Research: Self-hypnosis may help decrease your appetite.


Self-hypnosis is shown to assist with decreasing appetite.  

Brother and woman hungry in a selfie

Brother and woman hungry in a selfie

Nearly every dieter is looking for assistance in losing weight.  One possible means to help is to reduce your appetite.  Many supplements and prescription drugs claim to magically reduce your weight through an increased metabolism or reducing your hunger.  Most have terrible side effects that make them less attractive for use by those that could best use their help.  A treatment that is devoid of side effects would be perfect for those that are of the highest risk of side effects such as people with diabetes and hypertensive patients.  

One such treatment is hypnosis.  A recent study, published in Obesity, looked at the usefulness of the rapid‐induction techniques of hypnosis as an adjunctive weight‐loss treatment[1].  This study was a randomized controlled trial that evaluated whether self‐conditioning techniques such as self‐hypnosis added to lifestyle interventions can contribute to weight loss, changes in metabolic and inflammatory variables, and quality of life improvement in severe obesity.  The researchers enrolled 120 patients in the study (60 in the control arm and 60 in the intervention arm).   The subjects were individuals with BMI = 35‐50 kg/m2 without comorbidities.  All subjects (control and invention) received exercise and behavioral recommendations and individualized diets.  The intervention arm also received three hypnosis sessions during which self‐hypnosis was taught in an attempt to increase self‐control before eating.  The researchers recorded measured diet, exercise, satiety, quality of life, anthropometric measurements, and blood tests at enrollment and at one year (trial end).  The results revealed no difference in final weight between the two groups but those in the invention arm that practice hypnosis at home obtained both more weight loss and had a significantly lower level of satiety and lower calorie intake.  When hypnosis was utilized at home, patients did achieve a higher level of weight loss.  

The bottom line:  Although self‐hypnosis was not associated with differences in weight change, it was associated with improved satiety.  Those that used it as home habitually did obtain a higher level fo weight loss and ate fewer calories.  


S. Bo et al., “Effects of Self-Conditioning Techniques (Self-Hypnosis) in Promoting Weight Loss in Patients with Severe Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” O, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 1422–1429, Sep. 2018 [Online]. Available: 10.1002/oby.22262″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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