Sometimes in the course of my working day, I get to support someone who I really, really care about.
Recently, I was in a position to help my sister, Julie, with a challenging problem.
Now, working with people that you know really well is absolutely great in one way, as you get to see results and stay close to the whole process from start to finish. It’s also pretty nerve-wracking though, as they get to see how you work, and won’t hold back from criticism if they feel that you are going about things the wrong way!
So, when Julie first approached me to see if I could help her, I felt a mixture of emotions. On the one hand, I was really pleased that she felt comfortable enough with me to ask for my support, but I also had reservations about working with someone whom I was so close to on a personal level, as we were going to share some challenges and I needed to make sure that my relationship with my sister remained completely professional and therapeutic throughout the process.
How hypothyroidism led to Julie’s low self-esteem
Julie has suffered with an underactive thyroid for a number of years. For those of you unfamiliar with this condition, it can take a real toll on its victims. The thyroid plays a critical role in regulating our energy levels, body temperature, weight and overall wellbeing. An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, means that the tiny thyroid gland located in the neck, doesn’t produce enough of the right hormones to keep us running at optimum.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can include a real feeling of tiredness, weight gain, and a general feeling of depression and being ‘run down’ all the time. While the condition doesn’t usually have any long-term health impact, it’s important to get it diagnosed and treated quickly so that the sufferer can regain their sense of wellbeing, get their energy back and start to feel right again.
When it’s diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be controlled by taking thyroxine, the hormone that is being under-produced. The problem is, even when the person starts to replace the missing hormone, some of the longer-term effects of the underactive thyroid can be harder to address.
Tackling the deep-seated preconceptions preventing change
For Julie, even when she was on thyroxine and was starting to feel better, there were still some key issues that were reducing her quality of life and undermining her confidence. The imbalance had resulted in her gaining six stone in excess weight, and she felt constantly aware of this weight increase, feeling down about it and blaming her underactive thyroid for reducing her confidence and happiness with her body image.
I agreed to support and motivate Julie through a combination of hypnosis and coaching.
The first thing we did together was re-frame her view of the underactive thyroid. No matter how much of an impact the condition had had on Julie, I couldn’t allow her to place all of the blame for her weight gain on the condition, as I knew that she could then use the condition as an excuse not to make any positive changes. It’s important for each person to take full responsibility for their current situation, as this will give them the strength and motivation to change, knowing that they are in absolute control of the outcome.
The power of hypnotic visualisation
From there, Julie and I started to work together for a series of hypnosis sessions. We used a lot of hypnotic visualisation to present an alternative outcome for Julie – a future where she felt bright, confident and happy with her body image, and really motivated to become the person she felt she deserved to be once again. I planted a lot of suggestions in her mind, including letting go of the excuse that her hypothyroidism was solely responsible for her weight gain. I worked with her consistently to make sure that she felt comfortable and ready to increase her physical activity in positive ways, at the same time as making more sensible choices about her eating habits and cutting out many of the foods that she had previously turned to for comfort, or eating them in moderation in favour of more healthy options.
Often, Julie wasn’t even aware that I was planting suggestion. I’d leave subliminal suggestions while she was under hypnosis, and before she knew it her weight started to drop. The beauty of this approach was that Julie never felt pressurised to go on a diet or join a gym – simply by making some gentle changes to her lifestyle which fit easily in to her daily routine, she got to see some really great results. The more weight loss she saw taking place, the more motivated she became to stick to some of the positive changes and really make the effort to transform her weight. This led quickly to increased confidence and self-belief as she saw what she was capable of achieving.
Mind over matter
The sessions with my sister really demonstrated the power of mind over matter. By letting go of the deep-seated resentment she felt about her thyroid condition, and taking responsibility for making positive long-term changes, Julie was able to reach her desired goal with a minimum of effort. She’s now at a perfect weight for her body size, and enjoying the physical and emotional benefits that come along with that transformation – increased energy and a real sense of achievement, coupled with an increased confidence as a result of her incredible achievement.
Sometimes, we need to challenge some of our underlying attitudes about how we are, and understand that we have all the power, resources, motivation and capability right now within ourselves, to become the person we have always dreamed of being. Hypnosis can help people by questioning some of our deep-seated reasons for not embracing positive change, challenging our approach and letting us access the wealth of internal resources, strength and determination we all have to achieve our goals.
It goes without saying that I am now a very proud brother!
Julie has now lost six stone in weight, and is looking fantastic.