Many of the women that I see for weight reduction hypnotherapy not only have a negative relationship with food, they also have a negative relationship with their body. It’s as though their body is the enemy engaged in a war over just inches of territory. (The body being a just few inches larger than the mind would like.)
This war has disproportionately dreadful consequences because unless we love our bodies we are unlikely to cherish them, nurture and respect them. And as if by some cruel twist of fate it also means we find it harder to reach and maintain our perfect size and shape.
After years of hatred and fighting our bodies, how do we start to love them? The first thing I recommend is to start by concentrating on the bits that are easy to love.
So you might love your heart...
Spring has sprung and everywhere everyone is telling me how to spring clean my house and my life, mind, body, soul and spirit too. And for good reason - cleaning away what we no longer need makes way for something better to come into our lives.
With one of my clients this week, our conversation went something like this...
Client: I want to get another job, one where I have a day off, so I have the time to write my book.
Me: Fantastic, how long have you wanted to write a book for?
Client: Oh, since my early twenties. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
Me: That’s great - how do you feel about writing your book?
Me: Yes, the truth.
Client: Actually, it makes me feel so heavy it’s as though all my limbs won’t work.
You can see the problem. My client has held a...
We all know that, when things are going well, it’s easy to reach our goals and dreams. At these magical times, everything in the universe lines up to help us. At other times, though, it’s much less simple - as if every curve ball is thrown in our direction to trip us up or sidetrack us from our path to success.
Acknowledging that there are times when things will stand in our way is a really good start to making sure that we achieve what we desire regardless, because we can then develop strategies to help us.
One way that you can do this is to identify all of the things that have stood in the way of success. Simply write them as a list - then work out what you can do about it. My clients find this a really useful exercise, because just planning for what might happen demonstrates how...
I was working with a client yesterday about how to create more happiness in his life. Loads of great ideas came out of the session and I thought I’d share two with you.
Make a choice to be happy
This was inspired by a feature in the Guardian about people’s dying regrets - number five was “I wish I’d let myself be happier.” But, if you’re not used to being happy how do you remind yourself? We thought these three things would be useful:
First thing in the morning: Make it your intention to be happy for the day. Literally say to yourself: “Today it is my intention and expectation to be happy.”
Throughout the day: Set reminders on your phone to go off every hour or so to make you smile (these could be silly messages, jokes or just a reminder)
Before bed: Make a daily note of at least...
One of the less pleasant things about running my own business is the constant barrage of sales calls I get. In particular, the people selling SEO (search engine optimisation) really do not understand the meaning of the word ‘NO’. It’s been a particularly active week for them and, as I was saying ‘no’ in a calm and assertive way for the tenth time, it got me thinking about how important it is to be able to say ‘no’ effectively.
Saying ‘no’ is one of the things I talk about with my clients a lot, particularly those who are trying to reduce their weight. People really don’t like saying no. Why? Partly, it’s because we fear being judged negatively when we say no to others - and partly it’s because if we are saying no it means that we are denying ourselves something that we want.
It might sound odd coming from a hypnotherapist, but it’s rare that I see I client and don’t recommend that they take some form of exercise as part of their life. It’s probably obvious for people who want to lose weight, but it’s also really effective at helping people who are suffering from stress or depression, can’t get pregnant, have low self-esteem, lack confidence and many other things too. Why?
Well, mostly it’s because exercise makes you feel good and if you feel good, you’ll be more motivated to achieve your goals. Exercise allows you to challenge yourself and find out strengths that you didn’t even know you had (ask anyone who’s run a half marathon!). And of course it also helps keep you fit and healthy. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
It’s great if you can make...
I talk with my clients about motivation a lot - because if they don’t have it, I can predict with almost 100% accuracy that they won’t reach their goals. But what is motivation, and why is it so important in helping us reach our goals and dreams?
The Oxford Concise Dictionary describes the verb ‘to motivate’ as 'cause a person to act in a particular way' or 'to stimulate the interest of a person into activity'. (It’s interesting to remind ourselves of the precise meanings of words, because then we are able to think about them in a new light).
