Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

Eating Disorders

by Debra Mittler CHt

Eating disorders are harmful eating habits that can get worse with time and without the best help. They can harm organs inside the body and, in severe cases, lead to death. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa; and bulimia nervosa. Some switch between the two. Anorexia and bulimia, usually affect females but the number of male anorexics is on the increase.

Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexics deprive themselves of food (and sometimes liquids), leading to weight loss and usually a variety of physical problems. Starving yourself on purpose, can devastate your body and life. Most anorexics have an obsessive fear of weight gain and being fat, although this is not always the case. Bulimia Nervosa? Bulimics eat large amounts of food all at once [bingeing] and then purging [fasting, vomiting, laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, over-exercise]. They may attempt to control weight but may not always fear weight gain. Some purge without binging, which is referred to as "purging disorder."

My Story

I struggled with anorexia for 23 years. I know first hand how it can limit and destroy ones life and what I did to help myself get well;

After a long twenty-three-year struggle I am now healthy and free. Anorexia is a serious physical and mental disorder that can be overcome with the right help. Each person is unique and special and must be treated in this way. What works for one, might not work for another.

From the ages of fourteen to thirty-two, I was in twenty hospitals and treatment centers looking and begging for someone to take this horrible and debilitating way of thinking and living away from me. I felt hopeless and discouraged and attempted to kill myself three times. I just wanted out. I couldn't seem to stop. Food and exercise consumed my every thought and action. I continued to get worse over the years, even after going through treatment centers and hospitals. I would gain weight, but eventually lose it when I left, because I never changed the destructive beliefs and concepts that were buried deep in my memory.

I was so empty and lonely inside that I thought the only way I could feel better was by starving and exercising. Everyone around me got frustrated because they didn't know what to do or how to help. To make the situation worse, they showed anger towards me. The things they said to me made me feel even worse about myself, and I would continue to starve and exercise to escape those feelings. It was a lose-lose situation all around.

When I became anorexic I got attention. It was negative but I was being recognized. I was starving for attention and got it. I also felt it protected me. Being so consumed with food and exercise, I didn't have to deal with anything else. There was no way I was going to give it up. It was something I had control over, and no one was going to take that control away from me. As time went on, the disease began to control me; I didn't control it anymore. It was a program running in my mind and controlling my life.

I felt I couldn't stop. I woke up at the same time every morning, ate the same foods at the same time every day, and had to keep moving to burn calories. I was a robot, existing and not living. I loved it because it was familiar and I didn't have to change, and I hated it because I felt lonely and depressed and didn't enjoy anything. It served a purpose, as it was both a positive and negative. By being sick, I was determined to stop the process of life. I didn't want to grow up, be an adult or be responsible for myself or my actions. I wanted someone to show me they loved me by taking care of me. Somewhere I got the message that if I was sick enough, then my family would pay attention to me and care about me. My subconscious found it appropriate to be sick as it confirmed a belief I held about myself.

Every time I took a step towards healing, something inside me would sabotage it and bring me right back to the anorexia. It was a powerful force that seemed impossible to stop. By doing my rituals of eating at certain times, certain foods in a certain way and exercising I kept myself busy so I didn't have to deal with anything else in life. I was so frightened of change that it seemed safer for me to stay the way I was, even if I was going to die. Starving and exercise became my friends, my comfort and my safety.

I had very low self-esteem and believed I was unworthy and undeserving of anything, especially food. I focused my attention on lack and limitation, and that's exactly what I got. I never felt like people liked me, and I didn't like myself. The more I focused on having no friends, the more I was alone. Food and exercise were my replacements for relationships. Living this way felt safer than dealing with people who treated me badly, anger and resentment.

Anorexia was my protection from the world. It kept my thoughts and physical energy occupied so I didn't have to think about or deal with anything else. I did it for so long that it became my identity and automatic way of life.

What was this program in my mental computer that controlled my every waking minute? The more engrained it was, the harder it was to change.

Almost a million dollars was spent on my treatment centers, hospital visits and therapy. In "treatment" I learned more ways to stay sick from the other patients. It did keep me alive, but when I left I went right back to the same way of living. I felt so alone in the world that I developed co-dependent relationships in which I looked for love, attention and someone to take care of me. I was looking for everything outside myself, not knowing that the answers were in me all along. I believed I was unworthy, ugly and stupid, and that I caused problems for everyone. I then manifested this. These thoughts and feelings were so deep-rooted in my subconscious mind that it wasn't until I started doing hypnotherapy and using the power of thought out of hypnosis that my life started to change.

