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Man wants to know if imagery can speed up his metabolism and help him lose weight.

22 Aug
A man looking to achieve a healthy weight and better muscle tone wants to know if listening to imagery can speed up his metabolism, curb his cravings and motivate him to exercise consistently..
BR,

In addition to speeding up my metabolism and curbing my cravings, I also need help with staying motivated to exercise. Will the weight loss CD help me with being consistent in exercising?

Daniel



Dear Daniel,

It will help, but it''s no silver bullet. Sorry!

Some people have lost a lot of weight with this imagery, often in conjunction with a behavioral program. But some don''t. Certainly for most people, the tape won''t make it happen automatically - you have to be involved - mind, body and spirit, as they say.

So it''s still going to have to be you getting your gym shoes on and getting out there, even though the imagery can and probably will help you feel more motivated to do so.

It can also make you feel less interested in eating unhealthy foods. Several people have reported that their usual delight in fatty food was gone, and instead, it felt unpleasant and greasy on their tongues. They''d never noticed that before using the imagery. But that takes paying attention - eating consciously.

Others became much more aware of sensations of fullness, because the imagery encourages much greater body awareness. But again, you have to be willing to notice.

It definitely has a track record for decreasing the impulse to eat compulsively, out of anxiety, because it''s a very calming and empowering experience for most people. But if you suffer from a lot of anxiety, you can''t expect to become a calm person after listening just once or twice - this is a kind of "therapeutic brainwashing" that cumulatively reprograms your thinking and attitude with repeated use. You get better and better able to "self-regulate" over time - i.e., soothe yourself quickly and easily when you get anxious, with internal images. It won''t eliminate anxiety - just give you the tools to handle it when it shows up.

Many people spend weeks listening once a day to this imagery before they feel ready to start losing weight in earnest. Then they get on board with a behavioral program that suits them, and the imagery fuels the desire and willingness to stay with it. That''s a great use for this imagery - part of a whole toolbox.

The imagery helps with self esteem and in reducing depression, too. That''s what we hear the most... even from severely obese people who still might have trouble losing weight (it''s harder to do - a different kind of metabolic issue, once you''ve reached a critical mass of weight), but find themselves more confident, energized and loving toward themselves.

But when all is said and done, it''s still you who will need to shift some of your behaviors, attitudes and habits; you''ll be the one who will have to make good use of the hope, energy and esteem that''s been kicked loose.

In fact, what we found when working with a women''s weight loss group for a 20/20 segment years ago was that the imagery did help with all of that. But perversely, some of the participants who were doing well with it just got the urge to sabotage their progress and wanted to stop listening - I believe that was after about 3-4 months, once a day (probably something called the "saturation effect" was taking place - you get sick of listening - along with some psychological resistance to the weight loss). They had to force themselves to continue listening daily (and probably only because they were being taped for national TV and they knew they''d be busted on tape!). Interestingly, when they forced themselves to listen, it continued to help them. So again, the tape helps, but you have to stay on top of your own inner sabotageur!

I hope this answers your question. Good luck!

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award