There you are, sitting with your eyes closed as Paul McKenna‚ the world’s most famous hypnotist, asks you to imagine how chocolate cake, your favourite indulgence, would taste mixed with cabbage, the food you hate the most. “As you bite into the cake, mix its flavour with cabbage,” he instructs you. “The texture, the taste, is cabbage and there’s some hair in there from the floor. Chew it. Really taste it on your tongue. Now swallow it.”
You’re sitting in Paul’s study, performing this frankly disgusting exercise, known as “The Craving Buster”, in a bid to break your sugar addiction. You start your morning with a fix, in your tea and via the peanut butter on your toast; and crave several more throughout the day, feeling tired and irritable if you don’t get them. When you’re feeling stressed, you find it impossible to ignore the lure of a slab of cake to help you through – and usually, one leads to one more.
You’ve known for a long time that your addiction isn’t doing you any good. You’re not overweight, but you often experience dips in energy and mood; you’re aware these crashes are the inevitable result of your sugar highs. You’ve tried to cut down, but your willpower always crumbles.
Paul believes he can help. Over the past two decades, his bestselling books have helped people to quit smoking, lose weight, be more confident and mend broken hearts. Now, he’s turned his attention to sugar – and diabetics – a subject he’s so passionate about he calls it a “crusade”.
He explains that he woke up to the realities of sugar’s impact on our bodies during a conversation with Dr. Ronald Ruden, a respected US doctor. “I was shocked when he said he believes sugar is the most dangerous drug in the world,” says Paul. “l researched it and I couldn’t believe what I found.”
He found that sugar is implicated in four of the top five causes of premature death. lt raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and it accelerates the growth of cancers. lt has also been implicated in depression, dementia and one study suggested it’s more addictive than cocaine.
“Sugar is hidden in everything from processed foods to breakfast cereals and even savoury sauces,” says Paul. That means you’re far from alone in your dependency on it; the NHS estimates the average person consumes around 140 teaspoons of sugar a week more than double the recommended amount. Galvanised by his findings, Paul has written his book “Get Control Of Sugar Now!” lt aims to re-pattern our thoughts over the course of seven days, to allow our natural control system to reset itself. Once we’re no longer trapped in a cycle of sugar cravings and energy crashes, the next 30 days will be spent cementing the changes into our daily lives. Then, apparently, we’ll be able to enjoy the occasional slice of carrot cake or pain au chocolat without feeling controlled by our need for them.
Sounds straightforward, but can it really help you change the way you eat forever? Paul explains how his “Craving Buster” technique works to combat unwanted thoughts of sweet treats. By closing my eyes and conjuring up the taste of my favourite sugar addiction chocolate cake mixed with my least favourite food, cabbage, I feel genuinely nauseated and this feeling sticks.
“We’re linking the two in your mind, so that when you think of cake, you’ll also think of cabbage,” says Paul.
His other technique involves imagining being very elderly; because you’ve continued to eat too much sugar you’re far from fit and as a result haven’t been able to enjoy your life to the fullest. As you concentrate, an image forms and you feel scared.
Then he asks to conjure an older you again, but having given up excess sugar, you’re healthy and content. Paul asks you to list the things you’ve achieved which have made your life happy, so you mention loved ones, work success and travel. As you picture yourself feeling proud and fulfilled, a sense of contentment envelops you.
While you keep your eyes closed, Paul asks: “What has brought you here to this place? Is it giving up sugar?” and you find yourself agreeing it is. After opening your eyes, you realise how effective this is. Then, though you realise giving up sugar isn’t necessarily going to give you everything you want in life, linking the two in your mind is far better motivation than willpower alone.
When you read what Paul has to say, you feel determined to stick to your resolution to go seven days without succumbing to temptation.
E237 – Reform Sugarmonger, Fix Your Addiction – www.diabetic.today