Understanding weight-gain and weight-loss

Understanding weigh-gain will help you on your journey to weight-loss. Knowledge is power.


1. It is your natural instinct that makes you eat sugar and carbohydrates in huge amounts. It is related to our biology.

2. We were taught to eat when we are distressed. We eat hopping that it will fulfil our emotional needs of connection and safety.

3. Food industry puts sugar and salt in most foods so they can be kept on shelves for a long time.

5. Sugar changes your brain chemistry so you no longer know when you are really hungry, damages your brain and is addictive.

4. When we eat industrial food, we lose our natural palate and heathy food seems less tasty.

6. Doing exercise is not going to make you thinner but will make you healthier and happier.

7. It is not genetic; it is a habit learned in families (good news – you cannot change your genes but you can change your habits).

8. You can free yourself from the conditioning of the food industry and live a healthier life.

9. Hypnotherapy can help you with that.

The survival Instinct

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have much sugar and carbohydrates at their disposal but they had a very active life in searching for food and building shelters.

Your ancestor would spend hours and hours looking for food (in the woods, not in Tesco). He would be tired and hungry after a long time of searching. He is feeling desperate for food because he’s burnt most of what he last ate, maybe 24 hours ago. But then, something wonderful happens…

He found a supply of honey! All that energy in one hit! The sugar in that honey might just give them the energy to chase that deer so they can eat properly. That natural sugary snack, so high on the glycaemic index, has saved their life.

Yes, eating huge amounts of carbohydrates when we could grasp it (which was almost never back then) is part of human instinct.

Your survival instinct doesn’t care whether you look great on the beach or if your health is gradually vanishing.  It will have you looking for the fastest form of energy to get you racing after wildebeest (or, in modern life, settling back on the couch or at your desk).

In our culture, refined carbohydrates are at our disposal all the time. Sugary foods are all around us. Easy to pick up, easy to eat… we don’t even think about what we are doing – we just open the cupboard and there it is – a nice biscuit full of sugar. It became an everyday thing, not a treat we give to ourselves once in a while.

Confort food?

Many of us eat highly caloric foods in times of stress or sadness in an attempt to change our mood. We believe that eating provides comfort and improves low mood. We start to eat to feel better after the end of a relationship, to alleviate grief, to feel less sad, etc.

We don’t eat when we feel hungry – even when we have enough food in our stomach we continue to eat without thinking – as puppets guided by a strange force.

We learn to look for rapid solutions when our emotional needs are not fulfilled. Generally, these solutions are unhealthy and deceptive. For example, if we are bored, we really need to be giving and getting attention or to pursue greater meaning in our life or be challenged creatively. Eating is not going to make us less bored – it is going to make us ashamed, angry at ourselves and ill. If we need to feel safe, we need to search for the reasons we feel unsafe and change the situation. Eating is not going to protect us from an unsafe situation/feeling.

And we may have also forgotten that there are authentic ways of meeting the needs we are longing for.

We use food as an attempted solution to bad feelings so often that we have forgotten what real hunger, a real need to refuel, even feels like.

The problem is not eating to feel better – the problem is what we eat and when. Weight-gain and weight-loss are a consequence of this.


You are not the perpetrator – you are the victim

No, it is not a matter of ‘calories in and calories out’. We’ve been indoctrinated to believe the presupposition:

“if you are going eat it, it is better you burn it or you are going to store it”

Scientists have discovered that this hypothesis is wrong. Let’s see if we can look at it in another way. What about:

 “If you eat something that changes your brain (and liver), you are going to feel as if you did not eat enough and you are going to need more food”?

No, you are not overweight because you eat too much. You are overweight because you eat certain types of food that change the chemistry of your brain or are not adequate for your body type.

What happened is that about 40 years ago fructose and sucrose were introduced in the food industry to enhance the food taste, disguise the amount of added salt, and preserve food so it can be shelved and exported. We have it everywhere – in beverages, burgers, pretzels, ketchup, pre-made food…, and baby food!!!

We have an epidemy of obese 6-months olds around the world!!! How do you explain this? A ‘normal’ baby only eats when they are hungry. We are giving our babies food with an abnormal quantity of sugar (just read the labels).

The consumption of fructose prior to WWII was 15 to 24 gr/day. It is now 55 gr/day for adults and 73 gr/day for adolescents.

Research at the California Universit proved that Sugar and Ethanol are the same things to your liver. How do we make alcohol? Fermenting sugars. Your liver deals with fructose and saccharose the same way it deals with alcohol. And gets the same problems when it is consumed in excess.

You are not going to give your kid a beer or a bottle of wine – but you easily give them a can or two of coke. Fructose is ethanol without the buzz.

You may think that fructose is natural, and must be good. Well, tobacco is natural, alcohol is natural, poison mushrooms are natural…

Another big problem is that the food industry took the fibre out of food. Our ancestors would eat 100 to 300 gr of fibre per day. Now we eat 12g. Why? Makes food easy to shelf, easy to cook, and more appellative for the eyes.

