When interviewing a prospective hypnosis client, a weight loss candidate, she commented on she noticed that some of her friends were able to eat large amounts of food, yet remain thin. Her statements included “It seems like when Emma eats; I’m the one who gains weight!” I also heard her self-criticism, “I am big-boned.” “I carry my cargo up front.” or “Our whole family is built that way.”
Many times we do attribute these occurrences to our genetics. When we are earnestly trying to lose weight and failing, again and again, we may have a sneaking suspicion that we are playing against a stacked deck and we may be right. While it does seem that obesity often does run in families, do you wonder if your DNA also has an effect on your weight? It may appear that it does.
But take into consideration the article, “Changing Our DNA through Mind Control” published by Scientific America in December 2014; it suggested that the expression of our DNA could essentially be modified by our mind.
When calorie consumption is in balance, we maintain a healthy supply of fat that is available when we need it. This extra energy reserve helps us survive longer periods of fasting—like when food is scarce or when we do not have a chance to eat. Fat stores are especially important during illness: they nourish our cells and provide the immune system with energy to fight off infections when we are too sick to eat.
However, when we routinely eat more calories than we need, our bodies get out of balance. Fat stores build up, leading to obesity and related health problems. All of our body’s functions do have a useful purpose – including fat storage. However, for most of us today, food is plentiful, activity is low, and the very mechanism that helped our ancestors to thrive is ill-suited for our living conditions. The very survival mechanism that was once was an evolutionary advantage now needs a bit of an adjustment.
Our genetic inheritance is not a permanently fixed kaleidoscope of selected DNA that was passed on from our ancestors. The expression of a DNA pattern can be actually altered to accommodate modern conditions. But how do we change our genetic imprint?
In an experiment by Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of “The Biology of Belief,” DNA from a single cell was placed into a petri dish. The cell until was divided into thousands of identical cells, and then set into three different dishes. He handled the culture medium (environment) differently in each one. In one dish, the cells became bone, in another muscle, and in the third fat!
Dr. Lipton’s experiment validates that the DNA inside the cell’s nucleus requires something outside of itself to tell it which genes to trigger. The DNA is the “blueprint,” not the actual structure. The structure is regulated by cell protein, and the cell develops its shape only after gene selection is created. Chemical elements make the selection. Molecular attachments secure themselves to the DNA strand acting as a marker to indicate which genes will be silenced and which will be expressed.
Dr. Lipton’s experiment verified that it is the chemical environment, not only the genetic code that determines the cell’s destiny. With each cell holding a capacity of about thirty thousand variations, our cells are quite capable of readjusting to new conditions.
And what regulates the chemical environment of our bodies? Everything from the food we eat, the air we breathe and, pointedly, the chemicals released by our brains – including those elicited by our emotions!
Our brain sends and receives chemical signals, according to our perceptions, through our nervous system. The nervous system, in turn, adjusts automatically to this environment secreting hormones through our bloodstream that eventually reach the nucleus of the cell – where our DNA is located. What this means to us is that the trillions of cells in our body, heavily influenced by our brain, can regenerate in a different, and possibly more favorable, environment depending on how you view and experience the world!
It is believed that molecular attachments to DNA can be added or subtracted into adulthood. Mental and physical input initiates chemical signals that travel from cell to cell, activate our DNA into endless interchanging of diverse combinations. Scientists have acknowledged that some imprinted tags slip through the reprogramming process, being passed down from one generation to the next.
Episodic observations seem to support this hypothesis. It has long been recognized that obese mothers have a higher risk of producing obese children. However, it is noteworthy to mention that mothers who lose weight reduce their children’s risk of obesity. A plausible explanation for this can be found in the field of “behavioral studies.”
Behavioral studies have taken this one step further to acknowledge that tags produced by the mental and emotional states of our ancestors may be passed through the DNA reprogramming process of early development. From this view, if traumatic experiences in adulthood activate attachments that fixed themselves to our grandmother’s DNA, then we may have inherited the same tags to our DNA.
The good news? Better environmental conditions can dispose of an unfavorable molecular attachment inherited from a previous generation. If an epigenome is incongruent with its current environment, it detaches. That is right. It just goes away. If this point enters, the never-ending debate as to which is the most important, nature or nurture – in this case, nurture wins! A change in perceptions can ignite feelings producing chemical emissions that, ultimately, create an environment for the release of those tags that do not reverberate with that change. It may either prompt activation of genomes in our DNA that were previously silenced, or silence those that were active.
It makes no difference whether we create a negative or positive environment, our DNA it will actuate according to the directions it is given. The principle works either way.
Rather than blaming our DNA, work with it. Our genetic potential is more significant than you think. Because our DNA is influenced by the chemistry of our body and our body chemistry by our mind, scientists now believe the power of our mind can alter the way our body responds right down to the cell level.
