I don’t know why it is so hard to see ourselves accurately, but it is. Studies show that even people with the most accurate physical self-image pictures have a lag of weeks or months when they start to change shape. That means that those of us who have the most precise view of what their body looks like, still see themselves as they appeared weeks or even months before, while they gain or lose weight. This phenomenon is called “residual body image.”
For the rest of us, the gap between actual body shape change and the image that we see in the mirror is dramatically different. Instead of weeks or months before our residual body image begins to shift, we may struggle ever to see the change in ourselves. We get a picture in our heads, and no amount of evidence to the contrary is going to change that image. It’s pretty harmless in cases of small discrepancies, but it can be life-threatening if the difference between what you feel and reality is big enough.
Interestingly, this happens in both directions. Certain bodybuilders struggle to recognize their limits and go to extreme lengths in order to achieve the desired gains, jeopardizing their well-being through risky workout regimens, the use of drugs, chemicals, pills, and injections. Some people refer to this as “bigorexia.” Of course, it can happen the other way, where someone can look in a mirror and see fat where there is none to be seen by anyone else. Throughout the past few decades, our understanding of anorexia has significantly advanced, revealing an alarming surge in cases. However, this is merely a reflection of the vast number of individuals who have been silently battling this condition, remaining unnoticed and neglected.
These body-dysmorphic mismatches aren’t our fault. Nobody sets out down this path deliberately, but our minds and our environment conspire to make even the most accurately minded person have doubts. Statistics show that for roughly one-quarter of the worst of these cases, the condition becomes fatal.
Hypnosis can aid in breaking the cycles that contribute to body-dysmorphia.
First, hypnosis aids in providing relaxation, providing a chance to “disconnect” from the problems and stresses of the day. Hypnosis can create an environment of complete control. In a trance, the client can create an environment where every element is to their liking and is subject to their every command.
Through the power of hypnosis, scenarios can be “rehearsed” in a safe and non-threatening manner, allowing individuals to pause, stop, observe from a distance, or even simulate on someone else, thus facilitating changes in eating habits. By engaging in repeated and safe rehearsals, clients can gradually become less affected by real triggers and adopt healthier behaviors. This approach allows them to experiment without any risk or need to step out of the room.
In hypnosis, a phenomenon called “trance logic” allows the client to make connections and draw conclusions that might otherwise elude them.
Body dysmorphia is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, so let’s chat and see if I can help.
I have certifications in the following areas from the American Hypnosis Association:
- Sleep Issues
- Trauma Recovery
- Pain Management
- Weight Loss
- Sports Performance
See my “Credentials” page for more details.