To: Mileah, who commented on my article, Supercharge Your Metabolism: I Can Make You Thin, Part 4

It was nice to see the compliment at the front of your article regarding the fact that I have been unbiased in my presentation so far.  It’s true that I have made an effort to keep my tone on this subject fairly serious so that the people who read these posts will also take them seriously.  I have also attempted to use common sense and facts, as I find them, when dealing with this matter.  Finally, as I have said, I truly hope that there are those out there who find something useful in Paul McKenna’s program.


However, you say that I am not qualified to evaluate the benefits of the program.  On the contrary, on my blog, I am qualified to evaluate whatever I want.  To quote you:

“You do not have the life experience of emotional eating, cravings, and living to eat versus eating to live. Over weight people – we are talking morbidly obesed that have had a lifetime battle with weight – can not even comprehend “weight loss is all about discipline, from preparation to implementation”. They would probably do anything short of dying to think and feel the way you have described.”

For you to say that I am not qualified to speak about an issue, and then to go off talking about overweight people as if I am not one of them, shows that you did not take the time to look at the 15 articles that I have already written chronicling my own struggle lose weight.  I began this diet weighing 359 lbs.  If that is not obese, I must be a horse.  I am 39 years old (It’s in my bio, if you want to look), and I have been overweight all of my life.

I repeatedly encourage people who read my articles to talk to their doctors before taking any of my advice, and  even in the quote that you cite, it says, “For me…” at the beginning.  That’s the point, these things have worked “for me”.  I have spent a lot of time explaining my motivations, and why I am experiencing success this time.  I encourage you to read them (at least read them before posting a comment such as this).

You state that overweight people would love to feel the way that I feel.  My whole point was that my feelings about the subject are irrelevant.  Perhaps this is the key, to use personal discipline to put your feelings about weight loss on the back burner.  My feelings are irrelevant because the decision to lose weight has already been made.  Anything I do comes under scrutiny.  Does it help me lose weight?  That is the question.

I talked to a friend during the holidays who had experienced significant weight loss due to gastric bypass surgery.  At the time, I was seriously considering having the procedure.  I had already decided that I was going to lose weight, and surgery was a serious option.  He was very serious about the implications of the procedure.  He called it a ‘life-change’ rather than a ‘lifestyle change,” and for that reason, I decided to attempt to lose weight on my own before I went under the knife.  It sounds in your comment, as if you are not completely happy with all of the things bypass surgery has done to your own life, and that is my point.  If my experiences can help one other person to have success in their own attempt to lose weight, then I will be happy.

Paul McKenna is another story altogether.  I started watching the show with no preconceived notions as to who he was and what his purpose was.  I was truly hoping to get some good ideas that I could apply to what I am already doing.  I have been watching The Biggest Loser for the same reason, and can say that there have been several useful tidbits of information on this show squeezed in between all of the product placements (I really do like the show).  However, the more I watched McKenna, the more I found myself wary of his approach.

My early impressions of McKenna and the show were not positive.  I have a friend who says, “If it looks like a duck, flies like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”  This applies well to my first impressions of McKenna and his program, especially the “quack” part.

My mother used to say, “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?”  This applies perfectly to this situation.  If someone starts telling me to tap my body to control my hunger, I’m going to find out what the deal is.  I do not take anything I read in the internet or watch on television at face value, so I decided to do a little looking around.

I found out that Paul McKenna is a world-renowned hypnotherapist, a fact that he has curiously neglected to inform his audience of.  I also found out that his program is elsewhere referred to as TFT (Thought Field Therapy), a form of self-hypnosis.  His scientists are all heavily involved in TFT, and one of them, Callahan, has been sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), and lost, for making false claims about the effectiveness of the program.  In fact, Monica Pignotti MSW did a blind study with some participants tapping while others did not.  In the end, there was no difference in the weight lost by both groups.