The definition here is all about action and what will make you take action. And actually, this makes it easier to consider than the quite abstract word ‘motivation’. In essence, it’s all about the reasons why you want to reach your goal - and...
Yes, I really do hate them. Resolutions are all about guilt, about a magnificent lack of willpower and of course about that feeling of doom and gloom that I’m setting myself up for failure... again.
There is one good thing about them, though, and that is thinking about how I might like to change my life for the better. So this year, instead of embarking on New Year Resolutions, I’m giving myself 21 goals for the year ahead.
Why 21 goals? Well, ‘21’ because it’s a huge number of things to work towards, so there’s space for the small things and fun things as well as the big and serious things. I’ve included ‘have a really brilliant time on holiday with lots of laughs’ as well as ‘read a book a week’ and ‘get to the number one spot in the google rankings’.
And ‘goals’ - well, because...
Unsurprisingly, this time of year I see fewer clients for weight reduction than I do in January and February. It’s as though the minute Bonfire Night is out of the way, the nation breathes a huge sigh of relief and collective gluttony sets in.
I’m not exactly sure when the festive season started to begin in November, but I certainly don’t remember it from my childhood. Then, the festive season started on Christmas Eve when we’d put our tree up and indulge in a chocolate feast. While I remember gorging myself, in reality the feast consisted of a box of Matchmakers and very, very small box of Quality Street.
Now we feast not just for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we also feast for most of November and the rest of December, sometimes if the hangover is bad enough on January...
Yesterday may well have been one of the nicest days ever. Because the schools were on strike I got to spend an extra, unexpected, almost illicit day with my children. We packed a few sandwiches, hopped on the train and headed for Kew Gardens. The sun was shining, we scuffled in the leaves, got stalked by peacocks and then ended the day by seeing the most beautiful rainbow on our way home (we even managed to miss getting caught in the rain!)
It could have been different. I’m self-employed so a day off work means a day when I don’t earn anything if I don’t work, so I could have viewed this strike as not only a gross inconvenience but also costly.
In the first scenario we all had a great time, in the second I would have started the day feeling agitated and have no doubt those feelings of...
This morning the Dukan diet was being discussed on the BBC. The segment showed the various celebs who allegedly use it, a video montage of diets through the ages and then an interview with Dr Dukan and a nutritionist.
The Dukan diet, like Atkins before it, has been hugely successful. It’s estimated that about 24 million people worldwide are following it. And in a way, it’s no surprise, because these high-protein, low-carb diets work and they work quickly.
Inevitably, when people come to see me for weight reduction they want to talk about the Dukan and other quick fix diets. Of course it’s media hype and celebrity endorsement that makes these diets so attractive ... and they do work, if you stick to them. The question is can you? I can’t, I find that after about four days on this sort...
I’m always curious how things come into your life when you most need to learn something. So, as most of my clients in the last couple of weeks have seen me about how they can reach their potential and be the best they can be, my curiosity has been awakened.
During our initial consultation it is very obvious that each of them is putting up unconscious barriers, sometimes even huge obstacles, to achieving the success they desire. I actually saw one client last week who believed he couldn’t be true to his roots if he was successful. (Of course, as soon as the words were out of his mouth he saw how crazy it was to believe that).
So with my curiosity sharpened I started to explore what beliefs might be holding me back.
Now, I’m currently going through the process of launching a new part to...
For the past three weeks I’ve been sick with tonsillitis – it’s been thoroughly miserable. The good news is I’m now feeling better... hurrah! But my life seems to have disintegrated into absolute chaos, which is all round less good.
Since I’ve been ill, I’ve done the bare essentials: seen clients, recorded the new Hypnogogo, done the washing, baked birthdays cakes for my children. However everything non-essential has been ignored: filing, working on my book, studying, catching up with emails. I now have a to-do list that’s longer than my Christmas list.
