Caroline Cranshaw: Eight tips for feeling more confident in your own skin heading into summer

Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Summer is on its way and will be here before you know it. Are you ready to strut your stuff on the beach? If you feel like you would like to shed a little bit of weight and feel more confident in your birthday suit, here my top tips:

1. The Virtual Gastric Band

As a hypnotherapist a weight loss coach who's worked with thousands of people helping them to lose weight, I’m always on the lookout for the next amazing thing that’s going to help people make the changes they want to make. The reason why I help people with their weight is that I have had a lifelong struggle with my weight as well. The only thing that has ever really worked for me to get control of my weight is hypnotherapy.

My favourite technique for weight loss is hands down the Virtual Gastric Band. I have heard about it for years in the media, and from other hypnotherapists, but always dismissed it as a fad without any real substance. I have worked with quite a few clients who had had lap band surgery and experienced major complications, so I was wary of hypnotising people to think they have had surgery to lose weight.

However, one of the hypnotherapist’s I had trained, Richard Kellow, was using the technique and helping his clients get amazing results. I thought 'why not?' It’s probably the only weight loss technique I haven’t tried. So, I did what any good hypnotherapist would do and became certified in the technique and used it on myself by recording the concepts, plus adding in techniques I find effective with clients and starting to listen to them before I went to bed. I lost four kilos in the first month and six in total with two months.

The Virtual Gastric Band protocol consists of four hypnosis sessions, one week apart. In the first session, you are taken through a visualisation of having a gastric band fitted with lots of suggestions that you will become full very quickly, from very small portions of food, and only eat three small meals a day.

Each session builds on the other, reprogramming you to eat less, exercise more and be more in touch with your body. A good hypnotherapist will tailor the sessions for you and create a personalised program based on your needs. Every person is different, for some people, alcohol is a big issue, for others, it’s sugar, bread and takeaways or for some – portion size is too large.

If you’re not comfortable with the thought of virtual surgery, you can ask the hypnotherapist to revise it – to use a visualization that you’re more comfortable with and one that will work for you. Make sure you go to someone who’s highly trained in not only hypnosis but other weight loss protocols and certified in the Virtual Gastric Band. I highly recommend Grant Bodle from FitAF if you are in Auckland or you can buy my online Virtual Gastric Band Program and do the process from the comfort of your own home.

2. Brush Your Body

Body brushing or dry brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic wellness practice of using a brush with firm bristles on your dry skin to exfoliate, firm and tone skin and improve your health. A routine dry brush over the thighs and bottom is shown to do more to smooth dimples and tone your skin than the most expensive firming lotions.

Body brushing is one of the most underrated beauty practices there is. Just a few of minutes a day will boost your lymphatic system, which helps your body clear toxins more efficiently, reduce fluid retention and cellulite (which are connected), as well as soften and tone your skin and open your pores so you absorb moisturiser more effectively.

My favourite body brush is from The Body Shop but you can buy them from most pharmacies. Before you shower, brush the skin in upwards, sweeping strokes with medium to firm pressure, starting at the feet moving up your legs and arms toward your heart. Use a circular movement on your tummy and bum. You can brush all the skin on your body, except for rashes and scabs, and your more “delicate” parts.

3. Moisturise

My grandmother’s best friend, was a beautiful woman of colour who had the skin of a woman in her 40’s in her 70’s. Ruth was always telling me to moisturise my skin. She told me that’s why a lot of people of colour look so much younger. They can see when their skin is dry more easily so they massage themselves with lotion which keeps the skin more supple and youthful-looking.

4. Try Gotu Kola

This herb is recommended by Charles Poliquin, one of the best strength and fitness coaches in the world - for tightening the skin. If you’ve lost weight and have loose skin, definitely try Gota Kola. It doesn’t work overnight or even a couple of months. Most people who take Gotu Kola notice significate results after 6 months when the skin seems to suddenly become much tighter and stretch marks appear reduced. 

5. Drink Plenty of Water

Drink plenty of water. A new study has shown that by drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before meals can lead to a weight loss on average of 4.3 kg over 12 weeks. I recommend drinking water upon waking every morning to activate your organs and drinking water 30 minutes before eating. This aids the body’s digestive system clears toxins and helps the body to burn fat. Water helps to moisturise you from the inside out, making you look younger and your skin more elastic. Drinking lots of water also lowers blood pressure, which a lot of overweight people suffer from.

6. Get More Fibre

It's no secret that adults need fibre daily and most of us don't get as much as we should. An easy way to curb hunger and speed up fat loss with fibre is to try out psyllium husks. You can buy a large bag from the grocery store for around $6.

The psyllium husks bind to the toxins, fats, and excess hormones that cause weight gain and gently sweeps them out of your system which speeds up your fat loss. Psyllium husks are also a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your gut which promotes health and weight loss. 

7. Stand Up Straight

There is nothing sexy about slouching. Good posture always conveys confidence. Do you want to appear thinner straight away? Good posture slims your body instantly, making you look and feel better. Studies show that people who practice good posture, feel more confident. Also, if you're a woman, walk with your hips. If you don't know what I mean, google videos of Naomi Campbell walking. It doesn't matter what size you are, standing up straight and walking with confidence always adds to your sex appeal.

8. Start a practice of self-love

Most of us talk to ourselves like someone we can’t stand. We say things that we would never say to anyone else, and if someone close to us told us the horrible things we say to ourselves, we would never talk to them again. We are having an abusive relationship with ourselves. It’s hard to feel confident when you are telling yourself you are a horrible piece of c**p every day.

You are the most important person in your life - you will be with yourself for every moment until the day you die. You are the one person that will never leave you, and the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. We all crave love and acceptance, and it’s crazy that we expect it from other people, but refused to give it to ourselves. When we love and accept ourselves, we want to look after our bodies and health.

The remarkable part is when we love ourselves, we radiate from within, and people are naturally attracted to us. Start a mantra of saying “I love myself” every day, several times a day. Whenever you start to say something negative, replace it with ‘I love myself.’ You will be amazed at the changes to your mental health, and confidence, as well as your body.

Caroline Cranshaw is a hypnotherapist, founder and trainer at the New Zealand Integrative Hypnotherapy Training Institute and the author of The Smoking Cure. Find out more about her at

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