Cert SM

a virtual (or hypnotic) gastric band

In recent years, the hypnotic gastric band treatment has become something of a trendy weight-loss method. Marketed under various guises, it is intended to result in you having your body believe that a gastric band has actually been put in place within you, even though this is, of course, not the case. The intervention is sometimes promoted as a quick-fix, magic bullet to weight loss.

During normal gastric band surgery, a band is surgically fitted around the top of your stomach with the purpose of causing a feeling of fullness after you have eaten just a small amount of food. It is considered to be a relatively radical solution, and tends to be undertaken as a last resort when various other means of weight control have been unsuccessful.

Even such actual surgery is no magic wand. Once the band is in place, it is necessary for a person to eat slowly. It becomes important to take small mouthfuls and to chew thoroughly. Most people have also found it important to control their portion size, often eating from a small tea plate rather than a normal dinner plate. Typically, people can also spend no more than about 20 minutes on each meal.

Indeed, the experience is not always an easy one. When hungry, they may be tempted to fall back into old bad habits, such as eating fast and not chewing properly. They may then experience a sudden discomfort and be forced to stop eating and to wait for some food to slowly move through the artificial neck in the stomach sac. Such a bad reaction can cause them to retch (which can prove just a little antisocial). They are also likely to find they need to avoid certain foods so as to prevent feeling uncomfortable or being sick.

Although installing a virtual or hypnotic gastric band is of course safer, less invasive and therefore more desirable than undergoing an actual surgical procedure, it still neither deals with managing a person’s hunger nor with whatever underlying emotional triggers may be at the root of the person’s unhelpful eating patterns.

When it works as intended, the virtual gastric band is meant to replicate the extremely unpleasant reactions brought about by a real gastric band. When it does not work (as is frequently the case) it only serves to increase those unhelpful feelings of failure that are often prevalent in people who need to better control their weight. As a therapist, I would wish to avoid causing my clients either experience.

I do feel it is kinder, more empowering and (in the long run) more effective to adopt a mindful, eat-less-enjoy-more strategy. As with other issues involving emotions and established patterns of behaviour, hypnotherapy and its related disciplines can be most helpful in this regard. Please contact me if you feel you could benefit from my assistance, or simply make an appointment to see me.


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