How Free Are You?

Our lives are controlled by everyone around us – not directly – but subtly.

We are controlled by the processing that takes place within each of us as we interact with others. We constantly monitor their response to us: our words, our presence. We modify our behaviour, our mannerisms, our voice, in order to elicit the responses that suggest acceptance rather than rejection. And the worst of it is that most of the time we don’t know it’s happening.

Subliminal Control

That’s because of the tiny little things we pick up on without realising it. Things like pupil dilation; tension in tiny facial muscles; movement of body or limbs towards or away from us; self-grooming actions; and so on. These are things we all do at a subconscious level. It’s only when we make an effort to understand ourselves and our behaviours; only when we allow our curiosity about our lives and our minds to lead us on a journey of self-discovery; that we start to see what’s really going on. With that awareness, we begin to understand what’s going on with others too – because we are all the same.

We are all the same even though we each have a unique and special life journey and each of us has our own adventures to enjoy. There is no difference. We are each of us beautiful beings with the power to work magic and touch the hearts and minds of every individual we make contact with on this incredible Journey. But we can’t do that while we are trapped in the powerlessness of having to do and be what others want us to do and be. If we rebel against what others want us to do and be and deliberately do something else – we are still in their power. They still control us because our choice isn’t a choice from freedom of spirit or personal desire. Any choice you make because you need the money, the affection, the sex, the love, the approval, the support, the food, the cigarettes, the alcohol, isn’t a free choice.

When Your Heart Sings

You know you have made a free choice when your heart sings.

Of course all of this makes it very easy for governments to get the majority of the population to do what they want them to do.

 Fear is Used to Manipulate You

Are you afraid of terrorist attacks, or at the very least a tiny weeny bit troubled? The government would like you to be because then it can wage illegal and inhuman wars against other countries simply to destabilise an area of the world – and convince you it is protecting your life and the lives of your children. Funny how it only seems to be evil dictators, and repressive regimes, in areas of the world that control valuable natural resources like oil and gas that gets their population liberated from oppression and torture and suffering. These same problems going on in Africa, Asia and South America seem to be quite acceptable to the same governments that find them unacceptable in the Middle East.

The government takes charge of your health too. Courts decide whether or not you can live or die. They insist that you have your children vaccinated with their vaccines whether you like it or not.

Lies and Dollars

I read an article a few years ago when there was all that furore about brain damage as a result of the MMR triple vaccine. There was a lot of heavy advertising following this and the government made it very difficult for parents not to have their children vaccinated. The article I read suggested that the drug company that made the drug had large quantities of it stored away and it was reaching its expiration date. The groundswell of parents wanting to miss out the mumps bit of the vaccine was going to lose this drug company a great deal of money – hence the manipulation of the population from a government level and the massive advertising campaign. I don’t know how true this is but I didn’t have a problem believing it. This perspective on the situation fitted the observed facts better than that of the doctors encouraged to tell reporters that the vaccine is perfectly safe. If there are large sums of money changing hands in the background then you are probably being manipulated.

Having said that, whatever you do, and whatever you believe is your choice – even though your freedom of choice has been seriously compromised by propaganda. For instance, in elections you have the illusion of choosing a candidate to vote for. But the truth is that you had no choice about who was on the list you are handed in the polling station. Those choices were made by others. You are simply offered the illusion of choice from those who best toe the appropriate party line or can be presented as squeaky clean and best match the allusions of the local voters.

You Can’t Un-Choose Once You Have Committed

However, notice that allowing someone else to make your choices for you is giving them the gift of power over you. Taking on what they say, along with other viewpoints, and then making your choice based on what feels appropriate to you in the moment is to make a choice to retain your power and your freedom. It never matters what you choose – only the reason you make that particular choice is what’s important. Deepak Chopra, in The Book of Secrets, assures us that the moment we make a choice the whole of the Universe is behind us assisting us and making sure of the best possible outcomes for that choice. What this means is that only the moment exists, and only your intentions in that moment matter. So whatever you decide you decide with the best intentions given your current level of awareness, knowledge, and life experiences. There is no predestination. Once you choose A instead of B, B no longer exists as an option. A is all the Universe has to work with and the energy of attraction is constantly re-configured around you based on your current thoughts, beliefs and perceptions in order to get you what you want. Only your own resistance to having what you want can prevent it.

