Rena Greenberg, an author and hypnotist, spent decades offering group hypnosis sessions at hospitals throughout Hillsborough County for people wanting to lose weight or quit smoking.
Greenberg, who has an office in Bradenton, said the latest craze in weight-loss hypnosis is “Gastric Bypass Hypnosis Surgery.”
“With gastric bypass hypnosis, I’m guiding the person through an experience, but they have no actual surgery,” she said. “They walk away feeling like their stomachs are smaller. In the end, the result is the same. They eat healthier foods, smaller portions and lose weight.”
Greenberg, the director of Wellness Seminars Inc., said she heard about other experts using clinical hypnosis to replicate the effects of surgical gastric banding in Europe. Greenberg said she is the first to bring the concept to the United States.
“It’s so exciting,” she said. “It really took off.”
Her program even includes a follow-up hypnosis session to “tighten the gastric band” if needed.
Greenberg continues to have a strong following of people who attended her group hypnosis sessions and wellness seminars at locations including University Community and Tampa General hospitals, Centurion Hospital of Carrollwood and Brandon Regional Medical Center.
“What I’m doing mostly nowadays is working with people one-on-one with private sessions,” she said. “Times have changed. It’s more what people are wanting. They are not wanting to come out to the seminars. I have a good following in the Tampa Bay area because I’ve been doing these programs here for 24 years.”
Greenberg said she has talked to doctors and other health professionals who have noticed not as many people want to attend health seminars in person. She does, however, get requests for private groups such as churches, a small group of friends or corporate sessions.
Greenberg has a lose weight blog, places videos on YouTube and continually updates her website, EasyWillPower.com.
She has worked with clients now from all over the world including Africa and India. But she finds people who are overweight or obese share many of the same mental blocks.
“I noticed people who struggle with their weight are too hard on themselves,” she said, adding many clients focus on their failures instead of building on success. “I tell people weight loss is a side benefit. It’s about taking your life back and learning to love and care and respect yourself and not letting your emotions control your life.”
Greenberg said hypnosis gives people a “new inner conversation.” She has had a lot of clients tell her that her voice becomes their new inner voice.
For people who have broken their New Year resolution to lose weight, she offers some advice.
“Never give up,” Greenberg said. “Every step you make, you are getting one step closer to the goal. A lot of people who struggle with their weight have black and white thinking. They are on a diet or off a diet. They are good or bad. I try to encourage people to realize we are on a journey.”
Instead of giving up, she suggests evaluating what happened and adjusting future choices.
“So you ate the box of cookies,” she said. “What happened? Is it that you didn’t plan ahead or are you not facing emotions? It’s a way of looking at it as, ‘How can I make the changes long term so I have a healthy relationship with food?’ ”
For more information on Greenberg, call (800) 848-2822.