A couple of weeks ago, I went to a weight loss event with hypnotist Paul McKenna at The HMV Hammersmith Apollo. As someone who has tried lots of different diets, lost lots of weight, put on lots of weight and done it all several times, I though it was time to try something radically different. Paul McKenna has helped millions of people around the world, including countless celebrities, so I thought I would give it a go.
And his system is different. He urges you to throw away anything with low-fat written on it, eat only what you want and when you want it, and says you will never need to diet again! Paul says he has made himself very unpopular with the multi-million pound diet industry because in effect he says that no diets work forever, and his system is different because it re-trains your brain and body to know when it needs nutrition, what it needs and how much it needs. This means you don't end up putting on the weight you lost again, because you are relearning good habits which will last a lifetime.
As well as that he showed us how to retrain our brains to accept what we see in the mirror and change the negative things we say to ourselves. On the scale (in the photo above) the lady said she felt like a 9 out of 10 on the ugly scale - which we all found quite shocking. (It's actually to the left of the photo, so you can't see that part of the scale.) By the time Paul had spoken to her and taken her through the exercises, she said she felt like a 6 out of 10 on the beauty scale. That's quite a shift!
Paul also spoke about food addictions, cravings and mindless eating. Most of the time this sort of eating is trying to fill some sort of emotional hunger, not physical hunger. We learnt how to tell the difference and learnt techniques to deal with those cravings should they arise.
Naturally as one would expect, Paul hypnotised us all several times; suggesting to our unconscious minds that we could be more mindful of our eating and stop when full. During our lunch break, I ordered exactly what I wanted to eat, savoured each bite and to my amazement, only managed to eat about half what I normally eat. I felt satisfied and for the first time in years, left some food on my plate. I was already starting to gain back control of my eating.
At break time, I had a coffee and spent some time admiring the historic building.
'That's all interesting but will it work?' I hear you ask. Well, I have only been using the system for two weeks now, and I have to say it has been really easy. I have never felt more in control of my own eating and desires for food (- I am a real foodie!) In fact I was worried about it working 'too well' because I didn't want to lose my love of food. In reality I have found that this system just enhances my appetite because a core part of it is about appreciating and savouring each mouthful. And my clothes no longer feel as though they are trying to cut me in half or strangle me.
'Will it work in the long term?' I would say that to have any lasting change, obviously I have to keep it up and ensure that I don't just slip back into old habits of denying myself certain foods, skipping meals, over-eating and so on. Also Paul did say that the title of his system 'I Can Make You Thin' is a misnomer. No one else can make you thin; only you can. Personally, I don't want to be 'thin'; I just want to feel happy in my skin, be able to wear clothes that I like and return to my natural (maintainable) weight.
I think this is actually going to change my life forever.
Amazing Fact #2
I can teach it to you! I am experienced in all of the NLP techniques that Paul uses and as I am not a celebrity hypnotist I am far more affordable and easier to track down!
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Well, it has been three and a half months since I went to the Paul McKenna weight loss event in London and so I thought it would be a good time to update you with my progress so far.
First of all, I think it's important to say that I don't think I have lost any weight. I say think because I don't often weigh myself at home. I have regular hospital appointments, and the first thing they do there is weigh me and take my blood pressure, so I monitor my weight that way. However, I have had lots of people telling me they think I have lost weight (which to my mind is still good!), and more importantly I have been feeling much more light and airy than I did before I began using Paul McKenna's techniques.
The most profund difference for me is the fact that I now question myself before I eat... am I actually hungry or am I eating out of habit or as something to do, because I am bored, upset or it is because others are eating? This is a critical step for me and one that gives me back the locus of control. I now (mostly*) only eat when I am hungry.
(* This is hard when I am in a situation when I am not in control of when my lunch break is or when someone else is serving my meals. Sometimes I just have to eat then , even if I am not hungry, because that is the allocated 'eating time'. At these times I try to stick to the other three rules even more rigidly.)
Secondly I have been choosing to eat whatever I want when I do eat, which is rule number 2. I find that I no longer attach guilt to what I am eating... I can enjoy what I eat and feel good about my choices. I started off making some poor choices, but as time has gone on, through using the hypnosis CDs (about twice a week on average), I have started to re-programme myself to make healthier choices. I never actually thought I would say that, so that is quite amazing.
Thirdly, eating consciously and as slowly as possible has become second nature. In a way it is a bit of a hinderance, becuse I always ate slowly anyway, and now it has become extremely difficult for me to eat when I'm in a hurry!
Finally, stopping when I am full... This is a weird one because I feel full sooo much sooner than I ever did before. My portions have halved and directly after listening to the CD, it is like I have some sort of hypnotic gastric band which stops me from being able to over-eat!
I have also been taking more exercise, but I do find it easier to do this at the moment as it is summer.
I have also felt an increase in body-confidence and the feeling that I can and will achieve my ideal body weight, in time. I realise that most of the weight I am carrying at the moment, crept on over ten years (perhaps two pounds every year?). I feel that it has ten years to creep on, and if I continue to eat smaller portions, of the right food and move my body more, I will lose weight in the long run. I'll keep you posted!