Does Size Matter?

Are bigger packages better or not?

Bigger is better (or so I’ve heard), right?

Wrong! There’s an obvious problem with a big package, bigger packets of food make us eat more. Sorry – did you think I was writing about something else?

An increasing body of evidence is proving that our environmental factors affect our mindset and the way we overeat – making you eat and drink greater quantities than just through physiological or emotional hunger alone.

Weight-loss hypnotherapists have been aware of this happening for quite some time.

Simple things like how tall and slim your glasses are, how big the packet of food is that you’re holding, and how small your spoon and plates are, all affect the amount of compulsive eating you do.

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Smaller plate, smaller belly

Would you believe that if we take the average size of today’s dinner plates and compare them to the size of dinner plates from the 1950s, we would be looking at a size increase of around 45%. And to top that off, would you believe that over the last 60 years we’re looking at a similar percentage increase in the rate of obesity. Coincidence?

The reason behind all of this confusion is that we often use the size of the package to gauge what we think a ‘normal’ amount to eat is. The food industry is using this phenomenon to trick you into eating more of their product by increasing the size of their packaging. I know – I’ve worked in the industry, it’s and I’m sorry.

Creating a new ‘normal’

It’s the job of a skilled weight-loss hypnotherapist to address this issue by helping you to become much more aware of the many triggers surrounding you and then help you adjust the amount of food you eat by creating a new ‘normal’ for you.

One common suggestion used by many hypnotherapists is to have their clients use smaller plates, packets, jars, glasses and boxes and some clients instantly see up to a 20% decrease in food eaten.

So if you want the odds to be in your favour, I’d suggest that size DOES matter, and what you do with it also counts.

Here’s a healthy Takeaway

A brief selection of some simple mind tricks to help you get the FAT OFF.

  • Downsize all of your bowls, plates and dishes – even cutlery will help. You eat with your eyes first, so when you serve on smaller plates your mind often adjusts its ‘normal’ eating portions.
  • Serve salads and healthy meals on larger plates and the ‘cheat’ meals on smaller plates.
  • Drink water from a wider glass, you will drink more than you realise you’re drinking, and drink any calorific drinks from a tall slim glass. As an average people drink 25-30% more from a wider glass than a taller slim glass.
  • Put down the family sized packs of food, jars, boxes and tins. The bigger the package the more likely it is that you’ll eat more in one serving.

Happy, healthy eating,

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Mindset Coach

size, matters, food, diet, eating, overeating, comfort eating, comfort, hypnosis, hypnotherapy, hypnotherapist, weight, weightloss, fat, obesity


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Mind-over-platter-hack: Slow down, eat less

Research suggests that if you eat slower you tend to eat less. Why is that? Maybe it’s supposed to trick you into thinking you’ve eaten more than you actually have. Maybe the process allows your body to digest food a little faster.

Although quite effective for weight management, additional research* has proven how eating at different speeds results in even less over-eating.

The overweight participants in this study were given a lunch-time meal to eat, but were told to eat at different speeds: Normal eating rate; half the normal eating rate, and normal rate changing to half-normal eating rate.

The results showed that eating at half the normal rate affected men – who ate less – but not women. However, this changed when the meals were started at normal pace and then slowed down to half normal pace, with men and women showing significant appetite reduction.

In conclusion, the normal-slow pace of eating was proven much more effective than eating slowly all the time.

So to put this into practice, eat the first half of your next meal at a normal speed and then change to a slower gourmet style, where you enjoy and savour every mouthful (try pretending to be a Master-Chef judge and note the colours, flavours and textures of all the food in your mouth).

*C.K. Martin, S.D. Anton, H. Walden, C. Arnett, F.L. Greenway and D.A. Williamson (2007) ‘Slower Eating Rate Reduces the Food Intake of Men, but not women: Implications for behavioural Weight Control’.

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Meditation vs Hypnosis

Meditation vs Hypnosis  *cue the ‘Rocky’ theme tune, trumpet fanfare… No, Stop it. There will be no unscheduled bout happening today.

“What’s the difference between meditation and hypnosis?”

Oh if I had a dollar for every time I have been asked this question. I lost count centuries ago. But it’s a fair question – none-the-less.

Meditation and hypnosis both require a focus of the mind – often (but not always) purposefully directed. I am skilled in using and administering hypnosis but less so with meditation, so the differences and explanations I mention here are my personal opinions. I welcome and encourage any meditative types to please comment if you feel I’ve missed anything.

Okay, I’m going to offer up two explanations. One very concise (for those with short attention spans – ps. I can help with that) and one a little more in-depth.

EXPLANATION ONE – the short version.

In hypnosis the focus is generally on the subconscious mind, and in understanding and reprogramming past negative learned thoughts, reactions and behaviours as well as teaching the subconscious how to ascertain a certain level of physiological control of the body.

In hypnosis you enter into very deep concentrative states, sometimes very rapidly, where you are able to replace bad habits and negative thought patterns from the past with positive, inspiring thought models for the future.

