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  • Natalie Bristowe

Hypnotherapy and Body Confidence

I have just come out of running a 3 Day Hypnosis Training with my amazing Coaching Partner Pam (Pam Reid Performance Coaching).

It has been an incredible journey, where our students experienced significant changes in their thinking, and their behaviours - such as their relationship with their body and food, overcoming bad habits like emotional eating, increasing their confidence in performance when it comes to sport...just to name a few!

To see their shifts is just incredible, and reinforces our ability to create positive change within a matter of moments rather than an expectation that because we have had a problem for such a long time, it will take years to change it.

I often talk about my experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - as the catalyst that led me onto this path of becoming a Coach and now a Trainer in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Time Line Therapy® and Hypnotherapy. But these techniques have helped me overcome so much more than just that...Another challenge I was faced with over a significant proportion of my life was around body image.

It isn't something I now talk about as much, perhaps it makes me feel so much more vulnerable, but having shared my story during the training - it came to my attention that this problem is so prevalent and resonates with so many and I felt it would maybe be worth sharing how I have been able to use hypnosis to overcome this problem.

I had a terrible relationship with my body for years - early teens to my late 20's and honestly there are still days now where that inner critic creeps in, however - I now have the tools to challenge the critic and change my thoughts. But in the peak of this highly critical relationship between me and my self talk, it left me with incredibly low self confidence and low self esteem.

I grew up with really bad body image, I was a little chubby as a child - and when I hit puberty I had a growth spurt, and stretched out and naturally lost a bit of weight…I received all sorts of comments - ‘wow you look great’, 'you have lost so much weight - how did you do it?' - and the story I assigned to that was - 'Oh I didn’t look good before'. I began to attach my self worth to how I looked - creating a belief that the thinner I am, the more popular I will be…the more friends I will have. People will like me more, be attracted to me, and want to be my friend. The thinner I am, the happier I will be…etc.

This in hindsight- is exactly what led to my disordered eating. Resulting in me losing a huge amount of weight, not eating enough, not nourishing my body, stopping my period, and in fact losing my friends…I was so wrapped up and consumed in how I looked and not eating, celebrating when my weight would decrease, my jeans felt looser, or I could tighten my belt by a hole...

This is what I believe led to my huge amount of gut issues, low body confidence and a pretty challenging time growing up - judging myself, with highly critical self talk. Feeling this internal conflict between wanting to have fun and letting go of control, but if I did I would gain weight, get fat...even writing this I am kind of thinking - 'and what?!' - what is so terrible about gaining a couple of pounds, but at the time, that fear was real, it would ruin my life...

The funny thing is, that even at my lowest weight I still hated my body. No amount of weight loss was going to achieve that happiness or fulfilment I desired. On reflection, I have learned that it is never the 'thing' that brings that sense of fulfilment - whether that is the weight loss, the new car, the new hand bag or job - it is what that 'thing' will provide us with - how it will make us feel, what will be different in our lives, what is the impact of having that thing!? I realised I was seeking a feeling of self-love, confidence, happiness. And by doing the work, I have learned that there are other, far more resourceful and healthy ways of achieving this same outcome, without causing harm and pain to my body...

How Hypnotherapy has changed my relationship with my body:

With a combination of Hypnosis, supporting the work I have done with NLP and Time Line Therapy® - I have been able to reprogram and rewire my mind by integrating empowering and positive suggestions at the unconscious level. When I say Unconscious Mind - this is the part of us where our behaviours and habits are formed, where our memories and emotions are kept, where our beliefs and values are stored.

Hypnosis opens up the channel and line of communication to the Unconscious Mind. By getting into a state of deep relaxation, the unconscious mind uncritically accepts new and empowering suggestions, allowing for the transformation and change of limiting beliefs, emotions, behaviours and habits. I have been able to change my beliefs around my body, my relationship with food, my values around my health in order to support me in my behaviour.

How I wanted to change my relationship with my body and food was to live through a belief that 'When I feel strong and healthy I feel happy' - and I feel strong and healthy when I move my body, spend time outside, and nourish and fuel my body.

The suggestions I have integrated are ‘I choose to move and nourish my body so that I can be the strongest, happiest and healthiest version of myself' - This drives my behaviors, my decisions and the action that I take - allowing me to feel happier, more confident and healthier in my body.

I have reprogrammed my mind to have a positive body image. I consistently use self-hypnosis integrating powerful and positive suggestions that change my internal state, internal representation and relationship with myself and my body.

For me this has been life changing, my mind was once consumed with what felt like 24/7 with negative, highly critical and abusive thoughts about my body - damaging and destructing my confidence, self love and self esteem.. Having done the work, I now have the space and capacity and a belief system which means I can enjoy being present, enjoy delicious food, enjoy having interesting conversations rather than constantly comparing myself, judging myself and drowning in negativity.

Hypnotherapy works, it has had a significant contribution towards my happiness and it is my purpose to share all my learnings, tools and techniques with you. If you are interested in hearing more about how Hypnosis can help you, Book in your FREE Discovery Call.

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