Public Health England has warned that middle-aged people in England face a health crisis because of unhealthy lifestyles, with desk jobs, fast food and the daily grind taking their toll.
PHE says eight in every 10 people aged 40-60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise and it wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017, making a pledge to get fit.
Many people no longer recognise what a healthy body weight looks like, say the officials – and obesity, which greatly increases the risk of diabetes, is increasingly considered normal, the BBC’s Radio 4 reported.
Clinical hypnotherapy, however, can make a difference to people’s lifestyles and the National Council for Hypnotherapy, with more than 1,800 therapists across the UK, is ideally placed to allow people to make that change.
The national body says: “Managing weight loss is one of the most effective results of hypnotherapy. Rather than just reducing calories that you are likely to put on again in the longer term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat.
“If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then a hypnotherapist can help you understand why and help you create new healthy self-management techniques.”
The PHE website and app has a quiz that gives users a health score based on their lifestyle habits by asking questions like ‘Which snacks do you eat in a normal day?’ and ‘How much exercise do you get every day?’.
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said the questions were simple, but the results are revealing. He added: “The quiz will help anyone who wants to take a few minutes to take stock and find out quickly where they can take a little action to make a big difference to their health.”
More than a million people have taken the quiz so far, he added.
The campaign’s clinical adviser, Prof Muir Gray, said it was about trying to make people have a different attitude to an ‘environmental problem’ and, he told Radio 4: “Modern life is dramatically different to even 30 years ago. People now drive to work and sit at work.”
As well as stopping compulsive eating, hypnosis can increase your motivation for exercise, advises the NCH.
“It can also help you reduce portion sizes so you lose weight healthily, steadily and for the long term. Losing weight with hypnosis is essentially about teaching you to feel good about yourself, whatever size you are. It focuses on making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle that will remain with you for the rest of your life.”
Prof Grey added: “By taking action in mid-life, you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes – which is a preventable condition – and you can also reduce your risk of dementia and disability and, being a burden to your family.”
The PHE said the UK’s ‘sandwich generation’ of people caring for children and ageing parents do not take enough time to look after themselves, adding that people are living longer, but are in poorer health due to storing up problems as they age.
The NCH says habits such as overeating or smoking are the most common bad behaviours or unwanted habits that people have, adding that there are many other behaviours that affect people’s lives, make them unhappy or cause a risk to their health and the health of those around them.
“The good news is that you are in control, you can change how you react to certain situations, and you can protect yourself in ways that are healthy and which allow you succeed and grow stronger in body and mind. You just need to know how to change it, and to believe you can,” the NCH added. “The reason why hypnotherapy works so rapidly with bad habits and behaviours is because it works directly with your subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made that support your goals quickly and efficiently.”