Not having your cake and eating it too

Not having your cake and eating it too

‘Pour some sugar on me, in the name of love,’
Def Leppard

Doughnuts… ice-cream… black forest gateaux… cookies… Belgian triple chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate…

If your mouth is watering just reading those words then you’ll have a thing for sugar. I mean who doesn’t, right?

But for some of us, sugar-lust can get out of control – and never more so when we’re feeling low.

Emotional eating is rarely triggered by having a great day. It’s triggered by feelings that bring us down. Like feeling judged, feeling sad, feeling lonely, feeling less than in balance…

Sometimes the strangest things can throw us – and before we know it we’re stood in the kitchen, fridge door open and scanning for the foods that satisfy our personal craving needs.

Of course, a Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) session will help you identify what happened in your past that created these associations. 

Reframing these associations in hypnosis can be incredibly powerful because the subconscious is then on board with what you want. It stops the ‘go on, eat the cake, cake makes you happy’ mantra because the whole of the mind – conscious and subconscious – understands that it was never really about the cake. 

The mind’s job is to move you away from pain towards pleasure. Once the mind understands that the craving is triggered by a memory, the need for the cake evaporates.

Let me give you an example. On my 18th birthday my mum took me to London. A big treat. We had lunch in a pizzeria in the Brompton Arcade and in the afternoon mum bought me a glass necklace in Harvey Nichols as my present. There, we went to the cafe for a drink. 

While I found us a table she bought us three slices of cake each, plus fizzy drinks. I remember remarking on the amount of cake she’d bought, but I also felt duty bound to eat it all with her. You never left anything on a plate in our house. My parent were World War II children, food had been rationed in the UK and going hungry was not unusual. Food was not to be ‘wasted’. Besides, leaving any would have made me ungrateful and I didn’t want to spoil the day.

Children look to their parents constantly for cues on how to behave. ‘Food as a reward’, ‘over-eating as a privilege’ are both powerful messages.

Did this one incident turn me into a cakeoholic? Not entirely, but it was key and it was reinforced with lots of ‘cake = rewards’ messaging over the years beforehand and so my ‘sugar = reward’ thinking was a sealed fate.

Now I understand that these scenes are really about love. The cake is merely the messenger. Connecting to the memory of love is just as powerful. And my subconscious understands that now too.

The need to binge can be complex, but it is invariably about recreating an emotion or sometimes pushing one away.

Understanding is power, but understanding in hypnosis is a phenomenal power because the whole mind is engaged in your desire to change.

I now hear myself say ‘No thank you, I don’t really like cake.’ Because really it’s just a mush of sugar and fat that makes me feel a bit giddy and then slightly sick.

If you want this kind of change for you, contact me for a free first consultation.

The fine art of balancing

The fine art of balancing

‘Thunder only happens when it’s raining’ 
– Fleetwood Mac, Dreams

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I was a young, ambitious junior reporter setting out on her first job.

Because I was an adventurous spirit (or knew no better, whichever way you choose to look at it and both were probably true) I left my sleepy Oxfordshire hometown for a job on a weekly newspaper in the Manchester hinterland.

I’d studied journalism in Sheffield so I thought I knew what a city was like. I didn’t realise they came in such different sizes.

The bright lights of Manchester were pretty dimmed in those days. And I was at least an hour away from any city centre life. I lived in a bedsit, on the edge of a place called Hyde (ironic when I think about it) where my view of the world was scrubby fields, at the edge of which stood the gleaming towers of a housing estate called Hattersley. It’s probably a much nicer place to live now but then, back in the 1980s, they had just demolished the former home of Hattersley’s most infamous residents, child killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

My first newspaper had three reporters, which is probably a luxury these days, but we didn’t have the internet from which you could scavenge for inspiration. You had to get out there and find your news, or at least phone people incessantly. Or take copy over the phone. I know, actually talk to people! It was a labour intensive job, clattering away on typewriters, and we worked some hours.

Occasionally I’d go out socially with one of the other reporters, for a few drinks after work, but I didn’t know anyone except the people I worked with. If I could divide up how I spent my time and what dominated my life, it looked a bit like this:


I liked my job and it was hugely varied. But my editor was very demanding, quite shouty and, well, let’s just say his people skills weren’t strong. Not surprisingly, the wheels started to fall off my wellbeing.

I didn’t earn very much so I cut back on buying food, so I could spend more on cigarettes. This somehow gave me a sense of control, but of course I had none anywhere else, so odd though this sounds, it did work for a little while. But shortly after the crying began. After various sobbing episodes I took myself off to see my GP who asked what my work life was like. The doctor signed me off for a fortnight with ‘nervous exhaustion’ and the retort ‘we don’t send children up chimneys any more’ which gives you an idea of the kind of hours I worked and how pathetic I must have looked. GPs are hardly slackers, after all.

In her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers gives the example of a whole life as looking like this:


Big difference, huh?

There is a very good reason for not putting all your eggs in one basket. If that basket starts to fray at the edges, so does a big part of our lives. We need balance. So whether you’re a workaholic or obsessed with being in a relationship or you’re obsessed with running, your happiness isn’t in a safe place. And who wants that?

