Facts: one hundred million repeat dieters spend twenty billion dollars on weight loss programs (according to an ABC news report) with limited success rates. Also statistics show that insurance companies paid out over $8 billion for bariatric surgery in 2010 and that cost is now skyrocketing.

Most all diet programs have several components in common:

  1. They weigh each person each week
  2. They suggest/require daily exercise
  3. They encourage certain low calorie food choices or that the dieters buy  the company’s own packaged diet foods
  4. They suggest cutting calories sometimes down to very low levels

Now in and of itself, these may or may not all be sound components for weight reduction. And they all seem to work fairly well for a certain amount of time. However there is one huge component that is never addressed or treated in all the popular weight loss programs. And that is the emotional aspect of eating, weight gain, and the feeling of deprivation that is often triggered by adhering to the diet.

Dr. Daniel Neides of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic has written an article about the Trim-Life® weight release program that utilizes hypnotherapy to address the emotional factors in weight release.

Following is that article, published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper on October 30, 2014.

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(Editor's Note: The following is a guest column by Dr. Daniel Neides, Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.)


Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Medical Art & Photography

I have the privilege of teaching a shared medical appointment called Trim-Life®. The program assists patients who want to change their unhealthy relationship with food and is done in a group setting. A secondary benefit from Trim-Life® is weight loss (we like to call it "weight release" so patients don't focus on a number). When patients are weighed each week they get on the scale backwards. We ask them to   face forward (away from the numbers) in order to reinforce the goal of improved quality of life through our coaching. The participants meet weekly for six weeks and during the three hours we are together, they not only learn from the facilitators (physician and therapist), but they also have the opportunity to learn from each other. Really understanding how an anti-inflammatory lifestyle – from dietary changes and proper nutritional supplementation to exercise and stress management – can lead to a happier and healthier life with the added benefit of weight loss.

"By utilizing Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, our therapists can help patients change their behaviors so they don't sabotage their effort."

Part of our stress management focuses on changing the internal conversation in our heads which can lead to poor choices. By utilizing Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, our therapists can help patients change their behaviors so they don't sabotage their effort. Think about the last time you were on a diet. Perhaps it was weight watchers or the Atkins diet. Things start out well with the best of intentions. And then we are faced with the difficult decision – do I have that piece of cheesecake or walk away? That running conversation starts in our head (almost like the angel and devil on each shoulder talking back and forth!). We may make the right decision and walk away or we may decide to "reward ourselves" and eat the cheesecake. From there we know what happens – we beat ourselves up for eating the cheesecake and we feel guilty for bad behavior. The vicious cycle of resist, reward, and guilt plays over and over again in our minds. Here is where the power of hypnosis – using the holistic psychotherapy approach - can change our inner voice to assist in making good decisions based on a healthy lifestyle.

 I was given the opportunity to attend a six day seminar at Cleveland Clinic called Heart Centered Hypnotherapy. I wanted to understand what our team of therapists at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute goes through for their own training and how hypnosis can enhance patient care. What I learned is that hypnotherapy is a powerful way to access the "source" of problems, to reach and heal the lonely, fearful or abandoned "inner child", and effectively change current behaviors. It is a way for patients to reconnect with emotions that have been buried deep down inside for many years and is often the cause of the regretful choices they make.

"I can tell you that each patient travels on an exciting road to self-discovery. Every session is as profound on the therapist as it is for the patient and the deep healing that takes place is a gift mutually shared and experienced."

The premise of Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy is to provide a model that addresses body, mind, and spirit. During individual sessions with a hypnotherapist, patients will benefit from emotional release via age regressions to earlier "traumas". A patient's session also ends in a place of self-acceptance, worthiness, and love. Having been a patient who experienced Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, I can tell you that each patient travels on an exciting road to self-discovery. Every session is as profound on the therapist as it is for the patient and the deep healing that takes place is a gift mutually shared and experienced.

All of us have past experiences which may impact the way we live our life. When those experiences impact us on a subconscious level, it can have a negative impact on our health. Patients who suffer from chronic diseases such as migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and musculoskeletal pain often have a psychological component to their illness. And it makes sense that if you are chronically sick, your mind can be impacted. Healing of any kind starts with the power of positive thinking. Heart centered hypnotherapy helps the patient develop that positive inner voice that makes the best choices for him or herself. While I was in my six day class, one of our teachers mentioned that by age 18, one out of three girls and one out of five boys in the United States will have suffered some form of sexual abuse. In 2012, there were over 40,000 suicides in the United States. These sobering statistics provide some insight as to the amount of mental healing that needs to take place. If we really want to impact the chronic disease epidemic, we must address this mental health crisis that directly correlates with chronic disease. Giving patients a chance to heal themselves from a place of love and kindness is the core of heart centered hypnotherapy.

I can tell you that my personal journey with hypnotherapy has changed my life forever. First, I was able to utilize hypnosis to eliminate my unhealthy dependence on caffeinated soda – totally. Second, I was able to work on issues with insomnia (and like most patients I do not want to take a pill to help me sleep). Through exploration on a subconscious level, I was able to identify a cause for waking up during the night that resulted in trouble falling back to sleep. For the first time in many years, I was able to have a restful night of sleep all the way until morning. Stress can have a powerful impact on our health and I must tell you that my eyes have been opened to a new way of thinking.  A healing body requires a healing mind.

I am encouraging patients with chronic diseases to explore the mind-body connection. Reducing or eliminating medication along with enhancing quality of life is a primary goal in my practice. If you or a loved one could benefit from either the Trim Life program for weight loss or heart centered therapy for individual treatment, please call the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute at 216-986-HEAL (4325). As the holiday season approaches, all of us can benefit from healing that starts from a place of love.

 Until next time, be well.

Dr. Daniel Neides

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