Archive for April, 2009

Another Spam award

April 22, 2009

This one was in my work inbox.

Subject of the email: “Astonish women with that monster inside your jeans


comment spamming

April 21, 2009

if you write a blog, you know that even if you barely have any audience (like mine 🙂 ), you still get comments generated by machines that spam blogs at random in order to get more links to their website and get a better rank in search engine. this is an annoying linking strategy, as you always have to clean regularly your spam filter. I can’t dare to think how many of those the most visited blogs get. So as I did my erasing tonight, I found one comment spam that truly deserves its “palme d’or” of comment spamming. It is totally irrelevant to this blog, makes little effort to fit, and is just… well, judge for yourself. Here is it:

“One of the most important things I found out about colon cleaning is you MUST juice fast for 3-5 days to get the OLD stuff out of your system. Of course clear the fasting with your doctor first.”


A secret trial for 30 days :o

April 20, 2009

so I gave a lot of thoughts about what my next trial should be… I had several ideas, that were very different from each other.

They included :

  • do a writing exercize every day
  • read the international news section of the newspaper every day
  • meet a stranger everyday (this idea was given to me by N)
  • go to the gym everyday
  • put out an intention everymorning and see how much has been magically fulfilled at the end of the trial

But I’ve decided to do something else. And I’m not gonna tell you 🙂


That doesn’t mean I won’t blog about stuff, like movies, or give my comments after watching my expenses during the 30 days of April, or continuing the discussion on eating when you’re hungry if that discussion goes any further.

But for the next 30 days, I’m going to try something, and I don’t want to share it.

At the end of the 30 days, I may or may not decide to talk about it. 🙂 We’ll see…

In response to “A canadian reader”

April 19, 2009

hi… so I finally got some time to sit down and continue the discussion started last week about “how to eat only when you’re hungry.” Wendy, also known as “Canadian Reader” here, posted a long reply to this discussion on her blog, called “the red leather boots syndrome.” Thanks for sharing such an intimate story, and it resonated with me in many different ways.

Since the long term goal of this discussion is to ultimately help people find a positive appreciation of food again, and be able to eat when they’re hungry, and stop eating when they’re not hungry, I’ll share the thoughts that go in that directions.

First of all, good job for opening the can of worms, and digging  out the stuff from the past that may influence your eating habits today. Articles and books that I have read on the topic of being overweight often suggest that this “syndrome” is often rooted in the past, especially childhood. I tend to believe this, and I think I am no exception to this rule. In a way, I envy Wendy to have so much clarity and to have been able to shed such a bright light on how her eating patterns are influenced by the past. In my case, I think this is where I must dig, but I have no clue how the past is influencing me today. Well, I know that it did make me want to be self-destructive, but I do not know the psychological mechanisms at work behind it.

All I know today, is that the past doesn’t need to be fully solved and understood to re-develop a healthy relationship to food. Of course, if it was, I think the challenge would be easy. But I know that I didn’t have to gain full clarity on my background in order to re-develop a healthy relationship to food, and to remove self-destructive behaviours (cf, the non-alcohol 30 day trial)… I even think that because I have removed the means of escapism (and this month, I’m taking care of overspending, and trust me, this is another scary situation that I will tell more about later) I will now be able to work on removing the negative influence of my past on my life today.

The reason why I am saying this, is that for a long time I have thought: “well, until I haven’t figured out the past completely, I will not improve”. And I have discovered that it’s not true. Now that I have accomplished my latest 30 day trial, I know that I am capable of sustaining this way of eating for an extended period of time, and it will take me less effort to go back healhty habits… Today, I have figured out that no matter where I stand, no matter how much clarity I have, I can make steps towards a more positive life, and I can be the artisan of the kind of existence that appeals to me more.

the feel good moment of the day

April 15, 2009

Courtesy of N, in her blog, the N files.

I thought it was appropriate since the last post was about trying to make a dream come true.

Here it is.

what next?

