Paul McKenna’s guide to losing weight

Paul McKenna is giving MailOnline readers life techniques in his New Year – New You series 


I have helped millions of people all over the world to lose weight, now it’s your turn.

My system works for most people most of the time. You can watch a video here at MailOnline where I will quickly explain my approach then we will do a thought experiment, a technique, that will show you how easy it is knock out cravings in moments. 

Also you can listen to a hypnotic trance here at MailOnline for the next seven days for free to help you transform your relationship with food. First though I want to share with you some simple changes that you can make in your everyday behaviours around food that will give you more control.

Just practice these techniques for a few days, If you do anything for seven days you are going to be different, but after just seven days of using my weight loss system, you will be more in control around food and feel more energised and positive about life.

Together we can change your fundamental habits, thoughts and behaviors around food. You will feel more and more in control every day. Remember all your decisions about what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, take place in your mind. Your mind is a bit like a computer, it controls all your behaviors, so let me help you to re-program your mind, through the latest psychological techniques, so you eat much less and move your body more and feel good!

 So, why does this system work so well?

First of all, I want to say that if you are overweight, it’s not your fault – it’s the fault of your programming and this system can help you change that. How you think about food determines what you eat and how much you eat.

At the heart of my system are 4 golden rules. Here they are:

1. When you are hungry, EAT.

Why would anyone eat if they weren’t hungry?

Because it is simply a habit. Many people are so desensitised to their body’s messages that they’ve forgotten how to pay attention. Real physical hunger is different to emotional hunger (which we will deal with later). Physical hunger comes on gradually. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, when you feel bored or upset.

If you starve yourself you will end up binging. That’s how your body gets thrown off balance.

In future when you feel physical hunger, eat!

When you starve yourself your body goes into ‘survival mode’ it slows your metabolism and your body starts to store fat. When you eat when you are truly hungry you tell your body there will always be enough food and it speeds up your metabolism.

The Hunger Scale

Take a few moments right now to look at the hunger scale and tune in to your body. How hungry are you right now?

Each person is different, but as a general rule, you want to eat whenever you notice yourself between 3 and 4 on the scale – that is when you are fairly hungry, but before you become ravenous. If you wait until you get down to one or two your body will go into starvation mode and you’ll wind up probably eating more than your body needs and storing the excess as fat.

Ideally, you’ll want to stop eating at right around 6 or 7 on the hunger scale – when you are feeling pleasantly satisfied or full but not yet stuffed or bloated.

From now on never go into the RED areas!

Of course, if you have been a serial dieter you may be so used to overriding your body’s signals that you may at times ‘forget to eat’ until you’re ravenous or keep eating until you’re full or even stuffed before noticing it’s time to stop. If you think this might be you, practice tuning in to your body once an hour until you begin to notice differences between different points on the scale.


  • When you are hungry, EAT 
  • EAT what you want, not what you think you should 
  • Eat CONSCIOUSLY and enjoy every mouthful 
  • When you think you are full, STOP eating 

The more you practice tuning in to your own hunger, the sooner you’ll be able to recognise your body’s subtle signals long before your stomach growls and your brain starts to get fuzzy.

From now on never starve yourself and when you think, or suspect you are full stop eating.

Golden Rules 2: EAT what you want, not what you think you should

As soon as you tell yourself to not eat certain foods, (usually because you’ve been told they’re bad for you by diets), you upset the natural balance of your relationship to them. Rather than wanting it less, that ‘forbidden food’ instantly becomes more attractive to you. The inner battle between your positive intention and your resistance to being controlled (even by yourself) can be exhausting. 

As you begin to make peace with food and learn to listen to the wisdom of your body, you experience freedom from the tension and guilt that comes from NOT following your intuition. 

All the naturally thin people eat the so-called ‘forbidden foods’ chocolate, chips, cheese, however they don’t eat them to excess

Also, as you stop resisting and start to follow your natural intuitions about what to eat when, you may notice your tastes changing. You may even find yourself naturally attracted to the very foods you’re ‘supposed’ to be eating now. So in future eat what types of foods you want and not what you think you should.

All the naturally thin people eat the so-called ‘forbidden foods’ chocolate, chips, cheese, however they don’t eat them to excess.

So take back your power over food and throw out any foods that you have at home that you don’t find totally inspiring. (If you need to avoid certain foods for medical reasons, such as diabetes please consult your Doctor)

Golden Rules 3: Eat CONSCIOUSLY and enjoy every mouthful

People that are overweight often shovel food in to their mouths as quickly as possible in order to get high from the happy chemicals we release in our brains when we eat. Unfortunately, because they are eating unconsciously, they never notice the signal from their stomach that lets them know that they are full. So they keep on stuffing their faces, expanding their stomachs and putting on weight.

The problem is that even though they feel temporarily high from cramming in lots of food, they feel fat and guilty afterwards. In fact, they feel so bad that they repeat the whole ritual of unconsciously stuffing themselves again in order to anaesthetize the bad feelings they just created!

Here is perhaps the single most important key to success with my system:

You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, provided you eat SLOWLY and enjoy every single mouthful 

You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, provided you eat SLOWLY and enjoy every single mouthful.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Put the knife and fork down whilst you are chewing your food and really enjoy it – savour the taste, and enjoy the wonderful textures and sensations as you thoroughly chew each mouthful of food at least 20 times!

If all you did for the next two weeks was to slow your eating speed down to about a quarter of what it used to be and chew each mouthful thoroughly, you will find it easy to leave food on your plate.

Also eating consciously means focusing on the food and nothing else!

Research shows, If you eat and watch TV and eat you will eat more, if you read a magazine of eat in front of the computer you eat more.

So focus on the food and nothing else!

Golden Rule 4. When you think you are full, STOP eating

This may sound obvious, but here’s how to make it easy. When you are eating fast you are flooding your brain with happy chemicals, so it’s difficult to hear the ‘full’ signal from your stomach. Eating very slowly means you can hear the signal from your stomach so it’s easier to stop eating and leave food on your plate.

Many people have been to eat whatever food we put on our plate is gone. However, when you’ve eaten enough, your stomach sends a signal – a sensation that say’s ‘I’m satisfied – that’s enough.’ Most people experience this gentle, clear, satisfied sensation in their solar plexus (the area below your rib cage but above your stomach).

Of course, if you miss this warm feeling of satisfaction when it first occurs, you’ll notice that each subsequent bite of food becomes a little less enjoyable than the one before. . It’s like a muscle the more you use it the stronger it get. Within a few days you will be able to hear that signal again clearly and it will be easy to leave food on your plate. If the signal isn’t clear for the first day or so it’s OK to guess.

  • I Can Make You Thin is published by Bantam Press. For more information go to Paul McKenna’s website.