“From fat to fitness fanatic in four weeks – lorry driver Pete Smith describes how a short course of hypnotherapy six years ago has changed his life in ‘miraculous’ ways
“One of my friends took a photo of me at 21 stones. It made me realise how terrible I looked, and I knew I had to do something.
“I was 42 and I knew that if I didn’t tackle it, my weight was going to become a problem.
“I thought ‘if I don’t start helping myself now, why should anyone else help me?’”
Pete’s weight had crept up as a result of inactivity, irregular mealtimes, boredom eating and a little too much booze.
“I’d tried various diets but none of them had worked. I’d maybe lose the odd pound but wouldn’t be able to stick with it for long,” he said.
All of this changed six years ago when Pete got in touch with clinical hypnotherapist Sheila Granger after hearing a news item about her on the radio.
Four weekly sessions later and the long-distance lorry driver from Driffield, East Yorkshire, started to rapidly shed the pounds, dropping as low as 11 stones, three pounds, within six months. He now weighs 13.5st and feels comfortable maintaining that level.
What’s more amazing, is the fact he’s become a cycling fan who thinks nothing of notching up hundreds of miles – and whose annual highlight is a grueling Alpine trek.
How? Pete was one of the first people to benefit from the groundbreaking Virtual Gastric Band treatment. His therapy started with a discussion to pinpoint where things were going wrong for him because, more often than not, over-eating is a symptom of another problem, such as low self-esteem, depression or relationship difficulties.
“I believe you’ve got to want to do it in the first place, but then Sheila does the rest,” said Pete. “To be honest, I still don’t really know how it works, but I put my faith in Sheila and believed I could do it, and I did.”
Pete had a total of four, weekly sessions in which Sheila effectively re-booted his attitude to food and removed the triggers that caused him to reach for the wrong kinds.
“All of our minds are susceptible to suggestion and this is the case with negative suggestions as well as positive ones. So when we develop a bad habit like over-eating, it is almost a state of self-hypnosis where we’ve convinced ourselves to do this thing that is bad for us, for some reason,” said Sheila.
“Through mindset training, including positive suggestion and visualization, we re-set Pete’s thinking and switched him into more positive routines such as regular mealtimes, healthier eating choices and, importantly, no alcohol.”
“I lost eight pounds in the first week,” added Pete, “which was amazing.
“Then I dug out an old bike I had in the garage and, although it was difficult to exercise at first because of my size, I started doing three miles a night as well as eating more healthily, and it really progressed from there.
“I think what made a difference was the self-belief Sheila gave me. Through positive mindset she also stopped me wanting to eat so much and helped me get some discipline and routine around food.
“When I started to see it working, this gave me even more confidence to continue.”
In fact, Pete hasn’t had to resort to drastic dieting at all.
“I haven’t stopped eating anything I enjoy, and still enjoy my slice of cake at cycling cafes!” he said. “I just try to have regular mealtimes, eat something for breakfast, dinner and tea and take time to enjoy my food rather than eating for the sake of it.”
And the whole process has literally changed Pete’s life.
“I’m the complete opposite of what I was now, a totally different person. I have more energy and I don’t feel the need to pick at food like I used to,” he added.
He’s just about to embark on his fourth Alpine cycling tour since discovering a passion for cycling. This latest trip, later in July, will involve over 400 miles in eight days, and several thousand feet of grueling ascents.
“It’s something I would never have believed I could do previously,” added Pete
“Losing the weight and getting into cycling as a hobby has brought me out of my shell and given me a social life. I cycle several times a week and spend weekends doing things I never would have tried before, like camping out at places like Dalby Forest.
“It’s really built my confidence and given me a much more positive attitude to life,” he said.
“I still enjoy watching the footy but at least now it’s offset by the biking!”
Although Pete is now maintaining a weight that feels right for him, he decided to get back in touch with Sheila again recently for a ‘top up’, to make sure he doesn’t slip behind.
For others in the same situation, Pete had this message: “I would tell them to ask themselves ‘do they really want to do it?’. If their answer is yes, they can, with that little extra push.
“I’m a prime example – I’d more or less given up hope but look at me now.
“It’s miraculous really.”
For more information about Virtual Gastric Band Hypnotherapy, visit