For me the big flag that I’m out of balance is my eating goes haywire. I’ve had phases of bingeing in the past as well as withholding. Really until very recently I found it impossible to talk to friends about this and I felt very isolated.

If this feels familiar to you and you’d like to work on getting more balance, I may have a solution for you that’s also going to help you feel less isolated.

I’ve created a Facebook group for women like me, perhaps ‘us’, called the Me First Tribe. We share ways to get balance in a stressful world, where food takes on far more emotional headspace than we know it should.

If you’d like to join, there are just a few questions to answer, really about engaging and supporting your fellow group members.

Hope to see you in the group. xox


Which of the six are you?

Which of the six are you?

Has dieting become a way of life. After Christmas you diet. For the holiday, you diet. For that wedding, you diet…

You go round and round, trying on different food fads like they’re fashion accessories, without much thought to the lasting impact of the powders, pills and potions currently jostling for attention at our local high street chemists.

If you’re past getting excited about eating like celebrities and adopting short-term skirmish tactics to what has been a long-running battle, then read on… Your end game could be in sight.

Let’s not beat about the bush; in all probability, if you’re overweight then you have some overeating habits going on.

Mine stemmed from childhood. Those were ingrained habits. I didn’t even realise I ticked some of these boxes until I recognised the symptoms.

There are actually six different types of over eater. And only one of the six categories relates to people who stand a cat in hell’s chance of keeping weight off in the long term, using dieting alone.

Pretty long odds. All right, you might quite fancy one in six odds, but the vast majority of people sit in more than one of the over-eating types. And some of us sit in several categories. That stacks the odds much further against dieting as a strategy.

And this is why more than 90% of people who go on a diet fail to keep the weight off in the long term.

Now if you like dieting, walk on by. But if you’re sick to the back teeth with whirring round on the merry-go-round of fads and regimes, then read on.

You see, you can eat like Madonna or Beyonce until the cows come home, but if you’re using food for anything else other than food, you’re setting yourself up for long-term trouble.

In her book You Can Be Thin, internationally renown hypnotherapist, Marisa Peer, identifies the six types of over-eater.


Let’s see which of these categories resonate with you.

Emotional Eater

Do you eat when you’re sad? Do you eat when you’re bored or when you’re lonely or feeling stressed?
Do you stand in the supermarket aisle agonising over which biscuits to buy your colleagues/friends/family?
Do you believe certain comfort foods make you feel better?
Do you eat differently when you’re with other people than when you’re on your own?

Addictive Eater

Do you crave sugar and go on sweet-stuff binges? Like not so much one biscuit, but a packet?
Or are you a crispoholic who can cheerfully demolish a large bag of crisps.
Do you eat sensibly all day and then lose control in the evenings?
Do you eat foods like crisps or chocolate so fast you realise you’ve eaten far more than you meant to and you don’t even remember enjoying it?


Habitual Eater

Are you a member of the clean plate club – you just can’t leave food even if you’re full.
Do you find it hard to throw food away?
Have you lost touch with being able to recognise when you’re full and when you’re hungry?
Do you eat what’s in front of you whether or not you’re really hungry?

Misinformed Eater

Do you think a glass of orange juice, granola and milk is a healthy breakfast choice?
Do you count potatoes as one of your five-plus fruit and veg portions?
Do you think low-fat foods and diet drinks help you lose weight?
Would you class dairy, bread and cereals as good foods?

Destructive Eater

Do you get close to your ideal weight and then sabotage your best efforts?
Do you feel anxious and uncomfortable when you’re slimmer?
Do you feel uneasy when your body is on show and prefer to layer up?
Do you like bigger clothes and prefer winter clothes to summer?

Angry Eater

Do you prefer crunchy, chewy food – crisps and French bread, nachos and toffees?
Do you chew gum morning, noon and night?
Will you go eat after you’ve been arguing because it shifts your state of mind?
Do you get irritated when you have to wait for your food – for example, when you’re on an aeroplane?

Worked out which of the six apply to you?

Now if you hadn’t guessed, it’s the misinformed eaters who stand a good chance of getting long-term results with dieting alone, because they just need to change their food choices.

For those of us who understand it’s our emotions or habits, frequently stemming from our childhood, ways of eating that can have been ingrained over decades, then we have a different job on our hands.


You see, your mind’s job is to move you away from pain and so it will do whatever it takes to keep those feel-good chemicals whirring about in your brain. If it thinks cakes make your happy, when you’ve had a bad day, you’ll find yourself thinking about cakes – because your mind wants you to cheer up. Maybe you think about a particular cake that you associate with good friends or fond memories… sound familiar?

Once you know what’s pushing your buttons then the task is to rewrite your habits. Hypnosis helps you work with your subconscious, where all these past behaviours originate.

Through hypnosis you can get the whole of the mind on board with what you want, so you’re not relying on willpower alone. You rewrite your habits and repeat your new thoughts until they because second nature habits.

It is possible to see food as just food. It really is. And I have to say, knowing that and feeling that tastes pretty good.