I Can Make You Thin- Busting Your Cravings

I am not going to spend a lot of time rehashing the things I have already said that I do not like about this show.  They still apply, and can be found in my other posts regarding the program.  It still has an infomercial atmosphere, and continues to be extremely repetitive while offering little new content.

The focus this week was on Cravings and Binge Eating.  He focuses on reprogramming the mind and says that “the reason it is hard to overcome cravings is because the imagination is always stronger than the mind.”  I personally find this a little offensive.  While this may indeed be the case for many people, it is only true if they let it be that way.  I know there are people who have true eating disorders that compel them to binge on certain foods.  These people would probably do best to seek professional assistance, and attempt to overcome the real problems behind the fact that they are binging.  I also believe that there are a lot of people whose entitlement mentality leads them to expect other people to discipline their lives for them.  “I can’t do it.”  That is B.S.  You simply do not want to do it, or you want someone else to do it for you.  It’s all about feelings, but they can be controlled also, without tricking your mind.

He then goes into the finger thing again, only this time the bit is a little different.  This time the person who wants to control his or her weight is supposed to squeeze their left middle finger and thumb together while thinking of something gross combined with the item that the person craves.  For example, if you crave Jelly Bellies, you should do the hand bit, and think of eating a hand-full of the Jelly Bellies mixed with say… maggots.  Yum, yum.

I like chocolate, but I am not eating it on my diet.  I have found that it takes little effort to avoid it even though there is a still half-full Easter basket of chocolate belonging to my daughter sitting right on the kitchen table.  I even give it to her without ever considering even taking one bite.  On the other hand, I like the fact that I like chocolate, and someday, after I have lost the weight, I am going to be able to eat it like any normal person does.  I definitely do not want to carry a whole lot of mental baggage regarding chocolate and worms or hair around with me. 

You are also supposed to use the right hand in the same way, but to give yourself good feelings associated with something other than the food.  I guess if you get good enough at this, you won’t need your wife or girlfriend anymore.  “Oh…, right thumb and middle finger, you make me feel so good.  I don’t know what I would do without you.  You complete me.”

For those who do not know what this is, it is called Operant Conditioning, and it was a term coined decades ago by B.F. Skinner, one of the fathers of modern psychology.  This has been done as long as man has walked the Earth.  Skinner just put a name on it.  It has to do with conditioning a response based on either positive or negative reinforcement.  A dog with a shock-collar on will quickly learn the boundaries imposed by the collar, and will not violate them.  This is the kind of thing that we do instinctively while we raise our children, giving positive reinforcement for good behavior and negative reinforcement for bad behavior.  In the extreme it is called brainwashing.

I have to tell you, I find it much more fulfilling knowing that I have set my own boundaries based on my own reasoning, and have used the discipline within myself to help me reach my goals so far.  I do not need external devices to help me to control myself.  I have eliminated all of the conflicts (cravings) because I have determined that the diet and exercise program that I am currently involved in is just the way it is.  Cravings are moot.

I did notice a few inconstancies this week.  In the first week, he said to “eat what you want to eat, and stop when you get full.”  If you actually did that, the things he said this week would not matter, unless, there are some foods you should not eat, and that flies in the face of the “eat what you want” tenet.  In fact, in this week’s program, there were several references to certain foods being unhealthy or bad for you.  While I do believe this is true, it still flies in the face of his tenet.  He is simply adding another dietary modification, to his ‘non-diet’ and using self-hypnosis to reinforce it.

The lock-step audience is tiresome.  Everyone there was mad last week, and had a super craving this week, but presto, one left-handed movement, and all their cravings instantly went away.  We, however, were told to practice it for a week.  I wonder why it does not work as fast for the home viewer, I guess I’ll never know because I am not going to be a part of it.

I’m still looking for the nugget I can use in my own program from this show, and I’ll let you know if I ever find it.

Paul McKenna Stuff

I Can Make You Thin With Paul McKenna

I Can Make You Crazy With Paul McKenna

Who Is Paul McKenna Anyway?

