Ditched the diet already? It's time to psyche up to shape up
Losing weight is all in the mind -- and you need to have a plan of action, writes Deirdre Reynolds
Look into my eyes: you do not want that chocolate biscuit. Turning to hypnosis to beat the digestives may seem a little drastic -- but if your new year's resolution to lose weight has already gone by the wayside, it could be your only hope.
January after January, most of us vow to undo the havoc wreaked on our waistline over the festive season of excess. Yet according to research, 97% of us will have thrown willpower to the wind by next weekend --and spend the rest of 2011 getting fatter, not fitter.
With almost one-in-four people here now classed as obese, however, the annual resolve to go from couch potato to gym bunny has never been more important.
So if by now you've ditched the diet and forgone the gym, here's a chance for a do-over.
And this time -- if you want to leave Groundhog Day dieting behind for good -- before you shape up, psyche up, says John Lark of Sphere Fitness in Kildare.
"Never set a new year's resolution to lose weight -- ever," says personal trainer John. "They're as bad as a fad diet.
"Year in, year out, thousands of people join gyms and go on diets without having really thought about why they're doing it -- so they end up making the same promise to shape up the following January.
"Before embarking on any new fitness regime, it's vital to set a goal and have a plan. Ask yourself what you're going to do today to achieve your goal. Ultimately, if someone really wants to lose weight, they have to stop making excuses and just do it. It's all about attitude."
But can you really think yourself thin? Singer Lily Allen did just that -- dropping two dress sizes after undergoing hypnotherapy to curb her cravings.
"After the hypnotism, I want to go to the gym every day, otherwise I feel really bad," the 25-year-old said. "I've never been happier."
Now putting mind over fatter, fitness-phobes here are following suit to finally keep their new year's resolution.
"This is our busiest time of year," says hypnotherapist Katie Jane Goldin of The Paul Goldin Clinic in Dun Laoghaire. "People see the new year as a chance to wipe the slate clean. But bad habits are built up over a lifetime -- and aren't going to be fixed overnight.
"If you make a new year's resolution not to do something -- like stop eating chocolate -- the conscious mind is always going to push back. Someone who's stuck in a rut of coming home after work and sitting in front of the TV eating isn't suddenly going to snap out of that behaviour.
"Hypnotherapy works by reprogramming the subconscious mind," she explains.
"We completely change the way the person thinks about food so that they become more aware of why they're eating -- are they hungry or just bored? People usually come to us as a last resort, but we've seen some great results -- one client has lost 5st since last September."
When it comes to fighting the flab, it seems positive thinking could be just as important as pumping iron or counting calories.
"Under hypnosis, I'll ask clients to imagine how they want to look in six months' time," adds Ms Jane. "Once the mind knows what it feels like to be slimmer, then it gives them the confidence to actually achieve it."
It's a technique tried and tested by Oprah Winfrey in her long-standing tug of war with the weighing scales. The yo-yoing chat-show queen said she used The Law of Attraction to will herself a smaller frock for Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony.
"I created a vision board," she told. "I came home, I got me a board and put Barack Obama's picture on it and I put a picture of my dress I wanted to wear to the inauguration."
Meanwhile, celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin shirked convention to shed 1.5st -- by making his new year's resolution in the middle of the year.
"Last year, I vowed to lose some weight," he says. "But it bugs me how everyone says they'll get fit in January and then quits a few weeks later -- so I decided to start during summer instead.
"I promised myself that once I'd lost a bit of weight, I'd get into the gym. Then for Christmas, my wife bought me a gym membership."
Mum-of-two Jayne Glavin went one step further -- going on national television to win the war on her wobbly bits. Tipping the scales at nearly 16st, viewers watched her break down as she revealed her reasons for taking part in RTÉ health series Operation Transformation.
"Going on the show has been the kick up the backside I needed," says Jayne (30) from Newbridge, who aims to wriggle into a size 12 by the end of the series. "I've lost 6.5lbs in the first week.
"Before going on Operation Transformation, I never even told anyone my weight -- now the whole country knows! The second I started filling out the application form, I felt lighter already.
"After the army challenge, I wanted to quit," she admits, "but the pressure of the weigh-in is keeping me going. So many people have sent me cards and Facebook messages to wish me well or say that they're in the same boat -- so I can't let them down."
OK, let's try that countdown one more time -- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . Happy New You!