Archive for July, 2008

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 10

July 31, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

I am feeling that this trial is opening a Pandora’s box for me. As I am forbidding myself to use eating as a coping strategy for stress, I am left with an overwhelming feeling of being lost.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Days 8 and 9

July 30, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

Ok, let’s just start by saying: I haven’t been doing good on the trial the past two days. I.e., I have come back to old eating habits, i.e. eating that obeys to my emotions, rather than my hunger.

I thought about deleting the blog completely because I felt embarrassed, but then I thought: well, it may be that I am getting to the core of the issue and that my experience could benefit some people. I’m sure other people are in my situation.

On the first post of the blog, I wrote about the website of Steve Pavlina. He always seems to be writing articles that are completely relevant to my current situation. His latest one deals with the fact that if you fail to change a habit, it is because you probably didn’t do the preliminary work completely. He uses the metaphor of chess playing to say that everygame has three phases: the early game, the middle game and the end game. And he wrote that only in the end game should you attempt to do a 30-day trial to change a habit. (check out the post: Habit Change Is Like Chess)

So maybe I should have made some preliminary work before I started with the trial. But now that I have done a week of it, and that some people are actually reading this blog (amazing, after only a week) I have decided to not give up and carry on the experiment. And take some time to do the early and middle game work that I didn’t do.

I sat down in front of the computer, with my strategist hat on. I felt like Napoleon about to wage a battle. I read in a book the process to set an objective with a winning scenario in mind. So, I’ll write about the steps that I went through:

1. Formulate your objective in a positive and precise manner

I want to have a healthy body and a healthy weight of 80 kg.
(this actual number can be adapted in the future, but right now, this is the direction I’m going).

2. What does this objective mean to me?

It means that I will have a more positive image of myself and that I will be happy to present my body to other people.

3. What is the concrete context of your goal?

Where? Anywhere in the world. As I tend to travel a lot, change environment often, this should be achieved wherever I am living.
When? As soon as possible.

4. How will I know that I have achieved my goal?

I will see a body without fat in the mirror. I will see it on the scale.

5. What will I see, what will I hear, what will I feel?

I will feel more energetic. I will feel lighter so it will be easy to take on exercise. I will be able to achieve more throughout the day.
I will hear congratulations from people who knew me heavy.
I will feel more confident.

6. What will this objective bring me?

The confidence to look at and talk to a stunning woman.
Ask my sporty friends to take part in their physical activities, feeling confident that I will be able to do the same things they do.
Be happy to show my body (at the beach, during a hot summer day, while making love…)
Unconsciously follow a healthy eating pattern that allowed me to reach and stay at my objective.

7. Does this objective depend on me?

Yes.

8. Am I aware of the price to pay to achieve my objective? Have I accepted this price?

First, give up on numbing strategies; numbing myself with tons of food is actually a good way to deal with my stress. Giving up on it creates more stress, as it gives a feeling of being lost.
Second, to actually dedicate time to finding coping strategies to emotional distress.
Third, to actually break my natural tendency to isolate myself, and be more open to the world. (outside of partying activities)

***

Further early game work

I’ve been reading about weight loss for 10 years, so I have a good picture on the different methods that are available. And in my context, the Paul McKenna method is the one that made more sense, so I still want to go with it (even though the first week has not been so good).

After doing some research on the Internet, here are the different ways to cope with stress that appealed to me:

  • Exercize your mind and your body
  • Talk to somebody, build a support network
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Look for humor in the situation

These are tools that are now available to me next time I have a panic attack, or feel emotionally overwhelmed; I will blog here to say if I was able to resort to them, and how well they worked.

Finally, I want to take a moment to push the strategy preparation further:

I said in my objective that I want to be able to ask friends to take part in sport activities with them. I don’t need to wait to be slim and sporty to do this (depending on the sport obviously). I take the pledge to call 5 friends and ask them.

Also, do I need to wait to be slim and healthy to look at a stunning woman with confidence? I’d like to take a similar pledge, but first, I’ve got to find the answer to that question: where are the stunning women?

***

I will keep you posted on my journey!

PS: Paul McKenna book actually describes stress coping exercizes, which I’ve always overlooked as “not important”… I’ll use those as well and talk about it in the blog.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 7

July 28, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

I am really enjoying the mental strength that this method is giving me. I mentioned a few times that forcing myself to not look at the scale helped me focus on the mental/emotional/psychological aspects of my food habits (rather than the quantitave aspects such as number of calories, food category, kilograms lost or gained, etc). And indeed, this trial is giving me some psychological weapons to use in vulnerable situations.