I Can Make You Thin- Busting Your Carvings

I Can Make You Thin- Supercharge Your Metabolism

I Can Make You Thin, Part 5- Your Perfect Body

Lists

 

Who is Paul McKenna, anyway?

I decided to see what I could find out about Paul McKenna the last couple of days, and after seeing several articles referring to court settlements, I decided to make sure that I am clear in what I am saying.  I definitely do not want to arouse any litigious bullies with the things that I write (see these two articles for examples of court cases: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=398025&in_page_id=1773 , and http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/?c=124&a=1146 ).

Everything I have commented on here is documented somewhere else on the web, and I am simply attempting to bring some of it together.

I found out that Paul McKenna is an ex-DJ who became one of the most famous hypnotherapists in the world.  I don’t necessarily expect him to refer to the fact that he was a DJ on his TLC program.  I don’t introduce myself as a former courier (a job I had about 15 years ago) either.  I do find it interesting and a little troubling that he has not been more upfront with the hypnotherapy stuff, though.  It would be like Emmitt Smith referring to himself as a former contestant on Dancing With the Stars instead of a former football player.  Football is what he is famous for.

I also found several stories which derided the legitimacy of his doctorate, but just as many stories that said he was only duped by the university where he received the degree.  And I will say that I have not seen him referred to as “Dr. Paul McKenna” anywhere on the program.

To be fair, it appears that Paul has a large following of people who believe in his program.  There is a lot of positive information about him and his diet available, and it’s not hard to find.

However, there is also a lot of negative information out there.  Since all of this information is on the internet, this may not be surprising either.  Almost everything gets criticized on the internet somewhere.  I will encourage all who read this to explore his ideas on your own, and find out what others on the internet have to say.

As I said in my last posting, I found his tapping bit hokey and weird (https://mycrocosmos.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/i-can-make-you-crazy-with-paul-mckenna/ ), and I have chosen not to participate.  I fear the he will employ more hypnotherapy techniques, and I don’t see myself going for them either.  I do not need to fool my own mind.  I simply need to control myself.  Also, I still criticize him for his choice of experts to back himself up (see the same entry above for info and links regarding these guys).

I want to deal with TLC for a moment.  I went to their website to see what others were saying about this show on their forums, and I was disturbed to find that there was no forum.  There is a forum, in fact there are several.  Most of their shows have some sort of discussion forum, but not Paul McKenna’s show.  In fact, there is a scrolling window that takes you to a one-page advertisement for the show.  On this page, there are several links to topics, and all of these take you to Paul’s own website (away from TLC).  His show does not even show up on the drop-down list of programs on the TLC website.  I began to wonder if he was paying them for the time or they were paying him (I honestly do not know the answer to this question).

Why no forum?  Why would TLC not want to give its viewers a venue for feedback?  I have several suspicions, and all of them leave me most disappointed with TLC.  If TLC were actually interested in this program, they should have done more for it on their website.

McKenna’s site looks like a good way to make him some money.  I clicked on the “Join the Community” link which took me to a page that said cryptically, “Join the club free for only the next few weeks and get great benefits.”  Does this mean that at this point it is free to join the community, so I should, in order to take advantage of the freeness, because one day it will not be free for others?  Or, does it mean that I get two free weeks of membership in the community and then I have to pay for it?  I’m guessing, at some point, I’ll have to pay for these “services.”  I noticed his books are readily available for purchase here also.  I guess I might as well stop smoking while I’m at it (I really don’t smoke and wouldn’t), thanks, TLC.

Paul McKenna Stuff

I Can Make You Thin With Paul McKenna

I Can Make You Crazy With Paul McKenna

Who Is Paul McKenna Anyway?

I Can Make You Thin- Busting Your Carvings

I Can Make You Thin- Supercharge Your Metabolism

I Can Make You Thin, Part 5- Your Perfect Body

Lists

American Idol racist?

Find my latest American Idol article here.

