New Year, new Adele, to paraphrase an inspirational epigram of which we're all no doubt thoroughly sick now. Actually, there's nothing that new about the 31-year-old singer-songwriter, but according to reports, she "continues to show off her incredible three stone weight loss;" or, depending on where you source your news, has been "parading" it on a beach in Anguilla.

We could unpack the idea that a famous woman who's lost weight is inevitably parading or showing off, rather than just, say, using her body to go about her business (or holiday). But, if you're honest, aren't you dying to know how she lost the weight in the first place? Not least because, a little more than one week into January, your own diet is already showing signs of strain.

No-one wants to hear that Adele simply ate less and moved more. What we want is the story of a miracle diet or regime, or of a guru who has worked some species of transformative magic. Fortunately in Adele's case, there might just be grounds to believe this.

Adele looked stunning in a polka dot summer dress coupled with a red bandanna around her neck. Photo / Twitter.
Adele looked stunning in a polka dot summer dress coupled with a red bandanna around her neck. Photo / Twitter.

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It's been suggested the singer has worked with hypnotherapist Susan Hepburn in the last few months to achieve her dramatic weight loss, having been known to work with her in the past. Hepburn has been linked to a string of celebrity clients, but is known for being discreet and refuses to discuss whom she works with.

Adele appeared in great spirits as she jumped into the water cocktail in hand. Photo / Twitter.
Adele appeared in great spirits as she jumped into the water cocktail in hand. Photo / Twitter.

When asked if she recently worked with Adele, she declined to comment. But what she can confirm is that her combination of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy has helped many clients lose vast amounts of weight, and keep it off.

"It's not a diet," she stresses. "I change [my clients'] mindset, to help boost their confidence and self-esteem. They just lose the emotional hole that makes them think of food the whole time."

Photo / Instagram @sineadcorcoran_
Photo / Instagram @sineadcorcoran_

Last year the Herald's Deputy Lifestyle Editor Sinead Corcoran lost 9kgs through hypnotherapy.

In practice, this means three sessions with Hepburn, at a cost of £295 ($580) each. She starts by what she calls getting their "storyline", because "if they gain weight and can't stop themselves, there must be something wrong. So I find out what is wrong and block it."

The former nurse from Yorkshire, who now practises in Harley Street, London, compares the process to fixing a computer. "I go into your brain and find out what's making you eat all this food if you don't want to, and I delete those defective files under hypnosis."

She dismisses the idea of slow metabolism or genetic predisposition to weight gain. "No-one's born predestined to have a weight issue," she says. "It's a learned behaviour. I change the mindset [of the client] by hypnotising them.

"They lie down or sit down in a comfy chair, I massage them with my words and as soon as they're hypnotised I go into their subconscious mind and I'll say to them, 'I'm going to find the first time in your life when you had something to eat when you weren't hungry but felt better emotionally. I'm going to find that time and pull it out.' So you cut out all links with eating for boredom, comfort, tiredness."

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She also teaches her clients to embrace exercise rather than see it as a chore; to view it as an essential part of their life, rather than an optional extra. And she asks them to imagine themselves as the size they want to be.

"I ask them to see themselves in front of a mirror, and they can see their tiny waist all neat and narrow, their flat, toned stomach and midriff, and I tell them their whole body is toned and lean and strong and healthy."

This process she records and asks them to play it back on a daily basis.

"The weight does not creep back, it's permanent," she says.

Back in the late Noughties, she helped the singer Lily Allen slim down from a size 14 to a size 8. Other former clients are said to include Jennifer Aniston, the Duchess of York and Nigella Lawson. But although weight loss is Hepburn's main field of work, she also tackles smoking and drinking. Indeed, Adele is reported to have sought her help to quit smoking in 2014.

Hepburn's weight loss sessions include instructions to drink water to flush out toxins, to make healthier food choices and avoid snacking between meals most of the time. "I emphasise most of the time because this isn't a diet, it's about having a normal, healthy relationship with food," she says. "It's about not being deprived."

Her clients are also asked to keep a food and emotions diary, listing on one page what they have consumed and on the opposite one, how they've been feeling. She teaches portion control, the importance of making healthy choices and of getting good quality sleep.

"Everyone knows what's healthy and what's not healthy," she says. "I say have whatever you want, but in moderation. Moderation means finding that stop button."