So, if the mind has such a powerful effect on brain chemistry and cell development, then why is it that practicing affirmations and keeping a positive attitude has such a small impact on physiological or behavioral change?
This is because most affirmations and positive thinking disciplines are practiced in the conscious mind. To make a necessary change, you need to engage the overriding, creative, controlling, operative part of our mind. The part of our mind that automatically keeps our body working in harmony. That keeps our heart beating. That keeps our digestive and fluid systems working. That lets you breathe without thinking. The part of the mind that compels the healing process. And that regulates our body’s chemistry. The subconscious.
Our subconscious dominates approximately 88% of our mind. It operates under the radar of our awareness and cannot be “convinced” through logical argument. Our subconscious holds our deepest beliefs, core values, memories, experiences, habits, and emotions. And it’s the beliefs held in this part of our mind that need to be revised if you want to obtain permanent or profound change. If 88% of you believe that you will always be fat, then the 12% of our conscious mind that declares you can be thin is just outgunned. The subconscious mind also generates our automatic responses. That is why you can tell yourself not to blush, but you still blush (much to our embarrassment.) Therefore, to make a substantial change in our behavior and automatic responses, you will need to negotiate with our subconscious mind on its terms.
This is how hypnosis helps countless numbers of people to lose weight every year. Hypnosis accesses the habits, beliefs, emotions and the automatic responses retained in the subconscious mind. Hypnosis allows you to gain entry to this part of our mind so you can then communicate with it in a way that the subconscious can understand. The subconscious mind comprehends a specific language. Emotion, experience, and imagination – the language of the subconscious mind – is directed toward the desired outcome during the hypnosis session. As the subconscious accepts a hypnotic suggestion, it scans its vast gallery of resources to focus them toward our desired goal. In the case of weight loss, as hypnotic suggestion takes effect, the subconscious will begin to support our decision for healthy eating by increasing our attraction to light and nutritionally dense foods; by prompting hunger and appetite satiation signals appropriately; by reducing cravings; and by making junk food less alluring.
Hypnosis instills good habits, too, like getting proper amounts of exercise and rest; increasing consumption of water; eating slowly and consciously, and becoming free of stress and self-sabotaging behaviors. In addition, of course, a change in our mental and physical habits stimulates change in our brain chemistry – that fascinating environmental precursor to epigenetic attachment and DNA activation. It is important to note that our thoughts, actions, perceptions, and habits all have an impact on brain and body chemistry. Weight issues are complex. No single component that regulates how our body gains or loses weight. But many of the factors that control weight loss can be induced while in hypnosis.
Notice that I mentioned “habits” – an essential component of successful weight loss! I cannot overstate this: a healthy lifestyle is crucial for permanent weight loss! Successful weight loss is not about going on diets. Although many people lose weight on diets, they are not successful in that most people (about 95% in fact) gain it all back and some after the diet is over! The only successful weight loss is the one that you get to keep forever.
To effectively change our body’s ability to lose weight, you must change our relationship with eating and exercise. Then and only then can you establish thin habits that become automatic for you. As our body and weight conform to a new set point, the same attitudes and habits that helped you to take it off will help you to keep it off for a lifetime. Our subconscious mind continues working for you because now our core beliefs, habits and perceptions are different. Our automatic reactions are different. Our associations with food are different. Our mind no longer connects a compelling expectation to those old sources of unwanted behavior and, consequently, our brain’s responses to them wane away. Our subconscious mind no longer incites those unhealthy desires and compulsions.
Food, exercise, medications and many other factors affecting the chemical environment of our DNA do, of course, have an impact on cell development. However, do not underestimate the power of our emotions and attitudes. Perceptions, emotions and automatic responses are all registered as brain chemicals, and those chemicals affect the way our DNA is expressed and on how our body performs. Stress, for example, has long been recognized as a prime suspect when addressing weight fluctuation issues.
Hypnosis works with you by persuading our subconscious mind to accept new habits, beliefs, attitudes and automatic responses. New perceptions are established as our self-image, attitude and disposition shift in concurrence. These new positive perceptions are reflected in the brain through chemical emissions and, consequently, in the DNA – where molecular attachment and genetic expression adjust for a new and better version of you.
Changing our eating and exercise habits is a vital mainstay of any healthy weight loss program. However, it appears that science is now validating an awareness long known in many circles: that a change in our mental body prompts correspondence in our physical body. It is worth considering that perhaps by allowing a perceptual shift to take place in our subconscious mind, you create a new chemical environment for our DNA. And that new environment may very well be a catalyst for the promotion of long-term weight loss.
So are you stuck with our parents’ and grandparents’ genetic predisposition? Like a hand-me-down dress, if you like it “as is” then keep wearing it that way. But if you want a better fit, or would prefer a slightly different design, then just a few minor alterations can get you a whole new look!