Toronto Weight Loss Clinic

The principles of the conscious weight loss and maintenance

Dr. Alexander Mostovoy interviews Walter Orlowski 

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

Many of us have heard the term "Emotional Eating". What in your opinion is emotional eating and why most of us suffer from it?

Most of the people suffer from the emotional eating because as humans we are driven by emotions.

An emotion is a psychic energy in motion, and a driver of most of our behaviors.

In other words, what we do - for the most part - is governed not by our cool, logical thinking, but by our feelings and emotions.

We are no only driven to eat by our emotions - we are also emotionally driven to drink, smoke, buy things, decide whom we associate with, establish and break our relationships, and to engage in our preferential activities.

Basically, behind almost everything we do is an emotion.

At least 90 % of the overeating which leads to the condition of being overweight is emotionally driven.

We could safely say that the issue of the weight loss and maintenance is the EMOTIONAL issue. 

What follows is that: If we could only learn how to manage our emotions, we would be also able to manage everything else in our lives - including the weight loss and the ideal weight maintenance.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

Can you tell us which particular emotions are most responsible for emotional eating?

I would say that there are two categories of emotions which drive our emotional eating.

The first category is a non-specific need for comfort. This need for comfort arises from being exposed to various kinds of harshness of life. 

Our lives torment us in many different ways, and as we experience these torments a desire for comfort arises. The easiest way to fulfill that desire is through the comforting action of food. 

We have been all subconsciously conditioned to experience comfort through oral gratification since infancy. On most occasions, when we were showing signs of discomfort - as infants - we were offered food which would calm us down.

In this way a very powerful connection was built in our subconscious minds between food and comfort.

This connection is responsible for our reaching out for food in order to offset our non-specific feeling of psychological discomfort.

When we do this, we are driven to eat and overeat and we don’t really know why.

Of course, there are also those, who are consciously aware of what drives their overeating behaviour.

As to the specific, easily identifiable emotions, which are responsible for our emotional over-eating - the list is quite long:

I have met people who told me that they were driven to over-eating, and the consequent excessive weight gain by:

The feeling of emptiness in their lives.

The feeling of boredom.

The feeling of not being loved.

The need to experience pleasure.

The need to protect themselves from relationships - basically gaining weigh in order to become “safely” unattractive.

The need to appear powerful - to be able to “throw their weight around”.

As you can see, food can be used in many ways in order to fulfill various psychological needs.

There are many variations on the theme of emotional over-eating.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

What would you suggest to people who want to take control over their emotional patterns of over-eating?

Taking control over our undesirable emotional patterns is a huge subject, but the common denominator of all possible methods of achieving that control - outside of the realm of weight-loss-hypnosis - is AWARENESS.

Awareness, NOT NECESSARILY in the sense of knowing what it is that you are really hungry for, but awareness that your emotional pattern of overeating has been triggered.

In other words, what I’m saying here is that, it doesn’t really matter whether you are triggered by something that you cannot really name - a NON-SPECIFIC emotional force - or something that you can name and understand.

What matters is ONLY that you are aware that you’ve been triggered.

The bottom line is that, if you are not aware of what is happening in your life, you obviously cannot do anything about it consciously - and if you are aware, there is always something that you can do.

The above statement is true with regards to the non-hypnotic methodologies of weight loss and maintenance.

The hypnosis-based, weight loss and maintenance methods, achieve their results outside of the realm of conscious awareness.

A person who decides to use hypnosis for the purpose of weight loss and maintenance benefits from the spontaneous automaticity, and effortlessness of the process, which is the beauty of the hypnotic work.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

What you are saying implies that on the most basic level, dealing with our emotional patterns of eating consciously is very simple.

Yes, on the most basic level it is simple but only for those who can handle this process through their conscious mind's efforts. And to tell you the truth, there are not that many of them out there.

Perhaps, we could get together again, some time in the future and discuss the subject of the hypnosis-based, subconsciously driven, effortless weight loss and maintenance.

