Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (left) and singer Lily Allen (center) have admitted they see hypnotists who convince them to work out. In a recent interview, actress Olivia Munn (right) credits hypnotism for her fit physique.
Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images; Palace Lee/startraksphoto.com; Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix
Still reeling from a painful breakup, Elena Gluhova realized that the damage caused by her lousy ex-boyfriend went far beyond a broken heart: Her emotional eating had caused her to balloon to her heaviest weight of 130 pounds.
“Quite frankly, I felt fat, ugly and not attractive,” recalls the petite 32-year-old West Village resident, who stands 5-foot-4. “I got a membership to New York Sports Club, but I only used it once a month.”
Unable to find the motivation to hit the gym, Gluhova began researching other tools to help her slim down — and after hours on Google, she stumbled upon a possible cure: hypnosis. Though it may sound like a subject offered at Hogwarts, hypnosis is a treatment approved by the American Psychiatric Association that’s used for quitting everything from smoking to biting your nails.
But can it also give you that kick you need to work out?
“The Newsroom” actress Olivia Munn recently opened up to Good Housekeeping magazine about her own brush with hypnotherapy. She had been seeing a hypnotist regularly to help her manage her obsessive-compulsive disorder and trichotillomania (a hair-pulling disorder), when he decided to add a fitness component.
“I’m not exaggerating: That was on a Friday, and by Monday I was working out every day at 6 a.m. If I missed a session, I’d double up and do it the next day,” the actress told the magazine.
The proof can be seen on her Instagram account, where she’s shared videos of herself mastering karate and sword-fighting.
Munn’s not the first A-lister to subscribe to the unconventional practice. A slew of notables — including pop star Lily Allen, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York — have sung the praises of hypnosis for weight loss over the years.
“After the hypnotism, I want to go to the gym every day, otherwise I feel really bad,” . If it sounds as though these women are being controlled by a mysterious force, it’s because they are — it’s their subconscious. “Our conscious mind is the mind we use when we’re fully awake,” explains Elena Beloff, founder of Inside Hypnosis, who’s been practicing in New York City for 12 years.
“Your subconscious mind is the deeper part of who you are, and contains information such as your beliefs, your habits and your patterns — basically, your view of the world.
“What we do is use relaxation techniques,” continues Beloff, so that patients “enter a relaxed state of mind, [and their] subconscious is open to suggestions.”
lThe first half of a hypnotherapy appointment is spent discussing your specific fitness goals — including frequency and timing — which the hypnotist repeats back to your subconscious while you’re in a trancelike state.
Kevin Johnson, 42, originally sought Beloff’s help in the summer of 2014 to simultaneously quit smoking and develop a workout regimen.
“At the end of a day of work, I would go outside to smoke a cigarette to release the stress and tension,” Johnson, who recently moved to Seattle from Chelsea, explains. “We decided that I would go to the gym after work to get that same release, but through exercise.”
The day after his first session, Johnson signed up for membership at Planet Fitness, and he’s worked out pretty much every day since (vacation and sick days excluded). After a total of three hypnotism sessions, the finance manager lost 15 pounds in the first four months alone.
But having your subconscious informed of your workout plans won’t have you running marathons overnight, experts say.
“Some people associate exercise with work, and that’s the last thing you want to do after an eight-hour day,” explains Eli Bliliuos, founder of NYC-based New York Hypnosis Institute. “They don’t focus on the fact that when they finish exercising, they feel really good.
“We can reprogram the subconscious to focus on those good feelings so that they begin to associate working out with something positive.”
After the first session, hypnotists supply their clients with a prerecorded CD containing a recording of a motivational hypnosis session that they can listen to at night to reinforce their personal mantras. Beloff also incorporates a visual aspect into her sessions, in which she places her client — still in the relaxed state — in front of a mirror to picture what they’ll look like if they stick to their goals.
“Elena helped me visualize a slim body, very toned and kind of ripped,” Gluhova remembers. “Suddenly, I realized that I was going to the gym more regularly and enjoying it more, and soon my body started to change and resemble what I had envisioned.”
After just three hourlong sessions in 2014 (for which Beloff charges $200 each), Gluhova was able to stick to a three-workouts-a-week schedule and has shed 13 pounds in the past year (combined with a healthier diet — Beloff helped to curb her sugar cravings as well).
Her trim figure also gave her a boost of confidence in her social life: She wed her husband, Bill, earlier this year. Though no degree is needed to become a hypnotist — Beloff and Bliliuos are certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists, which requires two semesters of hypnotherapy training in addition to practical hours in the field — it’s a method that’s rooted in psychology.
“Psychotherapy came out of the hypnotic tradition,” explains Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist and visiting scholar at Columbia University. “[Sigmund] Freud was a lousy hypnotist. That’s why he moved to the talking cure.”
But Margaux R., a 35-year-old fashion p.r. executive from Murray Hill, who declined to give her last name for professional reasons, says that hypnosis helped her achieve what nutritionists and trainers couldn’t — quieting her anxious mind. After seeing Alexandra Janelli of Manhattan’s Theta Spring Hypnosis, she lost 30 pounds in 18 months.
“All I know is that beforehand, 90 percent of my thoughts were about food, working out and my weight,” says Margaux. “But once I started going to hypnotherapy, that whole conversation stopped. I suddenly had so much more to think about.” Source: How hypnosis can help you shed those extra pounds | New York Post