Unfortunately, resistance is often invisible and so it seems, perhaps, that you are unlucky or unloved by God.

Freedom is achieved by going within and feeling your way to an appropriate choice.


If you would like to explore this further and discover techniques that will help you to achieve the freedom you seek then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis


How Smokers Support Slavery

75% of commercially grown tobacco is now sourced in the third world. A canny move by the Tobacco Barons since it provides incredibly cheap labour and a distinct lack of the annoying bureaucracy that tends to look after things like Health & Safety. One third of tobacco is grown in China. Zimbabwe, Turkey, India & Brazil are also major producers though some tobacco is still grown in the US and Europe.

With tobacco cultivation there’s all the normal stuff that you get with any crop, ploughing, sowing, weeding… but growing tobacco from this point on takes on a slightly sinister appearance compared with most other crops.

Just as tobacco is a health hazard to those who smoke it, it is also a health hazard to those who grow the stuff. The most common problem experienced by tobacco farmers and their children is acute nicotine poisoning – otherwise known as Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS). Doesn’t Green Tobacco Sickness sound so much nicer than acute nicotine poisoning? GTS is an occupational hazard for tobacco growers and its symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness. This is because of the nicotine absorbed through the skin from the contact that field workers have with tobacco leaves – in much the same way as it is absorbed from the nicotine patches smokers use when they are trying to quit. And these field workers don’t have much choice about contact because tobacco plants need a lot of physical intervention – like the removal of side shoots and flowers – in order to force the leaves to reach the required sizes. The nicotine transfer from leaf to bloodstream is much more rapid when the leaves are wet.

Statistics on the prevalence of GTS are unreliable simply because most doctors – even in tobacco farming areas – do not recognise the symptoms for what they are. The only other area of agriculture where the crop itself is a serious biohazard is in the cultivation of illicit substances like coca and opium.

One researcher wrung the sweat from the shirts of tobacco field workers and found it contained almost 0.1mg of nicotine per millilitre. Rain or dew on the leaves of tobacco plants has been measured with a concentration of up to 9mg nicotine per 100mL of dew. The average field worker is exposed, through contact with moisture on the leaves, to 72mg of nicotine – about the same as a 40 a day smoker. So if you want the nicotine without the tar and additives go and get a job as a tobacco worker and get paid for giving up smoking. For the production of flue cured tobacco, leaves are harvested individually by hand – thus maximising contact with the toxin in the leaves.

Nicotine tolerance builds over long periods of exposure. Children don’t have this and tobacco farming makes use of large quantities of child labour so children are at much higher risk of developing GTS.

Be aware also that tobacco is one of the agricultural products most commonly farmed with child labour (Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) or forced labour (Malawi & Kazakhstan). On the cigarette manufacturing side of the process, forced and child labour is used in India where (according to WHO) 325,000 children work rolling tobacco and about half of those are bonded labourers (effectively slavery).

As an example 50,000 bonded labourers are engaged in cigarette production in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. Only 5,000 of these are registered (and, therefore, protected by labour laws) the rest receive the equivalent of 50cents (US) per 1000 cigarettes they make. Employers make deductions from this at their own discretion. Among these employees a 9 year old boy and a 10 year old girl were found bound by iron chains because of their repeated escape attempts.

In Malawi children as young as three are being employed to produce tobacco. Here the going rate is $1.28 (US) for a day’s work for a family of four sorting tobacco leaves. One day, by the way, is dawn to dusk. A family of seven (in bonded labour) earn $29 a year as tobacco farmers. Here tobacco farms send recruiters to villagers for child labourers. The children report having food withheld and being beaten. Pay is promised to the parents at the end of the season.

