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Therapist to run course encouraging ‘intuitive eating’

A therapist and best-selling author is leading a course to encourage people to make peace with food and eat more healthily.

Carolyn Taylor, who has personal experience of turning to food for comfort following a divorce, will lead ‘Intuitive Eating – Make Peace with Food’ at the Folk House in Bristol.

Carolyn had personally endured an endless cycle of binge eating and yo-yo dieting – trying numerous diets without success.


But after years of emotional eating, she came to realise she did not need to find the right diet – but rather the right mindset.

Carolyn said: “I was constantly on a diet, losing then gaining weight, and in reality it was a cry for help. It had spiralled out of control and I felt helpless.”

Carolyn suffered a near breakdown following the end of her marriage and quit her university course studying botany and genetics.

She said: “I was devastated. I turned to food to fill an empty space and find some comfort.”

The author of Perfect Positive Thinking and various wellbeing books turned to hypnotherapy in desperation.

She said: “I thought it might help me relax. But it helped me in so many ways and I decided I wanted to train in this field.”

Carolyn has been a hypnotherapist and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner for over two decades. NLP involves a set of techniques to develop the way people work on a personal level.

She specialises in helping people with unhelpful eating habits and eating disorders – and is encouraging others to ditch diets and enjoy food in a healthy way.

Rediscover pleasure in eating

The course is designed to support people who struggle with food – from sugar addicts to calorie counters, to sugar addicts to comfort eaters.

She said: “In this course you’ll learn about the key things that are driving your discomfort and causing your food stress.

“You’ll understand that you are not lacking willpower or self-control. But discover instead
how to stop falling victim to urges and cravings and reconnect with your natural instincts for eating healthily and with pleasure.”

Listening skills

Carolyn discovered her skills for listening and calming people while working with the charity, Victim Support, which helps victims of crime and traumatic incidents.

She studied counselling at nights and weekends, then found work with the government’s Department of Employment and Learning – helping with career confidence and planning.

And then she qualified in clinical hypnotherapy after discovering first-hand its ability to help motivate and enable people to develop their full potential.

Masking pain

Carolyn found there was an influx of people needing help post lockdown. While they came for a range of issues, she found most experienced emotional overeating.

Some resorted to eating in secrecy as they feared judgement, which in turn impacted on their personal and professional relationships.

Others turned to food for comfort after a life change, such as divorce, menopause or loss.

She said: “Many believed they were weak-willed because they had tried and failed to lose weight. They were thinking about food 90 per cent of the time.

“Over-eating often masks pain and usually starts in childhood. It can be caused by good intentions, such as offering chocolate after an upset- inducing feelings of safety and love.

“If we can deal with the deep-seated issue, while showing you have the resources you need, then change is possible.”

Natural instincts

Carolyn, whose interest in nutrition was piqued while learning about the agricultural industry and genetic engineering during her studies, believes we have natural instincts around food.

She said: “Eating is one of life’s pleasures. We are born knowing when we’re hungry and when we’re full. If we reconnect with our natural instincts, we know how and when to eat.

“We are not talking about a quick fix to fit into an outfit for an occasion. We’re talking about making lasting changes around our mindset – then losing weight slowly and naturally.”

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Carolyn Taylor became a Victim Support scheme volunteer and would support people at court going through divorce or domestic cases, feeling fearful or angry while waiting. It was during this time that she found she was a skilled listener and had the ability to calm people down. Carolyn then started counselling at night school and weekends, then finding work with the Department of Employment’s back to work scheme. She helped people create CVs, develop career plans and generally boost their confidence. She wrote her first book at this time. Carolyn, who has worked as a coach, trainer, counsellor and hypnotherapist for over two decades, is now a bestselling author of a number of books, including on the subject of wellbeing. She has trained in NLP, which involves a set of techniques to develop the way people work on a personal level. Carolyn, who is now based in Pill and works with clients across Avon and Somerset, later trained in hypnotherapy after experiencing its effectiveness first-hand. Carolyn now focuses on emotional overeating, as she found it was a recurring issue with her clients. With several sessions and support material, clients have reported lasting change.

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