Amiable ex-TV hypnotist Paul McKenna has come a long way since his days of gently humiliating unsuspecting studio audience members for our entertainment. His considerable talents and energies are focused these days on his thriving ‘Self-Improvement’ training empire. Perhaps his most notable achievements lay in the field of weight loss, where his range of books, tapes, CD’s and seminars, claim a stunning success rate of some 70%. Armed with an intellectual interest in Mr. McKenna’s methods, and a physique worthy of his concern, I decided to put his claims to the test. Tempted though I was by some glowing testimonials from his weight loss seminars, it was ultimately his attempt to relieve me of around three hundred of the wrong type of pounds that dissuaded me. Salvation beckoned however, in the form of this (appropriately slim) paperback volume – a rather more easily digestible prospect at a mere ¤9.99. Where better to start than the title itself? “I can make you thin
”. Not, ‘lighter’, you will observe, but ‘thin’. Indeed, there is scant reference anywhere within these pages to weight, weight loss, target weights etc, except the instruction to disregard them completely. Top marks on two counts: firstly, society’s perceived ideals for height/weight ratio can be depressingly, sometimes dangerously misleading. Secondly, and more crucially, it is surely the perceived improvement in appearance
, and the associated ‘buzz’ in self-esteem that we all crave so desperately, rather than the arbitrary judgement of the scales. Having disregarded the subject of weight, Mr. McKenna also neatly sidesteps advising on diet, or calorie counting. Far more relevant he claims, is the manner
in which we eat. For most of us, timing and content of meals are dictated by hectic lifestyles and rigid routines. It is by redressing this balance and following some simple ‘golden’ rules that Mr. McKenna promises to ‘Change your relationship with food forever’. Adhering to these rules (all concerning when
to eat, rather than what) will gradually re-program our brains to better understand the signals we receive from our bodies and act accordingly.
The theory is stunningly simple, the practice may well involve substantial re-organisation of some household routines! Integral to this program throughout, is the focus on changing attitude, both to self and to food. To this end, the necessary tools for the trade are provided. The (alarmingly named) ‘Mind Programming C.D’ is designed to gently rebuild low self-worth, and feed positive thoughts and energy into our sub-conscious mind, so influential in controlling how we think and act. The conscious mind also has some re-training exercises to attend to, the goal of these can be summarised thus: As you strive to achieve the body you would love, also learn to love the body you have. There is after all, nothing less attractive in a person than self loathing, whatever their weight. Many books strike the right chord simply by confirming what you already knew deep down – and this is no exception. Eating should be a simple pleasure. There should be no guilt trips, no agonised calorie counting, and most of all, no vicious circle of ‘failure’ and self abuse. While it would be inappropriate of me to speculate as to the suitability of Paul McKenna’s program for any one individual, I can safely affirm the following: The program is inexpensive (with no dietary requirements or supplements involved), simple to follow, and committed to the safe, positive development (both in mind and body) of those whom adopt it. In an industry notorious for cashing in on the misery and insecurities of the vulnerable, these are essential concerns.