Category Archives: EFT

I Can Make You Thin – My Review

Dr. Martin Russell blog i can make you thin review

[I wrote this as a review on Amazon back in January 2009. It is as relevant today as it was then. Enjoy!]

For almost 3 years now I have been handing this book and ‘mind-reprogramming’ CD to every patient who comes to me to lose weight, or who is caught up in the mentality of diets, scales, cravings, or overeating.

I am *delighted* that “I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 6 Million People” is finally available on Amazon.com rather than having to hunt it from the UK site. The long wait is over!

At the risk of making this book seem too simple, here are Paul McKenna’s 4 golden rules…
1. When you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want (not what you think you “should”.)
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. When you are full stop.

I’ve seen other “I Can Make You Thin” reviews that dismiss the 4 rules as just obvious common sense. I’m not sure what common sense they can really mean since the rules make a mockery of the majority of get thin/lose weight approaches around. Rule 2 in particular certainly disagrees with the ‘common sense’ that I was taught as a medical doctor.

Even if the rules are common sense, McKenna needs to be given great credit for showing people HOW to live these habits. Hopefully you are buying this for the results, not just to have a fun read and a relaxing, new-wavy listen.

Yes, the cover pages are a bit hypey, but the inside is less so. The book is refreshingly thin, jargon-free, and entertaining.

McKenna’s style also involves techniques such as tapping (TFT/EFT), hypnosis and NLP . Hypnosis is what first made Paul famous, and I’ve seen NLP Practitioners review this and say they knew all of these tricks before. In NLP terms Paul is saying that the Golden Rules are the “model” for being “naturally thin”. Just knowing all the geewiz psych techniques won’t help if you have the wrong model as I suspect most NLPers do.

More importantly, you don’t need any of these techniques to apply the 4 golden rules and lose weight.

Most people can go over the book & CD, discover the Aha moments, and get started on transforming their relationship with food and their weight straight away.

There might be a group of people that could eat according to the 4 rules and not be thin, but I agree with what Paul says. For myself, I’m yet to meet such a person.

I have counseled people who thought it didn’t work for them, but it turned out they hadn’t gotten the rules into their behavior, so here are some extra pointers…

– Just listening to the CD over and over doesn’t seem to be enough. The book plays a big part too. Expect to re-read the book at least once. You can succeed without the CD, so if it doesn’t suit you, no sweat.

– Don’t add more rules. Extra rules almost always conflict with the four golden rules. Must eat breakfast? No. Just eat when you are hungry. Have to eat only fresh food? Check you really want to eat it, and whether you might want to eat anything else a bit more. Etc, etc.

– Having trouble visualizing? Just act ‘as if’ you are visualizing, or on the CD just leave it to Paul.

– Don’t make exercise the focus. Improved fitness will improve your chances of living longer, but unfortunately the best research evidence is that exercise doesn’t help much in losing weight. Keep to the four rules, which are all about food and getting back in control.

– If you have a question or a difficulty, the answer is somewhere in the book. The book alone truly is comprehensive (unlike watching YouTube videos or reading this review.) Indeed the updates have covered the two or three remaining gaps I had found before, including the extra information for self-sabotage issues.

In summary, McKenna is not the only person to propose this way of eating, but his is the most accessible version I know about. His is also the most likely to reach out from the page and permanently change your thinking and your behavior, and thereby your weight.

You can buy his measly book just to prove Paul wrong 🙂

Oh and then come back here and add your own review. Let people know what your results have been, whatever they are. No one book/CD can fit everyone but “I Can Make You Thin” deserves way more reviews from people just like you who have been wondering if this might just be what you need.

[Footnote: As I re-read this now in 2012 there is very little I would say more. If you are local to me in Adelaide then I am available for personal 1-on-1 work or just to get you a copy of this book so contact me here, otherwise you can get the book from a library, local store or from Amazon.com.]

“I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna – A Review

This is the first full book review I have ever done on this blog. I am delighted that it is a review for this book, because “I Can Make You Thin” makes an historic contribution to weight loss and being naturally thin, and also to the entire field of self-help.

“I Can Make You Thin” - Paul McKennaFor almost 2 years now I have been handing this “I Can Make You Thin” book and ‘mind-reprogramming’ CD to every patient who comes to me to lose weight, or who is caught up in the mentality of diets, scales, cravings, or overeating.

