Sister's death led to food fear

Liverpool Echo - 24 September 2008

Susan Lee talks to a mum who used hypnotherapy to trace the roots of her eating disorder

“I FEEL like I’ve lived under a shadow for a long time; now it’s time to move into the light.”

Lindsay Watterson smiles as she recalls her journey of the past few months – a journey which has seen her confront a tragedy from long ago and, in the process, beat an eating disorder.

And it all began with a story in the Liverpool ECHO.

“I read about a hypnotherapist who had helped a woman with eating problems. I’ve been sceptical in the past about hypnotherapy, but she was from Kensington like me and I thought: ‘If she can have a go, so can I’,” says the 30-year-old mum-of-one.

But even Lindsay couldn’t have expected the revelation about the cause of her problem – and the subsequent turnaround in her life.

Lindsay admits she has had issues with eating for as long as she can remember.

“As a kid, I just would not eat. My mum and dad would tell me I couldn’t go out if I didn’t have my tea, but nothing would persuade me or I’d just scrape it into a tissue when no-one was looking.

“Food just didn’t bother me.”

Worried, her parents consulted doctors but Lindsay says she always felt fobbed off.

“I think they thought it I’d grow out of it. I was given vitamin tablets but no-one ever mentioned an eating disorder then.”

She says it never affected her health, but the problem continued into her adulthood.

“Even having a daughter didn’t make any difference. I always made sure she ate well and had all the right nutrition – she loves her food – but couldn’t relate that back to me.

“I’d never have breakfast but wait until mid afternoon to have something, maybe a sandwich and I was very choosy about what I had for the rest of the day.

“I’d make tea but end up giving mine to the dog. To be honest, it even used to cause arguments between me and my partner.”

At her lightest, she weighed just six stones and although a dress size six, still had to have clothes altered to fit.

It was then that Lindsay saw the article about hypnosis to cure eating disorders in the ECHO, sought help from Kate Davies – and discovered the root of her problem.

“When I was about nine, my little sister Jenny, who was two at the time, became poorly.

“We called the GP, who thought it was a 24-hour bug and my mum nipped to the chemist, leaving me in the room with her.

“The next thing I remember is her having some kind of convulsion. I called my dad who was in the next room and we got her to hospital, but she died soon after.”

It was a tragedy which devastated the family but only with the help of Kate did Lindsay see how adversely it affected her.

“There was no such thing as grief counselling back then, so I suppose I just got on with it, we all did. When I discussed it with Kate, though, it was like a light going on.

“I realised all this unresolved grief had just not gone away. When I first met her, I said: ‘I don’t really eat’ and that was the first time I’d been able to say that.”

Within just a few sessions, Lindsay had begun to want to eat breakfast and began to put on weight. She has since gained 18lbs.

“When I told my family, they were really supportive. In fact, my sister told me she thought I had never been the same since Jenny’s death.

“Everybody has noticed a difference in me, even my little girl.

“I look better and feel better. I’ve even given up smoking.”

She urges anyone considering hypnotherapy to give it a go.

“There is so much stuff about people wanting to lose weight, yet very little about those who want to gain it, but who knows what has happened in people’s pasts which affects how they feel today?

“After all this time, this is the real me.”

According to clinical hypnotherapist Kate, based in Rodney Street, Lindsay’s story is typical of many eating disorder sufferers she has helped.

“I find there is almost always a cause, no matter how deeply buried in the subconscious,” she says.

“It transpired that Lindsay felt she had no right to take up space after her sister’s death.”

Kate subsequently focused on issues of self-esteem and confidence-building.

“Uncovering the source enables the person to make sense of why the problem exists and provides a valuable tool in the healing process,” she adds.

“Now Lindsay has achieved her target weight and for the first time she can remember she actually likes her body.”

Eating disorders can be brought on at any time by many of life's issues - the death of a loved one, rejection, a nasty comment.  Hypnosis gets to the route cause of the problem, enabling clients to deal with these issues and not internalise them through their eating habits.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, then contact one of the hypnotherapists at The Harley Street Hypnotherapy Clinic who will employ hypnosis to overcome this condition at the hypnotherapy clinic in London.

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