When I saw that the bottom two contestants on the stage were the only two black contestants left in the competition, I cringed.  I could hear the cries of racism in my mind.  When I got up this morning I did a quick Google search, and was disappointed to see that my suspicions were well founded.  I found people who thought American Idol was racist, America was racist, Simon was racist, and all of the above, due to the fact that Syesha and Chikezie were in the bottom two on last night’s Idol.

I want to say first, that I know there is racism in the US still to this day.  I have seen it on occasion, and as a white person, it makes me nauseous and embarrassed.  I once had a lady at a business ask me, “Do you know any women who might want a job…, you know white women?”  I felt as if I had been punched in the gut.  I had never been faced by this type of overt racism. It made me feel dirty, and I was offended that she thought she could include me in it.  I left as quickly as I could, but I regretted not saying something to her about it.

On another occasion, I was in a Wal-Mart with my wife (I do not tell this to disparage Wal-Mart, it just is the place where the event took place.  I personally love Wally World), and the lady running the fabric section was speaking to a lady customer from India (in traditional dress) as if she were a piece of trash.  I listened for a moment or two, and finally said, “If you don’t stop talking to her like that, I am going to get a manager.”  She stopped addressing her in the manner.  The Indian lady was so meek, that she thanked my wife for what I did, instead of me.  Two other customers who were standing there thanked me, and I still told the manager on the way out.  I felt pretty good about myself that day.  It was almost like I was part of one of those PSAs.  I brought all of this up to say that I know America still battles racism, but more and more it is a dying relic of another generation, and good riddance.  We’ll all be better when it’s gone.

What occurred on American Idol this week was not, however, an example of racism in America.  First of all, I think the American Idol audience deserves a little credit.  Many of the top contestants on Idol throughout the years have been black, and fully half of the winners have been black (Fantasia, Reuben, and Jordan). 

The problems that put Syesha and Chikezie in the bottom two had to do with them not racism.  As I have said before, I think that they both have two of the top voices in the competition, but their lack of success stems from elsewhere.

First, it should be noted that they both sang at the top of the show.  It is just a fact that a bad performance or a bad song choice at the beginning of the show can often be the death-knell for contestants.  While both sang well, they chose their songs poorly.  They were both boring and forgettable songs.  I stated in my last post that I do not believe the Motown love (or love-sick) song can win on Idol (look below for more information on this).  These songs come-off badly on Idol.  The only time they seem to work out for the contestant is when they are a Whitney or Aretha song with an incredible vocal, and then the contestants are playing with fire.  When Chikezie went away from this kind of music he did well, and Syesha seems to only shine when she is singing a Whitney song (which she does well).  I’ve said before that Syesha may have the best female voice in the competition, but she is also the most inconsistent person in the competition.

Personality is a big part of American Idol, and these two contestants have done little for themselves in this department.  Syesha seems detached and aloof from everything that is going on.  And that “baby cry” thing she has done twice may be the most irritating thing I’ve ever heard.  She does not emote well in her songs either.  All of these are reasons that she turns up in the bottom three from time to time, and some of the other contestants are so far ahead of her at this point in the personality department that the damage may be irreparable.

Chikezie, on the other hand, broke Idol rule number one: Do not argue with Simon, you will always look like an ass.  He argued with Simon on several occasions and at times came off angry or looked as if he were pouting.  These things do not go over with the Idol audience.  Self-effacing is the way to go, and David Archuleta is the poster-boy for this crowd-winning trait.  I will accept that there may be a cultural disconnect here.  It may not be appropriate to appear all self-effacing like Archuleta where Chikezie is from, and I can understand that, but it does not mean the audience is racist if there is a disconnect because of it.  Chikezie was a contestant, and it was his responsibility to win over the audience, not the audience’s responsibility to evaluate all of the cultural mores involved in the situation.

In the end these two found themselves in the bottom two because of personality, attitude and song choice.  Lighten up, not everything is about race.

Idol Results Show, March 26th

Find my latest American Idol article here.

