By Andrew Levy / Source: Daily Mail UK
As weight loss plans go, it sounds incredible - shift those stubborn pounds simply by dreaming about it.
Yet one woman claims the method helped her lose a stone (14 pounds) in a month and eventually drop from a size 22 to a 14.
Suzie Gibbs had seen her weight balloon to 14st 7lb following years of avoiding the gym and a succession of failed diets.
After a chiropractor told her that she was risking a lifetime of back pain unless she lost weight, the mother of two allowed herself to be hypnotised into imagining she was exercising while she slept.
She says that within a month she had lost a stone. Since then she has lost a further two-and-a-half stones through the hypnotherapy and a new-found enthusiasm for exercise.
The transformation involved three hypnotherapy sessions where she had to visualise herself exercising and doing sit-ups.
She also listened to a hypnosis CD each night for a month. The 'exercise in your sleep' programme was so effective, she said, that her stomach muscles contracted as she slept and her metabolism sped up, meaning she burned off calories quicker.
The hypnosis also reprogrammed her mind into believing she loved exercise, leading to her become more active in her waking hours.
Miss Gibbs, 56, a rail announcer from Southend, Essex, said: 'My first thought was that it sounded a bit weird but, to be honest, I was desperate.
'Within a week I'd lost a pound and I carried on gradually losing weight. My muscles felt more toned and tight all over.
'I also found myself dreaming about things such as riding a bike and lifting weights in the gym and I was loving every moment of it.
'Within a few months I actually wanted to work out during my daytime hours - something I'd never felt before in my entire life. I took up walking and cycling and joined a gym.
'Now, instead of my heart sinking at the thought of exercise, I look forward to being active.'
The 5ft 6in divorcee had spent a decade trying to get in shape by attending diet clubs and trying drastic measures such as cabbage soup diets.
But she had never managed to achieve significant or long-term weight loss. Even diet pills from her GP failed to have an effect.
She then heard through a friend about a hypnotherapist and addiction specialist and went for a consultation at her clinic in Harley Street, London.
The sessions began last August and she was amazed to find they had an immediate effect. She reached her current weight of 11 stone in March this year.
'I do watch what I eat but exercise has been the biggest factor in the changes I've seen in my body,' she said.
'It's truly astonishing and I'm thrilled with the results.'
Maria Clyne, the hypnotherapist who helped Miss Gibbs, said studies had shown that when someone visualises participating in an activity the brain responds as if the body is actually engaging in it.
'This is why sports people do self-hypnosis to guide them towards success. They are creating neural pathways in their brain to make it easier for them to succeed the next time round,' she said.