How to control your sugar intake with Paul McKenna
Don’t overdo it on the sweet stuff. Sure, enjoy yourself from time to time, but eat treats
Check your food for sugar levels. I spend a day going through my cupboards to make sure I’m not ‘poisoning’ myself.
A BIT ABOUT ME
I started out as a DJ before becoming a hypnotist. Before long I had my own TV show, which was a big hit – it got 14 million viewers a show. But I wanted to be taken seriously as a behavioural scientist. I remember talking to Simon Cowell about continuing with the show or getting into self-help.
He said: ‘I don’t think you can do the two.’ You can’t make someone dance like a ballerina, and ask to be taken seriously.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Oprah Winfrey is a huge fan of journals, and she’s absolutely right. Keep a food journal, noting down the top five sugar-laden foods you have, for example, orange juice, breakfast cereal, and so on. Make a note of the time you eat them. If it’s 10am, then have it at 10.30am the next day. Disrupt the pattern to break the habit. What’s more, instead of reaching for an energy drink, have water instead. The little things can make a big difference.
TRICK OF THE MIND
If you drink too many fizzy drinks, a visualisation technique could help you to stop. Sodas are bad for you and are packed with sugar, so when you watch a soft drink commercial on TV, imagine that the slim people in the ad are actually unhealthy, obese people.
If chocolate is your weakness, try this: imagine when you’re eating chocolate that it’s covered in something you hate, say sardines. Then mix in the hair off a barbershop floor. Match your compulsion with repulsion to knock it out. You’re more likely to be successful in cutting out sugar if you do it gradually. So, when adding sugar to your coffee, knock a little off the spoon. Eventually, you’ll ease yourself off sugar completely.
PICTURE THE SCENE
Another technique is to visualise the end of your life. In the first scenario, you’ve not addressed your relationship with sugar and have a horrible death. Then see a sugar-controlled life, where you have made healthy choices. Think about how much longer you’ll probably live and how much happier you’ll be. Einstein called this a thought experiment.
‘I don’t want people to give up chocolate or sugar entirely. I’m just saying cut down, so it’s a treat rather than a regular thing. People in the sugar industry know that once you are hooked they can sell you sugary products any time, any place, even though it will slowly kill you.’
3 TIPS FOR FOOD SHOPPING
1. A SWEET TRICK
When you’re in a supermarket, look at the ingredients of products. Be aware of the many different names given to sugar: including fructose, dextrin, maltose, corn sweetener and
2. REAL FOOD
Seek out what I call ‘real food’ – bright, colourful and fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than food that’s packed with sugar. Three out of four food products on supermarket shelves contain added sugar.
3. SUGAR SWITCH
Take an overall view of all your products to see which ones contain the most sugars. Then look for alternatives that exclude sugar and replace your items with the sugar-free options.
This will not only make you feel better, but will do wonders for your overall health.
Paul McKenna’s book contains psychological techniques to help you feel calm and in control (£8.70, Wordery.com)