Can hypnotherapist Paul Mckenna really make you thin?
Paul Mckenna is probably the most famous hypnotherapist in the world. It’s strange how he has almost always been part of my life from when he was a DJ on Capital FM. I didn’t know then that I would become a hypnotherapist myself.
I first saw Paul in the flesh in Wimbledon theatre about 25 years ago at a hypnotherapy show. He hypnotised my friend who was actually a sceptic that it would work!
I have been lucky enough to train with Paul Mckenna in person. He has hypnotised me too; he has a lovely rich smooth voice 🙂
I am constantly in professional development. I go on about five training courses a year in person to learn new concepts and techniques to benefit my clients. I also watch lots of content and read lots of books. As a lot of people seek my services to lose weight with hypnosis, it makes sense that I’ve read ‘I can make you thin’ by Paul Mckenna. Paul Mckenna’s books are best sellers and he has sold millions of copies of this one across the world!
The book is thin!
The first thing I noticed about this book was how thin it was. Was that a message to my subconscious? The book comes with a CD which is about 30 minutes long and Paul Mckenna says it will change the way I think about food and feel better about myself. I like this approach as there are studies that suggest you need to work on self-esteem before or during weight loss, or it’s likely that you will put weight back on again.
In my early days as a hypnotherapist, I used to discuss food and what to eat in my client sessions as I have nutrition qualifications, but over the past few years I focus more on the emotional and behavioural aspects. Increasing self-esteem runs through my work with clients.
I would not advise selecting your hypnotherapist on cost if choosing to see someone face to face. Make sure you speak to your chosen hypnotherapist first so you can ask as many questions as you like and get a feel for their style and if they are right for you.
In the book preface by Ronald Ruden, M.D., P.H.D, he makes the point that food is freely available. This is important. It cannot be avoided. This means that temptation is everywhere. You can’t go in a coffee shop without being faced with an array of cakes, sandwiches and biscuits. Even the drinks can have up to 700 calories a piece and are like meals in themselves. Caramel chocolate hazelnut latte with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles anyone?
Tackle the stress first
It’s great that Paul Mckenna’s book talks about reducing the stress that diets cause, but actually stress of any kind can trigger overeating and mindless eating.
Stress is a huge cause of overeating and weight gain. This is why hypnosis is so go for weight loss also and something I would address with my clients. People who are busy and stressed tend to not self-care as much as would benefit them and they also are more likely to ‘grab and go’ eat, rather than put thought, time and care into their meals and eating.
Hypnosis relaxing, pleasant and greatly beneficial for opening the subconscious, clearing negative thoughts and creating space for wonderful new positive thoughts and behaviours.
I didn’t like the part in the book which talked about ‘an approach to controlling the response to hunger’ because in my view, healthy eating isn’t about being hungry. It’s about eating foods which sustain you and nourish your body and reducing the amount of processed food, sugar and saturated fat that you eat. It’s about caring about what you put in your body.
Paul Mckenna says eat like slim people
He starts by saying ‘how would you like to eat whatever you want whenever you want and still lose weight’? Of course! Sounds wonderful, thanks Paul. He says that this is not like other weight loss approaches and people might be angry about all the money they’ve spent on other diets!
I love that Paul has put his NLP training into practise by modelling his system on the habits of naturally slim people that he has modelled. This means he has seen what they do and used that to develop his system.
Paul says that 90% of people that diet fail! And they fall into three groups of:
‘Forget about dieting. For ever. Diets are no more than training courses in how to get fat and feel like a failure’.
Paul says to deprive yourself of food is the worst possible way to lose weight and backs this up with a study from the second world war where people were starved and once food became available they ate up to eight times more. Even three months later.
Emotional eating has nothing to do with physical hunger, but a hunger for emotional fulfilment. I like the way he suggests asking yourself before you snack if you are hungry or just want to feel different. This really brings you in touch with your physical and emotional needs. If you are not actually hungry, you need a strategy for managing your emotions and changing your state. Something I always help my clients with.
He notes that sometimes weight gain follows a traumatic incident but people do not connect the two. In these incidences he suggests seeing an appropriate therapist.
I have had many clients that have worked on significant issues. In 95% of cases whatever the issue, I am equipped to deal.
The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to go into the subconscious mind and change your relationship with food forever says Paul Mckenna. I see this differently. Many people successfully lose weight with will power which is part of the conscious mind. Many people go to slimming groups and become ‘target’ members. This means that they get to go to the same slimming group every week for life and for free as long as they stay in a particular weight range. And many do. This is what I would call an ‘away from’ strategy where the fear of putting the weight back on keeps that person slim. This works for many.
