When I was in high school, I would sometimes eat ice cream for breakfast. My parents would joke about how I would come down stairs in the morning, my eyes half-closed, and open the freezer, spoon in hand.
I always loved sweets.
Lucky for me I had a high metabolism as a teen and, as an adult, I married a man who loves to cook healthy meals. This helped curb my cravings considerably.
However, they were still there.
Now and then I would get a terrible craving for Ben and Jerry’s Mint Cookie or a cannoli from the bakery section of the market down the hill, or one of those little banana cream pies from Whole Foods. The craving wouldn’t go away until it was satisfied—no matter how many days I might hold out, the craving would always outlast my willpower. And if there were sweets in our home—left-over dessert from a dinner party, or gifts of chocolate at the holidays, they most certainly HAD to be eaten. There was also the run-of-the-mill indulging that took place—grabbing a candy bar now and then at the checkout stand, lingering in the cookie aisle after a stressful day at work. While I mostly kept myself in check, sweets were never far from my mind.
Notice that I’m writing all of this in the past tense? I can hardly believe it myself.
On the first day of our hypnosis training program, my instructor suggested that we make a list of issues we wanted to work on because we would be practicing on each other. I decided that having a healthy relationship with sweets would be my first issue. Two of my classmates worked with me on this. They didn’t do full sessions; they just practiced techniques we were learning. To be honest, I wasn’t really invested in the outcome.
About a week later it occurred to me that I hadn’t had any interest in sweets, but I didn’t make much of it. I figured it was because I was immersed in a new field of study and too excited and exhausted to think about anything else. I hardly ate much of anything. But then weeks went by, and months. I even bought candy to pass out at Halloween and had no desire for a single piece. The left-over candy sat around for quite some time until I finally brought it into work.
I developed a new kind of obsession with sweets. I was obsessed by how unobsessed I had become. I could walk by the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Palo Alto and know how good a piece of cheesecake would be, know that I could enjoy a slice . . . but that urgency wasn’t there—it was as if a curtain just came down on it.
It wasn’t a matter of willpower at all, either. I started testing myself—checking out all the candy bar wracks, walking by the ice cream section of the freezer aisle. Nothing tempted me. I could even enjoy a dessert when out to dinner for a friend’s birthday and still go right back to neutral mode.
“You don’t understand!” I said to my husband at least a couple times a week. It’s a GIFT!”
He started eyeing me suspiciously. “I didn’t think sweets were that big of a deal to you. Were you eating them in secret?”
“No. Well, maybe sometimes, but I thought about them ALL the time.”
I’ve finally calmed down about it and have accepted this gift. My attention still goes to sweets now and then, just out of habit, but the cravings are gone.
In addition to changing the way I eat, this was the first experience to convince me of how easy and effortlessly hypnosis works to make a permanent change.