When God made the poison, he also made the antidote. Wherever in nature there is fructose there is also fibre. Have you tried to eat sugar cane? It’s impossible due to the amount of fibre.

That’s why fruit is good for you – the sugar is complemented by fibre. And the fibre makes all the difference. It optimizes the function of the friendly bacteria in the gut, increases feelings of fullness, reduces the impact of fructose, and prevents spikes in blood sugar. It helps you to lose weight in many ways.

The reality is that we had our food supply contaminated, and tainted, … by the addiction to fructose and the removal of fibre. And that made us fat, lethargic, and ill.

How do added sugars damage your brain?

You don’t know when to stop – There is a signal in your brain that tells you when you have enough. It signalises to the prefrontal cortex that you are done, finished – I don’t need to eat anymore. Its name is Leptin. The consumption of sucrose and fructose produces a series of reactions in your liver. These reactions interfere with insulin sensitivity and confuse the Leptin receptors in your brain. This means that the signal telling you had enough food, the sensation that you are done, the finish is missing. You are not able to feel satisfied and you think you are still hungry. When you eat fructose, you are not able to know when you need to stop eating.

You get addicted – When you eat sweet foods, dopamine is released in your brain – it is the chemical that tells you – “this is good”. This fires the reward system and reinforces your behaviour. This means that you are going to repeat this action again. We learn by repetition. Repeated activation of the reward system by eating sugar is going to train your brain to want more and more because the brain adapts to frequent stimulation and becomes tolerant to the stimulus. This means you are going to need more and more stimulus to get the same reward. So, the more you eat sweet foods and drinks, the more you are going to crave them. Just like any other addiction.

You are not thinking properly – Your prefrontal cortex is involved in decision making, impulse control and delaying gratification. Research shows that sweet foods shut down your inhibitory neurons and you will be less able to make decisions and control your behaviour.

Your memory is affected – Sugar also disturbs your hippocampus – the memory centre. Less new neurons are formed and inflammation increases. Your mental capacity is going to diminish, it’s going to be more difficult to learn at school or work.  Your brain is going to shrink.  You will become less able to remember… Dementia is lurking.

Sugar affects your mood. Brain imagery showed that the ability to process emotions is inhibited when there is elevated blood sugar. Sugar was also linked to depression. This means you eat when you are in a low mood and you get even worse a couple of hours later. Again, a vicious circle.

What does exercise to do with weight-loss? Not what you would expect

Does it burn calories? Oh yes, 20 min of jogging is one chocolate chip cookie. One BigMac and you’ve got to run your bike for ten hours. It is not possible to balance the number of calories you eat only with exercise – you will burn out before you get any real effect. But exercise is good for other several reasons.

It improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity

Reduces stress, and resultant cortisol release makes your appetite go down.

Improves liver sensitivity to insulin – detoxifies fructose.  

Is it genetic?

In the last 30 years, we as humans are 25 pounds fatter than we were before. Our genetic composition did not change in 30 years, that’s for sure. But our environment has greatly changed.  

Researchers have found that emotional eating is:

  • not genetic, but learned (from studies of identical twins)[2], and
  • often learned in childhood. [3]

There are studies showing that the earlier you expose kids to sweets, the more they are going to crave it in the future. There are studies3 showing that the more sugar you eat when you are pregnant the more it gets across the placenta and causes developmental programming changing the kid’s brain cells even before they are born.

Every time parents give ice cream to their children when they fall over, stuff them with biscuits when they didn’t get that party invite, or otherwise smother their body with calories when they feel emotional distress – they are “training” the children. Parents who use comfort food are conditioning their children to use food to feel better. And this can persist into adulthood.


What can be learned can also be unlearned

If we trained our brains to follow a certain pattern, we can train our brains to follow another, better, pattern. And we learn new patterns through imagination and repetition.

You are not fat. Being fat is a result of long-term training in a society dominated by profit. You can be overweight for now, but that is not who you are. It is just a pattern, a habit, something you do without thinking because it became familiar and conditioned by the environment where we live. We are being poisoned but we have the power to change things – by changing you change the world. Let’s see what you can do:


Decide what is really important for you

Is watching Netflix for hours more important than your health? How many hours do you spend watching TV or on social media and how many minutes do you spend cooking nice, healthy food? Have you ever realized how the balance is unfair to yourself?

Yes, I know, I am there too. While looking at those screens you forget your own life and for an hour or two, you are distracted, entertained, living other people’s lives.

But avoiding thinking about your own life doesn’t solve your problems. Usually increases your problems.

Put some music on, wear a sexy apron, rehearse some dance steps and start cooking. Find ways of enjoying yourself while you cook. It is not necessary to make a receipt to win the Master Chef. It can be very simple but include good oils, fresh vegetables, fruit, etc. It is half an hour of your day, half an hour! And I can assure you – it is much more important than winning the Master Chef.

