Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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Carlisle woman hypnotised into thinking she’d had gastric band fitted

Friends and family can see a big change in Pauline Clyburn, but she can feel the difference.

Pauline Clyburn photo
Pauline Clyburn

She has lost two stone in weight in less than a year and has transformed her wardrobe.

Better than that, her weight loss has led to a major improvement in her health.

Pauline was diagnosed as diabetic a decade ago and has been taking medication for most of that time to control her blood sugar levels, including injections for the last 18 months.

But losing weight has led to her being able to stop her diabetic injections.

She is also hoping she will be able to cut down on her other medication.

Some people decide that they’re too old to bother with a diet. That there’s no point trying to change their ways so late in life and that they like cake and pie and what harm can it do.

But Pauline, 61, of Pennine Way, Harraby, Carlisle, says age should be no barrier to eating and feeling healthier.

Pauline was sparked into action after watching a TV documentary.

“It was about the fat that is stored around internal organs and the chap they were using as a guinea pig was just a normal chap, average, not overly overweight,” she explains.

“It was unbelievable and the programme-maker said it could lead to diabetes.

“I already had diabetes and it got me wondering how much I had got stored.

“I have struggled with my weight all my life. I have always been chunky and I have been a lot chunkier lately.

“I have been diabetic 10 years, it just kicked in. The doctor would tell me to lose weight but it is easier said than done.”

Pauline was considering undergoing drastic gastric bypass surgery – used by celebrities including Fern Britton and Sharon Osbourne – when her daughter suggested an alternative method of weight-loss.

Last spring they started the Mindfully Slim programme together. Developed by Maureen Colohan, of Denton Holme, Carlisle, she describes the system as a ‘virtual gastric band’ which trains your mind to stop you overeating or relying on food and drink as a comfort mechanism.

Maureen says her system is based on changing the way we think about food and weight loss.

“Food is not your enemy, but hunger is,” she explains.

“Historically, man had to forage for food and programmed to stuff himself full because he didn’t know where the next meal was coming from.

“But it isn’t like that now, we no longer have to forage, so you have to re-programme yourself.”

A step-by-step programme of audio recordings and information sheets aims to use the power of the mind to change how much participants eat, what they eat and how much exercise they take, and create the virtual gastric band which means they continue to eat less.

The programme involves a series of CDs that make those taking part feel as though their stomach is shrinking, and ends with a gastric band being fitted to them psychologically.

“They make you aware of how your stomach feels and when it is full,” says Maureen.

“That instead of being the size of a melon, it is the size of an apple. Your stomach is shrinking al the time and at the end of the course, a CD takes you through the procedure of having a gastric band fitted and feel as though you’ve had the operation in your mind.”

Pauline weighed 13st 2lbs when she started the course. Now she is a healthy 10st 10lbs and has to shed just another 2lbs to reach her target weight.

Her daughter Sharon has also shed her target weight of a stone.

“It’s so easy, it’s not a faddy diet, and it’s idiot-proof. You just eat what you normally eat, you simply eat less,” she says.

“Maureen gives you the tools to do it – all you have to do is use them and we didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

“I suppose it is like hypnosis, but you don’t realise it.

“You listen to the CDs and you are aware of what she is saying, but it goes into the subconscious.

“It is just breaking the habit. A lot of eating is habit – you sit down with a cup of coffee and have to have something to eat with it.

“We had to keep an honest journal of what we had to eat every day and would have group meetings.

“The weight just started to come off and because it was moving and because I was diabetic, I wanted to switch to a low GI diet and start eating healthier food. I’ve really cut down on bread and potatoes. I can’t have sweets or biscuits anyway – though I used to.

“If I have bread one day, I tend not to have it the next. I have potatoes maybe a couple of times a week. I eat a lot of quinoa and lentils but I tend to eat a lot of vegetables anyway.”

Pauline may be modest about her efforts, but she proudly boasts about the benefits.

“I always said I was happy in my own skin but as you get older, especially with diabetes, you want to be as fit as you can.

“I sleep better, my skin is a lot better and my overall health is a lot better.

“My knees were creaking a bit but I don’t have the joint pains I used to have.

“I don’t go to the gym or anything, I just walk the dogs – only I walk them a lot further now. I would say to others just give it a go, you have nothing to lose and you will feel healthier and fitter.”

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