Malawi obtains 65% of its foreign income from tobacco (probably the only country in the world economically dependent on tobacco – I have heard it said that the tobacco companies would like you to believe they are the saviours of the Third World, and without tobacco many countries would become bankrupt). Malawi’s produce is purchased by British American Tobacco  (Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall) Imperial Tobacco (Lambert & Butler, John Player Special, Sonoma, USA Gold and Gauloise), and Philip Morris (Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Chesterfield & Merit). Interestingly British American Tobacco founded the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation.

Forced labour in Malawi takes place under the guise of tenant farming where an agreement is made with the landlord. The tenant is promised a share in the profit when the crop is sold. The tenant has to purchase seed, and anything else that is needed, from the landlord, but has no control over the sale of the crop and usually the landlord arranges things so there is no profit. Consequently the tenant sinks deeper and deeper into debt – often forcing young children into the fields because family is the only free labour available.

A life of slavery is the only possible outcome.

Ultimately the smoker is responsible.

Purchasing tobacco is in effect condoning every aspect of tobacco production.

So if you smoke, think about children being chained; children being poisoned; and families spending their entire lives getting deeper and deeper into debt.

Think about it every time you hand over your hard-earned cash for your next pack of twenty.

…and if you need a little help giving up then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis, or my download page.




Losing Weight Is Easy – If You Do This One Thing

You want to lose weight. You want it to be effortless. You want to be three dress sizes smaller when you wake up tomorrow. You don’t want any loose skin where the fat used to be. But most of all you want to know where to find the magic wand so you can wave it to make this happen.

You want all this even though you have been putting on that weight for ten, twenty, thirty years. You want to lie on the beach, look sexy and feel gorgeous. Now, when you have a health problem, you go to the doctor’s, he gives you a pill, and you get better. When you want a new TV, fridge, hi-fi, computer, book – almost anything – you go to your computer and within 24 hours it’s brought to your door. Or you go to your local retailer and fetch it home within an hour or two.

Instant, instant, instant…

We live in a world of instant everything.

Instant Everything

We are like children living in a perpetual NOW. When a child wants something it is wanted now, by tomorrow she will have lost interest so now is the only time to have anything. We teach children about waiting – waiting for birthdays, Christmas, holidays to exciting new places… but they really don’t understand, they want it now. They see parents getting everything they want when they want it and just don’t understand why they have to wait. Yet, because they are surrounded by so much of this stuff, they lose out on a sense of appreciation for what they have.

We too, lose our sense of appreciation because we are bombarded with stuff. Our homes are filled with stuff. Nothing is cherished any more. Nothing is repaired. Nothing is truly valued. New is the Holy Grail that we seek.

New Stuff

You only had to look at the news to see the queues outside Apple stores the day they released the new iPhone 6. People queued up all night to have the latest bit of technology that’s a gazillionth of an inch slimmer than the phone they were using to facebook all their friends about how excited they are about getting more new stuff.

They’ll all be doing at again in six months when the iPhone7 is released.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not knocking technology. It’s great. But the desire to posses something just because it’s new, when you have no real need of it, and you have something almost identical that’s barely six months old, suggests to me that there is something missing. An emptiness in the soul perhaps, or a longing for fulfilment.

The mistake is to seek fulfilment in things.

You must know that feeling when you buy something special. You look forward to it. You imagine having it. You obtain it. You enjoy its newness for a week or two. Then its wonder fades and after a week or two, or a month or two you wonder what all the fuss was about and you start looking for the next new thing to excite and stimulate you.

You are seeking happiness outside of yourself.

This is the problem with weight loss.

You are looking in the Wrong Place

We are so used to instant gratification; we are so far removed from appreciating what we have; and we have lost touch with reality to such an extent that we expect miracles with our bodies. We treat our bodies like iPhones. We want to throw the old one in the bin and come out of the shop with a brand new one – instantly. We are just not prepared to wait any longer than a day to possess this new body, but at a push we’ll hang around for a week, but if all that excess fat hasn’t disappeared after a month then we might as well give up, binge, and undo whatever we have managed to achieve.