But coming back to our today's subject of the conscious weight loss and maintenance, we could say that - on the most basic level, there are only three stages of trouble in the area of emotional eating, which we need to be aware of, as we consciously struggle to lose weight and maintain it at a desirable level.

Stage one - when either consciously recognizable, or not recognizable emotion arises.

Stage two - when that emotion triggers us into action - meaning that we are just about to reach out for food.

And stage three - when we enter into the fully blown action of stuffing ourselves with food.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

This actually sounds very simple - but how can we use this simple understanding to gain control over our emotional eating patterns?

The trick is to use our awareness in a creative way.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

Would you give us some concrete examples?

There are many ways in which awareness can be used in a very creative way.

The only thing that has to be constant - regardless of how you are using your awareness, in order to get your emotional eating under control - is that you insert something between your trigger, and the fully blown action of food consumption.

You must be able to insert something between the trigger and your response in order to collapse the automatic spontaniaty of the pattern. 

The best thing that you can insert between the trigger and your food-consumption response is THE AWARENESS itself.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

I’m getting a little confused here. You’ve said before, that the only thing that matters is that one becomes aware of being triggered, and now you are saying that after we become aware of the trigger we are to insert our awareness after the point of being triggered. Could you elaborate on this further?

Sure ... I understand that what I’ve said may be a bit confusing but in actuality it’s very simple.

First, you become aware of being triggered - by your either conscious or unconscious emotion - to reach out for food, but before you reach for it, you can take a pause, and simply remain aware of the trigger. 

What I mean by remaining aware of the trigger is not that you think about it, but that you just KNOW that you’ve been triggered and staying with that KNOWING.

The knowing, which I’m talking about here is an EMPTY KNOWING. It is pure awareness, void of any thought processes. It’s like meditation.

So yes, what I’m inviting you to experience right after you’ve become aware of being triggered is simply staying with that awareness. Doing nothing ... Just being aware.

Another way of describing it is to say that you can focus your non-thinking attention on the feeling of craving for food.

It’s like attending to a piece of music. You are just listening, and there are no thoughts in your mind.

So here, you are just KNOWING, or FEELING your feeling of craving for food - sort of meditating on that feeling. Staying with it, rather than moving into an action.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

In what way would this particular technique be beneficial?

What I’ve just described can be beneficial to anyone who struggles with his or her weigh problem in two ways.

First of all - when you stay with your awareness of being triggered, and pay attention to the feeling of your craving, you’ve already altered your typical craving-related behavior.

You are not following on your craving. Instead of indulging in food, and savoring it, you are savoring the craving itself.

Of course, you can still choose to act on your craving.

It is important that you give yourself the freedom of acting on your craving, just as you give yourself the freedom to not act on it, and stay with your awareness.

In this way, you don’t really deny yourself anything, and the whole process is not traumatic. It doesn’t evoke the emotional suffering, which would result from a categorical denial.

Since you are not beating yourself, over your head, with a denial - the whole process is psychologically quite tolerable.

You don’t deny yourself anything - you just stay with your empty KNOWING that you are experiencing a craving, and you don’t know whether you are going to move into an action or not.

You are simply giving yourself a chance to experiment with the process of FEELING your FEELING. Staying aware of your feeling.

And again, the very pause, which this maneuver inserts between your trigger, and your food-related response, does alter your typical - mostly unconscious - automatic food-related behavior.

In this way, you’ve introduced a change into your pattern.

And now you can start building upon it. One change leads to another and yet another. I the end your former food-related-patterns of behavior may become modified to such an extent that they will just drop away.

The second way in which the technique of STAYING with your AWARENESS is beneficial is that it teaches you something of great importance.

It teaches you that you are not your feelings and emotions. It teaches you that on the most basic level you are PURE AWARENESS.

And learning that your TRUE NATURE is that of PURE AWARENESS is the beginning of freedom.

