'Before the treatment I would want to eat to the end of the plateful. Now I don't'

MARGARET has been dieting much of her life but especially after first giving birth.

"Since then, when I have started to eat normally, I have put it all back on again and maybe a stone more," she said. "That's happened every time over the years – lose it, put it back on, put on a bit more. A nightmare. It really messes with your head."

When the 63-year-old first heard about gastric band hypnotherapy, her hopes were not high. But just a few months after undergoing the "surgery", she has lost over two stones.

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She first read about the technique being used in a clinic overseas. Having tried various other diets, pills and hypnosis, she was desperate to lose weight – she was over 14 stone and only 5ft 1in tall.

"Really it was just another go at something else in the hope that it would work and so far it has been very successful. I have lost about two-and-a-half stone since the start of June," she said.

Margaret said her phobia of hospitals and surgery made it impossible for her to have the actual gastric band operation. Instead she went to hypnotherapist Julie-Anne Taylor.

"She helped me visualise what it was like to have the band fitted," Margaret said. "She made me visualise my stomach – we did a little drawing of that first – and showed where we would fit the band. Then, with the hypnosis, she said, 'Does that feel comfortable, does that feel tight enough?'

"On another session we visualised that again, except we tightened the band."

Now Margaret says she is able to stop herself eating too much because she feels full sooner – as would happen with a real gastric band.

"It seems to me to be a bit of a cut-off point," she said. "Before, if it was something I was enjoying eating, I would want to eat to the end of the plateful. Now I don't," she said.

"I actually feel normal, for the first time in years."