Then we look at ourselves in the mirror, cry, despair, eat some more, look in the mirror some more, eat some more, look at those beautiful clothes we’d like to fit into, and maybe start all over again and give it another month. We must have been doing it wrong, we figure. It must be the diet’s fault. Let’s go to the bookshop, join a club, find the right diet and everything will be fine.

It won’t.

It won’t because you are missing the point.

The point is your attitude to you.

When you change your attitude to you, then everything changes.

When you treat yourself gently, lovingly, and with a huge sense of appreciation for who and what you are, then change can take place.

Just Change Your Mind

The one thing that you need to do, in order to successfully lose weight, is easy. It’s easy because it’s just a choice. You make choices every day. Whether to have tea or coffee, a doughnut or a Danish, new iPhone or wait till they iron out the problems and get the next one, get up or have another five minutes. Life is filled with choosing. You can already do that. So the choice you have to make is to make losing weight more important than eating. That’s the choice you have to make. It has to be a real choice. It has to have unfailing determination behind it. You have to really mean it. You have to choose losing weight over eating – every minute of every day.

Once you have made that absolute choice and you really mean it because you want what it will give you – a more attractive, slimmer body – the rest is easy. You never again need to give in to temptation because temptation no longer exists. You have made your choice. You will eat as much as you need and no more. You will no longer feel any sense of losing out on what you are not eating because eating is not who you are any more. You achieve fulfilment now by watching your body get a little slimmer each week. You know that food is sustenance, and you will enjoy what you eat, but you will only eat what you need.

You see, that choice you made – that losing weight is more important than eating – makes all your food choices for you. You don’t have to bother any more. You know what you need to eat and you know how much.

That’s all you need to do.

Please Sir, Can I Have Some More

But if that seems too simple, and you want more, then check out my book How to Lose Weight Easily and Free Yourself from Diets Forever to find out in more detail just exactly what you need to do in order to successfully lose that excess weight and keep it off.


Beat Chronic Stress and Live Longer

Stress is a killer. There is no question about that. But stress is like a cigarette. The damage it does is slow and cumulative. You probably don’t realise the harm it’s doing until there is a health crisis and you find yourself asking “Why me?”

Don’t live with regret about the things you could have changed.

Stress, and the body’s response to it, is a natural and helpful process. It is a survival strategy. The problem is that it only evolved to deal with short-term stress, like escaping from a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, our bodies respond to our imaginary worlds as if they were real and so you can create a stress response just by thinking about something that scares you.

Most of us are incredibly skilled at imagining the worst outcomes for things that haven’t happened yet. We are also incredibly good at creating a whole host of troubling scenarios as we try to control a future problem. We have this crazy idea that if we worry about something enough then that will enable us to cope. It’s not true. We cope better when our reaction is spontaneous.

Because the body was never designed to deal with long-term stress, and because the body’s stress response was only ever for dealing with real, rather than imagined, threats, the body has no way of dealing with chronic stress.

Chronic stress creates negative health consequences. It has a negative impact on your immune system, it can indirectly affect your cardiovascular health, and there is now direct evidence that stress can shorten your life by around 8 years.

Stress & Immune System Responses

Stress wears away at your immune system. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, and Ronald Glaser, PhD, noticed that the immunity of medical students was lowered during their three day exam period each year. They had fewer natural killer cells, and produced less gamma-interferon – which boosts immunity. So if you suffer from frequent minor illnesses – like colds – then that’s a good sign that you are not dealing effectively with the stresses in your life.

Another study by Richard Davidson (University of Wisconsin) clearly linked negative thoughts to lowered antibody levels and positive thoughts to increased immune system activity. This is clear evidence that your mind, and what you think, has a direct impact on your health.

Stress & Heart Health

There is no direct link between stress and hypertension, or stress and heart health generally, but there is an indirect link. When we are stressed, we tend to overeat; we fail to exercise sufficiently – simply because there’s so much to do and so little time to do it; and we can find ourselves drinking more alcohol than we know is sensible. All of these things do push blood pressure up and they also have a negative impact on heart health.

If heart disease is already present, then sudden severe stress can trigger a heart attack. The associated sudden rise in blood pressure can also cause a stroke.