Freedom, not only from overeating but from any other undesirable form of behavior of the mind and body.

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

This sounds very interesting. What you’ve said means that as we train ourselves to gain control over our negative, food-related habits, at the same time we can train ourselves to be free in all other areas of our lives.

That’s exactly what it means.

Once you learn how to be free in one area of your life, you can apply the same principle of liberation to any other area.

As you enter the process of learning that your are PURE AWARENESS, you begin to dis-identify from your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

You are becoming aware that you are not them. You are becoming aware that they simply play themselves out in your AWARENESS.

You begin to experience your mental phenomena just as you experience the clouds floating in the sky. The sky is NOT the clouds. It is totally transcendent to them, and no matter what the clouds are, and what they do - the SKY REMAINS UNAFFECTED.

What I’m saying is that you are that SKY, and you don’t have to be affected by your thoughts and emotions once you stop identifying with them.

This doesn’t mean that you suppress them, or fight with them. These approaches don’t work because whatever your fight, you only energize.

You simply allow whatever plays itself in the field of your AWARENESS to be there without identifying with it.

It’s like watching a movie.

And as you apply the beam of your awareness to your food-related-cravings, or any other negative emotion, you will notice that the beam of your awareness works on your negative emotions in the same way in which the beam of the sun works on a block of ice.

It dissolves them!

Toronto Weight Loss Clinic - Hypnosis-based Weight Loss and Maintenance

You’ve said that the best thing that one can insert between the trigger and the food-consumption response is THE AWARENESS itself, and you’ve described how it works. What are the other things that could be inserted between the trigger and the response?

What you can insert between the trigger and the response is limited only by your imagination.

Whatever works for you, is the thing to be used, and you can experiment with it on your own.

Just to give you some ideas ...

Right after you become aware of your craving, you can immediately drink two glasses of water.

Drinking two glasses of water is something that will affect you NOT only on the psychological level - it will affect you also on the physical level of your craving. 

Two glasses of water are quite filling, and the volume of water, which enters your stomach will always modify the feeling of craving to some extent.

Just imagine what would happen if you ingested 10 glasses of water ...

I’m not advocating this, because this would be dangerous - I’m saying it only to make the point: Drinking 10 glasses of water would totally get rid of your craving.

You would simply not have any space in your stomach left to ingest food.

So, if you drink only two glasses, you will not block yourself totally from food, but you will alter the feeling of your craving to some extent - and in this way you will introduce a change to your pattern.

Another thing that you can do is to listen to a short audio message, which you can keep on your cell-phone’s audio-recorder.

You can use any audio message that you know has the power to inspire you to persist in your efforts towards alteration of your typical food-related behavior.

Your repeated listening to such a message would be a form of self hypnosis.

You could also start chewing a gum whenever you notice that your craving for food arises.

Whatever you choose to insert between the trigger and the response, the important thing is that you keep a scientific attitude towards your food-related behavior in your mind.

You simply take your feeling of craving for food, to the private laboratory of your own mind, experiment with it, and see what happens.

In order to be successful with this procedure you must become interested in what happens inside of you - in terms of your feelings and emotions - at least as much as you are interested in what happens outside of you, in your material world.

Ultimately your material world is a reflection of your inner world of thoughts, feelings and emotions.

So, learning to attend to your internal world is a form of training yourself to create all kinds of desired outcomes in the material world.

In this way, as you work on changing your food-related behavior, you are also learning how to change every other undesirable aspect of your life.

Your scientific attitude of experimenting with your food-related behavior must be free from tension. You must be free to succeed and free to fail.

You must be free from the stress of categorical imposition of the rigid rules.

The only thing that matters is that you remain CURIOUS of what will happen as a result of your willingness to experiment with yourself.

And if you find yourself failing - take these failures into your mental laboratory, and subject them to further experimentation.

Actually - as long as you keep your scientific attitude towards your food-related behavior alive - you will never be failing. You will be just finding out what is and what isn’t working for you.

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