Therapist urges people to ditch diets – following personal experience after divorce

Carolyn Taylor, therapist urging people to ditch diets.

A therapist and best-selling author is urging people to ditch diets and enjoy food in a healthy way.

Carolyn Taylor, based in Somerset, had tried numerous diets – from shakes to sugar-free – but without success.

She turned to comfort food following her divorce, as well as an endless cycle of binge eating and yo-yo dieting.

But after years of emotional eating, she came to realise she did not need to find the right diet – but rather the right mindset.

Carolyn Taylor, therapist urging people to ditch diets.

Emotional eating after divorce

Carolyn said: “I was constantly on a diet, losing then gaining weight, and in reality it was a cry for help. It had spiralled out of control and I felt helpless.”

Carolyn suffered a near breakdown following the end of her marriage and quit her university course studying botany and genetics.

She said: “I was devastated. I turned to food to fill an empty space and find some comfort.”

The author of Perfect Positive Thinking and various wellbeing books turned to hypnotherapy in desperation.

She said: “I thought it might help me relax. But it helped me in so many ways and I decided I wanted to train in this field.”

Reaching the subconscious

Carolyn Taylor, therapist urging people to ditch diets.
Carolyn Taylor

Carolyn went on to volunteer with the charity, Victim Support, which helps victims of crime and traumatic incidents, and discovered her skills for listening and calming people.

She studied counselling at nights and weekends, then found work with the government’s Department of Employment and Learning – helping with career confidence and planning.

She also became a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, which involves a set of techniques to develop the way people work on a personal level.

And then she qualified in clinical hypnotherapy after discovering first-hand its ability to help motivate and enable people to develop their full potential.

Carolyn, who has worked as a coach, trainer, counsellor and hypnotherapist for over two decades, said: “I find hypnotherapy works quickly as it reaches the subconscious mind.

“By speaking directly with the unconscious part, it helps to access learned behaviours from early experiences and reprogramme them in a more positive way.”

Masking pain

Carolyn found there was an influx of people needing help post lockdown. While they came for a range of issues, she found most experienced emotional overeating.

Some resorted to eating in secrecy as they feared judgement, which in turn impacted on their personal and professional relationships.

Others turned to food for comfort after a life change, such as divorce, menopause or loss.

She said: “Many believed they were weak-willed because they had tried and failed to lose weight. They were thinking about food 90 per cent of the time.

“Over-eating often masks pain and usually starts in childhood. It can be caused by good intentions, such as offering chocolate after an upset- inducing feelings of safety and love.

“If we can deal with the deep-seated issue, while showing you have the resources you need, then change is possible.”

Natural instincts

Carolyn, whose interest in nutrition was piqued while learning about the agricultural industry and genetic engineering during her studies, believes we have natural instincts around food.

She said: “Eating is one of life’s pleasures. We are born knowing when we’re hungry and when we’re full. If we reconnect with our natural instincts, we know how and when to eat.

“We are not talking about a quick fix to fit into an outfit for an occasion. We’re talking about making lasting changes around our mindset – then losing weight slowly and naturally.”

Carolyn, who will be running courses on emotional eating at Bristol Folk House from autumn, said clients are surprised when they notice a change in mindset.

She said: “People I work with are often shocked when they find themselves refusing a second helping or a pudding.

“By changing their mindset, they make a lasting change and learn to love both their food and their bodies.”

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Angela Belassie runs PR The Write Way to help small to medium sized organisations get coverage and raise their profile.