There was a time when I thought I wanted to be a dietician. I started a long and arduous process to go back to college and get myself the necessary education; learning about chemistry and biology – which was quite a task, from someone who’d always considered herself a total dunce when it came to Science.
Healthy eating – or calorie control?
During this process I spent some time shadowing a dietician in a hospital setting. I became quite baffled by the advice she was giving her patients about weight loss. It was all about calorific value; choosing diet drinks, fat-reduced options, etc. No thought seemed to be given to the nutritional value of food and what effect processed ‘convenience’ foods might have on the patient’s health. I remember her advising an obese man who could barely squeeze into his chair that he should try eating boil-in-the-bag rice.
This left me a little disheartened about the role of a dietician. However, that was some years ago, and hopefully things have changed for the better in the field of dietetics. Anyway, I changed my degree options and ended up studying health in a wider context, which suited me far better.
What kind of diet should I follow?
Now, as part of my work using counselling and hypnotherapy for weight loss, people often ask me advice about what types of food they should be eating. As someone who has made huge improvements to my health by following a raw foods lifestyle, I am an advocate of a diet high in natural unprocessed foods and I am happy to offer pointers, tips, recipes and other information.
However I am reticent to give very specific advice on what kind of diet somebody should follow. It actually doesn’t make much sense to me that somebody – no matter what qualifications they hold – should be able to tell somebody else what is exactly right for them to eat. Surely only WE know what food our bodies need at any given moment?
Sure, a lot of people would respond to that kind of statement with “Yes, but so many people must think that Burgers / Pizza / Chocolate etc are ‘right’ for them, otherwise they wouldn’t eat so much!”
Well, I don’t agree that people necessarily eat these kinds of food from their own completely personal free choice.
We get hypnotised every day!
Marketing campaigns using highly sophisticated psychological techniques are blasted at us from all angles wherever we go. Billboards on the street, TV, radio ads, and even strategically placed in movies and programmes, these messages filter through to our subconscious throughout the day, without us even being aware of it. The scary thing is, a vast amount of this marketing is fiercely directed at very young and impressionable children. You could say that we’re getting hypnotised to eat the wrong kinds of foods on a daily basis (which is why I love to redress this balance by hypnotising people to eat the right kinds of foods!).
So when we eat foods that aren’t healthy, we aren’t necessarily in tune with our bodies and our own best interests.
The mind-body connection
Which is why, as a therapist, I much prefer to enable people to strengthen their mind-body connection and learn to make food choices that are right for THEM, rather than reel off a generic list of ‘diet do’s and don’ts’. I love to teach people how to recognise which messages are coming from their own mind and body, and which are being sneakily infiltrated from an outside source looking to manipulate us into spending money on unhealthy food we do not need.
When we are more clear about what is going on in our subconscious minds, then we can begin to trust ourselves to make the right choices for our health and well-being – based on what WE want, rather than what some faceless multibillion pound industry wants.
And, yes, of course, dieticians and nutritionists play an important role in giving us information that we can use to inform our choices. But I prefer to keep this kind of advice quite general, rather than giving an exact regime of what the client should eat on a daily basis.
What do you think?
I help people to make healthy food choices with hypnotherapy, counselling, and other natural therapies. If you would like to work with me in losing weight and achieving a healthier lifestyle, feel free to get in touch.
Lisa Murphy is a hypnotherapist & counsellor based in Glasgow, who specialises in anxiety, stress, and weight management.