I have had my say about the waste of time that the results show is on two other posts, so I will lay off griping about segments like “On the Air With Idol” this week.  My opinions have not changed, and if you would like to see them please see my other posts regarding the results show for the past two weeks (https://mycrocosmos.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/idol-wastes-another-hour-of-my-life/

and https://mycrocosmos.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/scatter-shooting-at-last-night%e2%80%99s-american-idol-results-show/ ).

On a positive note, the program started and ended on the hour, allowing my DVR to record without needless complications to other recordings, and the group song was the best this season, but that is not saying much considering the fact that I could see better down the road at Six Flags.  The iTunes sell-out was a little much with the eight brand mentions in about three minutes, but at least it was well produced.  And, the guest singer, Kimberly Locke (once again a former Idol contender) was very good.

We learned some things this week.  First, Carly, like Katharine MacPhee has had to endure the embarrassment of a pregnancy rumor while on the show.  This is not to say that pregnancy is embarrassing, but no woman wants to be accused of being pregnant when she is not, especially in front of all of America.  She handled it gracefully, though.  We also learned that the human skeleton, Dolly Parton will make her appearance next week (this may be a good time to have your remote handy in case you are forced to fast-forward or change channels).  Finally, Constantine Maroulis, from season four, once again proved that he is the creepiest contestant in the history of the show.  I would not let my daughter travel to any state if I knew he were in it.

The point of the show last night was to kick someone to the curb, and when I saw the last three, Chikezie, Syesha, and Jason Castro, I was mildly surprised.  My hopes for getting rid of Ramiele in short order were dashed.  If she can go first, sing that badly, and still not be in the bottom three, she will probably be there for a while.  She must have some charm, or those tears have bought her a lot of fans, but I just don’t get it.

I knew however, that this grouping did not bode well for Chikesie, and was proven right.  I still think he had one of the better voices in the competition.  I do not remember a wrong note by him this season, and his ability to sing a fast song, moving his voice up and down quickly while retaining great diction was unmatched this season.  His problems were two-fold, attitude (personality), and song choice.

Arguing with Simon aside (never, never, never argue with Simon if you seriously want to win the show, but he did), he would come across as pouting and surly.  Last night, at times he tried to force a smile on his face, but most of the time his faced betrayed his inner unhappiness.  I’m sure it is hard to hide these feeling, and I sympathize with him, but when you are on American Idol, you have to get by all of that if you want to win.  You are up against the Archuleta and White personality machines, and they will be difficult (if not impossible) to overcome.  Unfortunately the damage done by one surly look or snippy comment can be a contestant’s ticket home no matter how good they are.

I’ve always said that there is no way a true crooner can win on idol (thank goodness there is not one this season).  Their songs, by definition are not contemporary and they usually sound boring when placed against the songs of other contestants on the show.  I think the same may now be said for the soulful, Motown love song.  It may sound great when you are sitting on your couch at home in the evening with your lady, but the Venus Flytrap genre of music just will not help you to win American Idol.  I’m not saying that it is not good music.  It just does not work in the Idol atmosphere. 

Idol Top Ten Underachieve

Find my latest American Idol article here.

Last night’s first appearance by the Idol top ten was in Randy’s word “alright, it was just alright for me.”  The highlights were not that high, and there were no true train wrecks.

Ramiele Maluby– “Alone”- First off, don’t sing a song that has already been done by someone else (Carly), unless you can sing it significantly better.

I thought to myself at the beginning, however, if she can sing this, she will be back in the competition.  Well, she couldn’t.  This was the first time in several weeks that she showed emotion in a song.  Unfortunately, it was also the first time in several weeks that she sang poorly.  She was pitchy and screechy throughout the song.  It was a mess and the worst performance of the night.  This brings me to the judges, who in one voice declared that she would not be the worst of the night, and should remain in the competition.  The obvious question is, “How could they know that?”  It is irresponsible and unfair for them to judge a contestant against the rest of the competition before any of the others have performed.  I don’t care how likable she is, just tell the audience honestly how she did, and she honestly sucked at the beginning of the show which is always a bad thing.  She should be gone.

