Illustration by Pablo Lobato
Illustration: Pablo Lobato

The weight-loss hypnotist wants to meet at 6 p.m., which means I’ve already been thinking about dinner for approximately three hours by the time I log on. Specifically, a Popeyes chicken sandwich with a side of Lay’s potato chips and an icy can of Coke. Honestly, I don’t really know if my pants even fit anymore — I haven’t worn anything with a button in months. And what a delight it’s been! For the first time in about 30 years, I’ve just been a person, rather than a person obsessed with my own ass. Still, my current diet of bagels, pizza, Jeni’s salty caramel ice cream, and popcorn that I drizzle with melted butter to re-create a movie theater experience right on my couch has me a bit worried. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need to emerge from quarantine looking like JLo. But I am starting to think that perhaps during a global pandemic, I should put some extra focus on taking care of my body. Just in case.

But hypnosis??? you scoff. Look, if entire swaths of people can watch Fox News and be hypnotized into believing COVID-19 ain’t no thang, then surely I can be hypnotized into eating some fucking Broccolini. And Isabelle Rizo, a hypnotist who normally sees clients in her Lake View office, promises I won’t quack like a duck or any of that other mumbo jumbo you see on TV. Instead, she says, hypnosis is like meditation, but with a goal. My subconscious will be receptive to messages about celebrating my produce, rather than leaving it to rot in the fridge.

We start with a little talk, touching on my goals and history with food. I describe my current eating pattern as “What the hell does it matter, the world is on fire.” Isabelle assures me that apathy is common right now and that hypnosis can move my feelings in a way that will support my goals. I lie down on the couch with my laptop balanced on my tummy, and Isabelle guides me through something similar to meditation. She has me relaxing my face and shoulders, working all the way down to my tippy-toes. Then she’s got me visualizing a staircase with a door at the end. Down the staircase we go, into my subconscious, and I’m very relaxed, but not like … gone. We open the door. Isabelle speaks in very soothing tones about vegetables and salad before invoking the presence of Slightly Future Adrienne, who is me, just a couple of steps ahead. Slightly Future Adrienne’s already got shit figured out. She’s holding my big wooden salad bowl and she seems happy, like those stock photos where models laugh merrily while forking a tomato.

And then we’re going back up the staircase and opening the door, back to reality. Isabelle and I chat — she’s got a great breaded zucchini recipe to share — and she advises that I picture Slightly Future Adrienne when I’m making food decisions. This seems wise — I like the idea of envisioning a future me who’s perfect and probably a vegan. But then I wonder about that Popeyes sandwich. Oddly, it’s not Slightly Future Adrienne who keeps me from it, but Isabelle. I don’t want to fail at hypnosis so immediately. So I chop up a salad and pat myself on the back.

Until the next day, when I go to Small Cheval. Damn, that burger is good.