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Foolproof and pleasurable way to avoid unhealthy food

By on September 20, 2014

There’s a clever tool in NLP called a ‘compulsion blowout’. The idea is to overexpose a pleasurable but unhealthy stimulus to the point where it loses its attraction. It’s great for compulsions to eat unhealthy food such as double McMac Burgers and large fries.

One variation of this technique that we use with weight loss clients is to ask them to imagine eating their favorite food. This may sound counterintuitive; the idea is that the brain and body can only take so much of anything. Go beyond that point and the brain overloads. Usually this is done by increasing ‘visual submodalities’.

If you want to experience this for yourself, imagine some food that you like (but don’t care if you lose the desire for it), donuts perhaps. Please don’t do this exercise unless you have good self control as increasing sub modalities may initially make the food more attractive!

See a picture of a donut in your mind’s eye. Now make that picture 10% bigger, then 10% bigger still, then bigger, and bigger, and bigger,… At some point you may find your attraction to the food disappears.

In our variation we use the compulsion blowout based on the gustatory and olfactory senses (taste and smell). Imagine that food again, imagine a huge plate of donuts in front of you. Now imagine eating a nice juicy jelly filled donut, really taste the sweet jelly, mouthful by mouthful. Now move on, maybe a double-chocolate donut… Taste the sweet taste of the chocolate, mouthful by mouthful. Continue with a french custard donut… and on and on… donut after donut… until your body and mind says, “No more!!!”

This can be a great pattern to use with your weight loss hypnosis clients. But is it supported by the research?

Thankfully the answer is now yes, based on research from BYU. The researchers lead by Ryan Elder and Jeff Larson asked volunteers to look at many pictures of either salty or sweet foods, then rank their enjoyment of those foods. The participants who had looked at pictures of sweet foods later enjoyed the salty foods more and vice versa. Looking at the pictures had reduced the enjoyment of the actual food.  Add to this the actual imagining of smelling and eating the food and you have a great technique to help your hypnosis weight loss clients.

Here’s a link to a review of the research:

New research out of BYU finds that looking at too many pictures of food can actually make it less enjoyable to eat. Via

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