exclusive, private clinics. You may even torment yourself with negative thinking about your own body shape, and size, and castigate yourself for not being fully back to the old you.

Many new mothers put enormous pressure on themselves to be Super-mums, and in this age of gossip magazines, and digitally enhanced photos there are many ways you can judge yourself, and feel as if you are failing, and those negative feelings can make successful weight loss even harder to achieve, or maintain.

No one knows this better than therapists  Liz Hogon and I who specialise in resolving issues around emotional eating so that people who struggle with weight loss can finally be successful. They are also the co-authors of the just-published book, ‘7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating’ (Hammersmith Press 2015).

We see many new mothers desperate to regain their pre-baby body weight, and figure and they would like to share here seven of the top tips that have evolved through their experiences of working with many women facing this similar challenge.

In our therapeutic experience of reviewing client’s food diaries, we have found that most new mothers are under eating, and not over-eating. If that sounds untrue for you then for a week jot down what you actually eat. Look at your notes, and underline nutritional foods you have eaten that provide real nourishment for you.

Often it is not what you eat but what is eating you that will keep the extra weight stuck. If you are stressed, overwhelmed or unhappy then weight loss is more of a challenge so it is important to do whatever small, manageable things you can to help you de-stress, and rest. We understand what a huge challenge this can be with a new baby.

Here’s a double whammy for you - at a time when you are totally exhausted it is important to remember that your body can often confuse being tired of being hungry. You will find your weight loss, and life in general, of course, much easier if you are properly rested. That may sound like the holy grail for new mothers who are desperate for sleep but it can help if you’re able to undertake the absolute minimum amount of distractions other than what your baby, and you need to flourish and thrive.
Most other things can wait, or better still be delegated.

Just as exhaustion can confuse your body, then being under hydrated can do the same. Ask yourself ‘Am I hungry or thirsty?’ Drink a long drink of water, and re-assess your appetite.

Women who are critical, and unhappy with the changes in their body’s shape after childbirth can often disconnect from their own bodies, feeling embarrassed, or even ashamed of the physical changes. It is a vital part of healing, and moving forward to acknowledge deep within yourself that your body has done the very best it could throughout your through your pregnancy, and giving birth.

You can impart this important message by reconnecting to your physical self through gently stroking, or massaging your own body after bathing, or by stroking your post-birth tummy in bed. Silently tell your body you know what it has been through, and how hard it has laboured. Reassure yourself that you will provide your body with the best nourishment you can and that it is safe for it to let go of any excess weight now.

Just as you are particular about what you feed your baby then raise your own bar to be particular about what you eat too. There is a growing realisation in the medical profession of the links between food, and moods. It is important to eat the best quality food you can afford - looking for good quality protein, and a rainbow variety of vegetables on your plate at every meal time. If the meals you are eating are predominately beige in colour then that can be an indicator that they are nutritionally poor.

Your body will more easily return to its pre-baby shape, and weight if you are eating highly nutritious, home-cooked food - preferably cooked by someone else for now.
Remember your body has always changed, and transformed itself. Look at how it has changed from when you yourself were a child, with even more radical physical changes taking place throughout your pregnancy, and the birth of your child.

You can be reassured and reminded that your body can change again. It takes the time it takes, and the more able you are to rest and take care of yourself physically, and emotionally then the quicker this can happen for you.

Contact me if you feel lost in your post-childbirth world and need some help to reconnect with who you truly are. You can schedule a 30-minute discovery call at the top of this page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.


Dry January – what now?

Dry January – what now?

Ian Hamilton, a lecturer in mental health and addiction at the University of York was interviewed in the Guardian Newspaper recently. He said, “I think it would help everyone if there was a more robust evaluation of what goes on after Dry January.”

His comment certainly resonates with what some of my clients who have stuck to Dry January are telling me in their sessions over the last couple of weeks.

Although they recognise some of the health benefits of giving up booze for a month like weight loss and sleeping better they don’t seem to have a strategy in place for how they want to manage their drinking for the rest of the year. Some of my clients have vague ideas about drinking less often or cutting down on the number of drinks they have when out socially but they often seem to have lost the impetus and focus that Alcohol Concern’s well-publisiced Dry January campaign can provide.

Without some sort of plan in place around drinking it becomes all too easy to slip back into old patterns of behaviour and for many people, they will simply be back to their normal drinking levels in a matter of weeks until Dry January is nothing more than a distant memory.

There is nothing ‘normal’ about a great many people’s level of drinking either. Figures identify round four-fifths of all adults drink in England. Within that number 31% of all men and 16% of all women consume more than the recommended limit of 14 units in a week.

With alcohol, such an accepted part of our culture and social life the idea of not drinking at all is an anathema for most people. Its been described to me by one client as ‘social suicide’ and definitely not an option to even contemplate so that means finding a way to manage drinking is essential for most people.

So, what now? What strategies can be considered as the year moves ever onwards?

How about giving any of the following a try:
Going alcohol-free from a Monday to a Thursday each week.
Cutting out drinking at home.
Suggest to friends switching from pubs and bars to evenings at the cinema or theatre instead.
Drink only with dinner instead of all evening sessions.
Alternating drinking an alcoholic drink with a soft drink.
Getting more active is a powerful incentive to cut down on booze.

These are small changes that can have a beneficial effect for those without a serious drink problem.

Ian Hamilton went on to say it was inadvisable for heavy drinkers to give up on their own as it could result in side effects ranging from headaches to serious convulsions and they might need to detox within a medically supported program. He said, “I think anyone drinking several glasses of wine after work each day should seek support before they abstain completely from alcohol.”

When working with clients I am always alert to ‘omission and commission’ – that means what clients do and don’t do. It’s useful to track back when excessive drinking began for them and what was happening in their life around that time. It’s a powerful exercise to plot a time-line of periods of heavier drinking vs periods ‘on the wagon’ or moderate drinking to find the triggers that might be driving their drinking today.

Alcholol consumption for many doesn’t happen coincidentally. The triggers or negative emotions swallowed down with alcohol cause a change in state and this is often a coping strategy for managing stress and anxiety that can quickly become out of control.

Finding those embedded triggers allows a client to re-evaluate coping strategies they developed often a long time ago that no longer work very well for them. It often means resolving and releasing negative thinking about themselves as well as clearing past trauma before they feel able to feel comfortable and confident being themselves without depending on alcohol to get them through.

If you are concerned about your drinking and aware you are drinking more than you wish or you are acknowledging, even only to yourself, the impact your drinking is having on your relationships, your work or your well-being then it would be good to talk.

Click the link at the top of the page for 30-minute an obligation free discovery call.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.