The festive season is drawing ever nearer, isn’t it? Christmas seems to start mid October these days! The Christmas advertisements are on the television, shop fronts are covered in sparkly adornments and of course, we start reaching for those bigger trousers as our waist lines start to increase due to the scoffing that goes on at this time of year.
You should see the winter time mugs of hot chocolate that my wife makes when we go to the Beach Hut at this time of year when the sun shines. All wrapped up watching the sea, the beach quiet and a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Summer… Then she fills the mugs with hot chocolate, topped with cream and brimming over with marshmallows… Then comes all the rest…
Mince pies. Mulled wine. Turkey feasts with roast potatoes and those delicious pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon). There is chocolate of every denomination. Huge hams. Slabs of smoked salmon. It is the only time of year I eat dates and sugared almonds! There are snacks and nibbles that accompany every get together… And there is the booze… We have boozy snowballs which is cava with advocaat, not to mention that we get a barrel of real ale in and more wines and spirits that could get an army inebriated!
It wears me out just thinking about it. Thank goodness Katie and I are going away on a hot holiday for a week straight afterwards this year!
As I wrote about last week on the blog, a problem is created when we eat to excess. The more we eat, the more our mind and body wants to eat. When we eat to excess, especially loads of simple carbs and refined sugars, and then when we sleep less during party season and drink too much, general fatigue also contributes to us eating more.
Then we start craving stuff. We crave and are only satiated when we are stuffed full and snoozing again. The cycle continues and takes all our might with our new years resolutions to get us on the straight and narrow again.
I get asked repeatedly about how to deal with cravings. The unwanted response is all about eating and drinking in such a way to ensure they do not occur in the first place. People don’t want to hear that stuff. They always tell me that they know they should have eaten a particular way in the first place… So today I am not going to be writing about that stuff.
So the next best thing, is to have a process aimed at dealing with cravings as they occur.
The process that I am illustrating here today originated as a means of dealing with cravings for cigarettes for using with hypnotherapy clients; the Red Balloon technique of Walch (1976) and has been used extensively and championed in the (1978) work of Stanton. There are many version of this out this type of process that you can find and although I am showing you how to use self-hypnosis with this sort of process for dealing with food cravings, it is often used for emotional disorders that require to be let go of.
6 Steps To Let Go Of Food Cravings
This process needs to be practiced formally a few times persistently before it can be used in real-life scenarios, so run through this process in detail, step by step and then at the end I’ll write about how to do this process without the formalised hypnosis session.
Step One: Induce hypnosis. You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
However, with this process, an induction is potentially too much activity, so I teach my clients how to adopt a hypnotic mindset and simply have a mindset that is positive and expectant. Again, to really understand the cognitive set of the hypnotic mindset, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book where it is explained in simple but comprehensive terms.
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Now start to imagine that you are walking along a pathway, a pathway of your life.
Notice what the path is made of and imagine hearing the sounds of your own feet walking along it. Become aware of where this path is – perhaps a place in nature, or in an urban landscape, or near the sea, or in the countryside, you choose.
Notice the colours and details of the sights around you. Become aware of the textures and shades of the colours and all that you see. Notice how it makes you feel to be in this place and hear the sounds of the place, the volume of the various sounds, what is close up and what is distant.
Tell yourself that with each step you walk along the path, you go deeper inside your mind and take some time to use this to deepen the hypnosis you are experiencing.
Once you have engaged your imagination as fully as possible, deepened for a while, then move on to the next step.
Step Three: As you walk, notice that you are carrying a backpack of some kind. As you walk along the pathway, notice that it is heavy and getting heavier. Notice that it actually is weighing upon you.
Imagine that the pack carries around with it all your cravings that you have accrued over recent times. Maybe it is those actual foods and drinks that are in this increasingly large pack on your back.
You notice that the pathway starts to move upwards slightly and as you walk uphill and as more cravings and foods are piled into the bag, it is becoming harder and harder to move smoothly and enjoyably.
Let yourself get to the top of this slope, feeling weighed down with those cravings and then move on to the next step.
Step Four: At the top of the hill, you notice that there is a large colourful hot air balloon with a basket sitting underneath it, tied to the ground you are stood on.
Now start to take one item at a time out of the pack on your back and place it into the basket. Notice what it is that comes out of the pack, become aware of what you were craving and notice that as you let go of them, you feel lighter and easier and more comfortable.
Let yourself start to free yourself of those cravings, place them all one at a time into the basket and notice that you feel lighter and more at ease with each and every item you place in there. Keep doing this, taking all the time necessary to completely empty the pack. Notice all the feelings attached to those foods, all the old desires and associations are leaving and being put into the basket. Watch it all sitting there in that basket.
Feel cleansed and free and in control of yourself. In fact spend some time to just feel a lighter sensation in your chest, in your stomach and your limbs. Really experience a genuine sense of lightness and easiness in your shoulders now that you have shed these heavy burdensome cravings.
Once you have spent enough time really noticing how much lighter you feel, then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Now go over to the ties attaching the basket and hot air balloon to the ground and untie it.
Watch all those foods, feelings, sensations, associations, cravings all start to float away into nothing ness. Watch it all drifting and floating into the distance. Smile as you wave goodbye to it all. Enjoy the sense of being in control that you get from this.
Watch it until it becomes a tiny speck very far away that eventually vanishes and is gone for good.
Now start to take some good deep breaths and notice the lightness you experience not just because you have let go of your cravings, but also because you have taken control of who and how you are and that feels really good.
Step Six: Once you have enjoyed the lightness for a while and you are sure that the balloon is long gone and the cravings are no more, then you open your eyes, wiggle your fingers and toes, take a couple of deeper breaths and go about your day.
Practice this process 4-6 times with real focus and concentration. Then, when you are out at a party or festive drinks, or if you are at home and it is not time for your proper meals, and you are presented with choices for more and more naughty stuff, then breathe deeply, close your eyes for a moment and imagine placing that craving or that urge into the basket and letting it fly away.
Let it pass without resisting it or fighting the feeling, breathe deeply and then go and take some other action, engage in a conversation and congratulate yourself for taking control.
There you go, enjoy this process, it is going to save you a lot of effort when you arrive at new year, I promise.
Has this resonated with you in some way? Then these links might interest you:
1. Have poor eating habits held you back and/or are they still doing so now? Do you need to learn how to develop better eating habits?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others develop better eating habits?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom problematic habits are negatively effecting the success of your business? Do you need to operate more effectively to fulfil your career ambitions?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.