For example, yesterday, as I was preparing for my upcoming interviews, I had a moment of stress. I started to go towards the kitchen, but on the way checked with my stomach. Am I hungry? the answer was yes, so I went to eat a slice of bread; but then, the stress tried to take over and I cut myself an even bigger piece of bread. I asked my stomach if I needed it, and the answer was no, but I felt a compulsion to eat it. Then I asked myself: “who do I want to listen to? my stomach or my fear?” I chose my stomach and refused to obey to my fear, so therefore, I did not eat that piece of bread.

Among, these victories, I also make some mistakes; I have told in this blog about them, and I made another one on Day 7. I went cycling for 3 hours and it was a sport effort, as I was going up a moutain called “Mont Salève”.

Mont Salève

Mont Salève

It’s a hard one! I came back home and I was starving, which was quite normal. I had just spent so much energy. However, at some point, my stomach was full, but again, I kept on eating and my excuse in my head was “I just did this exhausting exercize, now I can do what the f*#$ I want!” and I fell into the trap of eating too much. It is as if my exercize had made me feel powerful, and that power was giving me the right to overeat, as if I was some kind of superman, whose stomach eliminates food faster than a normal being.

I’m really grateful that I am making these mistakes, because I can really identify the psychological traps in which I am used to falling into, and then learn to avoid them. So far, my triggers of overeating were: fear, joy, feeling of power, boredom.

The reason why I write about such personal feelings in this blog is because I think many people who are struggling with weight loss mostly struggle with their emotions and feelings. So I am hoping that you will be able to identify well with what I am going through, and that it will help you sort out your own issues. I also write this because it helps me see clear in my own feelings.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 6

July 27, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

I’ve made the decision to change the headlines on all the posts. It used to be called “Paul McKenna trial – Day …” but I stumbled upon a couple of articles about McKenna being involved in a couple of lawsuits and I remembered that in English, trial can also mean “settlement of a lawsuit in court”, therefore, I changed it to “review”. Also, since he now offers more and more products, it would have been too imprecise if I didn’t mention the book which I am reviewing, therefore, I added that information too.

Today I caught myself dreaming that it was the start of hundreds of reviews (mind you, if I do 30 day trials, I can only do 12 a year) that will get so famous that Fortune 500 companies would go after me and beg me to review their products. Ok, so let’s stop dreaming and try to finish this one first.

I went cycling for about 1,5 hours, after which I felt great and was good throughout the day.

I’m disappointed at myself in the evening, as I ate more than what I was actually hungry for at dinner time; and this time, I can’t really identify a strong feeling or a strong emotion of fear, anxiety, or even joy, that I was going through. No, it seemed that I was just doing it, for no particular reason. I didn’t binge to the point that I felt neasous, or even completely bloated, but still, I felt stuffed.

A few times, I had an inner voice tell me: “pay attention to your hunger feelings” but I chose not to listen to it, because these sushis tasted so good… and then that cheese tasted good too. It felt as if it was the last time I had the opportunity to eat these sushis and this cheese. I haven’t completely integrated the idea that “food will always be there” (in the hypnotic induction, Paul McKenna actually says that!)

Anyway, I don’t think I did much damage, but I prefer it when I strictly stick to the rule.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 5

July 26, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

Day 5. Wow. I’ve got a couple of feelings: 5 seems like an achievement, but it also seems so far away from the goal (DAY 30)… I believe that visualization helps you stay focused, so sometimes I imagine myself typing into the “Title” field “Paul McKenna Review – Day 30!”

Anyway, I want to talk about a couple of family conversations today:

First of all, my sister said to me : “I stumbled upon your blog, I know it’s yours”. So now I’m not writing completely undercover anymore!

Second, I was next to my father today and I said: “I think I have lost weigtht, but I’m not sure”. He overheard me and said: “there’s only one way to know, get on the scale everyday! That’s how I do it.” To which I replied, “no it’s not the only way.” I wish I had some results to back up my claim, but I’m not allowed to check my weight!!

My father is partly responsible for my relationship with weight gain/loss. I feel so guilty when I put weight on, that I am ashame to go and see him, and I am under the impression that he has a judging look on me when he sees me. Maybe I’m imagining it, maybe it’s true. Nonetheless, he instilled in me the obsession of checking my weight and measuring my health according to the figures oscillating on the scale.