April 15, 2009

I am not sure what my next trial should be. So far, I have blogged mainly about the topics of physical health, career and finances. In parallel to following the “I can make you thin” method, I have also (finally) made a budget with the challenge to follow it… It’s been 14 days (I started on April 1st), but I didn’t feel like writing about it, because apart from: “oh it sucks, I couldn’t go to the restaurant today, because I’m watching my expenses,” there isn’t much else. The one positive feeling is that I feel in control, again. And I hope it’ll last.

So right now, I want to put myself in cruise mode, see if I am able to follow the “eat when/only if I’m hungry” rule and follow a budget so that I get in better shape physically and financially. Thing is, I think I am addicted to this blogging thing. My posts have become longer, and I invest more time and energy into it. I’ve started a public brainstorm/conversation with readers (and I hope it will catch on) and so I don’t see myself stopping it now.

Also, I don’t feel like starting another blog, because it’s the 4th one I start, and this time, I seem to have committed to it much more than the others. I think that ultimately, I will end this blog when I go on to other adventures, because I think I have more to offer than try things for 30 days… but it’s good at the moment.

The one big move that I dream to make in my life is to become a professional fiction writer. So I feel like I want my next trial to help me make a step in that direction. I have been writing on my novel 1st draft every day (I am more committed to the novel than I am to this blog, because I write on the novel script every single day, and I don’t follow the same discipline with blogging). So writing everyday helps becoming a better writer, but I am sure I could commit to some writing exercizes that I would publish here and that would make me a shraper writer. Like write a new portrait everyday for 30 days. Or write a new landscape description, a new object description everyday for 30 days… I don’t know. A new erotica story everyday would probably get me readers 😉

It’s scary because I fear it would expose myself to judgement; and by writing something every single day, there is not a lot of time for editing, improving, etc. But I guess that if this is what I want…

Corrida in Arles – April 12th

April 14, 2009

I seem to end up at exotic places at the end of my thirty day trials. It’s not planned at all, but it’s the second time I’m in a place completely different from my regular element when I finish a trial.

I’ve been mentioning on the blog that I am spending the Easter week end in Arles with my siblings. Arles is located in Southern France, and they throw a feria every year (like many towns of the South) that includes a program of: bullfighting, Paella eating and dancing in Bodegas. Now this year, the weather has been aweful, and the bullfighting programs were cancelled on Saturday (an event that was qualified as “unique” by the local newspaper, as a whole day of cancellations due to weather had never been seen… This is the South of France, after all).

However, weather seemed to go in our favour yesterday, and the rained agreed to stop a little bit at 5 pm, for the corrida we had tickets for. The sky was gray, and the threat of the sky breaking on us still present, but it didn’t stop the crowd of a 1000 viewers to come in mass to the arena to watch the bullfighting program.

On the poster, two of the most experimented toreros: Juan Jose Padilla and Rafaelillo. The third torero was French: Julien Lescarret. He was also less experimented and the newspapers feared for his life. Indeed, the 3 toreros were to fight against 6 bulls of the most reknown, and the most dangerous lineage of bulls known to corrida afficionados: The Miuras, known also as “The Black Legend.” This was the first corrida I ever attended. I hadn’t even watched one on TV. Those who know me know that what drama and theatricality fascinate me. I was not disappointed.

A man walks in the arena with a postsign that gives the statistics of the bull to come. Only one figure is interesting and that is the one everybody looks at : its weight. The first bull was 680 Kg. 680 !! I must say that for the people who have never seen a corrida, the torero is not alone in the arena. He is the maestro, the leader of a team of 4 other people: 3 people on foot, and one other on a horse with a pick (which I will come back to later)

Silence. On the side, I see a team member who signs himself and who kisses his hat. A door opens. 680 kg of muscles and flesh enter. When the bull comes in the arena, with him comes the idea of death. It is a solemn moment. Now the fun, the preparation, the music are over. Somebody will die. Be it the bull or a bullfighter. As I watch the show, the species survival instinct makes me side for the humans; I want them to survive.

The team members, located at several ends of the arena, call the bull with their pink sheet, the bull runs towards them, and then they hide behind a small wall. As you watch, you know that if they trip or take too much time to put their head behind to wall, one hit of the bull’s horn will injure them.