In hypnosis, the process is often administered (hopefully) by a skilled operator, especially in therapeutic interventions. This has led to the notion of being ‘mind controlled’ and has meant that hypnosis has attracted bad press which has placed a huge obstacle in the path of those trying to bring hypnosis and it’s therapeutic efficacy to the mainstream. However, ‘guided visualisation’ seem to be perfectly acceptable – as long as the word ‘hypnosis’ isn’t used.

In meditation the focus is on the present moment, your heart and your soul. The main focus of attention is on ‘here and now’. In the ‘now’ in meditation you are supposed to feel expanded and connected with one another and everything, in a state of calm peace. It is the flow of love, the giving and receiving of love that lies at the heart of meditation.

In meditation I have often heard of a more spiritual base of development, quite aside from religious prayer – where you decide what you need and you do all the talking to some higher entity. Meditation in a way detaches oneself from the heart and soul and allows them both to do all the talking while you listen quietly.

I hope that cleared things up… I’ll await those comments from the meditative bunch.


EXPLANATION TWO – the extended version

What is hypnosis?

Is hypnosis a ‘state of deep relaxation’? Perhaps – but not always so. Hypnosis can be relaxed (therapeutically speaking), but really it’s any state of mind that makes us more: dissociated, focussed and suggestible.

When people are experiencing a horribly traumatic experience, they become immediately and infinitely more suggestible. I’ve worked with people who were so traumatized that, even years later, they still respond to environmental ‘post-hypnotic suggestions’ (from less than a minute of traumatic experience) which take them right back to the original trauma.

For instance, a war-weary veteran whose heart pounds every time he hears a car backfiring, or a driver who feels anxious whenever she passes the corner where she had that accident. This is pure hypnotic phenomenon, but it’s not relaxation at all.

And what’s more, all emotions are, to a greater or lesser extent, hypnotic.

Emotional hypnosis

That’s right – emotion is hypnotic. Ever been in lust? Love? A rage? Think about how focussed and suggestible (and disassociated) you become in these states.

Anger is very hypnotic – it focusses our attention and makes us suggestible. And, of course, depression is a trance-like focus. All these states are hypnotic, which is why they are so amenable to hypnotic treatment.

Anyone who can make you more emotional will also be making you more suggestible. When cults (or politicians) want to influence people’s belief systems, they will try to raise the emotional pitch. And such charismatic people are naturally more hypnotic.

Really, all therapists use hypnosis to some degree (even if they are ignorant of this). If a counsellor asks you to direct your attention to a recent break-up or the pain of your childhood, they are encouraging disassociation from the here and now (which can be a feature of hypnotic trance). And the state of flow, or being ‘in the zone’, is also very focussing and therefore shares similarities with relaxed therapeutic hypnosis.

So my point is, hypnosis isn’t ‘just a state of relaxation’ as you might read on a million hypnotherapists’ advertising blurbs. It’s actually much more interesting than that.

Meditation v. hypnosis

Just like hypnosis, I can see how meditation may have great benefits, but similarly it could also have drawbacks if used unwisely. I’m thinking here of the case of the woman who meditated up to 12 hours a day and began to find she could no longer cope with some of life’s practicalities.

It’s not always a question of ‘more is better’; sometimes more is just more and may even be harmful. Taking a hundred painkillers is most certainly not better than taking one, some would argue that taking none is even better.

Hypnosis, used purposefully, will generally have a very specific psychological (and therefore behavioural) aim. We hypnotize people to help them engage in the kinds of thoughts, feelings, and actions that will stop them being depressed or drinking heavily or being traumatized or phobic. We use hypnosis to help them switch off pain or maximize their motivation in sports.

Meditation may have the effect of making us much calmer day-to-day, but may not be intentionally directed to stop someone smoking or to treat a specific phobia.

Likewise, clinical hypnosis isn’t generally used with the sole intention of helping someone achieve an ’empty’ mind or objective ‘mindfulness’.

So one difference between hypnosis and meditation is for what purpose they are used.

Ultimately, asking what the difference is between hypnosis and meditation is a little like asking what the difference is between alcohol and wine.

Meditation’ and ‘hypnosis’ are just words and could sometimes mean exactly the same thing. Some hypnotic states could be more like quiet meditative states, and I’m sure some people who meditate experience profoundly hypnotic imagery sometimes.

Hypnosis and meditation can both make you happier

I have seen the judicious use of hypnosis change lives by helping people rid themselves of unwanted patterns of thought and emotional chaos. And there is also some research that regular meditation or self-hypnosis can make us happier.

I use hypnosis to help people detach from destructive emotions and calmly begin to see wider and happier possibilities (for example – feeling calmer around spiders). One meditation technique, that of ‘mindfulness’, seeks the same result as the person meditating seeks to name his or her feelings whilst not disentangling themselves from them. In this way, meditation can help people.

Hypnosis used therapeutically will often focus on helping someone relax around memories of the past or prepare to feel better and act differently in the future. Meditation, as I understand it, is often an attempt to be absolutely in the present. But again, people in hypnosis will often report feeling totally focussed in the now.

So the question, “What is the difference between hypnosis and meditation?” is simple, but the answer is a little more in-depth.

I see great benefits from both modalities. If you have any views – please ‘enlighten’ me.

Richard Scott
Mindset Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist