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

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.

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

  1. A Canadian Reader Says:

    I was very interested in your summary of the McKenna system. I’d like to respond to some of the specifics of your post:

    First of all, just for interest’s sake, I believe the name of the American woman is Geneen Roth.

    I’d like to know more about Allen Carr. Though I thankfully don’t smoke, would you suggest I get the book nevertheless since I too have found McKenna’s exercises totally useless. The tapping technique just gives me a headache and I just can’t do visualization. I listened to the CD almost every day for weeks on end and now know it by heart. But that doesn’t mean I’ve found it useful.

    I too have come to a point where I’m feeling a great deal of anger, but not for the same reasons as you do. By becoming more and more attuned to the full signal my body sends me, I’ve come to realize that I can actually eat just a minuscule amount of food at a time. I’m a tiny person (about 148 cm) and limited in the physical activity I can do due to arthritis. According to my naturopath, I can’t eat more than 1275 calories a day without gaining weight. I think McKenna is absolutely right in saying we can’t “ban” any food from our diets–it’s just that I can barely eat any food at all. So I still continue to beat myself up about eating, because I know that virtually anything is too much for me. It’s virtually impossible for me to eat a meal that is in any way satisfying from a psychological point of view, since there’s just so little to eat.

    Sorry for pouring my heart out to you. I heartily applaud what you have done and completely agree that this approach is the ONLY way to approach food and nourishment in a sane way–that is, as long as you’re of normal height and relatively healthy and therefore able to burn off the calories a normal diet provides.

  2. Cath Says:

    Congratulations on a job well done! (and thanks for giving the 16 pounds reference so I could follow along)

    I stumbled across your blog in the first place because I was browsing online for Paul McKenna information. I agree that it can be a great method if you actually follow the steps. For someone like me, where just the suggestion of having to restrict certain foods makes me want to binge on nothing but that particular food, I agree that the “eat what you want” strategy works.

    But that was the only part I could do right. I can’t ever seem to sit there and eat without reading or doing something else. I wasn’t really good at stopping either. Unless I’m eating with others, I find that I want to eat faster because otherwise you just sit there doing nothing in between bites. I always just gave in and started reading something or went on the internet. I also couldn’t get into the tapping and visualization stuff, but I did listen to the CD quite a bit.

    This never worked for me personally, but I think my attempts were more like your round 1 last summer. I will think about trying again in the future.

    I’m glad to see a real life account of someone using this approach, and even though this trial is over, I would love to hear occasional updates on how you are doing with this a month from now, six months from now, etc.

    P.S. Where did you live during those 4 years in the U.S.?

  3. Gill Cairney Says:

    Hi,,I started the Paul McKenna book/CD just a few days ago,,and found your blog while researching any info on alcohol consumption when starting out. I have to say as a serial dieter, I was willing to give the “reprogramming” a try.

    After only a day or two,,and preparing a 3 course family dinner,,I found it immensely easy to put things to the side, extra veg, extra choc for desert etc, rather than the old favourite,,eating it. The meal itself wI found hard to control the eating as directed,,mainly due to the conversation and distraction of keeping an eye on the next course etc, but id kept my own portions smaller anyway,,so no harm done.

    Today,,day 3, i have eaten half of what i would normally have at this time of day, early afternoon, and while i have a box of veg nibbles and a sandwich and yogurt in front of me, simply sayin “am I actually hungry” is enough to just put them aside.

    The visualisation I can do,,CD also,,(although if at night,,i have a tendency to end up sleeping) Tapping,,not so sure, but as I dont really have any cravings,,other than just ‘more food’ maybe its a bit blurry.

    Im truly hoping this one sticks,,,Hoping my trial goes with the same success as above.

  4. laura Says:

    I personally have only been on this for three days now, but i can already see great results, i tended to only eat 1000 calories a day anyway (unless i binged, probably once or twice a week) as i have an underactive thryoid and cant take the tablets for some medical reasons. But having this medical problem always reminded me that i can’t eat certain foods because i would become even more overweight, anything over 1000 calories a day was a risk to me gaining weight.

    I have listened to the CD every night so far and i am following the golden rules and i have not once felt the need to binge on food that i ‘can’t have’ because now i can have it. Following the rules and the CD makes it so easy for me to just have 2 minstrels and to close the packet for another day. I’m only 19 and have struggles with being overwieght for two years, being constantly hungry, constantly wanting food i can’t have, not being able to exercise because i had a knee operation for a sporting injury that never healed.

    I think what also helps in the CD when you listen to it every night (i use the overnight success one) you constantly motivate yourself to loose weight, by imagining all the different things about my ‘new life’ after loosing weight, i find it much easier the next day to think ‘i’m not actually hungry, drink some water and wait until your hungry’ because i am constantly motivated to get that better life.

    As for falling asleep when listening to the CD (someone has mentioned above if i remember correctly), that’s fine! I’m a psychology student, and as mentioned in the CD your unconcious mind does the work for you, you can be completely unaware conciously the next day of what he said and what you unconcious mind felt, but your unconcious will have done the process for you, you just won’t remember it. I won’t weigh in until day 10, but i feel as though even if i don’t see the results i want (any weight loss) , i will still be happy if i am the same as i won’t have to be tormented every day by calorie counting and weighing everyday and banning myself from food.

    Any positive is a positive i guess

    Also the tapping technique doesnt work for me and neither does the mirror, instead i think back to the CD if i am considering eating something before i am hungry and do the visualising of the life you will have once you have reached your goal, thats enought for me 🙂

  5. Sara Says:

    It’s a really good review but I am trying to follow the system too and I have a problem decieding what I really want to eat when I’m actully hungry!! Do u have any idea about what should I do

  6. Marcy Says:

    Just saw Paul McKenna on tv. Trying to decide if it is worth trying.

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