I bumped into my old friend, Diane, the other day. I hadn’t seen her in ages, and she looked great – in fact, she had lost several stone in weight.
I asked her what diet she had followed. None, she said, she’d been to see a hypnotherapist as a last resort after starting and failing almost every weight-loss programme and diet around.
Under hypnosis, Diane discovered that her fixation with foods – and it was always the ‘comfort’ foods of cakes, buns and biscuits – was associated with an upsetting incident that happened at her grandparents’ home when she was just five years old.
The grandmother suspected her husband of having an affair, and the two were having a blazing row in front of little Diane. She was too young to understand what they were saying, but she certainly picked up on the hostility and tension in the air.
She busied herself by eating the cakes on the table, pretending she was so absorbed by the food that she was not aware of the row that was happening around her. She also hoped that the cake might have magical powers of invisibility.
Only when the association was clear to her did her craving for comfort foods end. Whenever she reached out for a cake, Diane was five-years-old again and she was back in that room. The cake and biscuit represented a solace, a screen that protected her from everything nasty in the world.
Diane couldn’t understand what was going on with her grandparents. Instead, she was left with a lasting impression of something nasty that stayed with her, and made her a little more afraid of the world. This happens to most of us – and eventually all those little hurts and upsets build in us until we become time-heavy.