If you don’t know Allen Carr, his book “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” is an international best seller and his method of stopping smoking is famous. He says it is also extremely successful. Not a smoker here, so I will have to believe him, I guess.
However, I recently read Allen Carr’s “Easyweigh to Lose Weight” and, in this article, you’ll find the main points I took from it.
17 Key Lessons
- No wild animal is overweight because they all listen to their instincts on when to stop eating. Humans should start listening to their instincts as well.
- Overeating is a consequence of incorrect eating. Will power is not enough to compensate for it.
- Culture has conditioned us to think of certain foods as savoury or not. Our perceptions about foods are not based on fact and logic but are rather influenced by commercials and upbringing.
- Diets make food appear more precious, that’s why diets aren’t a long-term solution.
- The ideal weight isn’t a number, it’s when you look at yourself in the mirror naked and love your shape, your health and your confidence.
- Cooking food also lessens its value. That doesn’t mean cooking is bad, it just means you need to also add raw foods whenever you can.
- Hunger is your friend, not your enemy. Hunger is a source of pleasure. Only eat when you’re hungry!
- Eating the right foods removes the compulsion to overeat.
- While the food that will satisfy you is the one that has the right nutrients, you are allowed to consume junk food – there are no restrictions, but you do need moderation (the author, however, considers junk food ALL processed food)
- The taste for certain foods can be acquired and can be un-acquired as well. Learn to enjoy healthy food!
- Eating high-water content foods restores the body’s natural balance.
- We are not designed to eat animals or animal products (*I need to add that there is no medical evidence for this presented in the book!), but you don’t have to become vegan – the allowed junk food rule includes animals and animal products.
- Some foods are easier to digest than others: fruit is ideal, but the meat will make you sleepy as its digestion is more difficult.
- Sugar is an addictive drug. The “high” you get after sugar is just you reaching your normal level of well-being. Consuming sugar gradually lowers this well-being level and you become fat, lethargic and depressed. It is easy to become free of it if you stop seeing processed sugar as a pleasure and stop seeing giving it up as a sacrifice. Like sugar, salt is addictive as well. Food is much more exciting when you can taste its real flavour!
- Rewire your brain to see fresh fruit and vegetables as your favourite foods in order to make them your preferred choices.
- Pay attention to the way you combine food groups for optimal digestion: do not mix proteins from Column A with starches in Column C in the same meal.
|COLUMN A – PROTEINS||COLUMN B – NEUTRAL||COLUMN C – STARCHES|
|Meat||Vegetables (except those in C)||Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes|
|Dairy||Fats and Oils||Bread and Crackers|
17. Take in all the information, get excited about a new perspective on the lifestyle you need and just start.
What triggered me was this list of excuses we give for snacking (which I do, a lot). I saw myself there and I recognise now that these are indeed just excuses:
- I enjoy eating
- I got a whiff of something that smells good
- the food was there so I ate it
- I was bored
- I was restless
- I needed comfort
- I needed a reward etc
All these things are just what your brain invents, but none of it means you have a real need to eat. The way to lose weight is to pay attention to need instead of want. Only eat what you need, based on the energy you’ve spent that day. That means your food intake should vary – it should not be the same when you have a slow office day compared to a day when you go out hiking etc.
As you see, Allen Carr’s diet book is not a diet book at all. It is a way to change your eating habits, a way to convince yourself you can lose weight and become healthy and happy with your shape.
My main issue with it
…Is that it says:
THE FOODS THAT ARE BEST FOR YOU TASTE AND SMELL GOOD. POISONS TASTE AND SMELL AWFUL.Allen Carr, “Lose Weight Now”
…which for me seems completely false. Processed food is actually designed to taste amazing. No one would buy it otherwise. However, the book says my thinking is part of the brainwashing, of the illusion – junk food doesn’t actually taste good.
What do you think?
He also uses the word “brainwashed” a lot. We have been brainwashed to think a lot of things… the ultimate solution is, however, a new brainwashing. Everything he says is just to start believing something else. Start believing junk food is tasteless. Start believing sweets are bad. Change what you believe to fit the mindset of a healthy person and you will become healthy. It sounds simplistic, but I feel he has a point. A lot of food-related problems are emotional and changing the language we use with ourselves might help.
However, in order to do that, you must get over some of his arguments and some of his faulty logic. If you manage that, his technique might actually work.
The main idea I loved about it
…is that it teaches:
EATING IS A PLEASURE, OVEREATING IS A PAINAllen Carr, “Lose Weight Now”
…which for me says you need to listen to your body and stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore.
It also makes A LOT of promises of feeling better – less bloated, more energetic, which I have to say – they do make me feel rather enthusiastic about the approach. I guess that is the point, but I am hopeful.
The easy way to lose weight actually seems easy when reading the book. However, keep in mind that there is no evidence presented in the book about how well this method works. There is no medical evidence around the beliefs Allen Carr proposes either. I am not a medical professional but, intuitively, I can say he makes a lot of sense with some things. Of course, there are a lot of others that seem really far-fetched to me. I would take the advice here with a grain of salt and continue reading on the subject, hopefully, some books that are a little better documented with medical studies.
✨✨✨The book is available on Goodreads here:✨✨✨