Producer Bethany Denton found a box in her basement storage room with two old cassette tapes inside. It took her a moment to realize what they were.
Bethany at Disneyland with her brother Jared and her sister Shelby. 2001.
Bethany has been fat her whole life, even when she was a kid. She ate hidden stashes of food when she felt anxious. By the time she was eleven years old, Bethany’s parents worried she would have health problems as as an adult, and they thought weight-loss hypnotherapy could help. The hypnotherapist tried to guide Bethany’s subconscious mind into making choices that would help her lose weight, like developing the ability to control her hunger with an imaginary dial in her mind. The hypnotherapist had Bethany visualize her favorite greasy, salty potato chips covered in vomit. She had Bethany visualize her ideal, thin body, and affirmed that this ideal body was “who you really are.” The therapist recorded their sessions and gave them to Bethany on cassette tapes. She was supposed to use them to relax.
Bethany at Disneyland with her sister Ashley and her brother Jared. 2001.
Fifteen years later, Bethany never lost the weight, never achieved that ideal body. But she doesn't really eat potato chips anymore either. For information about treatment for disordered eating, visit The Emily Program.
Bethany Denton produced this episode and Jeff Emtman edited it. Here Be Monsters is part of KCRW’s Independent Producer Project, edited by Nick White and managed by Kristen Lepore.
Music: The Black Spot
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