Even McKenna’s own representatives when chided by a British watchdog group admitted that they have no empirical data with which to back up any of their claims. In an article many of McKenna’s claims are challenged

Paul McKenna Training claimed to have carried out two surveys, three months and six months after the event, showing that 71% of participants had lost weight. But the ASA said the research was not substantive enough to support the claim that all participants would lose weight and keep it off forever. The hypnotist, a bestselling author of self-help books including I Can Make You Thin, claims on his website that his seminars are “the world’s most effective weight loss system” and “7x more effective than any diet”.

A spokesman for Mr McKenna said: “We do think our system is the most effective available but accept we cannot yet supply independent research comparing the system to other methods.

“We will not repeat the statement until we have independent research to substantiate it.”

People seem to look for a quick fix for there problems, or for someone else to fix their problems for them.  I argue that if you have psychological issues that are causing you to overeat, you need to address those issues before you can hope to have success, and once this is accomplished using personal discipline to complete the process with lead to feelings of accomplishment that will go beyond how much you weigh.  Or,…you could just have the surgery.

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


4 Responses

  1. I think you are missing the important point with his weight loss ideas. I too think that the “tapping” and pressing your fingers together are a bit strange, but if you look at just his 4 rules and realize that they are genious in their simplicity, you can ignore the hypnotherapy based techniques.
    I just wrote a post about him as well:

    He probably doesn’t make it well known that he is also famous for his hypnotherapy methods for that very reason. A lot of people are very skeptical when they hear that word.

  2. Dear writer,
    I use Thought Field Therapy (TFT)every day both with my clients (I’m a mental health counselor) and for myself. TFT is not hypnosis. The whole issue of obesity and weight gain and loss is a very complex problem in our society and around the world. There are no easy answers. People who suffer because of their weight should have every opportunity to discover what might work for them in their effort to be healthier and feel good about themselves.
    There are a number of critics of TFT and of Dr. Roger Callahan. Monica Pignotti is one of them. What she and other critics fail to see is the good TFT is doing for people each day. If you want to see and hear some first hand reports of the wonderful work done by volunteers who used TFT with suffering children in Rwanda who had undergone genocide and post traumatic stress problems, please look up the ATFT Foundation on YouTube video and view the first hand accounts of change TFT brought to the children.
    Thanks for Listening,
    A TFT Helper

  3. This guy Paul McKenna totally ripped off Geneen Roth’s Breaking Free program–go check her out. She was the one who came up with the eating guidelines (i.e. eat what you want, when you’re hungry, till you’re satisfied, with no distractions, etc.). When I saw this guy, I was astonished that he has gotten away with stealing this program that’s been around about 20 years and claiming that it’s his.

    Yeah, I think they’re great guidelines. But they aren’t his.

  4. Herb Ayers does not seem to understand where I am coming from with regards to my criticism of TFT and so I would appreciate it, Herb, if you wouldn’t presume to tell others what I see or fail to see. I was a practitioner of TFT for seven years, trained at its highest level. Back in 1997, Callahan stated to me in an e-mail that I understood TFT better than anyone he had ever encountered outside of his own family. Of course I am aware that there are many positive reports of success following the application of TFT and I personally saw those for seven years. In no way am I dismissing the fact that such reports exist. However, I suggest Herb learn about the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    There are similar positive anecdotes of success for many different approaches that lack evidence. History is full of such examples and each time, proponents were just as adamant as Herb is about how powerful the treatment was. What I have learned, however, is that positive anecdotes are not enough to provide evidence that the treatment itself is responsible for the positive outcomes. There are many other possible explanations for these positive success stories other than anything unique to TFT. Until TFT supporters can produce some solid research that controls for these other reasons and is conducted independently by people with no vested interest in TFT and published in a peer reviewed journal, there is no more reason to have confidence in TFT than there is to have confidence in any of the thousands of other treatments being promoted that make similar claims. If anyone would like a copies of articles I have written about TFT, including an article on my own journey with TFT and how I came to change my mind, please feel free to contact me at

    As for Paul McKenna, I watched his program and see that he has some principles for weight loss that make good common sense, such as eating your food slowly so you feel full, although they aren’t unique to Paul. Also, making a public commitment to lose weight is itself, very effective for many people. I see no evidence that the tapping itself was responsible for the weight loss people reported.

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