At the risk of making this book seem overly simple, here are Paul McKenna’s 4 golden rules…
1. When you are hungry, eat.
2. Eat what you want (not what you think you “should”.)
3. Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
4. When you are full stop.

I’ve seen other reviews that dismiss the 4 rules as just obvious common sense. I’m not sure what common sense they really mean since the rules conflict with the majority of weight loss approaches around. Rule 2 in particular certainly disagrees with the ‘common sense’ that I was taught as a medical doctor.

Even if the rules are common sense, McKenna needs to be given great credit for showing people HOW to live these habits. Hopefully you are buying this for the results, not just to have a fun read and a relaxing, new-wavy listen.

Yes, the title of “I Can Make You Thin”, the pose McKenna has on the front, and the text on the back are bit over the top, but the inside is less so. The book is refreshingly thin :), jargon-free, and entertaining.

McKenna’s style also incorporates techniques such as tapping (TFT), hypnosis and NLP . Hypnosis is what first made Paul famous, and I’ve seen NLP Practitioners review this and say they knew all of these tricks before. In NLP terms Paul is saying that the Golden Rules are the “model” for being “naturally thin”. Just knowing all the techniques won’t help if you have the wrong model.

Importantly, you don’t need any of these techniques to apply the 4 golden rules and lose weight.

Most people can go the book & CD, discover the Aha moments, and get started on transforming their relationship with food and their weight straight away.

There might be a group of people that could eat according to the 4 rules and not be thin, but I agree with what Paul says. For myself, I’m yet to meet such a person.

I have counseled people who thought it didn’t work for them, but it turned out they hadn’t gotten the rules into their behavior, so here are some extra pointers…

  • Just listening to the CD over and over doesn’t seem to be enough. The book plays a big part too. Expect to re-read the book at least once. You can succeed without the CD, so if it doesn’t suit you, no sweat.
  • Don’t add more rules. Extra rules almost always conflict with the four golden rules. Must eat breakfast? No. Just eat when you are hungry. Have to eat only fresh food? Check you really want to eat it, and whether you might want to eat anything else a bit more. Etc, etc.
  • Having trouble visualizing? Just act ‘as if’ you are visualizing, or on the CD just leave it to Paul.
  • Don’t make exercise the focus. Improved fitness will improve your chances of living longer, but unfortunately the best research evidence is that exercise doesn’t help much in losing weight. Keep to the four rules, which are all about food and getting back in control.
  • If you have a question or a difficulty, the answer is somewhere in the book. The information truly is comprehensive (unlike watching YouTube videos or reading this review.) Indeed this updated version covered the two or three remaining gaps I had found before, including the extra chapter which covers self-sabotage.

In summary, McKenna is not the only person to propose this way of eating, but his is the most accessible version I know about. His is also the most likely to reach out from the page and permanently change your thinking and your behavior, and thereby your weight.

You can buy his measly book just to prove Paul wrong 🙂

——————————–

So that is my review of “I Can Make You Thin” by Paul McKenna.

Here’s what I would like you to do.

—> Do you think this review is helpful?

– Please go to the copy of this I have put up at Amazon, find the bottom of the review where it says “Was this review helpful to you?”, and click YES.

Rate this review on Amazon here.

—> Want to buy this book?

– It’s finally available on Amazon.com here!

– If you’re in Australia I have copies of this book for Aust$30 + $5 postage and handling (includes GST) or, as I mention in the review I supply them for free to people who come to see me.

You can phone my office on 08-8362 5500 for more details, or send $35 direct to PayPal@-you know the drill to take this bit out-DrMartinRussell.com with name, address and the name of the book.

Obesity, weight and food is an incredibly important self-help area. I cannot recommend Paul McKenna’s “I Can Make You Thin” strongly enough.

As with all self help, it’s now over to you.

-Dr Martin Russell

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Reply To Gary Craig – Or EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 4

Gary Craig, the creator of Emotional Freedom Technique left a note on the blog about my posts on EFT (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3)

He suggests I look into the research on EFT that he links to and comments on at his www.emofree.com website, and I will do so in coming posts.

However he also has this to say…

“… your explanation of how EFT works in Part 2 of your EFT Bunkum series falls seriously short. If you are interested in discussing this, please correspond with me directly and not publicly.”

Following this I spoke with Gary, and he confirmed he didn’t want to discuss this publicly but gave me his thoughts for my own use.

With those ideas in mind I’ve wanted to complete this series and include the extra information about EFT, but I am happy to let Gary speak for himself and not put words in his mouth.