Then one man comes in the middle of the arena. He is not covered by any wall. He is the torero. He is on his knees, waives his pink sheet, faces the stampeding bull, puts the sheet on the side and as the bull goes through it, he waives it in the air in a round movement. He does not kid around. He is the boss. The audience goes “olé”.

A horse comes in. The horse has an armor. On him a man holds a long stick with a pointy iron piece on top of it. It is the “pick”. The man is called the “picador”. The horse has a black fold on his eyes, so he cannot see what’s happening. It’s probably for the best, because here is what happens next. The team positions the bull so that he eventually faces the horse; the bull then runs heads on in the side of the horse. The picador then sticks his pick in the spine of the bull. This is to weaken the beast. When the picador insists, or moves his pick back and forth in the bull, the audience whistles and boos. They don’t want to bull to be too weak. They want the beast to be able to fight. But these are Miura bulls. And the maestro orders the picador to repeat the process 2 times, sometimes 3. Then the Bandilleros come is. They hold two sticks in their hands and their goal is to face the bull, and plant the two sticks on his back as he is stampeding towards them.

The third phase is the final duel, between the torero and the beast. It is the one part where the torero has a red sheet and a sword. It ends with the killing of the bull, by planting the sword on his back so that it goes straight into the animal’s heart.

The Miuras are faithful to their reputation. They refuse to die. Even after the sword has been planted in them, they stand up and refuse to lay down to expire their final breath.


The two Spanish toreros give way to a heated discussion between the purists of corrida and the amateurs of show. Padilla is a showman. He does impressive moves in which he puts himself between the head of the bull and the red sheet. “It’s just circus!” say the purist. But the audience loves him and at the end, they waive their white handkerchiefs to demand that Padilla receives the two ears of the beast because he was brave. The purists say: “Asking for two ears for this clown of Padilla, I am ashamed for the Arena of Arles. Clearly this audience is ignorant.”

The audience can feel that Rafelillo is technically impressive. But people don’t understand what he does. The connoisseurs say: “he was on the edge of death 4 or 5 times during the combat. but nobody realized.”


I am glad I saw a corrida once in my life, but I’m not sure I’ll rush to see another one. I was not particularly disgusted by it (sorry animal rights advocates, but I was kind of insensitive to it), but I have to say that I don’t think the arguments of the pro-corridas are valid. These people say that at least, the bull is given a chance to fight for his life, as opposed to going straight to the slaughterhouse. But what kind of an opportunity to fight is this? It’s like if you said to someone: “let’s fight, I’ll give you a knife and I’ll have the gun. and also, let me break your leg first.” Don’t be fooled, a corrida is not a combat. It is a sacrifice. And I have more interest seeing a “fake”, acted out sacrifice in a tragic play, than a real one of an animal.

How to eat only when you’re hungry ? (Post 1)

April 14, 2009

(the answer to this question is a work in progress 🙂 )

Following the responses of two readers of this blog, “Cath” and “A Canadian Reader”, I want to take the time to address their concerns to the best of my knowledge and experience. Their comments made me want to re-start a project that I thought about 2 years ago, but that I gave up on, because I thought I lost the credibility to do it. Now, I feel like I’m gaining back that credibility, and it could be the time to restart it 🙂 !

Here is, in a nutshell, the project. There are tons of books on the specific actions to take to lose weight : calorie control, counting the points, not mixing your proteins and your carbs, or eating only when you’re hungry (the one I just followed, and the only one I believe in after decades of struggle), but there is no literature to help you make the mind shift to have healthy eating habits. Losing weight is treated as a technical challenge (just measure and reduce your intake of food, or just listen to your stomach and eat when you are hungry) but in fact, becoming healthy is an “adaptive challenge”, because it requires you to adapt your current way of thinking. Most time, adapting your way of thinking means giving up on things that you always held as truth, and this could cause internal or external conflict. But it could also sometimes be a smooth and effortless process. I have mentioned several times the book “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr, because it really helped me make the mind adaptation necessary to become a non-smoker and to realize that when I thought, when I was sure I needed a cigarette, I really didn’t.