And caution – cooking is not to put pre-made food in the microwave or in the oven. It is to choose the ingredients carefully and cook from scratch.


Your decision against their profit

The way to go is to pay attention to what you eat. Every time you crave something unhealthy you will … not find it because you did not buy it last time you went to the supermarket.

Yes, it is in the supermarket that you need to be stronger.

The conning and manipulative food industry are trying to take advantage of you when you feel stressed and vulnerable. All they want is to fool you with all those packs of ready-to-eat food full of fructose.

Fast food is not only in McDonald’s or Fish and Chips …. Fast food includes all the pre-made food you find ready to eat in the supermarket.

The profit the food industry makes is enormous – profit for them, lost for you.

Everywhere you go you need to be alert – you know they are trying it on you. The more you eat bad food the more they profit. They are going to try anything to attract you. Pictures of healthy, tasty food, promises of heaven in the package, and hell in front of the mirror.

And, you know, when we have the habit of eating fast food, we start to lose the ability to enjoy good, healthy food. It tastes less intensely because fast food is full of sugar and salt and other substances that numb your taste sense – it is like any other addiction. You need more and more sugar, more and more salt, just to feel the taste of food.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by advertising.

What do you prefer – your healthy recipes or hospital food?  

Gaining independence from the tyranny of compulsion isn’t a diet, it’s part of the process of becoming more fully human.


Genuinely meet your needs

We might fill our time with empty experiences in order to feel ‘full’. But unless these experiences genuinely meet our needs for connection to others, for a sense of greater meaning and purpose, for intimacy or challenge, or for feeling safe and secure, then we will be left feeling ‘empty’. We are not fulfilling one or more of our emotional needs and we may desperately try to fill this emptiness any way we can. And in our culture, this is easily done through food.

A sense of “I need something!” conducts us to the fridge like somnambulists.

You can find the pattern by finding the triggers.

Is there a link between your mood and the visits to the kitchen? Your emotions and your weight? When, where, how?

When you discover what tends to trigger emotional eating, be it fear, exhaustion, loneliness, feelings of rejection, anger, or anything else, then you can find the real need that isn’t being met. Your emotions are a guide to what is lacking in your life. When your innate emotional needs have been met you feel satisfaction, love, and enjoyment. If they are not met you feel fear, anger, and despair.

You need to be clear about this so you can develop strategies to create the kind of life that genuinely meets those needs. In this way, the filling-a-gap behaviour stops and can start to naturally be discarded.


Deal with the habit

You have been practising it for a long time! It all became a habit. You have the feeling of really wanting to go to the fridge, you get up, you open the door and you take the ice cream out and go back to the sofa and eat it. You did not need a lot of thought to do that. It was almost automatic. As automatic is the uncomfortable feeling afterwards of really wishing you hadn’t eaten it.

Every time you have a craving, stop for 10 minutes and observe yourself. Stop and breathe gently and deeply a couple of times (this makes your brain pass from emotional mode to rational mode).  Stop and ask yourself – is it food that I need right now? Am I really hungry? What can I do to feel better? Can I find healthier ways of getting what I actually need? What can I do right now instead of going to the fridge and eating?

Wait 10 to 15 minutes and see if you still want to eat. Most likely, not.

I know that this is not easy. Our habits and beliefs condition our behaviours in a very powerful way.

If you cannot change anything else, change this:

Do not eat sugary beverages – eliminate coke, sodas, and juices – just water and milk.

Eat your carbohydrates with fibre – whole grain bread, fruits, legumes, vegetables, etc

Wait 20 minutes for the second portions

Spend as much time doing some kind of physical activity as you spend on-screen.

Ex. one hour on-screen = one hour doing something physical – gardening, walking, football, tai chi, etc.



We will help you understand, accept and achieve your Emotional Needs.

We will also use hypnosis and self-hypnosis to disrupt the old patterns so they no longer run so easily in your brain. The automatic behaviour when you are craving food is going to disappear and new habits can be created.

We can also mentally rehearse, while you are deeply relaxed, ‘forgetting’ to emotionally eat, and engaging in healthier behaviours. And by healthier, I mean more likely to meet real needs for you.

You will become free. You will escape from the tyranny of the fast-food industry and from the condition of habit. Pretty soon you will stand up to them and find you can handle the pressures of life without being pushed around by the old unhealthy foods.

Imagine how it would be if you can get yourself into that nice pair of trousers or if you can move yourself and play with your children/grandchildren.

Imagine what your doctor is going to say when the results of your blood tests indicate you are getting healthier and healthier.

Sustainable weight-loss

I would like to invite you for an introductory session where we can discuss how this works, if this is the right approach for you and the wonderful possibilities this program entails. This can be face to face in Stroud or by Zoom anywhere in the world

Do you have questions? Feel free to contact me anytime.

When you email me, only me will read it. It comes directly to me and I will personally reply to you. You can be assured of the confidentiality and safety of the process. I will try and answer as soon as possible.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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Maria da Silva is an international Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist specialized in weight and emotional balance.

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