Stress & DNA

Another study by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser et al looked at the impact of stress on the ends of DNA strands. Chromosome ends are protected by telomeres. As we get older these protective covers wear and get shorter. The length of an individual’s telomeres are linked to how long they live. In this study it was discovered that chronic stress causes wear and tear on the telomeres – thus shortening life. Those who participated in the study were caregivers for parents with Alzheimer’s. An earlier study reported a similar life-shortening impact on mothers of chronically ill children.

It seems that chronic stress will knock 4-8 years off your life.

How to live longer

Stress is really about your mind and what you do with it. It might seem, at times, that it’s all about the pressures of earning a living and paying bills; or about the pressure that other people – like managers and family members – place on you. It might even seem to be about you never being quite good enough and spending your life trying to prove that you are. So you push yourself constantly to do better, all the while repeating that mantra It’s not good enough – a mantra that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The solution is simple, just not easy. But then nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Without at least a little challenge we tend to undervalue the results. When we put a little effort in to learn a new skill we feel good about ourselves and value our accomplishment.

What you have to do is learn how to take control of your mind and learn to let go of those things that do not serve you.

If you are willing to put the effort in to learn that new, life-enhancing, skill, then first of all download my free book Freedom by filling in your details on the right – just underneath the book cover. If you like my style, then invest in a copy of Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. This is available in Kindle or paperback from Amazon, or from iBooks if you like to read on your iDevice.

Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis is filled with tips, strategies and techniques to deal with the stresses in your life. It takes you, step by step, through the process of retraining your thought patterns and how to use your mind to ease the stresses in your life that are caused by anything from a relationship that isn’t working to dealing with challenges in the work place.

If you prefer to listen than to read then check out the guided visualisations on my download page. The chakra meditation is highly recommended.


If you have any questions about dealing with stress then leave a comment below.


Break Your Addiction to Fattening Foods – Hypnosis Session


With hypnosis it is easy to focus on specific aspects of a problem so that it can be resolved in manageable chunks rather than to trying to fix a big problem in one attempt. To that end I have created this ‘video’ hypnosis session designed to help you succeed with that first important step in winning the battle with excess weight.

This video is designed to help to ease you away from fattening and unhealthy foods. This is that vital first step in losing weight. So, as you feel less and less drawn to fattening and sweet foods, you will naturally find much greater pleasure in making healthier choices. You may find it totally effortless, or you may discover that you can make the right choices more of the the time. Either way, you may find that listening to this on a daily basis will give you the encouragement that you need to succeed with your weight loss goal.

Good luck.



How to Find Out if You Are Likely to be Susceptible to Stress

I’ve just been reading an interesting article about some research that was looking to see if heart rate variability might be an indicator of susceptibility to stress. Participants (undergraduate students) had their heart rate measured during a low-stress period of the academic year. Then, still attached to the monitor, they were led to imagine worrying scenarios in their future lives. As well as this they were given some questionnaires.

The participating students returned a few months later just before their final exams, and went through the whole thing again.

It seems there was a correlation between heart rate variability and the level of psychological distress being experienced about the finals.

The suggestion is that doctors could measure the interval between heartbeats (apparently easy to measure) to screen people for susceptibility to stress. It also suggests that breathing techniques might be useful in reducing stress levels because breathing practises can be used to lower heart rate.

All this is very interesting – and I mean that most sincerely, folks – but I know when I’m anxious, or stressed. I don’t need someone to measure my heart-rate variability in order to tell me what I already know. I’ve known it since I was old enough to realise that I found some things more difficult to cope with than most other people. Most of the people I treat for anxiety don’t need to be wired up to a machine in order to be told what they already know.

This, for me at least, highlights a serious problem with the medical profession. They seem to be moving further and further away from talking to, and listening to, patients. They seem to be totally dependent on a machine to tell them what’s wrong with someone when that person already knows what the problem is and just wants some help.

I guess my heart-rate variability is well in the band of easily stressed – but so what? All I ever wanted from the medics was help. All I ever got was pills.

