I Can Make You Crazy with Paul McKenna

Last week, I decided to watch this show to see if there was something I might learn to help me in my weight loss program.  Anything positive that I can add to my regimen that will either pull more weight off or help to keep me on track is a good thing.  I had to admit that there were things in the show that could be useful.  I would not consider myself a slow eater.  Simply slowing down my intake of food at the time when I am eating could have a positive effect.  However, this week the show took a left turn.  I am still going to watch it to see if I can get anything good out of it, but I am not going to adopt any suggestion this guy makes just because he suggests that he has some authority on the subject.  And, I am right-out on the tapping thing.

The infomercial tone to the show was not lost this week.  He started by coming out and shouting “Who wants to be thin!” at the audience several times, and we found out early that the show was going to be about “emotional eating.”  His quote, early in the show, “More people are treating food like a drug than ever before” seemed reasonable.

I am sure that my weight has been affected by my emotions at some point, but more likely, I ate out of boredom, and I overate at meals.  And, I will give him credit for addressing both of these issues to a certain degree in the show so far.  I also know that this show is not about me, and there are lots of people out there whose weight issues come from problems such as low self-esteem.

One of the things that I have griped about on American Idol and the last episode of this show is the tendency to over-recap.  We were treated to a complete recap of last week’s show at the beginning of this week’s show, yawn.  The audience participation at the beginning of the show reminded me of a cross between Oprah and Emeril Lagasse (or the new Paula Dean live show).  As he was asking questions, the obviously pre-prepared audience was yelling back the answers. 

I have never gotten the Emeril or Paula shows.  I like most things that the Food Network has to offer, but I cannot handle listening to their live audiences cheer for garlic, wine or butter as if the chef or the ingredient itself had just scored a touchdown.  I simply can’t watch it, and I feel the host or the shows producer shows a lack of respect for the intelligence if the audience when they do this.  Paul McKenna’s audience reaction at the beginning of the program reminded me of the things I did not like about these other shows.

He once again distanced himself from the word diet even though everything he has presented so far is merely a dietary modification, not what you eat, but how you eat.  It’s still a diet though.

A full thirty minutes into the program, he began to deal with the issue of emotional eating.  I thought his advice for people to “Stop and ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry, or do I just want to change the way I feel?’” was the best thing that was said in this week’s episode.  This gets to the heart of an emotional eating disorder, and is the point at which people can begin to deal with the fact that they are eating emotionally, and then do something positive to stop it.

He went to the audience again at this point, and they were obviously coached with pre-canned questions and comments.  The crying guy just beat me.  I found myself wishing he would get to the point already.

We were then treated to a very Jerry Springer-like retrospective of a woman whose husband had slept with her sister-in-law.  These things are not common, but somehow they all get on TV.  I guess the point was that this lady ate when she was angry (at her ex-husband for the most part).  This is where the show went off the map for me.  Paul began to have her to tap on various “acupressure points” on her body, and to roll her eyes and hum (my wife and I were rolling our eyes also at this point, but not for the same reason).  She tapped her face, throat and wrists then rolled her eyes and hummed.  No joke.  This was his solution for emotional issues.

Now I’m no psychologist, so I guess that makes me about as qualified as they are to talk about any of this.  Once again, I see this diet aimed at the OCD crowd.  Paul simply uses the tapping (etc.) to change the person’s focus.  The same thing could be accomplished by reading a book or going for a walk with you Ipod.  However, these people are doing nothing to deal with their emotional issues.  They are simply distracting themselves in an OCD way and ignoring them.  It might be better to deal with these issues of anger in a spiritual way, or to use your own discipline to take charge of the way you feel and modify it.  I found the whole tapping thing to be somewhere between hokey and demented.  I also wondered if Paul is just teaching some people to be OCD to deal with their problems.

It’s always nice to have a professional to back up your opinions.  He uses the name of a psychologist named Roger Callahan and a doctor named to Ron Ruden to promote his tapping solution.  I decided that I was not taking any of this at face-value, and looked these guys up on the internet.  I was surprised to find a lengthy article on Callahan at a site called The Quack Files (http://www.geocities.com/health_index/thought_field_therapy.html ).  As you might expect from the name of the website, it is not a glowing review.  However, this being the interent, I was not taking anything I read at face-value, that is, until I followed the link to the court decision where he was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/os/1998/04/callahan.do.htm ). I read it, and all I can say is, “Ouch!”  This is not the kind of guy I want backing me up.

I looked up Ruden, and found quite a lot on him also, though there were a lot of positive remarks out there.  However, the more I looked, the more terms such as “alternative medicine” began to appear.  Then, I remembered the show referring to “Eastern Wisdom” or some such thing in the tapping segment.  The things I saw espoused by Ruden were the same things I saw attacked in the court decision referenced above (It’s really good.  You should read it).

You can believe what you want, but I’m not in for this.  I don’t need to examine my chakras and I don’t need to rearrange my furniture in a Feng Shui fashion to lose weight (though moving furniture in itself might be good exercise).  So, I will not.

It does seem to be a good idea to determine if you are an emotional eater, and deal with those issues.  If you do not, your weight loss program will probably fail the next time you are unable to deal with your emotions.

At one point Paul had everyone in the audience who was an angry eater hold up their hands (most did).  Then he asked them if they were angry right then (most were).  I thought to myself.  That is a load of anger.  What do these people have to be angry about?  They are just sitting in the audience being pumped up by Paul.  Perhaps they are angry that they just wasted an hour of their lives listening to this crap about tapping.  Not to worry, Paul had them all tap, and they felt much better.  Perhaps we should start using this obviously effective program in our prisons (sarcasm).

There was another video retrospective, and then the last fifteen minutes was another review of last week’s show including a video about stale popcorn.  I have argued that many hour-long programs could be cut to 30 minutes in the past.  The new information, as strange as it was, in this program did not justify another show at all.  The tapping information could have been delivered in five minutes including one of the videos.

Again, if you are able to lose weight with this system, more power to you.  I hope it works for someone.  I also hope that people who have honest emotional issues find a way to deal with them that will make them a more physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy persons.

I will continue watching, but at this point, I am not invested in this show.

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