Hypnosis for Weight Loss. Does It Work?

Feeling healthy and feeling good about yourself is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.

Hypnosis for Weight Loss. Does It Work?

Does hypnosis work for weight loss? Today we hear a lot about beneficial effects of hypnosis in weight loss treatment. When surfing the net you find plenty of sites and ads about hypnosis and weight loss. Advertisements offer CD’s and DVD’s for miraculous healing of obesity. Is hypnosis really so effective for weight loss?

Today we hear a lot about beneficial effects of hypnosis in weight loss treatment. When surfing the net you find plenty of sites and ads about hypnosis and weight loss. Advertisements offer CD’s and DVD’s for miraculous healing of obesity. Is hypnosis really so effective for weight loss?

What is hypnosis?

Specialists from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis define hypnosis as “a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention”.

The effectiveness of hypnosis for weight loss is a very controversial subject: while some doctors and researches admit the value of hypnosis in weight loss, others do not.

Dr. Irving Kirsch noted that people who used hypnosis managed to lose on average 11.83 pounds, while patients without hypnotherapy lost only 6 pounds. However, Dr. Allison and Dr. Faith disagreed and argued that hypnosis enhanced weight loss slightly if at all.

The Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss study conducted in National Health Service hospital in the UK proved that hypnosis can be used as an adjunct to dietary advice to achieve moderate weight loss.

Hypnosis cannot help you lose weight in some magical way. Beware of advertisements that promise you rapid and permanent weight loss through hypnosis without diets and exercise programs. Hypnosis does not increase your metabolism. People who promise that you will shed a number of pounds with the help of their audio/video program without any efforts just want to make a profit out of you.

How can hypnosis help you lose weight?

Hypnosis can help you lose weight only if combined with a healthy diet and fitness program. Hypnosis does not reprogram the mind; it can only help you stick to your weight loss program if you really want this.

Michael Lovitch, the co-founder of the Hypnosis Network, says: “Hypnosis can help a person lose extra pounds by helping her adhere to a sound eating and exercise plan. It simply helps you actually implement what you decide to implement. Good hypnosis will stress that you get to a healthy weight and maintain it by changing your lifestyle to one where you eat healthy foods, appropriate portions, and exercise regularly.”

What you need to know about hypnosis

How many pounds can you shed through hypnosis?

Michael Lovitch says: “This has nothing to do with hypnosis. Different people need to follow different plans – hypnosis helps you then you follow the plan that is right for you. There is no such thing as a hypnosis diet.”

How fast can you lose weight through hypnosis?

You cannot lose weight for good after a hypnosis session. Michael Lovitch pointed out: “Again, this [weight loss] is based on the diet and exercise plan you are following.” Hypnosis can only enhance weight loss slightly.

How do you choose a qualified hypnotherapist?

The effectiveness of hypnotherapy depends on the professional skills of the hypnotherapist. You need a licensed health care professional using hypnosis. Ask if the person is licensed (not certified) by the state. Check for membership in the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, etc.

We asked Michael Lovitch about negative side effects hypnosis may have, and he reassured us that “hypnosis done right really has no negative side effects. It either helps change your subconscious believes towards what you want or not. It can not make you do anything against your will.”

Can you lose weight through hypnosis without making any changes to your diet?

Hypnosis will not help you lose weight if you do not stick to a healthy diet and exercise program. Audio and video hypnosis programs may be useful only when combined with other weight loss treatments.

Michael Lovitch recommends: “Make sure you find a healthy plan – maybe go to a dietitian. Joining buddy groups is always a good thing as well as finding a workout partner. In short, hypnosis is the best thing you can do so that your actual behaviors support your plan.”


  • Kirsch, Irving (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments-Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 517-519.
  • Allison, D. B., & Faith, M. S. (1996). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: A meta-analytic reappraisal. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 513-516.

1 thought on “Hypnosis for Weight Loss. Does It Work?”

  • Thanks for the information. I have recently started hypnotism (through an online download) for weight loss and I have noticed significant changes. I downloaded two different weight loss hypnosis sessions and am surprised to notice the different effects I feel from them.

    One is a “Super Slim Me” session which makes me feel better about myself and helps me to visualize myself at my ideal size. It helps me to look forward to my goal and to visualize it as a reachable goal. It has also increased my self-esteem and self-perception so I am actually starting to look better in the mirror.

    The other is a “Think Thin” session which helps me visualize foods that can be a weakness to my diet and can sabotage my efforts in weight loss. It then brings me to focus on how these bad foods ultimately make me feel and to realize that these foods have stolen my natural shape and health from me. This session helps me to focus on eating slowly and eating only foods that will make me feel better (i.e. providing my body with needed nutrients, not fats and sugars).

    In conjunction, I have found these two sessions to be highly effective in my weight loss goals. There are several other sessions to download that can tackle other topics for weight loss (i.e. stop eating fast food, stop binge eating, etc;) but the two I have work well for my situation.

    I wouldn’t say these hypnosis sessions would ever work without me making a conscious effort to improve myself, but I will say they greatly help me to make that effort and they make it easier for me to focus on the end result, which in turn has made it a lot easier to stick to a weight loss plan.

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