It’s not just what you’re eating, but what’s eating you.
In 1999, Todd Goodwin got his Master’s degree in Nutrition and Health Promotion. He quickly realized that even the best weight loss advice (at the conscious level) rarely leads to long-term behavior changes. Why? Many doctors and dietitians pay more attention to the eating habits (symptoms) than to the feelings that cause them. With this knowledge, Todd opened Goodwin Hypnosis in 2007 (it used to be called the Miami Hypnosis Center) so he could change the way emotions affect behavior.
Dietitians and nutritionists may spend their whole careers trying to help people make diet and behavior changes, only to be disappointed by results that don’t last or don’t happen at all. It’s possible to change how the subconscious creates emotions and actions, but health care practitioners aren’t trained to do that. Medical professionals serve their patients’ best interests when they stick to their expertise and let us handle the subconscious mind.
*Testimonials by former clients of Todd or Gina Goodwin are true and factual. Goodwin Hypnosis, its officers, and personnel, do not imply or claim that these comments represent typical results. Results vary depending on age, gender, lifestyle, motivation, and individual commitment to achieve a desired result. These clients voluntarily offered their feedback and were not compensated in any way. Each comment is the opinion of one person at a specific time and should be considered only in that context.
Frequently Asked Questions
The subconscious mind, which is irrational and focused on the short term, creates emotions that drive behavior. Emotionally compulsive actions, like eating comfort food or eating too much, can provide short-term pleasure or temporary relief from discomfort. Even if you want to stop this behavior, your subconscious “need” to avoid discomfort or find pleasure usually wins. Because the subconscious is very powerful, willpower is usually unable to change habits. That’s why trying to change behavior on a conscious level (dieting) is like fighting an uphill battle. We don’t tell you what to eat, but we can help you release the emotional baggage that makes healthy eating a struggle.
We believe the old saying, “It’s not just what you’re eating, but what’s eating you.” In other words, when something you’re thinking (usually subconsciously) makes you feel bad, you eat to feel better. Once you change the thoughts and feelings that cause unhealthy eating habits, changing your behavior without willpower becomes much easier. Hypnosis can’t “make” you lose weight, but it can make it easier to change the actions that affect your weight. When you think better, you feel better, and when you feel better, you can do better.
The short answer is yes. Our work focuses on reducing emotional pain and the coping behaviors it causes, not on the amount of weight itself. Still, most people who are morbidly obese have been dealing with unresolved trauma for a long time. This is not true for the average person who wants to lose a few pounds and tone up. Since helping people recover from trauma is what we do best, we look to make the biggest difference, no matter how much someone weighs. Once their thoughts and feelings have improved, most people change their habits easily, and then they begin to lose weight.
Read this story of a client whose obesity was caused by emotional trauma
Unwanted emotional and behavioral habits are learned responses to learned beliefs and perceptions. This means that all of them can be unlearned. One cause that is often forgotten is emotional trauma. Todd Goodwin describes an overweight client whose eating problems he solved by focusing on the trauma and not the behavior. Visit this page to read a client case study about how sexual abuse can lead to obesity.
“You may have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you.” I could recount numerous such client examples. A few years ago, a physician I know referred Jane, a 60-year-old woman who had been overweight for years and was in an unfulfilling marriage of 30 years. She had tried to lose weight many times but could not maintain healthy eating habits. She would eat well until an hour after dinner, when the mounting stress from her day, often triggered by interactions with her husband, would prompt her to consume a glass of wine with cheese and crackers, or whatever else was available. The occasional cheese, crackers, or glass of wine is unlikely to prevent successful weight loss, but with consistency, it will. In fact, one glass of wine a day can generate more than 10 pounds of body fat in one year.
Jane realized that her relationship with her husband tended to trigger stress eating that would temporarily comfort her. During one of our sessions, we focused on the emotion of frustration or anger towards her husband, and the feeling triggered a memory from when she was seven years old. She recalled perceiving that her father favored her brothers and didn’t love her, even if she understood intellectually that he did love her. All that matters is that she had come to believe, as a result of this and other experiences, that her father did not love her, and so she never felt loved by him. Growing up while feeling rejected by a parent can cause a lack of self-worth that can produce chronic stress or anxiety. If our self-worth is conditional upon others’ approval or love, we will be more vulnerable to emotional or behavioral problems (symptoms).
Because Jane’s emotional “hunger” was due to her feeling unloved by her now deceased father, it could not be satisfied by food. During the session in which she remembered that childhood experience, we subconsciously modified the memory of her interaction with her father, reframed her childhood feelings, gave new meaning to the emotional distance she would feel from him while growing up, and used her imagination to bring self-acceptance and a new understanding of her father through subsequent memories. While we obviously couldn’t change what had happened in the past, we did change her perception of what had happened, and that’s all that mattered.
Every traumatic memory that can be consciously accessed can be modified using one’s imagination. Doing so with Jane immediately changed her feelings. As she opened her eyes, she began to explain to me through her tears, “I now truly feel, for the first time in my life, that my father loved me.” This process took about 30 minutes. I suspected that her belief (whether accurate or not) that her father did not love her, and the supporting memories, acted as the thorn in her side that had been irritating her for decades. If this were true, then removing the thorn would alleviate the emotional itch, and her “need” to scratch (emotional eating) would disappear.
Sure enough, when Jane came back the following week, she reported feeling much calmer around her husband, her stress eating had disappeared, and she didn’t drink any wine. After a few additional sessions to reinforce self-confidence and healthy habits, she eventually shed more than 30 pounds with little need for willpower. Imagine how different her life might have been if she done this type of work 30 years earlier.”
Take the first step toward recovery
If you think that emotional trauma is the cause of your weight problems or poor eating habits, you may be able to work with us privately, which is the fastest and most effective way we can help you.