Palm Beach, Florida
You are comfortably seated by the side of a beautiful mountain lake, the blue of the sky reflected in the mirror-like surface of the lake. There are sailboats with billowing white sails sailing into the distance, the ripples in their wake representing the past, as they spread further and further until they disappear in the surface of the water. There is a small island not far from the shore with beautiful trees, dark green oaks, reddish brown beech trees, yellow-green birches and the lacy branches of the weeping willows reaching to the surface of the water. There's a rustic bridge, slightly curved upward with a wooden rail leading to this island. You can see yourself standing on that bridge at 125 pounds [give the weight that the patient desires to achieve], beautiful, strong, happy. Under the bridge, reflected in the water—we know this is a distorted image —is your likeness at 180 pounds.
Pick up a pebble, right there, and toss it into the lake. [Have the patient indicate with an ideomotor signal when he/she observes the splash of the stone in the water.] Circular waves quickly spread from that splash obliterating the obese image. These ripples are the past, just like the wake of the sailboats. You know that sailboats go forward only, no matter which way the wind blows. Sailboats go forward only, just as you go forward only toward the newfound image. This image will be in your subconscious mind wherever, whatever, whenever you eat. This image will guide your eating habits from now on, and you are looking forward to the time when you will reach the beautiful image on that bridge.
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