Lose Weight: Research In To Whether Diets Really Work?by Steve Burns
According to the World Health Organisation, 20 per cent of adults around the world are overweight. In the UK alone, 22 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women fall into that category, making us the fifth most obese country in the developed world.
In a shocking new report it is claimed that one in eleven deaths in the UK can be attributed to obesity. That's on the same level as smoking, i.e. over 100,000 needless deaths every single year as a result of our inability to control what we eat.
So it's clear that we are in serious trouble unless we can learn how to control what we eat and therefore no surprise that the global diet industry is big, big business. With trends as they are, it's unlikely ever to run out of customers. So the big question is: do diets really work?
Amazingly, 13 million people in the UK, according to Mintel, are on a diet of one kind or another. Under pressure from society and hoping for almost instant weight loss, many take up celebrity fad eating plans such as the baby food diet, glamorised by Cheryl Cole and Jennifer Aniston or the Master Cleanse diet of maple syrup mixed with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water, favoured by Beyoncé Knowles; neither very safe nor practical, nor likely to lead to any kind of long term benefit in relation to changing an individual's eating habits and behaviours.
Comprising of commercial weight loss clubs, food companies, pharmaceutical firms and publishers, the global diet industry it earns $55 billion a year, according to CNBC and most promise fast, permanent results. Weight Watchers's strap line, for example, is: "decide to lose weight for the last time."
Yet success statistics are notoriously difficult to find. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association comments that "the scarcity of data addressing the health effects of popular diets is an important public health concern."
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance believes the diet industry peddles a "marketing strategy based on guilt and fear." It certainly feeds on guaranteed failure gleaned from unrealistic, impossible to achieve weight loss claims.
Their message is plain: overweight individuals can't be trusted as they have an unhealthy, even obsessive relationship with food. They therefore have no option but to put their trust in the diet companies. Never has the phrase "put your money where your mouth is" rung so true!
The NHS spent £37 million last year on anti-obesity treatments, including 4,000 bariatric surgical procedures, each costing between £5,000 and £10,000. Yet, after decades of diets and gastric bands, we are still getting progressively fatter. Why?
In short, because diets do not work.
Restricting food consumption under some fad or extreme eating regime cannot be sustained; it is unnatural. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dansinger, Gleason, Griffith, Selker and Schaefer (2005) found that 35 to 50 per cent of people on diets had "abandoned them within the year," concluding that "overall dietary adherence rates were low."
Research by Slimming World found that one third of people failed to complete their 12 week course and a further study by Mata, Todd and Lippke (2010) suggested that the "cognitive complexity" of the diet has a strong bearing on its success - we are too lazy to diet. The crushing failure leaves individuals feeling worse than they did before, often piling on yet more weight.
Ultimately we are creatures of habit, albeit bad ones and a diet is nothing but a brief respite from which we will inevitably return. That's because when you lose the weight, you don't lose the inherent reasons why you turned to food in the first place. Dieting does not address or overcome the root problem.
Little wonder that hypnotherapy has become a popular weight loss method.
Weight loss hypnotherapy helps individuals address emotional overeating issues and overcome feelings of disgust or low self esteem. Use of hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and neuro-linguistic programming influences the unconscious mind and results in a re-evaluation of the relationship with food, enabling them to break bad eating habits through mental strength, a positive attitude and renewed motivation.
They can trust themselves with food once again.
It's reasonable to say, therefore, that long term weight loss depends entirely on the individual's state of mind and their ability to change the way they think about food, both of which can be achieved through hypnosis and there is plenty of scientific research to back up that claim.
Demonstrating that hypnosis substantially improves weight reduction and highlighting how it continues to work over time, Hypnotherapy in weight loss (1986) by Cochrane and Friesen, found that those who embarked on a hypnotherapy plan had lost 12lb more at a six month follow up stage than those who had restricted food intake alone.
Similarly, a study by Bolocofsky, Spindler and Coulthard-Morris entitled Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioural weight management (1985), found at the eight and 12 month stages, "the hypnosis subjects showed significant additional weight loss compared with those who had not been hypnotised."
Additionally, research by Irving in Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioural weight loss treatments another meta-reanalysis (1996) reported that those who employed hypnosis saw an average weight loss of 14.88lb, a huge 8.85lbs more than those who didn't, signifying "correlational analyses indicted that the benefits of hypnosis increased substantially over time."
This is summed up nicely by Shaw, O'Rourke, Del Mar and Kenardy in their 2005 study: Psychological interventions for overweight or obesity, where authors found that "behaviour therapy was found to result in significantly greater weight reductions."
They concluded that "people who are overweight or obese benefit from psychological interventions, particularly behavioural and cognitive-behavioural strategies to enhance weight reduction."
There are no quick fixes or short cuts when it comes to losing weight. Fad diets and extreme eating regimes might make their purveyors rich, but they do not lead to long term weight loss and cannot be sustained without causing serious damage to the poor souls using them.
While scientists are aware of the debate over whether obesity is an illness or a self-induced state, it is clear that the re-education of the mind, which can be achieved through hypnosis, is pivotal for successful, safe, long term weight loss.