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Hawaii’s Relationship with Food

Food Is How We Love to Connect

As anyone that has tried to lose weigh can attest, there isn’t just one thing that will make a person successful. There is no “silver bullet,” magic pill or secret that only celebrities know. While there may be plenty of diets, smoothies, pills and exercise programs, to be successful, people must change the mind so that they use food in a healthy way.

“You’ve got to have motivation to eat healthy and to exercise, but more importantly, you’ve got to change your relationship with food,” explains Beverly Craddock, of Hawaii Hypnosis Center, in Honolulu. “People looking to lose weight often go from diet to diet as if some formula alone will help them drop the weight. What they should be doing is reprogramming their mind to automatically choose foods that are healthy for them.”

Living in Hawaii complicates the weight-loss effort for some people. While national surveys indicate that Hawaii has the second lowest obesity rate in the nation at 21.8 percent, the obesity rate is climbing rapidly and has more than doubled since 1990. While Hawaii’s active lifestyle and near-perfect outdoor weather can help some people maintain a healthy weight, the social nature of eating here can be a bigger challenge, says Craddock.

“Let’s face it, from Ohana potlucks at the beach to weekend drinks and dinner with friends, food is how we love to connect with others,” explains Craddock. “People tend to gather around food in Hawaii. Restrictive or fad diets tend to fail people in that kind of situation because it restricts their social activities too much. People feel punished if they cannot enjoy going to family gatherings and eating what is available.”

Craddock says hypnosis can benefit people trying to lose weight because it helps them change their relationship with the food at those gatherings versus skipping out due to restrictive diets. “When you automatically eat small portions and make healthier choices of what’s available, you focus on enjoying the people, the music and the activity around you, without sabotaging your weight.”

As a hypnotist, Craddock encourages her clients to get out and enjoy family and friends but to use the power of the subconscious mind to stay on track with portion control and choosing the healthiest items. “Studies show that happiness and joy are key factors in overall health, well-being and in weight loss. Use your mind to give you control over how much you eat while out enjoying friends and family. Bring a healthy dish to the potluck and help those you love make healthy choices, too.”

In addition to helping clients with weight-loss goals, Hawaii Hypnosis Center works with clients with a variety of food-related issues. Local psychologists and treatment centers often refer clients with eating disorders for hypnosis to help uncover unhealthy emotional connections between food and the mind. The center has also worked with clients that are very picky eaters and that are fearful of even trying new foods.

“Unlike alcohol, drugs or smoking, humans have a requirement for food,” Craddock concludes. “If the relationship with food is off in some way, people still have to eat to survive, so they’re constantly facing the reality of the dysfunctional relationship. It can be a struggle but definitely a winning one if the relationship between food and the mind is improved.”

Randy Hampton is a writer, social scientist, hypnotist and blogger living in Honolulu.

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