Weight-Loss Surgery Without the Surgery?

During the past couple of weeks, there's been a flurry of excitement surrounding my stance against weight-loss surgery. Basically, I'm against it. But what if you could reap the benefits of having WLS without ever entering an operating room?

Rena Greenberg, a nationally certified hypnotist and author of The Right Weigh: Six Steps to Permanent Weight Loss and The Craving Cure, has developed gastric bypass hypnosis surgery. Yes, you read right -- she uses hypnosis to make you think you have had the surgery. The kicker is that it seems to produce results similar to actual gastric bypass surgery.

Greenberg holds a degree in biopsychology and is also a board-certified biofeedback therapist. Her credentials sound really impressive, but there is only one thing that I need to know: Does it really work?

Through hypnosis, a person is made to believe they have had the surgery, so their stomach is now smaller (they think) and they must control their portions (they think), etc. The program is being touted as the no-risk, no-side-effect alternative to surgery. And it appears to work.

One successful patient recently told ABC-TV Action News: "I used to drink soda every day, but since Rena's hypnosis, soda is disgusting to me. I haven't had a soda since the gastric bypass hypnosis surgery. I'm eating healthier and I feel good. The whole experience has been amazing -- I even tasted the anesthesia! I listen to Rena's self-hypnosis CDs for reinforcement, and my eating habits have completely changed."

The program used to be available only in face-to-face visits, but it is now available on CD and comes with Greenberg's book The Right Weigh: Six Steps to Permanent Weight Loss and coupons for in-person hypnosis with Greenberg herself.

As I said on the radio show BariatricTV, I am not against help, per se. I advocate the use of therapy or meetings such as Overeaters Anonymous to help people with their weight problems. What I do not advocate is the use of pills such as fen-phen or surgery such as the Lap-Band or gastric bypass.

But if you could get the same results without surgery, that would be ideal. I don't know enough about this program yet to fully support it; in fact I am planning an interview with Greenberg to ask some obvious questions. For instance, because you believe you actually had the surgery, is that what you tell people when they ask about your weight loss?

As of now, though, I am giving it a very tentative thumbsup. I plan on following up and will keep you posted.

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