(for more on the topic of technical versus adaptive challenges, you can buy the article of the author of the concept, published in the Harvard Business Review here, or you can get a summary here … it’s originally a business concept that I learned during the MBA, but it can be applied in non-business situations that require growth/change)

So now that I am convinced that not restricting food, and eating when (but only when) you are hungry is the definite way to become healthy, I realize that it wasn’t easy to bring myself to follow this rule, and that other people are still struggling with it.

I know that Paul McKenna thinks that an adaptive challenge can be overcome with Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P.), but I must admit: I don’t have faith in NLP anymore. I think people need more guidance than just doing NLP exercizes that will supposedly put them in the right mindset.

The best way to address other people’s concerns, I guess, is to address what’s been said to me directly, so I will answer my two readers, and we’ll see what happens from there.

A Canadian Reader

You mention in your comment that you feel anger because if you listened only to your stomach, you eat so little food that this doesn’t satisfy you psychologically. Now, this is a very interesting comment.

First of all, let me tell you that even though I am big and tall, when I listen only to my stomach, I eat very little as well. For example, I said that I managed to lose weight by eating pizza, but listen to this: when I order a pizza, I rarely eat more than 2 slices, because my stomach is not hungry for more. I usually end up tossing the pizza away, or giving it to other people. Same with French fries, I usually eat only half (if even that) of the box, because my stomach is full very easily. Similarly, I usually eat only half of a hamburger. I find that with fruits and veggies, my stomach is not filled as fast, so I can eat more. So I have experienced the same thing as you do: I eat very little quantities of food because when I listen to my stomach signal, I don’t need as much.

This was a strange experience for me, because I was taught by my mother (not taught directly, but taught through imitation of habits), that a real satisfying meal contains a first course, a main course, cheese and dessert, and with huge quantities of food in the main course plate, and also usually a substantially big dessert. So it was very surprising to me to see how little food I ate by only listening to my stomach. But I guess I was able to accept that because in the past I had tried drastic diets where I ate very little food (I don’t believe in these diets anymore, because I always ended up putting back on more weight than I lost, due to the frustration it created). After having followed my stomach for 30 days, I have to tell you that the quantities that I need to fill my stomach and satisfy my hunger are much less than what I thought.

Second, it is very interesting to read that a small meal doesn’t satisfy yourself psychologically. Maybe you could tell me a little bit more on that, so that I could tell you if there is anything in my experience that could help. The concept of eating when you’re hungry and stopping if you think you’re not hungry any longer is all about recognizing that eating is here to satisfy your stomach and your biological need to eat, but not to satisfy your brain. I understand that overeating has a psychological function to you. I’ve done it for 29 years (and I may do it in the future again, because it’s only been 30 days that I have done something else). I don’t fully understand the ropes of it. McKenna says that it acts like a drug, as overeating releases a chemical in your brain. Maybe. I know from experience that overeating is an addictive behavior, and that it is used to escape reality, so it is fair to say that it is like a drug. And yes, the first reaction of a drug addict when you take the drug away is : “fuck you !” or “how can I possibly live without it?”

So when you say “a small meal doesn’t satisfy me psychologically”, what goes in your mind exactly ?

For me, when I see that I am full after eating very little, I think: “wow, this is amazing. I’m not hungry after eating so little, surely, that means my body is going to trim, I’ll shed weight and I’ll become healthier… This is going to speed things up.” And I don’t care that I ate so little, because I know that if I feel hungry one hour later, I will eat something.

Finally, I am not sure Allen Carr’s book could help you stop overeat. In my case, it didn’t work, because the situations he describes are very specific to smoking. I had to figure out on my own how to manage to follow healthy eating habits.


Hey! So for your information, I spent 3,5 years in Boston, I studied film and writing at Emerson College, and then spent my final semester in Los Angeles.

To answer your comment:

First you say that you’re not good at stopping eating when you think you’re full. It would be interesting to have more details about that, so that I can tell you if I identify with some of the things that go through your mind.

Second, you mention that your main point of struggle is that you do something else while you eat. I sometimes do too, but only if a) it doesn’t distract me from actually enjoying what I am eating, and b) I can still be in touch with the sensations of my stomach. I do think that in the beginning, it was better for me to give up other activities when I ate, because I wanted to be in touch with my feelings.