I went to hypnosis school with the intention of becoming a hypnotherapist so I could help other people. Little did I know that I was there to help myself. It was my first experience with hypnosis. I saw how powerful it was, so I started using it for myself. I made hypnosis tapes focusing on the goals I wanted to achieve. I would put myself in a trance and listen to them. I also used meditation to help me get in touch with my inner wisdom, which had been blocked by my limiting beliefs. I finally found something that was helping me. I was learning how to reprogram my mind to think and act in a healthy way. I was learning new ways to help myself get well. I found ways that worked for me.

By thinking new thoughts that benefited me, doing self-hypnosis and visualization, and saying and thinking positive affirmations, I was becoming healthy and enjoying my life without the eating disorder. I discovered what I truly wanted for myself and took small steps to achieve it.

Through seeing and experiencing a healthy life in hypnosis, (allowing it to go deep in my subconscious) and speaking, thinking and acting in the way I wanted my life to be when I was in conscious awareness, I was slowly changing. It felt normal to practice the new behaviors. I began to eat more and exercise less. I did yoga, turning inward to the peace, love and intelligence inside me, instead of power walking for hours. I started eating pancakes and wholesome sandwiches, and much, much more. By continuously focusing on health, abundance and happiness, I was starting to slowly let go of the rituals and behaviors that kept me stuck, unhappy and depressed. I also received some regression sessions from Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas PhD. that helped me cut ties to negative programming that was still running in my memory.

At first it was hard work. I still had that inner voice trying to bring me back to exercise my doubts and worries away and not get fat, but I was determined to get better. I really wanted a chance to see what my life could be like with out the eating disorder. Even if I had to sit with a lot of anxiety and my heart racing, I did.

They say that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, and I was ready. I built great relationship with myself and with God. I did this by being present with me. Trusting in my inner wisdom to guide me. Any time I had to make a decision about circumstances in my life, I would take a deep breath, close my eyes, relax and go within. I started to trust my inner wisdom to guide me to being my true self. By doing this I became more confident in my ability to make decisions. I stopped looking for the answers on the outside and became happier and less resentful. I was slowly taking charge of my life.

Every day I put energy into reprogramming my thoughts and actions, changing them to one's that benefited me and helped me to achieve my goals of health, happiness, peace and love. I was guiding and directing my thoughts in a completely new way, being grateful for all that I have, and focusing on abundance instead of "scare-city." I was changing my inside, which eventually manifested on the outside. I was also open to guidance and receiving help from authors, spiritual teachers, and friends who I trusted. Books, CD's, seminars and conferences seemed to show up at the right time to help me along the way.

I was starting to get better physically, emotionally and spiritually. Dr. Shelley, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Terry Cole-Whittaker, Rev. Michael Beckwith, Joel Osteen, and Abraham and Ester Hicks have all kept me on my path of health, serenity and peace. I listen to their inspirational books on CD every chance I get. I put myself in trance to let their messages go even deeper into my subconscious. I listen and learn ways to apply their teachings to my own life.

I've changed my life and have healed myself. I'm learning what I like and don't like. I surround myself with people who lift me up instead of bring me down. I'm not so focused on food and weight anymore. I put my time and energy into being healthy, happy and at peace.

I'm aware of my negative self-talk. When I think, speak or act in a way that doesn't benefit me, I immediately change my thought or behavior to a positive action or affirmation. I focus my mind on what I want to achieve. I am connected to the love inside myself: "I am a bundle of love." I don't run to escape anymore. Instead, I stay, look life in the eye and say, "Let's get busy."

My thoughts control my reality. I can choose to entertain a thought or change it. I am responsible for everything that happens in my life. Before every meal, I thank God for giving me the food to nourish and feed my body, mind and spirit. In the past whenever I ate, I felt anxious and scared and would immediately have to exercise for hours so I wouldn't get fat. Now when I eat I feel good. I'm nourishing, feeding and loving myself.

As I take care of myself, I see my life changing in ways I never thought possible. I connect with people in a completely new way. I have more freedom than I could ever imagine. I love and appreciate the beautiful woman I was created me to be. I enjoy being still and feeling peace and love fill my heart and soul. I don't judge myself anymore. Instead, I say, "This is happening for a reason; what do I need to learn?"

I am grateful for everything in my life. Every experience I've had has made me who I am today. Everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to and continues to do so. There are times when I fall back (which really isn't falling back, it's just something else I need to learn), but I get right back up and do whatever is necessary to keep moving forward and having peace and love in my life. I get stronger and stronger every day as I share my love, talents and abilities with every person I come in contact with.