Moreover, even though he’s slim and looks healthy, I don’t think he has a good relationship with food. Sometimes, he comes home and guzzle cheese compulsively, then eats barely anything for days, as he feels guilty. He can control himself better than me, that’s why he stays slim.

To be honest with you, I have high hopes in the PMcK method: I hope it will liberate me from all this, and create positive feelings in me towards food. Also, I hope it will have TANGIBLE results on the scale. Not looking at my weight really helps work on the psychological/emotional level of weight loss, but it’s kind of a bet: on day 15, I could either be happy about the results or really disappointed. So far, I’ve been good at sticking with the rules.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 4

July 24, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

Two good things today: 1st of all, I got my first comment, after only three days! It’s very encouraging… Moreover, it seems that I’ve inspired someone to give it a try. That thought makes my day! Second, I looked at myself in the mirror today and thought “you’re starting to look good”, even though I still have my man boobs (lol) and my love handles… I looked at them but still, couldn’t help but think that I started to look good. Don’t read any vanity into this; it’s just that I’m so used to tell myself: “your body is ugly” that I felt quite surprised to hear in my head that my body looked good.

I have left Paris for a few days and am now in Geneva, where the temptation to binge on cheese fondue is always there! Let’s see how the PMcK method helps me here.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I got stressed about a job interview and hence I had my food “crisis”. I want to take a moment to talk about the relationship between job search and eating patterns I’ve had in the past few months. Let’s talk about the context first: I just completed a graduate degree program. A few months ago, some companies came to recruit on campus and it was a very busy time. My companies of choice did not recruit me, so I felt depressed about it and ate a lot. Then yesterday, I said I was stressing about an interview preparation, and I had a binge incident. Today, I’ve received an email from a recruiter who said he’s very interested in seeing me. I was very excited because that job is exactly the type of things I’d like to do, so I felt celebratory and my body jumped up and took a few steps towards the kitchen. Fortunately, it was only a few steps and I was able to check with my real hunger feelings to conclude that I wasn’t actually hungry. My point is: no matter what feeling it is (joy, fear, disappointment), if it is a strong feeling, my reflex is to overeat. I would consider this trial a successful one if PMcK method is indeed efficient in helping me get rid of my emotional eating (I did good today, but it’s too early to say, we’ll see on day 30!)

For those who don’t know the book, it comes with a CD, which is basically a recording of McKenna doing a hypnotic induction. I fall asleep almost everytime I listen to it- though a couple of times I stayed awake throughout the entire recording, and I can guarantee there was no sketchy suggestions 😉 Anyway, I’ve been listening to it everyday, it takes 25 minutes of my time. It’s too soon to say about the effects, but maybe the “i’m looking good” thing happened today thanks to this CD.

Later in the afternoon, I was really bored. Usually, I would have eaten. Instead, I did… nothing, which kept me bored. But at least, I don’t feel guilty for binging. Quite the opposite actually.

9:30 pm: maybe it’s ok to be bored sometimes.

I’m not saying people should aspire to be bored, but tonight, I am thinking that it is not the end of the world if I’m bored, that I don’t need to break it by eating food, or drinking alcohol profusely, or whatever- If I get a better idea to break it, I’ll happily get out of it. Otherwise, I’ll just get some rest or watch a film. I have always considered boredom to be a personal failure, so I guess I’m seeing things differently tonight.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 3

July 24, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

Today, things are getting interesting.

I was doing fine in the morning. I could even feel that my body was feeling healthier and I really wanted to check the scale to see what my progress was.

Then in the afternoon, I had a “food crisis” where I went into the kitchen and started eating bread without control, on which I added cheese or jam… I felt like I was in the cockpit of a plane, but I wasn’t the pilot. Or rather, I had lost complete control. My head kept saying: “slow down, eat every bite consciously, pay attention to your hunger feelings,” but my body was going through the motions. I was watching my hands taking food and stuffing it in my mouth, as if I was watching a movie on which I had no influence.

As a consequence, I felt stuffed after that (and even at midnight, when I’m writing this post, I still feel full!) So I didn’t have dinner with the rest of the family, which disppointed me because, as true French man, I enjoy socializing over meals.

