Liberate: to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
Liberated is the word I am using to describe how I have felt this past week.
So, Paul McKenna? Well, he's this author of a book called I Can Make You Thin (among others). Of course a title like that would make me skeptical, but my friend has been following Mr. McKenna's basic principles for nearly a year and swears by his system. Included with the book is a "hypnosis" CD. That, coupled with the title of the book, would normally make it impossible for me to buy this book, but the recommendation from my friend means a lot.
The principles are simple:
1. If you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want, not what you think you should.
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. If you think you are full, stop eating.
You're probably thinking (as I am) that these concepts are basic and not groundbreaking. To a naturally thin person, they're also probably fairly obvious. However, for someone like me, they feel like a gift.
It is not a natural concept for me to eat only when I'm hungry. I eat when I'm bored, lonely, happy, angry, or tired. I probably eat when I'm actually hungry the smallest percentage of the time. Having been a faithful follower of Weight Watchers for over half my life, I tend to eat when the clock says so, when the Points are available, or when I feel like I need more fruit or veggies for the day. And for the years before I lost this weight, I ate a lot just because I had a "last supper" mentality a lot of the time in that I was always planning to start tomorrow, or start on Monday, or start next week. Planning on going on a diet made me eat a whole lot, a whole lot of the time. Hunger? What does that even feel like?
This past week I have been getting in tune with myself. I have been eating when my stomach feels empty, not when the clock says it's a "mealtime". When I do eat, I eat what I want. I know that healthy, whole foods make me feel the best, so I usually make those choices automatically, but I even allowed myself a Snickers the other day and felt okay with it. I only wanted one small square and I ate it. And I felt no guilt or gluttony. Knowing that nothing is off limits to me has taken away the feeling of needing to eat and eat and eat because "I'll start again tomorrow". I think that by allowing myself the Snickers, I ate less than if I'd eaten something "healthier" because I had what I wanted and felt satisfied.
Another change has been my daily lunches. Usually I bring a main item (pasta, soup, sandwich, etc), Chobani, a piece of fruit, and a few nuts. That's my lunch and that's what I eat. Well, last week I didn't finish my lunch on several days. Paying attention to whether I was actually hungry made a big difference than just going off the fact that I had the food available in my lunch bag. I will admit that it is hard for me to stop eating something before it is finished. Like if I bring a bowl of soup, I am more apt to finish it than leave some in the bowl. I'm a full fledged member of the "clean your plate club". But if I eat the soup and then take notice of whether I'm satisfied or still hungry, it's been easier to stop eating before opening the yogurt or something else.
So is Paul McKenna going to make me thin? Is Mr. McKenna's simple plan the answer to all of my food issues? I do not know, but I do know what a huge difference the system has made in my friend's life. Whether it's the concepts, the hypnosis CD, mind over matter, or all of the above, she has lost quite a bit of weight without even trying. She's also addicted to activity. Running, hiking, yoga, Zumba, she does it all and craves it when she doesn't. Now, mind you, my friend is also very susceptible to hypnosis. She's been part of a hypnsosis show more than once and she's usually the star of the show! I do not feel hypnotized when I listen to the CD, but I have listened everyday for a week. A couple times I have drifted off only to be awakened when he says to wake up. Was I hypnotized or just tired? I don't really know.
Regardless, I have always said that I do not want to count calories forever, and I do not want to count Points forever. I want a healthy relationship with food. I want to eat dessert when it sounds good, and not feel like I've "cheated". This past week has been the most liberating of my life. As I said, I rejoined WW on the 16th and counted Points on Friday & Saturday. Sunday was when I read the book (it's short) and started listening to the CD, and that's the day I started practicing Mr. McKenna's principles and eating what I wanted without counting. My weight loss from Friday to Friday was 5.6 pounds. I know I had been "off plan" for a bit before that and expected a large loss for "week 1". But I am pleasantly surprised with 5.6 pounds given that I ate whatever I wanted for most of the week. I feel ready to continue doing what I'm doing and seeing where it leads.
If you're skeptical, I can understand that feeling very well. I feel like I have suffered from disordered eating patterns forever and 4 principles can't possibly solve those issues. Yet, getting rid of the all or nothing attitude, the feeling that I'm cheating on my diet, and the lack of having to meticulously plan out my Points for the day has been so liberating! Truly! It's amazing.
I know people are overweight or obese for a multitude of reasons. Some people need to delve into their pasts and make discoveries about themselves in order to combat their issues with food. I have never felt that way. To me, it does not matter why I was obese, it only matters that I do not become that way again. I don't want to waste time examining my past because I can't change it. Only the future is writable and to keep moving forward is to me the most important thing in the world.
I'm not telling anyone to run out and buy this book/CD, I'm just giving my preliminary thoughts on it after a week of use. I will continue to update as time goes by. I should add that one point Mr. McKenna makes is to not weigh yourself on a daily basis. This has been a bit hard for me because that's what I'm used to. But I've put my scale away to avoid the temptation, and will continue to weigh in weekly at W.W. I'm still attending the meetings because it's a good check in place, even if I'm not exactly following the plan. I did already pay for the two months after all.
Do you know Paul McKenna?
Does this post make you intrigued enough to check out his book?
What do you think about hypnosis for weight loss?