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I lost 25 kilos with a virtual gastric band

Source: That's life magazine - thatslife.com.au

Find out how Julie lost weight through hypnosis!

Julie Bruce, 41

Crisp white sheets lay over my body as I was wheeled into surgery. I listened nervously as the doctor explained what was about to happen. Suddenly his voice and the clatter of surgical equipment faded into the background as I went under... I was in hospital having a gastric band fitted but believe it or not, there weren't going to be any bandages, wounds or stitches when I woke up. Confused?

Let me explain. Ever since I can remember I've been stuck in a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. Skipping breakfast and lunch, I'd head home later with my stomach growling. By that stage, I was so overcome by hunger, I'd end up scoffing everything in sight. Instead of consuming three healthy meals, I splurged once a day on a single massive dinner. It was usually a mixture of creamy pastas, sweet biscuits, sandwiches and sugary soft drinks.  

Real Life Story: When I was fat, I felt like I was losing myself

Despite weighing only 70 kilos, I always felt sluggish. But when I fell pregnant, everything spiralled out of control. I craved every sweet treat and assumed once the baby arrived I'd lose the bulge. I was wrong. By the time I'd had my daughter Naomi, now 18, then my son Matthew five years later, my body had ballooned to 100 kilos. That's not to say I didn't try to trim down. I drank meal replacement shakes, counted calories and cut out carbs, but with two kids to look after, I could never stick to a regime.

My lovely husband, Peter, helped but even with his support I couldn't keep up. Slumping on the lounge, I was so ashamed of my 164cm, size 22 frame. Then, in 2001 I lost my Dad. Sadly he could no longer fight his deteriorating health. As my world crumbled, I sought solace in food. Nine years later, my sister Joanne passed away suddenly too. Heartbroken, I watched her four devastated children say goodbye to their mum. Tears filled my eyes as a terrifying reality dawned on me. What if I never got to see my kids grow up?

Health: Ten mistakes we all make

Looking down at my dress, it was bulging at the seams. In that moment I realised every extra kilo that I gained was potentially deadly. I had to change my lifestyle. But I'd failed so many times, I didn't know where to begin. One night I was watching TV when I saw a story on a man who'd lost 70 kilos through hypnosis. Intrigued, I listened as he explained how his mind had been tricked into thinking he'd had a gastric band. I was amazed. It sounded too good to be true! Could it really work?

Jumping online, I was thrilled to see the treatment was on offer in Australia. Desperate to shift the weight, I tentatively booked five sessions with a hypnotherapist in Melbourne called Liz Hogon for $650. In August last year, I went to my first appointment. Although I was nervous and didn't know what to expect, I was hopeful I'd finally found the key to a new, healthier life. Sitting in the chair, I closed my eyes as Liz used positive affirmations to get me ready for the 'surgery'. I felt so relaxed as I listened to her soft voice. 'You have the power to change your life,' she whispered.

A week later it was time to have my 'gastric band' fitted. So I returned to Liz's office and sat in the chair, but this time I propped my legs up, like I was in a hospital bed. Liz gave me a golf ball to hold, explaining that when I woke up my mind would believe my stomach was the same size. I closed my eyes as I was transported from her office to a hospital. The smell of disinfectant filled the room and the doctor's voice faded away as he got to work. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery. Touching my stomach I could feel a tightening sensation where the 'gastric band' had been fitted.

 How to beat the Yo-Yo Diet

Suddenly I snapped back to reality. I wasn't in hospital at all. I was actually in an office! It felt like I'd been asleep for about five minutes but when Liz explained I'd been under hypnosis for an hour I was amazed. I felt a little sick but she assured me this was a side effect and would pass soon. By the time I got home that night, the effects were already taking place. At dinner, I sat down to tuck into my normal serving of fish and vegetables. But rather than gorging myself until it was all gone, halfway through the meal a satisfied, full feeling came over me. I couldn't believe it!

From that day forward, I swapped my normal dinner plate for a smaller sized dish and if I ate more than what was on it, I would feel sick. The results began to show and I lost a kilo every week, which gave me the motivation I needed to keep going. Inspired by my dwindling waist, my family embraced healthier meals too. We ate porridge for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch and stir-fry for dinner. I even had the energy to pull on my sneakers and go for a walk.

It's like my mind had been programmed not to give up. By the time I had my third hypnosis session six weeks later, I'd lost 15 kilos! Proud to flaunt my fabulous figure, I slipped on a new size- 14 outfit for Naomi's debutante ball. Everyone was blown away. I kept focused by listening to the hypnosis tracks every night. With my headphones on, I could stay motivated even while I was asleep.

Find out more about (Lap) Band Camp

Nine months on I've lost a total of 25 kilos and feel fitter than ever. I'm not going to miss any more precious moments with my kids. Although I've still got a little way to go, I know it won't be long before I reach my goal. After my virtual surgery, rest assured the old Julie is never coming back.

HOW DOES HYPNOSIS WORK?

- The term hypnosis originates from the Greek word hypnos, meaning 'sleep'.

- Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about a feeling of deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, known as a trance.

- While in this condition, your attention is so focused that anything going on around you is temporarily blocked out. This means you're able to focus on specific thoughts or tasks which are brought to your attention by a professional hypnotist.

- In addition to weight loss, hypnosis can also help deal with other issues, like phobias, sleep disorders, stress, anxiety and quitting smoking.