But there are many more people that lose weight in a similar way and put it back on and I see lots of those clients. When I work with clients for weight loss we use the subconcious mind. We will cover reasons and triggers for overeating and change them. So you could say this is a ‘towards strategy’ which provides inspiration that things can change for good. But without being monitored and without counting calories so you can look forward to a life without the chains caused by overeating and being overweight. You will be doing it because every part of you wants to and can see the benefits of doing so. It’s exciting and life doesn’t feel like ‘being on a diet’.
Paul uses great metaphoric language to explain that learning to eat right is just like learning to tie your shoelaces or drive a car. You need to spend some time and practice doing it, but after a while it becomes second nature and you don’t even think about it very much!
Paul Mckenna’s golden rules for weight loss
Going back to the slim people he had modelled, Paul says there are four golden rules he has identified:
1 – When you are hungry eat
This is such great advice as it stops your blood sugar nose diving and stops your body panicking and storing fat it doesn’t need. He calls being hungry ‘the body’s natural call for food’, which I think is a great term for it.
2 – Eat what you what, not what you think you should eat
This chapter was excellent and covered an interesting experiment with toddlers and trusting the body to ask for what it needed if nothing was restricted.
3 – Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful
Here Paul said that he had noticed that overweight people spend a lot of time thinking about food, except when they are eating it and are then busy enjoying it.
4 – When you think you are full, stop eating
This one sounds obvious but there is evidence that it takes your stomach time to realise that it’s full. So you could be eating a lot more food than you need that time. That’s why rule 3 works well. By slowing down your eating, you are giving your stomach a chance to realise that it’s satisfied.
Programming your mind to be slim
As a hypnotherapist this was my favourite part of the book! I love how Paul talks about the power of our imagination. He gives an exercise to demonstrate how your imagination is so powerful you can imagine tasting chocolate cake and also something disgusting happening to that cake.
He also how words can ‘sell’ food. I just found this description of plums on the Waitrose website!
‘Sweet, juicy plums are truly a treat. The most popular varieties combine honeyed sweetness with a hint of acidity that makes them useful for cooking as well as eating just as they are’. This is a great tantalising description of a plum 🙂
I like the way Paul talks about focusing on what you do want rather than what you don’t. As I mentioned earlier, this is a ‘toward’ strategy, rather than an ‘away from’ strategy. ‘Toward’ strategies have much more long standing power than ‘away from’ as they are driven by inspiration and hope, rather than fear and hurt.
If you put a picture of yourself overweight on your fridge you are in fact focusing your mind on a negative image. It might make you feel bad and this is not a good starting place for your weight loss plan. When starting on a weight loss plan you want motivation and focus. I have a free guide to starting a weight loss plan on my freebies page
You need to create a positive self-image
Paul Mckenna talks about how important it is to work on your self-image. He describes it as ‘the blueprint that determines everything about you, from how motivated, intelligent and confident you are willing to let yourself be’. This gave me tingles because I cannot tell you how many clients I’ve had who are so talented, clever, kind, whatever, but lack a positive self-image.
I work with my clients to improve their self-image. This is what I call ‘work of the self’ and it changes lives. Nothing really changes except how the person feels about themselves, but it can change everything.
I like the example Paul gives of someone who is not classically attractive, but their self-confidence makes them attractive to others. And this reinforces their own feelings of feeling attractive so it’s self-fulfilling.
Paul goes on to cover visualisation, emotional eating, exercise, motivation, craving and questions and ends by reminding readers that ultimately they need to take action to make ‘being thin’ a habit.
In a nutshell
On Amazon the following questions were used to sell Paul Mckenna’s ‘I can make you think’ book.
- Would you like to eat whatever you want and still lose weight?
- Would you like to feel really happy with your body?
- Are you unable to lose those last 10 pounds?
- Do you find it difficult to say no to second helpings?
- Do you get disheartened about your eating habits and your weight?
This book could live up to these promises for some people, especially as it has a CD to listen to with it as a hypnosis download.
Is it time for you to lose weight the easy way?
If you are interested in losing weight with hypnotherapy, please do get in touch and let’s talk about how you can get in control of your eating with a personalised weight loss plan. With hypnosis for weight loss, not only do you lose weight but also have the motivation to keep going and feel good while doing it. I offer this service in person or worldwide online.
This blog post has been updated since it was originally posted in 2016.