Jason Castro– “Fragile”- It was a little boring, and it was an OK vocal, but it was definitely boring.  Randy correctly pointed out that the arrangement did nothing to show his vocal ability, but I have said that from the first week.  It’s never good to sing a boring song at the beginning of the show, but he has a big fan base, and he was definitely not the worst of the night.

Syesha Mercado– “If I Were Your Woman”- First of all, what the hell is up with that ‘baby cry’ thing she keeps doing.  I can’t imagine anything irritating me more.  Once was too much, so she had to do it again.  She also had replaced the beautiful Syesha from last week with the frizzy haired version.

As far as the song went, it was a good, very Motown sounding version of the song.  I was a little dated, but it was also one of the best vocals of the night.

Chikesie– “If Only For One Night”- He was back to the Billy Ocean sound.  It sounded nice and had nice runs, but the judges were right to say that it was boring.  It was also most forgettable.  I hope he goes forward, but this song could hurt him.

Brooke White– “Every Breath You Take”- She messed up the beginning, but recovered well.  She had the nice Carly Simon thing going on again, and it was good, but it was kind of boring especially compared with the original.  It was OK, but not great.  She will go on, though.

Michael Johns– “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions”- It was nice to see that someone has watched Revenge of the Nerds lately.  He cut off his big notes early and tried to cover it up with a rocker pose (fist in the air).  It was his best rocker song so far, but it was just OK, and the falsetto sounded bad.  The judges disagreed with me, but I think they were just affected by the light show.

The worst part of this song, and this cannot be blamed on him, was the back-up singers.  At one point they sounded like a group of cats caught in a paper shredder.

The more Michael sings rock songs, the less relevant he is for me.  He can’t hold David Cook’s jock strap when it comes to rock songs, and I can’t imagine him getting much farther with this style.

Carly Smithson– “Total Eclipse of the Heart”- This is a song that would be difficult for Carly to sing in a style unlike the original.  It is too much like her style.  In the end she sang it well, but it was just like Bonnie Tyler’s version except for the last note which was a mess.  When Randy said the song was, “not right for her,” I thought, “What the hell is he talking about?”  Since she has one of the better voices in the competition, I hope she goes on.

David Archuleta– “You’re the Voice”- This was a weird song for him, but he sang it well.  It was kind of ‘bubble gum’ for a guy who has the ability to emote the way he does, but it sounded nice, and the note at the end was strong.  He will go on, but he needs to pick a better songs.

Kristy Lee Cook– “God Bless the USA”- This was definitely not the worst of the night, and it was probably the best that she has done so far, but she is becoming a classic example of lowering expectations.  The judges loved it, but it was very karaoke.  And the run in the middle was all over the place.  I don’t know what will happen with her.  Grading her on her performances so far, she should probably go home, but graded on last night’s performance alone, she should stay at least one more week.

David Cook– “Billy Jean”- The super-villain remark was funny and sadly true, but most importantly it was good for his personality.  The wildly different version of “Billy Jean” was not my favorite thing he has done, but I respect the attempt.  It was a little slow and boring at the beginning, but it was much better toward the end.  He sang it well, and hit the big note.  The judges were floored.  If he can remain consistent, the top three should be an interesting mix of styles.

Why the Hell is Paula Abdul Still on the Show?

Find my latest American Idol article here.

The first thing that caught my attention was Paula’s dress on last night’s show.  Where did she think she was?  I assumed that she would be attending a state dinner after the show or that the Oscars had drastically moved up their schedule.  That dress was ludicrous.

At several points during the show she would appears to be intoxicated as she would wave to the audience, list to one side or the other, and slur her speech.  Last night, her problems were particularly obvious.