Looking back at it, here is why the crisis happened: I started to think about a job interview that I have next Tuesday. Today, I hadn’t worked on it, for various reasons, including: going out for appointments, being disturbed quite often and downright procrastination. I started to panic about the fact that I should be preparing, and started thinking: “I’m going to be so unprepared, I’m going to fail this interview, I’m gonna be out of job for a long time, I won’t be able to live normally”. Out of fear, I jumped out of the couch and went straight to the kitchen to do the activity described above.

I have been wondering for a long time what the root cause behind this behaviour is. I have thought it could be in some sort of childhood event, but I really have no clue. And going to see some psychiatrists haven’t helped (yet). I’m still trying to find out.

So in complement, I have gone down alternative routes to try and change this pattern. I guess you could group all the things I’ve tried under NLP (visualization, mental suggestion, etc)- I listen to the CD in the Paul McKenna book, which is supposed to reprogram your mind, but as exemplified by today, it has not worked (yet).

Or isn’t it working in some way? Later tonight, I had another little surge, went to the kitchen, took a piece of bread and started chewing it. Then I stopped. Usually, I would have told myself: “well, it’s in my mouth, so I might as well eat it now”. But tonight, I had a gesture: my hand, went into my mouth and took the piece of bread out. It felt almost like an aggressive gesture. It was a very firm one, as if one part of me (the part who wants to be healthy) was taking charge over the other part (who wants to remain fat). Let’s hope this marks the beginning of a new era!

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 2

July 23, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

Woke up this morning really hungry. I went to the local bakery and I bought a “pain au chocolat” (a chocolate croissant, the English call it)… This pastry is so thick and greasy that only a few bites are enough to fill the stomach and make the hunger go away. Again, I took the time to enjoy every bite, every mouthful.

Completely unaware that I started this trial, my sister forwarded me a blog post of a girl who has decided to eat what she likes and to never do a diet ever again. It is a post in French, titled “Pourquoi je me suis violemment opposée à toute forme de regime amaigrissant“, in which the author describes that she has reached a certain weight and she’s happy with it. She doesn’t go by society’s standards, she is happy with herself and her looks.

While reading it, I had a couple of mixed feelings: on the one hand, I admired her achievement and I would also love to look at myself in the mirror and not be critical. On the other hand, I thought: “yeah but I’m doing this trial to loose weight, not to be at the weight that is comfortable for me to be”… I think my head is still polluted by the idea that to look better, I need to be at a certain level on the scale (to be honest, I know I am more seductive when I weigh a bit less). It will be interesting to see if my thinking evolves in this 30 day trial. Maybe the fact that I shouldn’t weigh myself more than twice a month will help me change that mindset; today, I really want to step on it to see if there are any results from yesterday-

For lunch, I made an appealing plate, that had white rice, vegetables, more vegetables and some cheese; took to the time to enjoy everymouthful. I finished my plate, which worries me, since Paul McKenna mentions that plates are usually not finished when you listen to your stomach! Fact is, I was still hungry. After that, I treated myself with a bit of chocolate. Later in the afternoon, I often felt some hunger and grabbed a bite or two of something to eat in the kitchen.

I feel calm in my relationship with food today, so let’s hope it stays that way. Many times I have felt boredom today and was tempted to eat, but told myself that I wasn’t really hungry…

Went to the gym and exercized on the eliptic machine for 45 minutes. I didn’t do the last 45 because I was bored out of my mind. On the way back, I bought a Mister Freeze, but felt full only after a very small portion of it.

All day, I’ve been so tempted about going on the scale to check my weight. It’s funny, but it makes me realize that I only saw the result of being healthy as a quantitive result (i.e. a number on a scale) rather than a qualitative one (what it will feel like)- By not allowing myself to go on the scale, I have no choice but to focus on the quality of the experience: my inner feelings, the appreciation of the food, etc.

Later today, during and after dinner, I had some alcohol and I applied the same rules. I actually noticed how alcohol can make you full. I didn’t finish a beer as it felt so heavy on my stomach. It’s not surprising, since there is so many calories in Alcohol… but unless you pay attention to it, you can’t realize how much it actually fills you up.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 1

July 22, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

When I woke up this morning, I was very determined to start this trial, as I said in my previous post.

Breakfast: I had a couple of toasts with strawberry jam, after which I still felt hungry, so I had a yogurt with real sugar and then I felt full.