And it seems to me that this bit of research will, most likely, lead to the development of an expensive stress-evaluating bit of fancy electronics that will sit in a clinic somewhere and generate income for the manufacturer and the tranquilliser peddlers .

I know I’m easily stressed but I got more value from Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person, than I ever did from all the pills I swallowed over the years.

Some people are more sensitive than others. Some people find it difficult to cope with the problems and challenges of life. Some people find it difficult to function in a world full of rules that don’t make any sense to them. But they don’t need to be connected to a machine in order to discover that – they already know.


Being Overweight Is Not About Will Power – It’s About Manipulation

I was working on my new video called Diets Make You Fat and I got totally sidetracked by something I discovered while I was doing my research.

One of the reasons many people are overweight is because they are being deliberately manipulated by Big Food into eating very much more than they need, simply in order to make sales.

Many people think that being overweight is about will-power, or rather the lack of it. But overeating has nothing at all to do with Will-Power and everything to do with the way your brain chemistry is being deliberately manipulated by the chemical additives in food.

I had no idea about the full extent of this, and to be honest, I was disgusted that Big Food just treats people as a source of wealth no matter how much damage is done to their lives. And let’s face it, being obese has a seriously damaging effect on almost every aspect of life. But perhaps the most pernicious is the low self-image that tends to be created, followed by the isolation, loneliness, and hell of being unable to control what you feel you should be able to control. Then, because you can’t, you think the fault lies with you.

Big Food manipulates us into overeating and this manipulation is the real source of the obesity epidemic.

What Are They Doing?

So what exactly are they doing?

They are by-passing your natural full signals and deliberately stimulating dopamine release. Dopamine is a neuro-transmitter created in the brain. Its effect is to make you feel good. It’s the same chemical that, when over-stimulated on a regular basis, creates physiological addiction.

It’s the mental stimulation derived from these highly palatable foods that makes so many people crave them, not hunger. This mental stimulation is responsible for re-arousing your appetite even after you are done eating.

This multi-billion-dollar food industry has discovered that three things: fat, sugar and salt, are the key ingredients for creating that mindless nibbling that never leaves you feeling satisfied but always leaves you wanting more. They use specific combinations of fat, sugar and salt — but different combinations for different foods — to make you crave these products. What you are after is your fat-sugar-salt fix. These are, as often as not, pre-packaged snack foods. But there is one more feature – the chemical flavouring. It is this, along with the specific combination of fat, sugar, and salt that you crave, which makes the whole thing supremely palatable to you yet leaves you permanently unsatisfied and always able to eat more regardless of how full you feel.

Is it any wonder you, and so many others, are overweight?

I don’t know about you but this makes me feel angry.

Too Big is the New Small

But that’s not the end of the story.

Portion sizes of innocuous seeming pleasures get ever bigger and there is a hidden calorie load here that you may be unaware of.

Coffee Houses

For instance a Starbucks Mocha Cookie Frappuccino Blended Coffee Venti (24oz – a little over a pint) with semi-skimmed milk has almost 700 Calories in it. If you drink one of these a day, 5 days a week – which many people do, it will add 52lbs to your body weight in a year. That’s almost 4 stone. And you wonder where the weight came from! That’s a four stone penalty for the simple pleasure of an enjoyable treat that makes work tolerable.


Of course a trip to the cinema would not be the same without a snack of something or other would it?

But this is where cinemas make their money, so you have to walk the gauntlet of these tantalising offerings before you get to your seat. For instance, at my local Cineworld cinema, a large (8oz) salted popcorn is over 1200Calories, so a trip to the Cinema once a week plus a popcorn will add 18lbs to your weight in a year. Throw in a large 32oz Coke, and you are adding 24lbs to your body weight each year. Keep that up for just 4 years and you will find yourself 100lbs (7st) heavier. This is how the weight sneaks up on you and again you wonder why you’re fat.

This snack is part of the enjoyment of the Cinema experience for a lot of people and to watch a film at the cinema without the Nachos, or the popcorn, or the ice cream, or the soft drinks would be no fun at all – might as well just be boring and stay at home. Still, the boring people don’t find themselves wondering where that 100lbs came from.