So what I say here is based on what is already publicly available online.

First let me agree with Gary Craig.

My assessment of EFT is indeed “seriously short”.

That is because EFT is no longer limited by Chinese medicine and concept of Chi energy flow.

EFT is now into the realms of quantum healing, which has much more diverse and wonderful qualities.

This has brought up a new technique of “surrogate” or “intentional” EFT.

What is “surrogate” or “intentional” EFT? Well here is one simple example from Gary Craig’s emofree.com website:

I stood in the kitchen and could hear [my 3-year old and 5-year old children in their bedrooms] coughing. I focused on each one individually and tapped myself while focusing on each one, calling them by name. Within fifteen minutes I was headed for bed and it was very quiet in their rooms. I just smiled. Of course I have no way of knowing if what I did caused them to quiet so quickly, but I do enjoy believing so.

GARY CRAIG COMMENT: I, too, have no way of knowing if your “intentional EFT” did the trick here. It could have been coincidence. What I don’t think is coincidence, however, are the numerous reports of success using these “way out there” intentional procedures. I have done it myself on several occasions.

What Gary is saying is that you can tap with the intention to help someone else, and the other person will improve.

Even more “way out there” are the claims that you can tap on yourself without the person even being there, or you can simply IMAGINE tapping without doing any physical action, and the results will happen for that person too.

This makes EFT closer to the idea of “prayer” which does have a history of being researched as a healing tool.

Most importantly this quantum version of EFT goes way beyond the claims of Chinese medicine at least the way I understand it. It also goes far beyond the theory I proposed for how EFT works.

There is no published research on “surrogate” or “intentional” EFT, but there are lots and lots of impressive case studies, so how do I explain these?

I suggest a combination of 3 things:

  1. Coincidence:- as Gary Craig mentions above,
  2. Non-verbal/unconscious communication:- the mother being calmer from the tapping was “noticed” by her children, perhaps in the noises they could hear from their rooms, and
  3. Selection-bias:- if the tapping hadn’t worked the mother would have forgotten the incident, but it worked so she made special note of it and even wrote to Gary about it.

Perhaps it would be simpler if quantum energy was the sole explanation, but all the above 3 effects are enough to explain it for me.

So my original explanation was indeed too short. The current work in quantum EFT requires me to add 3 more explanations to cover it all.

-Dr Martin Russell

Scientific Fraud

I was talking with someone about the need to get good research in a particular area of interest to him, and he dismissed me outright.

“Not only is research a waste of time,” he said, “I could get research done and published that proved whatever I wanted it to.”

“Then I’d get another study published and so on.”

Was this guy cynical?

Certainly.

Is he completely wrong?

Unfortunately not.

The history of fraud and falsification in the research literature is huge.

Yet how many times do you hear about the latest research, and really question if it was produced by outright fraud.

My favorite example is Gregor Mendel, the monk who in 1865 published experiments with growing peas, that demonstrated the basic principles of genetic inheritance.

It was pointed out however that his experimental results are in fact way too perfect to be true. The main reason why he is not totally rejected is because subsequent scientific results have shown he was correct. Being right saved him.

He might also have received some sympathy because no one in his lifetime took his results seriously, right or not. It wasn’t until the 20th century that his work was rediscovered and he was seen as a genius.

When I was going through medical school, one of the really interesting stories in science was the idea of “cold fusion”.

Two researchers with great scientific-type names, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann at the University of Utah, had found a way to get the energy of the sun, out of water at almost room temperature.

This was jaw-dropping stuff.

The attempts at replicating their research came thick and fast and the debate raged across hundreds of different research reports because the idea was so enticing.

Now almost two decades has past and the hope of cold fusion has come to nothing.

Most of the recent scientific fraud and misadventure has received much less publicity, but regularly in the scientific literature there are retractions and accounts of people getting caught out in various ways.

In colleges and universities, the proven rate of fraudulent activity is pretty high. Most of this fraud is copying of other’s work, and at the higher levels of published scientific research, plagiarism like this can be a lot harder to get away with because people assessing the research already know much of what is in a particular field.

More importantly however, it’s not much of a leap from copying someone else’s work, to inventing it from scratch, or at least filling in the gaps and covering over the flaws in the work you have done.

With the world awash in so much information it’s not hard to imagine that such behavior would be easy to get away with, at least on a few occasions.

