NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Berta Vivas has tried everything to lose weight.
“I have been to the gym, I have been with a trainer,” Vivas said.
“I love to eat and it makes me happy, but it does not make me happy to be a little bit overweight,” she said.
She was so desperate, she even considered weight-loss surgery.
“I had the consultation and I was almost ready to have it done, but I freaked out,” Vivas said.
Vivas wanted the benefits of surgery without going under the knife, so she tried a new a new innovative technique called LAP-BAND hypnosis.
The technique is supposed to work by convincing people into believing they actually had surgery.
“In order for anything physical to change, first you have to change your thoughts,” hypnotist Marc Carlin said.
In traditional lap band surgery, doctors reduce the size of the stomach so patients can’t eat as much. Carlin performed LAP-BAND hypnosis on Vivas.
Carlin guides clients into a dream-like state that he said allowed the client to be more open to suggestion.
“Mild states of hypnosis, mild states of trance are all that’s necessary in order to facilitate the major changes,” Carlin said.
Carlin led Vivas through an imaginary operation in which the end goal is for her to imagine she had surgery.
During the procedure, Vivas could hear operating room sound effects through head phones. Smells and props also reinforced the experience.
Carlin told Vivas that she must follow a sensible diet.
“Stop using your body as a garbage can,” Carlin told Vivas during the hypnosis.
Carlin hypnotized Barb Ernst about two months ago and she said she has since lost about 20 pounds and went down three or four pant sizes.
“I had actually stood up and actually had to pick up my shirt to see. I’d felt a tightening sensation and I was a bit sore in that area there. I even said to him ‘did you do something.'”
Carlin cautioned it was not the definitive solution to weight loss.
“It’s not for everyone. It’s for people who believe that they can make changes in their lives,” Carlin said.
Several days later, Vivas said she felt changed.
“Now the size of my stomach is like a golf ball so I won’t be eating, you know, large amount of food,” Vivas said.
LAP-BAND hypnosis is not cheap. Four sessions with the hypnotist costs about $1,200.
One week after Vivas’ hypnosis she said she’s sticking to her program and has lost about a pound.