She should thank Simon for cutting her off so much, because last night he did not, and this led to some of the worst attempts at using language since man first spoke a word.  He (Simon) let her go on when she commented about Brooke’s performance.  I quote:  “I enjoyed this performance so much more than last week’s.  And, what…uh, what… uh, what… ‘i’ (?), what’s great…, this is the great thing.  You know this season we really wanted, and we’ve always wanted…, uh, contestants that…, uh, are unique and have their own niche.  And, you do, and it’s…, it’s…, I can hear your voice in one [some guttural sound at this point that sounded like ‘phew’]…, one note and know it’s you, Brooke.  So that’s a great thing, and I think you’re consistent.  This was great.”  Paula then shook her head smugly at this concisely delivered bit of wisdom as poor Brooke stood there with a courteous, but still dumbfounded look on her face.

Later, in praise of Michael Johns she gushed, “I…bet you’re happy that you came through this…learned to sing this…song from the year you were born.  You were probably dying knowing you could do that.  It’s fantastic.

The funniest part for me came after David Cook performed.  She stood there and announced that she was so excited, she could not sit down.  She gave some intelligible comments, but as she drifted toward the edge of her verbal ability, the audience took the part of Simon and courtesy-cheered her into silence.

Please, please get rid of Paula.

Discipline

Discipline:  You simply will not lose weight without discipline.  Any weight loss program involves changing the way we live our lives, and this takes discipline.

We must be disciplined in several areas from food choice to exercise.  Some of the things I spoke of in the blogs on morale and preparation involve discipline.  To be prepared to cook a good and healthy meal and then actually getting up to cook it requires discipline.  It would be much easier to get the old fast food on the way home from work.

A good diet can be torpedoed easily with a lack of discipline.  Walking past a secretary’s desk and taking one of her candy’s or grabbing a doughnut that someone brought for everyone at the office can almost be a habit, and can be a reflection of our social nature, but these bad decisions can cost you dearly in terms of weight loss.  It’s a reality that you can undo all of the good you have done recently with one bad decision.  Be disciplined.  Make new habits.  Drink the coffee, and leave doughnut.

Recently snack manufacturers have come up with a genius marketing scheme.  They have started offering their products in handy 100 calorie bags.  This looks great on the surface.  Instead of having a 350 calorie bag of cookies, you can buy a box full of bags of smaller cookies that are only 100 calories.  You can have your Oreos (without the filling) for only 100 calories.  I tried this on my last diet, and found that they did not work for me.  The cookies tasted great, but I needed the discipline to turn my back on them totally and realize that I did not need them.  And in the end, all you are doing in eating 100 calories worth of unhealthy food instead of 350.  This sounds OK, but wouldn’t it be much better for you and your diet to eat 100 calories of something that is better for you and more filling?

You also need make disciplined choices when dining out.  I love beef fajitas, and they really are not that bad of a food for a diet, but if I just choose the chicken fajitas instead of the beef, I have made a better, more disciplined choice that will eventually be reflected in my overall weight loss.

Exercise is all about discipline.  Most people who exercise are not fat in the first place.  I don’t know about you, but before I started my weight loss program, I spent a lot of time in front of the television and little time doing anything physical.  It takes discipline to get up off your butt, and move around, and I am doing that now.  I walk during my lunch period at work, I walk around the house while my daughter is napping in the afternoon (it’s as monotonous as it sounds), and I walk on the weekends with my family.  Eventually I plan to turn this into more of a jog, and eventually a run, but I am still a pretty big guy at 297 lbs, and I do not want to damage my knees (this in itself is a kind of discipline.  It takes discipline to go to the park and watch all of the ladies there going right by you because you are too big to jog as they do).

It is true what they say, the things that you discipline yourself to do will eventually turn into a habit.  I already feel weird and jittery if I have not had time to exercise on a given day, and I have no problem searching out the good choices on a menu.

Update: As of today, I have lost 62 pounds in ten weeks.  This week’s total loss was six pounds, and that puts me at 297 lbs.  I achieved two goals I hit the 60 pound lost mark, and am now under 300 lbs.