She can help you quit smoking, make you think that you have a gastric band and even ensure a virtually pain-free birth, all through the awesome power of the mind.
With a healthy dose of scepticism, and an unhealthy addiction to sugar, caffeine and the good life in general, I find myself in a reclining chair on Harley Street at the Harley Street Hypnotherapy Clinic, fully prepared to hand over my subconscious to someone who can hopefully do a better job with it than I have so far.
"We only ever use a small percentage of our mind" says weight loss hypnotherapist Louise Moore, "we can do so much more if we find a way to engage the rest. Weight Loss Hypnotherapy is all about engaging the subconscious which by now has several hooks on which it has attached thoughts and habits - both good and bad. Hypnotherapy allows us to go in and change these for the better."
Surely a good, old fashioned Atkins, Dukan or the hideous side effect inducing cabbage soup diet are better if you want real resuls though?
"No. The reason the diet works is becasue you are focusing all your attention on them, but nothing has actually changed in your mind. You still want the bad stuff, you are just concentrating enough to avoid them. But the minute you lose your focus, you will be right back to where you started," she says. "What I do is not a diet, it's a lifestyle change, so you will be totally relaxed around food and only eat when you are naturally hungry. You will start to eat more slowly and begin to really enjoy your food."
The figures add up - diets have an average 95% failure rate, while weight loss hypnotherapy enjoys a 98% success rate if it is done correctly. Hypnotherapy has recently enjoyed a lot of attention for health and weight loss purposes, with several A-listers admitting to turning to it for help in getting red-carpet ready. Lily Allen reportedly went from a size 14 to a size 8 through the aid of a Harley Street Hypnotherapist, while Oprah has spent years encouraging the world to enagage in 'mindful eating'.
I've always privately beleveied that weight loss hypnotherapy was a bit obvious - no one overeats because they are unaware of the consequences.
"True, but to many, food has lost its nutritional value because it is loaded with emotion", says hypnotherapist Moore. "People don't eat because they are hungry anymore, there are so many reasons - boredom, anxiety, distress and so on. If we remove these from the equation, then food becomes something lighter, to enjoy, but not think too much about." To someone who can spend an entire day finding reasons to justify a desert with dinner, this freedom from food guilt sounds like heaven. Surely removing that weight alone will aid my goal.
We begin the session by talking about my life, diet and ideal goals from the treatment, all the while the hypnotherapist scribbles private notes to help her when I am 'under'. She asks me to visualise achievement - for example to picture myself wearing a size ten dress, picturing the colour, style and fit while imagining how good it feeels to be in it. Her voice is soft and calming and I find myself incredibly at ease talking about long-held diet convictions and food issues.
After this, it's time for me to 'go under' and my fears that I would mentally fight or worse burst into inappropriate laughter have melted away in this calm environment.
As Louise counted down from five, asking me to picture a relaxing place in my mind, I remained completely aware of what was heppening and being said, but relaxed enough to just let it wash over me. Sirens and outside noise faded into the background as I listened to her soporific voice re-writing my flawed mindset.
Afterwards, I 'awoke' feeling like I had a long nap, refreshed, despite only 25 minutes of semi-conscious shut eye.
At the time it was hard to tell if it had worked, but that night I had dinner with a friend and ignored the bread as if it was not there. I don't want it. I also eat slower than I can remember doing and despite the food being delicious, I am unable to finish it. My usual mentality of finishing what is on my plate (derived, Moore guesses, from a childhood being told to 'eat up') is calmed by the thought that I can simply eat again later, as and when I am hungry. Guilt be gone!
My next appointment is two weeks on and while I could hear Moore in my head for the first few days, I do feel my resolve weakening as the days to our next meeting get closer. She explains that it takes a few sessions for the message to sink in, but once you have started, the process gets easier each time. Indeed this time I found myself even more relaxed than before and the visualisations stronger.
I left once again feeling confident of my ability to distinguish between hunger and cravings and really quite serene and at peace with the world. That night I sleep like a baby and manage to switch off the endless 'to do' list that usually circles in my mind, a pointless whirlpool of guilt.
It's now been four weeks since my first appointment and I have lost 4 lbs through making few changes. I have eaten less (and what I have eaten has been substantailly more healthy), but I have avoided any feelings of deprivation that usally accompany my diets. I plan to return for another session to maintain my newfound healthy mindset, but knowing I am not on a diet is the lightest I have felt in ages. Now if I'm hungry, I'll eat, who knew it was that easy?