I went to the gym and did one hour of cardio on the elliptic machine. I selected a level that was easy but hard enough to make my heart beat faster and sweat profusely.

After the gym, I went to McDonald’s and ordered a McDeluxe menu (that’s what they’re called in France, I don’t know about other places) with a salad and a Perrier drink. The book says that if you trust your body and your instincts, you will naturally know what you should eat. Those are the reasons why I didn’t choose the fries or a sugar drink. Neither were compelling to me. However, I felt like I need some meat, that why I took a burger. I ate the entire salad. Then I started eating the burger and at half way through, I thought: I’d rather eat only the steak and I’ll eat the rest if I’m still hungry after. So that’s what I did, and I didn’t want the buns after that, so I left them on the tray and left.

Throughout the afternoon, I had some moments of hunger and I ate food such as: half an apple, a yogurt, a slice of cheese on bread. Everytime, I only took something that I found really appealing to my senses, I took the time to enjoy it and I stopped when I was full.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the hunger grew bigger, but I wanted to wait for dinner, because I was meeting someone at the restaurant, and I wanted to be hungry there to enjoy the food. I took a piece of veal with mashed potatoes, and I ate the entire plate. I took the time to enjoy it, but I didn’t really feel full until the plate was finished; towards the end, even if I wasn’t hungry per say, I wasn’t full, so I kept eating it. It seems like there is room for negotiation with yourself on when exactly the limit is between being hungry and being full. However, the principle says: “when you think you are full, stop eating”, which is what I followed.

Paul McKenna “I can make you thin” Review – Day 0

July 21, 2008

This is my first attempt to follow the Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”‘ principles. This attempt didn’t succeed. I tried again in March 2009, and this time it worked. If you want to read the successful trial, click here.

***

First, a bit of background:

I have struggled with weight loss as long as I can remember being alive. I remember being put on a scale at a young age and have the doctor comment to my mother that something should be done about my weight. The first meal plan I saw was in difficult-to-read doctor’s handwriting on the same kind of sheet they write their prescription on. I also read many books on weight loss, tried no-carb diets, tried the Slimming world diet and Weight Watchers as well.

Those attempts were successful to a certain degree, until I started piling up the weight again. Twice in my life, I actually reached my healthy weight. In my latest one, I reached the weight of 80kg in only two months (down from 97 kg) but I gradually put everything back in 10 months and today I weigh 102 Kg (for 188cm).

I kept a journal of my feelings and thoughts during my last attempt, because I really wanted to pierce the mystery of weight loss, and I actually was about to compile all my notes into a book, when I stumbled upon the Paul McKenna book, which summarized all the ideas I came up with- so my project went to the bin.

Second, the reason why I want to test this method is because it offers several advantages:

  • it is sustainable, i.e. it offers a method that you can follow even after you’ve reached your ideal weight
  • it is compatible with social activities: you can actually be invited to dinners and eat whatever your hosts make for you; you can go to any restaurant with your friends
  • it is simple: 4 principles that are quite easy to remember. No need to make your life hard with a scale to weigh everything, counts points, calories, etc.
  • it uses some techniques such as visualization and NLP in order to achieve your goals (it’s trendy at the moment, but I believe it really helps staying focused). This is all explained in the book I can make you thin

Now, I find this method simple, but I don’t find it easy. I am not used to follow the principles: “Eat CONSCIOUSLY and enjoy every mouthful” and “When You Think You Are Full, STOP Eating.” Indeed, I tend to stuff myself uncontrollably (i.e. not taking the time to enjoy what I’m eating) and to keep on eating even when I’m not hungry. So this 30-day-trial will be a challenge.

This morning, I told myself: “ok, this is not gonna be easy, but you are strong enough to overcome these challenges”. Moreover, it’s only for 30 days, right? I even wrote on my computer: “There will be adaptation times that will be difficult, but I can survive, it won’t kill me, on the contrary.”

Another thing Paul McKenna mentions, is to not weigh yourself more than everytwo weeks. So I checked this morning, but I won’t look again until August 4th.

He also has a CD recording that he recommends to listen to on a daily basis. I believe in his hypnotic powers, I fall asleep every time!!

Finally, he advises to have some kind of physical activity to accelerate the process and feel better, so I’ve joined a local gym.

I’ve also put images of myself when I was 80kg on my desktop. This helps me visualize my goal, since I’ve actually reached it once!

Ok, so here we go… Trial officially starts now.