This is all just another thing to think about when you hear about the latest piece of research on your favorite topic.

Science is still human after all.

-Dr Martin Russell

EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 3

The “universal healing method” called Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as EFT (see EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 1) is almost completely lacking any worthwhile scientific evidence.

It’s founder Gary Craig, offers only anecdotal evidence and sheer numbers of examples. A quick search on the internet reveals many people who have not found benefit from EFT, as well as many others who swear by it.

The credibility for EFT’s claims mostly comes from reliance on the Eastern idea of energy flows and meridians, but I believe this has nothing to do with EFT’s results at all (see EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 2)

But very little evidence is not no evidence. There is one study of merit.

It was published in 2003 in “The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice” from the work of two Canadian psychologists Wendy Waite and Mark Holder.

They were testing EFT on the problem where it has claimed the most clear-cut success – phobias.

This is a particularly impressive study because they didn’t simply test EFT vs nothing. Instead they set up 4 different arms to their experiment.

In one group they used EFT.

In a second group they had the subjects tap on 12 points on the person’s arm, chosen as a place where there is not meant to be any meridian points.

The third variation was the most impressive. In this group they had subjects do the same EFT tapping sequence, but rather than tap on their own bodies they had them tap on a doll instead!

The final group was a control group where they had the subjects fold a paper toy for the same length of time as the other variations.

They ended up with 119 people in this trial and they divided up the groups equally between men and women, and different types of phobia. Unfortunately the researchers say that this meant that they ended up with uneven numbers in each of the 4 arms of the experiment, but they do not give the data of exactly what this was.

So what were the results?

Firstly EFT did significantly reduce people’s levels of reported fear.

EFT worked.

But so did tapping on the arm, and tapping on a doll. And equally well.

The control paper folding exercise did not however significantly alter people’s fear.

So on this basis EFT is doing something, but so do other forms of tapping that have nothing to do with energy meridians. Critics may have been able to argue that people tapping on their arms had accidentally hit upon part of the body’s energy flow, but the similar response from tapping on a doll removes this as an explanation.

This study does not fit with EFT having anything to do with meridians, but it does fit with my analysis of EFT as a method for re-conditioning (probably what the researchers are refer to in their own analysis as “distraction”, but I think this it is more than that.)

As far as I am aware this study has not been repeated elsewhere to confirm its results. It stands alone; intriguing, seemingly ignored by the EFT community, and as yet unverified.

Attention Gary Craig – this study was published in 2003. It’s in Wikipedia. You must know about it, so where is your response?

[As Gary Craig points out in the comment below, I missed his public open-letter response on his main website. I now have the answer to my question here, so I can get on to other questions about EFT. Thanks Gary.]

For my reply to Gary’s comment below go here to EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 4.

-Dr Martin Russell

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EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 2

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an “emotional version of acupuncture, except without the needles”, as developer Gary Craig puts it.

[If you need more introduction to EFT go to Part 1 here.]

There is very little evidence in the scientific literature, but EFT has a lot of raving fans and practitioners.

So coming from my own background as a medical practitioner what did I make of EFT?

Well back in 2001 when I moved from medical practice to counseling, I used it in my practice, but then I stopped.

My fundamental disagreement with EFT is with its theoretical underpinnings.

I suspect that the outcomes from EFT have NOTHING to do with Chi, or energy flow, or acupuncture meridian points. It might be good marketing to be caught up with Eastern philosophies, but it also puts people off.

I think EFT has a much more Western explanation for it’s effects.

My assessment of EFT is based on the well-recognized psychological mechanism of conditioning.

Many of the psychological problems that EFT was first claimed to work for are classic examples of problems that have an automatic emotional reaction ie a conditioned response.

Phobias, traumatic memories, addictions. All these involve strong emotional responses.

With a spider phobia it is a fear reaction to the sight of spiders or the thought of spiders. Even with depression or anxiety, there is certainly an emotional reaction, and often there are specific triggers for those emotions in memories from the past or expectations they have for the future.

The idea with therapy is to change the unwanted emotional reaction. To turn fear into comfort, depression into hope or choicefulness, and anxiety into calmness or a sense of control.

In fact if you take it further, emotional reactions can be thought of as part of many, many different problems, both psychological and physical.

So in comes EFT.

Let me describe the experience of using EFT from a personal perspective.

If you’ve done EFT or if you watched the video from Part 1, I think you will agree that EFT is an abnormal thing to do, and it takes a bit of concentration.

