In 2005, Paul McKenna released the bestselling British weight-loss book ever, I Can Make You Thin. The publication helped millions of people lose weight without food restrictions, counting calories, or fighting cravings, with seven out of 10 readers achieving success.
Not quite sufficed with the impressive statistic, Paul, a leading hypnotist credited with curing handfuls of celebrities of various phoebias, has gone one step further, creating a weight loss system entitled Hypnotic Gastric Band that aims to convince the unconscious mind that a gastric band has actually been fitted.
At £12.99, it is several thousand pounds cheaper than its surgical alternative, which Paul claims often fails due to the fact that the "emotional feelings involved with overeating that are not addressed", and comes with far fewer risks. But does it really work? HELLO! Online's health & beauty writer spoke to the man himself to find out.
Referring to a trial that tested the hypnotic gastric band – carried out with the help of Dr Mark Cohen, an endocrinologist specialising in treating obesity – he says: "In our small group of 20 people, 18 of them have lost weight and kept it off."
And it appears the hypnotic effect was not lost on the team that worked on the trial, either: "The producers were losing weight," he says. "I even found it happened to me! When I'm recording these things I have to do them over and over again. And three or four days after I recorded, I noticed I wasn't eating very much. A trip to the doctors confirmed that I'd hypnotized myself!"
So how does it work, exactly? First, the reader is to read the book from cover to cover, and is even encouraged to take up the pre-surgery activities advised for gastric band patients – walking at least 20 minutes a day and eating less fat. Once the book has been read, there is a CD provided that will 'install' the gastric band using a process that "talks to your left brain and your right brain so you have a double induction".
You stomach will then "shrink from the size of a melon to the size of a tennis ball and your unconscious mind does the rest", with Paul insisting that you will be "full after three mouthfuls".
Sceptical? Paul is aware that his unconventional approach to weight loss will be met with some doubt. "You can come to it as sceptical as you want," he says. "Unlike a diet, there's no willpower involved. You don't have to tough it out every time you want a piece of bread. With my approach, I say you can eat what you want – as long as you eat it consciously."
He claims that it is a far healthier and safer system than the diet industry: "Two thirds of people who diet end up larger when they come off the diet," he says. "Less than 10% of diets work."
And he insists that the metabolism can actually be slowed down by starving, saying: "Eating next to nothing may give you a positive experience in the first few weeks, but it's the wrong kind of weight that you're losing – it's muscle as much as fat and once your body is in survival mode it becomes very good at hording food and storing fat."
Instead, he champions the notion that weight loss should be a slow process. "My system is slow and gradual, but when you lose the weight, you own it because your metabolism is adjusting at the same time," he says. "Doctors say two pounds a week on average is the best way to lose weight."
What's more, Paul believes the hypnotic gastric band attempts to attack the triggers that cause overeating and the emotional feelings involved. "It's better to adjust all of your behaviours and thoughts about food at the same time," he says.
"Because all of the decisions about what you eat, when you eat – they all take place in your mind, and I help people to change their minds and the way they feel about food. I'm helping people reprogramme themselves, essentially."
Sounds promising. After all, as Paul puts it, "when you feel good, you exude a better energy and you have more confidence. In short, the world's a better place."
Paul Mckenna, Hypnotic Gastric Band, Bantam Press, £12.99.
Paul McKenna's next live event is called Get Thin With Paul McKenna on 23 Feb at the Ibis Hotel Earl's Court. For tickets and more information visit: nlplifetraining.com/mckenna-thin