The Fizzy Stuff

Soft drinks are another huge source of hidden calories if you drink them regularly.

10 teaspoons of sugar, or the equivalent in High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), are found in a standard can. HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar, and it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. Leptin is part of the body’s feedback mechanism that lets you know when you are full, so HFCS actually prevents you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and this in turn leads to over-consumption and increased Calorie intake.

If you buy bottles rather than cans then you are drinking 17 teaspoons of sugar in a 20oz bottle. Many soft drinks, particularly energy drinks, contain caffeine which is something else that people appear to get hooked on.

In the UK in 2002 the average soda consumption was around 2 litres per week per person. I don’t drink the stuff so someone must be having my 2 litres as well. US consumption was roughly double this.

So what’s the way out?

The way out is to slowly reduce your consumption of these products. Just going cold-turkey will leave you with strong cravings that you will probably give in to. So reduce consumption slowly and get into the habit of reading the labels that tell you what is in the product you are thinking of consuming. And beware the term natural. Manufacturers use this to trick you into thinking something is good when it isn’t. Natural caramel  is sugar reacted with sulphites and ammonia. Ammonia is what makes bleach work.

Think before you eat, that’s all you need to do. And if you are hungry, then have a banana or an apple, or a handful of grapes and check in ten minutes later. If you still want the snack then have it and enjoy it.


Weight Loss and The Trouble with Diets


I decided to have another go at video production and used a chapter out of my book How to Lose Weight Easily and Free Yourself from Diets Forever for inspiration. Above is the result of my efforts. I hope you enjoy it.


Does Breakfast Really Boost Metabolism and Help You To Lose Weight?

I’m a breakfast eater. I like breakfast. If I don’t have something to eat in the morning then I feel ill, so I have a tough time understanding people who skip breakfast. But skipping breakfast is an easy way to lose a few hundred calories from your daily intake if you are on a diet. However, the almost universal advice for dieters is that you need to eat breakfast because it boosts metabolism. It also prevents you from over-eating the rest of the day just to catch up on what you missed – as if your body is keeping some kind of a check list.

Until very recently no one has actually completed any research on eating breakfast and its benefits regarding weight loss. The results are surprising.

The first study looked at 33 slim participants. They were split into two groups that either ate a 700 calorie breakfast or nothing at all. The study ran for just six weeks so it’s difficult to draw any earth-shattering long-term conclusions from it, but the results were interesting nevertheless. At the end of the study resting metabolism was measured and there was no difference between the two groups, so eating or skipping breakfast appeared to have absolutely no impact on how well the body burns fat. There was no difference in lunchtime eating either, so skipping breakfast didn’t make anyone hungrier by lunchtime. The breakfast eaters also lost no more weight than the non-breakfast eaters. So from this study eating or not eating breakfast appears to have no impact on weight loss. It doesn’t make you fatter and it doesn’t make you slimmer.

Of course there are problems with this study when you look at the participants. They were all lean people, therefore, I can only assume that they had their eating under control and have no problem stopping eating when their body says enough or eating when their body says hungry now. People who have a weight problem generally have difficulty listening to what their body is suggesting regarding food consumption and they eat because they want to, not because they need fuel. It would be interesting to repeat this experiment with a group of overweight people because their psychology, in relation to food, is quite different from normal weight people.

However, there was another study. This one did work with overweight and obese people – 300 of them – so the study size was quite large and suggests that sensible conclusions can be drawn from the results.

These 300 people were split into three groups. One group was told to skip breakfast. One group was told to eat breakfast. The final group, the control group, was given the vague instruction to eat a healthy diet. Again there was no difference in the weight change among the three groups. This is looking bad for compulsory breakfast eating. Mind you, since there was no weight loss for the breakfast skippers it does suggest that if you are struggling to miss breakfast in order to help with weight loss then you are wasting your efforts and you might as well just enjoy your morning meal. Similarly if you are eating a breakfast that you don’t really want, in the hope that it is boosting your metabolism, then that also is a waste of time.