By following the “I can make you thin” rules for 30 days, I became very respectful of the act of eating, and of food. I was very disrespectful of it, because there were so many negative feelings attached to eating: guilt, anger, pride, etc. Now, I’m not kidding when I say I love food. I do love all types of food, and the act of eating, either on my own, either in the company of others. I’ve understood it as a biological need, and I honor it as an act of nature. I do not see it as a waste of time if I only eat without doing anything else, on the contrary. I see it as a way to reconnect with my body, and also a sensual experience; I take the opportunity to smell and taste everything.

How does that resonate with you?


I really hope that we’re going to get this discussion going, and that maybe other people will join too and share if they’re struggling to apply this principle. I’m sure it could be a constructive experience for all people involved.

The honest review of “I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna

April 12, 2009

This is my second attempt to follow the 4 principles of Paul McKenna “I can make you thin”. These are:

  1. When you are hungry, EAT
  3. Eat CONSCIOUSLY and enjoy every mouthful
  4. When You Think You Are Full, STOP Eating

This relates a 30-day-trial experiment of the method.


Now that I have actually succeeded this attempt to follow the principles of “I can make you thin” by Paul McKenna for 30 days, I feel that I have more credibility in writing a review. I want to dismiss the review that I wrote in the summer of 2008, because at that time, I broke the rules so many times. Today, I can say that I gave the PaulMcKenna principles a real chance, and that I followed them unfailingly for the past 30 days. And since I am not paid to appear in his infomercials (because his “I Can Make You Thin” program on UK and US TV really are long infomercials), I can give the full and honest review of this method.

Let’s start with the critical stuff. Why? Because this will allow me to end on a (very) positive note.

Most of what I thought in Summer 2008, I still think today. First of all, Paul McKenna did not invent this method, nor is he the only one who advocates this method. As far as I am aware, the paternity (or rather the maternity in this case) of this method goes to an American woman whose name I forgot (and I don’t want to search it on the net, because it doesn’t matter). Moreover, there is a French doctor (Dr Zermati) who published a book with the similar ideas, but with much more details. I don’t know if McKenna is a good hypnotist, but I think he’s a great marketer. And there is nothing wrong with that. Marketing in itself brings value to people (this could be a biased statement because I work in marketing, but give me the opportunity to explain). I had never heard of that American woman who advocated this method. I lived 4 years in the United States, and at that time, I was very much on the lookout for ways to diet. And who else outside of France has heard of Dr Zermati who also preaches this way to lose weight? Even in France, not many people know him. In the UK and in the US, most people who want to lose weight know McKenna, and even outside of these countries, many people have heard of him. So just for that achievement of publicizing this way to become thin, he deserves praise.

(did I say I was starting with the critical stuff?)

I still think that the book doesn’t go in real depth about making the mindshift to becoming healthy. My point of reference remains “Easy Way to Stop Smoking”, by Allen Carr, in which the author goes in depth into every situation where a smoker is tempted to smoke, and gives thought directions to overcome that temptation. Paul McKenna does go into many situations where people are tempted to overeat, but as a response he gives many “NLP exercizes”, that, pardon my French, are utter bullshit. All the tapping, the “super me”, the mirror exercizes never did anything for me. And I find it lazy of him to think that he’s actually helping people this way, rather than dig into solutions that could give real mental shifts. I think the same of the CD. Not once did I listen to it during this trial. In the previous trial, I did listen to it maybe 5-10 times in the course of 30 days. BS.

I think that if he indeed went as deep as Allen Carr did with his quitting smoking book, “I Can Make You Thin” could be an easy way to stop overeating. But at this stage, it isn’t. The rules are indeed simple, but you’re on your own to figure out how to follow them. I was lucky, I eventually did. This is not the case with everybody and I know of people who struggle to apply the rules in their daily lives (even when they do the “exercizes” everyday).

Now that I’ve let this out of my system, I want to go on to the positive side.

