Weight loss guru, on how losing weight is all in your head

‘Nobody’s forcing food in your mouth’: Psychotherapist who lost 5st urges fat people to stop being ‘victims’ in his VERY tough love slimming guide – and insists some people WANT to stay big

  • Philippe Tahon lost 5 stone after realising the key to weight loss was in his head
  • As a therapist he has helped hundreds of people address their issues with food
  • In his new book, he reveals how self-sabotage will affect your weight loss journey
  • Says it takes just as much willpower to stay fat as it does to diet  

A weight loss guru and therapist, who himself lost 5 stone, has revealed that the true secret to losing weight is understanding how we think about ourselves and food. 

London-based Philippe Tahon, went through a 15-year-period of yo-yo weight loss and regain. After years of frustration and guilt, Philippe retrained as a psychotherapist and lost 5 stone in a year.

He also came up with his own unique weight loss programme – which focused on changing how we view weight loss and ourselves. And he’s gone on to help hundreds of people face up to eating disorders and issues surrounding food addiction and self-image.    

In his new book Shrink: The Diet for the Mind, Philippe outlines his tough love method for developing self-awareness about his eating habits. 

He insists that many people who are overweight view themselves as ‘victims’ rather than taking control, and claims that it takes just as much willpower to stay fat as it does to diet. 

Here in an extract from his new book, he talks about taking responsibility, self-sabotage and how your attitude to life will all affect your weight loss journey. 

London-based Philippe Tahon(before) went through a 15-year-period of yo-yo weight loss and regain. After years of frustration and guilt, Philippe retrained as a psychotherapist and lost 5 stone in a year

Take responsibility  

Instead of feeling guilty each time we eat, the weight loss guru believes we have to learn to take ‘some responsibility for our own actions’. 

‘For many of us our way of life is hectic and we eat on the run, not being mindful enough about how hungry we really are and what we really feel like eating. ‘

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‘The usual pattern that follows is to chastise ourselves for consuming more than we really needed, and immediately start complaining that we feel horribly bloated or fat. 

Philippe Tahon’s new book Shrink: The Diet for the Mind discusses how losing weight is all in the mind

‘The trick is to understand that you need to stop feeling guilty and start taking responsibility. There are reasons for what you do. No one is forcing food into your mouth.’

Stop saying you don’t have any  willpower 

Most of us think that we lack willpower by not sticking to a diet, but Philippe says we have to get to the root of the problem. 

‘Most of us believe that we overeat because we don’t have any self-discipline, or because we like food too much. ‘I’m so greedy that I disgust myself’ is a common refrain, as is, ‘I have zero willpower.’ This is almost never the case. 

‘It often takes just as much willpower and energy to keep the weight on as it does to take it off. 

‘In finding out what’s at the heart of the issue, we can experience something of a revelation once we truly get to know ourselves.’

Philippe Tahon, five stone heavier, and when had an unhealthy relationship with how he viewed himself and food

Ditch the ‘victim complex’ 

The therapist also believes that many rely on a ‘poor me’ attitude to life, seeing themselves as the victims of everybody else’s actions.

‘Feeling that we never have enough time gives us the perfect excuse to avoid making changes in our lives. It is also a way of perpetuating the myth that life always has to be a struggle – a daily fight – when this isn’t true at all.

‘So often I hear clients tell me, ‘Oh, it was so cold and wet that evening that I drank a couple of Irish coffees to warm me up.’ I nod and smile and say, ‘Wouldn’t a cup of tea or coffee have worked just as well?’ 

‘Then when the sun comes out, they say, ‘It was so hot and sunny, it was perfect weather to drink a bottle of rosé.’ I smile and quietly tell them, ‘Let’s hope it rains tomorrow then.’ 

‘When I gently tease them like this, they’re often shocked to realise how nonsensical their justification sounds. We can all make up wild excuses for our lapses over food and drink, and sometimes it’s only when we express them in writing or speech that we realize how shallow they are.’

Philippe Tahon’s new book Shrink: The Diet for the Mind discusses how losing weight is all in the mind

Stop self-sabotaging 

Philippe believes that we need to stop worrying about what others think of us – especially when it comes to weight loss.

‘Think for a moment how much time you waste worrying about what other people think of you – at work with your colleagues and clients, and at home or in social situations with your extended family and friends. 

‘How many hours a day do you lose on social media? Family networks can be the hardest to deal with when it comes to losing weight, especially within certain cultural groups.   

‘What often happens in these situations within our networks is that we sabotage ourselves in some way by having preconceptions about how others will react to the new version of ourselves.’ 

Don’t be scared to change 

From experience the author has also seen that people allow their weight to define them – then they create a persona to match their appearance. 

‘An opera singer who became a client was afraid that if she lost the 25 kilos (4 stone) she wanted, she’d lose the power and strength of her voice. 

‘A comedian who came to see me believed people wouldn’t think he was as funny anymore if he was slender. An actress felt much the same, worried that she wouldn’t get the same kind of ‘jolly’ roles. 

‘They were all proven wrong in the end and acknowledged that they had partly used their persona as an excuse.’

Before the weight loss: Philippe lost 5 stone in a year when he came to terms with his demons around food

Recognise your anger 

Holding on to anger can be a big factor into weight gain, and Philippe believes once we recognise what it is we’re angry about we can move on.

‘We can turn our anger back, positively and non-aggressively, on the people who made us feel that way. Our fear is an important part of our psyche and one that helps us survive, but it can easily take over. 

‘By removing ourselves from that which makes us fearful, either by turning off bad news or allowing ourselves the space to relax, dream and breathe, we can switch off from the fear and regain our inner balance.’

‘Once we’ve understood that there may be subconscious reasons for remaining overweight, then we can start to work on cancelling out the many ways in which we repeatedly sabotage our attempts to change the way we look. 

‘This is something we do because we’re afraid that losing weight will expose us in some way – physically or emotionally – and take us to a new and scary place where we may not feel so invisible.’   

Shrink: The Diet for the Mind by Philippe Tahon is published by Aster £9.99 www.octopusbooks.co.uk 


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