It seems, as far as breakfast and weight loss go, you can just do whatever you like best because it won’t make any difference.

There was, though, one really interesting finding that emerged from the smaller of the two studies. The breakfast eaters moved more and burned an extra 442 calories a day – which apparently is the same as an hour on the treadmill or the equivalent of a MacDonald’s Chicken McGrill and Garden Salad Shaker, whatever that is. Breakfast eaters just seemed to be more active throughout the day, and also maintained steadier blood sugar levels.

So maybe breakfast is good for you after all. This is what I love about science, it never really answers any questions. As soon as you look at a piece of research you just start thinking well what about this and what about this, and why if breakfast eaters are burning 440 calories more per day, why aren’t they losing weight at the rate of 2oz/day?

Still, it appears that there is now evidence that if you like breakfast, and you are attempting to lose weight, then eating it will not make any difference to your short term weight loss/gain. So go ahead and enjoy it.


Inspired by:


Is There Anything Left To Eat?

I was watching a programme on BBCtv last night. It was an Horizon programme presented by Michael Mosley. Last night he was exploring the health issues surround the meat we eat.

You have probably heard that red meat (beef, pork, lamb) is bad for you and that white meat (poultry) is good for you. Well Michael Mosley decided to find out if there was any truth to this. One of the things he did, apart from talking to a lot of scientists, was to roughly double his red meat intake to around 130gm (about 4oz) per day. Though I have to admit that some of the meals he was filmed eating looked more like 8oz burgers so I suspect the 4oz limit was not strictly adhered to.

There was a fair bit of sciency talk about why they think red meat might be bad. Some experts thought it was bad, some thought it was good, but what they were universally agreed on was that processed red meat is really bad for you and is highly implicated as a cause of colon/rectal cancer. Processed red meat is sausages, bacon, and ham. Which, unfortunately, are my three favourite red meats. So that was really bad news.

Just a few weeks ago I went up to Scotland with my daughter and her fiancé to stay with them for a holiday. We set off around five in the morning and the first stop was a motorway service station where we enjoyed a delicious bacon roll along, with a cup of coffee, outside in the fresh air at around 7 in the morning, watching the world go by. And although I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, that bit of the journey sticks in my mind as particularly pleasurable. The trouble with bacon is that it’s delicious. The trouble with ham is that it makes sandwich making truly easy.

Back in the normal everyday world, according to the statistician they brought in to make sense of the numbers, it seems that eating two rashers of bacon a day will knock two years off your life. But those numbers didn’t actually make sense to me because all the real scientists were saying that regular consumption of processed meat shortens your life by 20%. Now when I was at school 20% of 80 years (rough life expectancy) was a lot more than 2 years. It’s a lot closer to 15 years so I’m not quite sure what that means other than you die sooner than you would have if you eat bacon, sausages, and ham on a regular basis.

It seems that unprocessed red meat, and that seems to include mince, has no ill-effect if you eat less than 60gms (2oz) per day. 2oz doesn’t seem like very much to me, so maybe you could be a vegetarian for half the week and eat 4oz of meat on alternate days.  Or maybe eat poultry on your non-red meat days.

Anyway, after the end of the 30 day experiment of eating lots more meat than he normally does what happened to Michael Mosley’s health. I wasn’t taking notes so these figures are from memory. Well, his cholesterol had gone up by 0.2 which apparently is a lot. His weight went up around 8lbs, and he’s a slim guy. But the most worrying was that his blood pressure shot up from a wonderfully healthy 118 to over 140. I can’t remember the diastolic figures but there was a small but significant increase there too.

So what’s the message here?

Very occasional, if any, consumption of processed meats seems to be necessary for good health. Daily consumption of less than 2oz of red meat seems to be ok as long as you also consume a good variety of fresh vegetables as well. What surprised me most was the blood pressure and weight increase. It certainly seems as if cutting out on processed meats and reducing consumption of red meats not only improves your general health and well being, it also helps you lose weight and live longer.