One of the other not so positive side effects of this enforced change in routine is that I’ve done no exercise in nearly a month. This is not good, not good at all: I really miss it and I can feel myself getting unfit and fatter - urgh!...
Iʼve had tonsillitis this week. And while itʼs not life threatening itʼs seriously debilitating, not just the sore throat that feels like youʼve got a brussel sprout stuck with razor blades caught there, but also the crippling flu-like symptoms - fever, aches and pains, feeling cold ... blah, blah, blah - enough of my moaning.
After two bed-bound days with all my appointments cancelled and no sign of feeling any better, I went to see a doctor at the emergency clinic and left there last night armed with penicillin. Twelve hours later, while not back to normal, I am certainly on the road to recovery.
Penicillin is without doubt a miracle.
I love the story about the many, many scientists before Fleming who had seen penicillin in their petri dishes, however instead of celebrating their...
I had a really lovely weekend this weekend, but my goodness I ate too much!
So much of our social life in this country is focussed around food, which on the whole is all good as far as I'm concerned because I love food, and I love a nice glass of wine as well. This weekend, though, I have to admit I simply ate too much and am paying the price today. I still feel a bit sluggish, my belly is definitely bloated and weirdly I still feel full.
As a hypnotherapist, I work a lot with people wanting to lose weight - and getting them to stop overeating is one of the hardest things we do. This is because many of us have learned to ignore and override our body's signals for fullness.
Our stomach and body might be saying “I'm full, I'm full, please, please don't feed me any
I did two really stupid things this week...
Firstly, I exploded two tins of condensed milk as I was trying to make toffee. This had nothing to do with the method and everything to do with me leaving the pot to boil dry.
The hot toffee covered the ceiling, the walls and the floor as well as the cooker itself. The force of the explosion was immense smashing a huge hole in the cookerʼs overhead filter system. The whole house was full of smoke and the kitchen was moments from catching alight (for some reason the three smoke alarms we have in our house didnʼt work).
It took me about an hour and a half to clear up the mess and three days or so to get rid of the smoke smell. It was a really, really stupid thing to do and the consequences could have been much worse.
When you do something...
Iʼve been thinking a lot about abundance in the past week as Iʼve been working on the
mediations and visualisations for Kateʼs and my Harvest Abundance workshop on the 9th October.
My start point for creating abundance is ʻwhat do you already have (or do) that makes
you happy?ʼ Because surely you only want in abundance that which makes you feel
really good. So in the name of research I made a list of all the things that have made me
smile (or even laugh) in the last week. Interestingly they fell into four main categories:
Doing something that gave me a sense of pride in my achievement
Things that made me feel loved or loving
Things that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling - that is: those things that are outside of my control but make me feel good anyway
Slapstick, well actually...
I packed my kids off to school yesterday for the first day of their new school year. They were excited to be back, really looking forward to seeing their friends and really looking forward to simply getting on with their job of learning.
Because while holidays are simply fantastic (and you donʼt need me to explain why), there is something about the purpose of work that I think we all need in life.
Work isnʼt always about money, as often it doesnʼt matter if you get paid for it - but itʼs certainly about reward. So how might we define reward? Well:
1. Itʼs about that feeling of personal satisfaction you get when youʼve done something well
2. Itʼs about learning something new and different each and every day, challenging and
stretching our minds
3. Itʼs about interaction with others,...
While away on holiday this year I visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan. These beautiful gardens are the result of the passion and commitment of the team involved. Reading the literature, one becomes acutely aware of how much dedication it took to revive and restore Heligan - not just in terms of the gardens themselves but in the relentless amount of fundraising, marketing and administration that were also required to complete and run the project.
It struck me that much of our lives are like that. Certainly in my business as a hypnotherapist, about half the work I do is marketing. I love the hypnotherapy and I really love the profound results it brings for my clients; the marketing I find it significantly harder to be passionate about.
Raising children is the same. We love our children of...
When I was studying to be a hypnotherapist one of my teachers described the key to good mental health as ʻflexibilityʼ. And over time Iʼve come to see quite how true this statement is.