And let me be clear : following the “I Can Make You Thin” principles to become healthy is, in my opinion, the only mentally sane way to lose weight, and a very efficient one.

There, I said it.

Figures : At the beginning of this 30 day trials, I was at 101 kilos. Indeed, three days of Indian food stuffing in Bombay had made me put on 2 kilos that I had lost effortlessly after stopping to drink alcohol. Today, I weigh 93.5 Kg. That’s 7.5 kilos lost in 30 days. That’s crazy! (crazy, as in, that’s crazy good). And for my anglo saxon readers, that’s 16 pounds.

Alcohol: Having removed alcohol completely in my previous trial was a condition for success in this trial. Paul McKenna says in his book that it is better to not drink at the beginning; for me, it was essential. Drinking makes me lose control over my eating habits, and I would overeat at parties or social dinners, or feel very hungry after coming back from a night of boozing and raid the fridge, or a kebab place. Today, I do feel hungry after a night a partying, but I only eat what satisfy my hunger.

At the end of my no-alcohol trial, I said that I will want to drink alcohol at some point again in the future, I do not know when, but I will probably. With the Paul McKenna trial, I see no reason to ever go back to overeating. The only thing I may be doing in the future is to cut some foods for health reasons, but I will definitely try and eat when I’m hungry, enjoy, and stop eating when I think I’m no longer hungry. If you’re struggling to apply the McKenna principles, and are drinking regularly, you may want to consider removing the booze for a bit (just to try it for 30 days) and then try the Paul McKenna thing.

Feelings: In the past 30 days, I went to fast food several times. I ate everything I wanted: ice cream, French fries, pizza, cheese, chocolate cake, cookies… Of course, I also ate vegetables, rice, fish, salad, fruit… But I wanted to insist on the first group, because they are usually qualified as “evil,” “naughty,” “bad.” To me, those qualifiers are insane. The only achievements of normal diets are to have introduced the concept of guilt in eating, and to have screwed up many people’s metabolism.

Today, my relationship to food is heathy. Ok, the old demon of guilt knocks in my mind every once in a while (like last night for example), but overall, I do have today a healthy relationship to food, and I hope it will continue. I do not hide to eat anymore. I do not use food as a stress reliever.

This process was not easy to achieve. The one feeling that has kept coming back throughout this trial was anger. The one post that best summed up my state of mind at the lowest point of this trial is the two word post on Day 20.

It makes sense; now that I have stopped overeating to vent my frustration, I actually did not have any outlet for anger and frustration any more; I have mentioned in this trial that overeating was my last self-destrucing behaviour as a response to challenges of life. Therefore, it was a crucial trial for me. At the end of these 30 days, I am still not sure how dealing with my anger and stress will go, and I am still on the learning curve. But I do see some opportunities in sports, maybe combat sport, blogging, writing, etc. or even finding constructive ways to express anger, because I now claim the right to be pissed off.

I want to also talk about the feelings of others. During this trial, I was confronted to the reaction of others; as usual, others are reluctant to change, so I had similar reactions to when I stopped drinking. “You shouldn’t eat between meals, it’s evil.” “How do you expect to lose weight if you eat cookies?” etc. Point is, I did lose weight. Just like the no-alcohol trial, if you want to try this, prepare yourself for some social resistance. However, following the principles of Paul McKenna is actually the most social way to become healthy. Indeed, you can go to whatever restaurant your friends choose, you can go to dinners and actually eat everything they prepared for you (including chocolate cake 🙂 )… You don’t have to keep thinking about the forbidden foods, about the ways to measure quantities… You can lead a normal life.

Finally, having removed the last bit of self-destruction in my life, and being in the mindset that from now on, I will be constructive, has had some unexpected side-effects: I took complete charge of my finances; I am super-productive at work, have mastered all my dailies and am now working on long term/bigger picture strategic issues. I don’t think it is a direct consequence, but it was certainly encouraged.


In conclusion, I do still view this as the only reasonable way to lose weight. It is efficient too, as I have lost 7,5 kg in a month. I stick with my summer resolution to never follow a diet ever again, and I will continue to apply those principles of eating. I love food.

Happy Easter !

April 12, 2009