After one too many failed diets, Nyree Barrett tries to shed the pounds with the help of a slimming hypnotherapy session
‘Deep sleep,’ says Dr Milan Keswani as she touches my forehead (or ‘third-eye chakra’), while putting me into a state of hypnosis. Yet this isn’t a running-around-a-stage-acting-like-a-chicken experience. I’m aware of the world around me, but I’m incredibly relaxed and feel immersed in my own thoughts – it’s similar to the feeling you get after a great yoga session.
I count backwards from 30 and have to jump back up a number every time Dr Milan clicks her fingers – a task that becomes increasingly difficult. She then tells me to imagine myself at the top of a well-lit staircase with a good, sturdy railing. The difference is that I’m imagining myself with a twist: I’m seeing myself at my goal weight.
Before the session Dr Milan sat down with me and discussed my relationship with food: how I eat, why I eat and what my body looked like when I was happiest with it. She asked me how I would look on reaching my goal weight, and how I would feel.
Snap back to the hypnosis session and she’s describing me, but me wearing a crisp white shirt tucked into jeans – very Jennifer Aniston. She’s making me visualise what I have in my head as the ideal me. And I find it surprisingly easy. I’m not a visual person – I can’t often ‘picture’ things – but I do so with ease when under hypnosis.
By putting this image into my subconscious, Dr Milan says she’s motivating me to get there. Founder of The Third Eye, a ‘mind, body and energy’ centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dr Milan has put together a programme called ‘Think Yourself Thin’, and it’s less mumbo-jumbo than it sounds. ‘We help people to understand the emotional causes of overeating, or lack of motivation, or whatever their issue may be. Society’s mental programming has gone wrong, such as how we eat our largest meal at the end of the day.’ The aim is to teach the body how to become a fat-burning machine again. ‘Usually people come in because of their weight, but there are a host of other issues surrounding it and we work on these,’ says Dr Milan. ‘That makes the weight loss really easy.’
For instance, everyone has different ‘anchors’ and ‘voids’, and working on these are a key part of the eight-step programme. ‘Anchors’ are crutches that we fall back on. The classic is the girl who turns to a tub of ice cream, spoon in hand, every time she feels lonely, insecure or dejected (and, let’s face it, we’ve all been there). Ice cream then becomes associated with comfort in the brain. Dr Milan breaks this association, then implants a healthier behaviour.
‘Voids’, meanwhile, are the areas we’re trying to fill when we eat emotionally. ‘Everything comes down to thoughts that disturb the energy flow in the body and create weight gain. We’re simply teaching people to love themselves more, live a healthier lifestyle, get more sleep and treat themselves and their body with more respect.’
Dr Milan says the programme gets to the core of the problem, which is why the results are long term. It’s easy to be cynical about the process, but when you think it through it’s actually quite logical. Third Eye becomes a support network that teaches you to be open about your relationship with food. It uses hypnosis to help people stop overeating in the same way people use hypnosis to quit smoking, because food is just as much of an addiction as smoking for some.
I walked into The Third Eye a cynic, but I have to say I felt phenomenally light and refreshed afterwards. Despite having been tired and stressed before my session, I headed straight to the gym and skipped takeaways that night – that’s got to be a good start. An eight-session Think Yourself Thin package costs Dhs2,500. Visit www.thirdeyeonline.com for details.
The eight steps
Here’s what to expect from the plan
Session one You’ll discuss your weight history and goals with the therapist, then you’ll try some hypnotherapy to relax the mind and open up your subconscious to suggestions of healthier living.
Session two You’ll find out which ‘void’ you’re filling through food and discuss nutrition based on ayurvedic and yogic principles. Plus, you’ll get more hypnotherapy. Session three You’ll learn to visualise your goals and find out what ‘anchors’ you turn to for comfort (such as eating certain foods when depressed). Hypnotherapy will help you to learn healthier behaviour.
Session four There’ll be more hypnotherapy to increase your self-image – this will sometimes take you back to your childhood to figure out the root of eating issues.
Session five This hypnotherapy session aims to get rid of your old patterns and negative emotions and instil belief and confidence.
Session six Hypnotherapy will help you to visualise the things you need.
Session seven Hypnosis will connect you with your ‘inner voice’, which is said to allow you to take control. You’ll also monitor your weight loss using goals and rewards.
Session eight You’ll try a session of Theta healing (an energy technique that is said to help you use your natural intuition), work on sleep patterns and release your old belief systems through ‘dream therapy’ in a state of hypnosis.