On one hand itʼs important to keep an eye on our goals, our dreams and fulfilling our lifeʼs purpose yet we also have to live in the moment and deal with things as they come up. Itʼs certainly true that many of these ʻcurve ballsʼ will challenge and/or delay the fulfillment of our goals, dreams and desires.
For me this week was a classic example. I had a to-do list almost as large as the Greek debt crisis and a unmoveable deadline - school holidays start 3.30 on Friday. The curve ball: my son was ill with croup, so a sleepless night on Monday was followed by having a very, very poorly little boy at home...
Itʼs oh so easy to start things and itʼs so much harder to finish them off*.
Imagine how life might be if it wasnʼt like that. Weʼd all have fantastic pension pots, weʼd never need to start another diet, we wouldnʼt stay in damaging relationships or jobs that are well past their use by date. Wow! Life would be great, wouldnʼt it?
But why is it so hard to stick to things even when we know they are what we really want, or at least in our best interests? I think part of it is because we get bored waiting. Our society is so geared up for instant results and immediate gratification that weʼve lost the art of waiting for something. Sadly some things just arenʼt that instantaneous no matter how much we are led to believe that they are.
Losing weight is a classic example of this. As a...
I have a very dear friend who has mastered the art of complaining beautifully. She knows the outcome she wants to achieve from her complaints before she starts and explains her case articulately and succinctly. And in the last year alone has been compensated with at least two weekends away, dinner for two and numerous bottles
Ideally she would prefer never to be put in a situation where she has to complain. However she has a tremendous sense of self-worth and feels that she deserves the best from her life.
This feeling is incredibly precious, because when we believe we deserve the best we equally feel a responsibility to be our best self.
So, what is our best self and how can we live it every day? Well, everyone has their own way to define and describe their best self and...
I havenʼt written this blog for a couple of weeks, what with half term and then being unbelievably busy for the two weeks after, because of half term. I just havenʼt had time.
Well, I could have made time, but only at the expense of something else. And those other things were simply a priority.
Now, Iʼm certainly not an expert in time management (Iʼll leave that to the amazing Allison Mitchell, check out her book 'Time Management for Manic Mums' if you need any help on that front), though I do spend quite a lot of my time with clients talking about priorities.
Itʼs really important when you want to change your behaviour that you make it a top priority.
For example, thereʼs little point in trying to lose weight if youʼre really busy at work or if you know that youʼve got a really busy...
I saw a car today with a number plate saying B FAB and I think it might be the best number plate Iʼve ever seen. (To be honest Iʼve never really found the whole number plate thing very interesting and often struggle to see the hidden words even when my husband POINTS - THEM - OUT - VERY - CLEARLY).
In this case though, I love the idea that youʼd get into your car every day and be reminded to BE FAB. These little reminders of positivity are really useful to help build our confidence and remind us that we can be fab or clever or happy or loved or important or whatever we want to be whenever we want to be.
I often encourage my clients to use affirmations in their healing work. They literally write out positive statements and pin them up around their homes, to remind them of the things they...
It’s that time of year. The sun is shining (well, almost), the holiday season is fast approaching and everyone seems focused on losing weight before they have to bare the bikini body. Certainly this seems to be the case with my clients.
None of them have much weight to lose, but for some reason that last 10 pounds seems to be almost impossible to shift. Not just my clients either I’m guessing; there are more than 10 books listed on Amazon entitled ‘How to lose that last 10lb’ or words to that effect.
Part of the reason this last 10 pounds is so hard to shift is that we start to lose our willpower at this point. On one hand the end is in sight, but on the other it’s easy to slip back into over-eating. As the willpower dwindles our inner voice gets louder and asks those questions we wish...
Iʼm Claire Benson, a hypnotherapist based in South London. My clients see me for help with weight management, fertility & birth and confidence.
This blog is about what happens in my practice, and the techniques I encourage my clients to use that help them to achieve their goals.See my profile »