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First a few disclaimers:

I am from a scientific background but a marine biology and computing one, so I apologise if I get any concepts wrong, but I will try my best. I have never been hypnotised, but I am given to understand that hypnotherapy has been researched, written up and peer reviewed, so there is clearly some efficacy to it, although I personally have no idea how much or what its limitations are, but I am curious.

I know hypnotherapy has been mooted for weight loss, and although that is my goal (I run and occasionally use a gym), what I am interested in is not so much whether hypnotherapy might help stop me liking lardy snacks, but if it can help me change my tastes in food. My issue is that I hate salad. Can't stand the stuff. I have no problem with most green vegetables and so on, although I wouldn't say I go out of my way for them, but for some reason I find lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and the like detestable. But I can think of no good reason why beyond that lettuce is either a bit tasteless or tastes earthy.

I like the idea of eating salad, just not the reality.

  • Can hypnotherapy help a person enjoy the taste of healthy food that they otherwise don't?
  • If it wouldn't work, why not? Is it because that level of suggestion simply isn't possible or some other deeper physiological reason?
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  • $\begingroup$ I just know that there are some books about cognitive psychology which could help you in this. Also.. I've a problem of lack of discipline, probably related to my willing to stay in the comfort zone. In other words.. you can try just to do what you should instead of what you want. $\endgroup$ – Revious Jun 19 '14 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ You can, but why would I eat something that I don't like the taste of? I have no rational reason for not liking the taste but it's not enjoyable to me and eating should never seem like a chore. That's why I'm interested to see if it is possible to change ones tastes in this way. For instance, the taste, texture and smell of mushrooms make me feel physically sick: Salad does not. Therefore I feel that there may be scope to work on a dislike of something which has no rational basis and which has no strong physical reaction. $\endgroup$ – Steve Pettifer Jun 20 '14 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ No, because hypnotherapy cannot change the preferences imprinted in your neuronal pathways and reinforced continually since childhood. But you can re-learn, if you have the discipline and tenacity to change your diet and stick with it. After some years your preference will have changed. Neuronal plasticity for the win! $\endgroup$ – user3116 Jun 21 '14 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, I had a suspicion that this would be the case. Well, at least I can stop pondering it! It was an interesting diversion but I suppose I never really expected it to be something that would really work. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Steve Pettifer Jun 23 '14 at 7:14
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As a professional hypnotist, I would start by asking you to consider if your body perhaps needs one or more nutrients in those snacks, or maybe there is a component of salad that really doesn't work for your body? There's the possibility of aversion to salad due to a negative association at some point in your life, say as a child you were forced to eat it. And of course there's the positive association of lardy snacks that the salad has to compete with! Sugar and fat are powerful motivators.

I don't think any respectable hypnotist would set about 'making' you like or dislike anything without seriously considering the ramifications of such an approach, and I doubt that hypnotic suggestion would be enough to overcome the messages coming from your enteric nervous system in the case of it not being an emotionally-based negative association.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks again for your post here - but - I'm one of the moderators here and I'm urging you again to source your answers. Everyone here can say that they are a hypnotist, psychotherapist, famous scientist, or the Queen of England. If you are a professional in this field, you should have no problems at all backing up your claims with reputable sources. I've downvoted this answer, and converted another to a comment. Please go through the help center and familiarize yourself with the conventions of this site. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 27 '17 at 7:45
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I have done a good bit of research and reading regarding hypnosis as well as having used it to resolve several issues and change certain behaviors. I think that this answer can basically be boiled down to two statements. One, hypnosis cannot "make" you do anything. Two, hypnosis can facilitate changing any behavior or belief that you DESIRE. I have found it especially helpful with things that I WANTED to do but had trouble sticking to. Hypnosis works at the subconscious level. Many things that it changes you won't even realize anything has happened until days or weeks later when it hits you "hey, I'm doing that different!" That is the power of hypnosis. It works in the background of your mind and outside of your conscious control. The biggest thing affecting the effectiveness is your "want to" for the change. I've also received some training in hypnosis. In a demonstration or stage hypnosis setting I could "make" you do nearly anything if you were in the right stage of trance. However, if I tried to make any lasting change in your behavior that you had not agreed to and did not want, your mind would reject it and it would not have any lasting effect.

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    $\begingroup$ You could improve your answer by citing the sources that you are basing your answer off of. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw Jan 8 '16 at 18:44

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