I am now a Certified Hypnotherapist who helps others find the strength, love and peace within themselves. We all have it; it just takes clearing away some blockages and limiting beliefs to experience it. I have found hypnosis, visualization and using the power of thought, words and action to be very powerful tools in helping me achieve my highest good.

How does someone get engrained in such harmful behaviors?

Know that eating disorders are "learned" emotional conditions that can be "unlearned."

An eating disorder attempts to mask underlying problems like low self-esteem, a need to control your environment while feeling out of control and as a way to cope with stress. People develop anorexia at any age, in any place and in any situation. An eating disorder can develop at any age, in any place and in any situation.

It's important to understand that an eating disorder is merely a symptom of an underlying problem. Eating disorders can have many causes but food is not one of them. The onset of the sufferer's eating disorder is typically triggered by one or more events in their life. An eating disorder can be understood by the following: Cause > Trigger > Symptom

The causes or underlying issues are different for every disordered person. The cause may be a traumatic event, possibly years before the eating disorder manifested. Examples of possible causes of an eating disorder include:

Sexual abuse or rape Physical violence Emotional abuse Divorce of parents Death of a loved one Serious illness in the family Peer pressure Surgery/ill health as a child Traumatic life-threatening event

These are only some of the possible causes and they are not applicable to all eating disorder sufferers.

The Control Cycle

Being out of control is the major feature of eating disorders. For some the feeling of lack of control is just concerned with eating and weight control. For others, it seems that everything in their life is out of control.

Here are a few basic components of the eating disorder. Environmental triggers, destructive thoughts that lead to destructive behaviors, high stress, ineffective coping behaviors, and destructive emotions.

Avoidance behavior is one of the most common rituals. Not eating is an obvious example of avoidance for the starver. The binge-purger avoids by eating to avoid, then purging to avoid feeling guilty.

Often avoidance becomes an entire lifestyle. The person will avoid anything that presents a conflict, anything that can cause pain. Overtime people who tend to avoid life's friction become passive, nonassertive persons, and this avoidance causes them to worry even more.

The cycle consists of first the situation that triggers worry, worry triggers stress and destructive emotions, the emotions add to the stress, and then the person spends time ineffectively coping with the problem which starts the cycle all over again.

The endless nature of the control cycle is what makes eating disorders so terrifying. When you are caught in the vicious cycle, you spend all your energy going around in circles. Life becomes a treadmill, and you live like a hamster running on a wheel going nowhere.

Is An Eating Disorder Like A Phobia?

A phobia is a "persistent, irrational fear of, and compelling desire to avoid an object or situation." The person with an eating disorder is also controlled by an irrational, overwhelming runaway fear... that of getting fat. If you ask a person with an eating disorder what they fear most in life, they would probably say, "getting fat, or gaining weight" even though "fat" may mean only one-half pound.

A phobic person avoids things that bring an unhealthy anxiety; likewise, the person with an eating disorder avoids things related to food that brings anxiety. These pervasive anxieties regularly intrude into the person's life.

Eating disorder and severe phobias fall into four categories; mental distortions, high stress levels, destructive emotions, and rituals (avoidance behaviors).

Worry and fear dominate daily thoughts. These thoughts involve statements such as the "what ifs," "shoulds," "never" and "always." The person is intensely worried about what other people think of them. Chronic worry leads to poor self-image as the person compulsively strives to behave "perfectly" to be loved.


If you've tried to change a habit, pattern or behavior with your conscious mind, you know how difficult it can be. Hypnosis makes it easy to change internal negative experiences to achieve positive outcomes in your life.

Habits, emotion and behavior live in our subconscious that dictates our life. These unconscious patterns may be so deep, that you don't even know they are there. If you have programs of lack, limitation, fear, unworthiness and destructive habits going, then those are the ones that are going to manifest. The thoughts from your subconscious create the world around you. In the relaxed state of hypnosis, you have direct access to the subconscious mind, allowing you to create the life you truly want. While in trance, your guard is down, logic, reason and willpower falls away and your inner wisdom is your guide.

Once you reprogram your beliefs and patterns at this deep level, you'll be amazed at how easily things start to flow in your life. When you are relaxed, taking charge of your thoughts and actions is easy. When hypnotized, you concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation and your mind opens to a whole new world of possibilities. The mind doesn't know the difference from what is real or imagined which allows you to create without limitations. Your new responses now become an automatic way of life. It is possible to assume full creative control of your health, your state of mind, and your sense of well-being making it easy to achieve your dreams and desires.

For more information visit: www.HypnosisisFreedom.com

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