Real life

Junk food addict Co­rina Ciobanu hated be­ing 105kg but she didn’t know how to lose weight un­til she chanced upon hyp­nother­apy

Friday - - Society Living Leisure -

‘From fat me to thin me thanks to hyp­nother­apy’.

Spot­ting the emer­ald green dress, I knew in­stantly that I had to have it. I hur­ried over, and be­gan rum­mag­ing through the rail for my size. Grab­bing the largest, I sighed. It was a UK size 16, the largest they had, and I re­alised I’d never fit into it. I was 168cm, 105kg and a size 20. The story at the next shop was the same – I found a gor­geous dress, only to take it off the hanger and see it was sev­eral sizes too small. I felt ashamed and close to tears as I scoured the Mall of the Emi­rates, Dubai, for some­thing new to wear.

I must have walked in and out of half a dozen stores and was about to break downn – I couldn’t get a sin­gle dress that I liked inn my size. In des­per­a­tion, I picked up a blackk dress that was a size 22 – the only one left,, which I was sure would make me look li­kee a grandma – and went home.

I was too scared to even try it on in the shop. What was the point? I had no hope off it mak­ing me look nice – I was too fat.

I’d al­ways been chubby. Even as a child grow­ing up in Moldova, in Eastern Europe, I re­mem­ber be­ing fre­quently bul­lied by friends about my weight. My late fa­ther Alexan­der and my mother Paras­covia Ciobanu never men­tioned it. My dad’s side of the fam­ily was big so maybe they thought it ran in the fam­ily. But my older brother Cor­nel wasn’t over­weight.

Friends’ re­ac­tions

It was partly my fault too. I en­joyed take­aways and loved fast food. Burg­ers and piz­zas were my favourite. I’d shovel them in, along with crisps, choco­lates and cakes. Then I’d glance in the mir­ror and see the spare tyre around my mid­dle, the ki­los sit­ting on my hips and thighs, and I knew I had to lose weight. I’d go on di­ets but I could never stick to them for more than a cou­ple of days.

As I grew up, I be­came big­ger and more and more self-con­scious. As soon as I went to col­lege, I bought slim­ming pills off the in­ter­net and tried to cut down on my calo­ries, but noth­ing helped. So I stopped look­ing at my­self in the mir­ror. I didn’t go near scales and al­ways hid if pho­tos were be­ing taken.

I had a lot of friends and used to go out with them of­ten. Only a few of them ever men­tioned my weight or sug­gested I slim, even though at the time I weighed around 90kg.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in jour­nal­ism, I worked for a few com­pa­nies in Moldova and I made a lot of friends. No one said any­thing di­rectly about my size but a cou­ple of them hinted I should join a gym. I ig­nored them. A gym was the last

place I’d ever go – I didn’t want any­one to look at me ex­er­cis­ing. I didn’t want to be no­ticed. I wanted to be in­vis­i­ble. That’s one of the rea­sons I de­cided to come to Dubai. No one knew me here and it was a clean start.

Adding the Dubai stone to her woes

Af­ter land­ing here in Jan­uary 2012, I be­gan to panic. I could change coun­tries but my fat didn’t mag­i­cally dis­ap­pear. If any­thing, I be­gan eat­ing even more. With a hec­tic work life as a pub­lic re­la­tions ex­ec­u­tive I soon be­gan to put on the fa­mous Dubai stone. I blamed it all on my job, which kept me busy and left me with no time to think about what I was do­ing to my­self.

Ev­ery day I’d stop at a cof­fee shop on the way to work and gorge on two to three fruit muffins washed down with creamy sugar-laced cof­fee. Through­out the day, I would snack on sev­eral large bags of potato crisps and a cou­ple of pack­ets of di­ges­tive bis­cuits. I rarely if ever drank wa­ter. In­stead it was al­ways fizzy drinks and co­las, some­times a cou­ple of cans at a time.

Lunch was usu­ally burg­ers with dou­ble cheese and a side or­der of fries washed down with co­las. Some­times, a cou­ple of burg­ers would not be enough and I’d have a small pizza as well. Ital­ian food was my weak­ness – I could not re­sist dig­ging into lay­ers of cheese-filled lasagna or creamy pasta.

Week­ends were no bet­ter. Al­though sin­gle, I made a lot of friends and went out of­ten. But onThurs­day, the be­gin­ning of the week­end, I’d visit a su­per­mar­ket on my way home to stock up on potato crisps and fam­ily-size tubs of straw­berry and vanilla cream, which I’d binge-eat while watch­ing my favourite cook­ery shows and Hol­ly­wood movies. I’d eas­ily de­vour a tub of ice cream and a cheese­cake in one sit­ting.

Then one day, just be­fore my 30th birth­day, on a whim, I checked my weight at a phar­macy. I gasped when it said I was 105 ki­los. I’d se­ri­ously had no idea. I left the phar­macy shak­ing, and fight­ing back tears. I’d been plan­ning on go­ing shop­ping for a dress for my birth­day but that would just have been tor­ture. I was obese and had to do some­thing about it. So in­stead of a tent-like dress I de­cided to give my­self a slim­mer body and bet­ter health.

I went on­line to look for ways to lose weight and came across an ar­ti­cle about hyp­nother­apy. It ex­plained how it had be­come a pop­u­lar way to lose weight. That same day I also hap­pened to find an on­line video fea­tur­ing cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist Rus­sell Hem­mings and a teenager who talked about be­ing bul­lied in school be­cause of his weight.

I re­lated to the boy’s story of be­ing bul­lied in school. I was im­pressed by Rus­sell and felt con­fi­dent about this ther­apy. It seemed risk free with­out the added stress of hav­ing to fol­low a par­tic­u­lar diet. I booked a ses­sion with him straight away.

I didn’t know what to ex­pect but Rus­sell started by ask­ing me ques­tions about my fam­ily and what I wanted to change about my life. I told him that I wanted to lose weight to in­crease my self-es­teem and con­fi­dence. The talk lasted for an hour. He then ex­plained hyp­nother­apy to me and how it would work and what ex­actly would hap­pen dur­ing the ses­sion. He told me that I wouldn’t be put to sleep, I would be con­scious and in con­trol at all times. He would be work­ing on my sub­con­scious mind mak­ing me change the way I thought about food and putting me in con­trol.

Rus­sell also talked about por­tion con­trol, slow eat­ing, mind­ful eat­ing and over­com­ing sweet crav­ings.

In­stant re­sult

Af­ter the three-hour ses­sion I felt re­laxed and pleas­ant. The change in my at­ti­tude to­wards food was also in­stant and dra­matic. From the mo­ment I left the clinic, I started eat­ing less and be­gan look­ing at more healthy op­tions. I started pay­ing at­ten­tion to what I bought at the su­per­mar­ket. At break­fast I ditched the muffins and made fruit shakes at home or had low fat yo­gurt or fruit. I started mak­ing sal­ads for lunch or healthy wraps. Din­ner would be home-made again and usu­ally fish with plenty of fresh veg­eta­bles; pas­tas with low-fat sauce and, for dessert, stewed fruit. In be­tween meals I started snack­ing on fruit avoid­ing crisps and co­las com­pletely. In a week I had lost two ki­los and that was a big mo­ti­va­tion for me.

The next week I went back to Rus­sell for my sec­ond ses­sion where he tar­geted other ar­eas of my life that I wanted to change. Be­ing

AF­TER

BE­FORE Co­rina was shocked to find she was a UK size 20. She is now a size 12

RRus­sell Hem­mings

usused a com­bi­na­tion of hyp­nother­apy and cocog­ni­tive be­hav­iour thther­apy to help Co­rina lolose weight

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