It’s a bit like a cross between trying to simultaneously pat your head and rub your tummy, and learning the Macarena, but you’re meant to be serious as you do it.

The emotional experience of using the technique involves a mix of feelings, including awkwardness, curiosity, confusion, embarrassment, as well as the emotions of learning something, ie intensely observing, listening, forgetting, stumbling, achieving and so on.

You are meant to do all this WHILE thinking about a particular problem you have.

This means you are trying to experience two sets of emotions at once.

As in the phobia example, if you mix the phobic fear with the emotional experiences of doing EFT you end up not only with a diluted fear, you also add in elements of emotions that are very valuable for finding new and better ways to react.

I think this mix up of emotions explains all the features of EFT.

If you turn what I have just said into medical terminology of conditioned responses and stimuli you end up with an explanation for EFT that is complete, and doesn’t require any beliefs that aren’t already part of medical and scientific knowledge.

So how did all of this apply to me and my medical counseling practice?

I was happy to learn EFT because of how neat it is – lasting change in minutes. That’s cool!

I then was happy to use EFT even despite the lack of scientific proof, because EFT fitted with what I already knew was proven, and I didn’t need to believe in meridians or energy flows to need to wait for the scientific testing.

However after all this you may be curious about why I stopped using EFT in my practice?

For the very simple reason that there are heaps of valuable things I don’t use because they don’t fit very well with the rest of what I offer.

I still have recommended EFT on the occasions where it has fitted the expectations of the person I was talking to, and it may fit for whatever ails you.

If you are interested, Gary Craig’s official EFT site has plenty of case studies/testimonials, and also a free download of the basic techniques, to keep you from getting caught in any corrupted version of what is out there on YouTube or elsewhere.

I just suggest you ignore the theories.

What’s your opinion?

“EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 3” is here.

-Dr Martin Russell

EFT Is Bunkum? – Part 1

Back when I first started my counseling practice in 2001 I offered Emotional Freedom Techniques as a change method.

If you haven’t heard of Emotional Freedom Techniques (or EFT) then take a look at this classic video from EFT developer Gary Craig back in the 1990s:


EFT is a very neat idea.The first neat thing is that it uses Chinese acupuncture points to create psychological changes. Acupuncture is classically used for physical ailments, but EFT adds in a few psychological twists and applies the resulting technique to ailments of the mind. Cool huh!The second neat thing is that it doesn’t use needles. You just tap firmly on the acupuncture points with your fingertips, so there are no sharp objects, and the only tools you need are very conveniently available at the end of your hands.The third neat thing, and this was the real genius of the developer of EFT Gary Craig, is that an entire sequence can be done in a couple of minutes, and learned after repeating it just a few times.The fourth neat thing is that it is a universal change tool. The same sequence of tapping steps pretty much applies for any and every problem you have. There seem to be no limits to what it can be tweaked to do. You have a problem, then go through the tapping until it’s better.Here’s the official video of the claims of EFT.

Sceptics of EFT claim that even if EFT does help it works simply by being a distraction from a person’s problem. They point out that it’s pretty distracting to be tapping with your fingers all over your face, chest and hand, while talking out loud and thinking of what you need to do next.

As a counselor I already know distraction is a waste of time as a tool for therapy.

If distraction was of any lasting benefit then phobias and addictions would just cure themselves automatically as we went about our daily lives. Watch a great movie, read a nice book, stare at a sunset. So if EFT gets results, it’s not by distraction.

It would be great if EFT’s miraculous claims had been verified scientifically but they haven’t.

It’s not surprising really.

EFT is very hyped-up cure-all. It would be hard to get many academics who respected their future careers, interested in doing research into such a radical method.

More importantly, EFT is not at all that easy to test scientifically.

It’s even harder to prove than acupuncture itself, which has had a very tough time over the years.

If EFT were a medication you could give a group of people an EFT pill, and another group a dummy pill with no EFT in it and check the difference. With acupuncture they have a variation where they use ‘sham’ needles that don’t really pierce the skin. However with EFT you can’t have ‘sham’ fingertips as a comparison.

So the scientific evidence is very thin on the ground, and you’ll be waiting for many more years if you work only on the basis of what is scientifically proven.

So is the lack of scientific evidence the reason to question EFT?

Only partly.

I’ll introduce my personal thoughts in Part 2.

-Dr Martin Russell