How do I get psychotherapy or counselling in Enfield without going on a waiting list?
Enfield Therapy offers private one to one therapy. Sessions are fifty minutes and cost £80-£100, depending on circumstances. For more information call Enfield Therapy on 07946 579645 or go to the specialist partner in London, www.londompsychotherapy.co.uk
Where can I get psychotherapy and help in Enfield and Southgate?
0207 467 8564
Psychotherapy covered by BUPA
If you are covered by BUPA, you can receive psychotherapy here. For an appointment, please call LONDON PSYCHOTHERAPY on 0207 467 8564.
Gestalt Questioning: London Psychotherapy Information
As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as ‘Gestalt questioning’ per se. What I mean by this is that the expression, as far as I know from the literature, has not been used regularly in this form. Only Sapp (2010) and Hall (1977) use the expression in this form. However, questioning in Gestalt therapy is an extremely important tool/technique in Gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy focusses on the here and the now. Questioning using the words what and how can be used to help clients’ awareness of the moment. It helps client to ask themselves how they are feeling and to enjoy or discover information about the present, whereas why question illicit inwardness and rationalizations. Here is an example of this. If the therapist asks the question, ‘What is happening now?’, the client will think about the experience at that moment. Other questions such as, ‘What are you feeling at this time?, and ‘What does that hand position you are doing mean to you?’ can also help in this process. The Gestalt therapist encourages his client to experience the moment and to live his feelings rather than to talk about them. It is perhaps the questions that help clients to be able to re-enact the past in the present. Nevis (1987) talks about guided questioning. He points out that by using questions, the therapist can help the client to re-discover the present and feelings of the moment in a form which he describes as ‘open, undirected awareness’.
Nanci Bell (1991) uses her questioning skills in her work which focuses on Gestalt imagery. She feels that it is important in therapy for her clients to be able to visualize a whole image. She points out that some individuals are unable to visualize a complete image during language communication and that, despite having good communication skills, they are sometimes unable to embrace the meaning of some verbal interactions such as understanding directions, a joke or group conversations. She describes this as being one of the main causes of dyslexia. She uses her questioning skills to help her dyslexic clients to illicit more specific information. Nanci showed her clients pictures and ask her clients to describe in detail what was happening. The questions she asked included ‘What does it look like?, ‘What shape is it?, ‘What colour is it?, ‘Where did it happen?’. What mood is being evoked?, and so forth. This form of questioning helps her clients to understand the elements of the image. Questioning using choice and contrast provides the client with more control of the images presented to him. Later, Nanci uses her questioning to ask the client what words can be used to describe an object or a person; finally, she asks the clients how to describe stimuli using sentences.
But I feel that in the consulting room, if one uses what and how questions, one challenges the client to think about how he or she behaves, feels and thinks in the moment. Perls (1967) spoke of the ‘safe emergency’ of the situation. During the interaction with Gloria, it seemed as if he believed that the confrontation was safe and that by accepting our actions we can move on to understanding our reality. He constantly challenged Gloria by asking how and what questions in order or her to act authentically in the here and now. And, during this ‘playful’ exchange, he was encouraging her to be able to interact successfully with him so that she could then do it with other people.
When Gloria says that Perls was not sharing her pain and anger, and that he was detached, Perls asked the question, ‘How should I be?’, and ‘Tell me you fantasy; How should I behave?’ With these questions, Perls is encouraging Gloria to accept her ‘authentic’ feelings.
These questions are very helpful in Gestalt therapy, and I would be happy to use these sorts of questioning in psychotherapy where appropriate.
Fertility and Hypnosis by David Kraft
‘The longer a couple have been trying to conceive, the less likely they are to conceive’
Dr Françoise Shenfield
From a viewpoint as a hypno-psychotherapist, list and explain the reasons why this might be the case. Devise an action plan for assisting your client.
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
Certified Hypnotic Fertility Practitioner Qualification (CHFP)
NCHP Hypnosis for Fertility Practitioners’ Course Assessment Paper
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Approximately 3.5 million couples in the UK experience problems with infertility and, although some women go on to becoming pregnant, others do not. For many men and women, the process of ‘becoming pregnant’ can be an extremely stressful and time-consuming experience (Brand, Roos and Van der Merwe, 1982). Many couples tell their friends that they have decided to ‘try for a baby’ and this immediately adds additional pressure on both individuals. After a period of time, often the couple begin to fear that they will never have a baby, and this can lead to feelings of guilt. For example, men fear that they are inadequate because they might not be producing adequate semen—adequate enough, certainly, to maintain and transport the sperm. This may also cause the man to stop or reduce sexual contact with his partner. If oligospermia is diagnosed, then males often feel that there is no hope for them whatsoever. However, it is important to note, that some men who have a low sperm count are still able to produce an adequate sperm specimen in controlled conditions during ICI or after washing has taken place. Women also feel guilty that they have let themselves down, as well as their partner. As they continue to ‘try to get pregnant’, often they develop obsessions about having sexual intercourse at certain times of their cycle—often between day 10 and 14. Some women buy ‘herbal remedies to increase libido or to assist fertilization and spend all day worrying about having a baby. Others, insist that their partners have sex with them regularly, or as soon as the man gets home from work, and, as a result, some men feel that
they are reproducing machines rather than boyfriends. Furthermore, it is important to be relaxed during intercourse in order to have an orgasm as this can help fertility—particularly because, during orgasm, the contraction causes the cervix to dip down towards the vagina. As time passes, these obsessional behaviours develop still further, and a woman’s life becomes preoccupied with having a baby. This is often accompanied by a great deal of sadness and isolation.
In fact, the emotional impact of this can be severe. Some women develop gastrointestinal problems or depression; others blame their partners and try to find someone else. Further, as stress levels continue to grow and develop it makes it more unlikely for them to conceive (Domar, 2009). On top of this, women in their thirties feel that their ‘clock is ticking’ and this can add further pressure to the process; this is worse for women who are aged 35 to 40. Although some women go at lengths to solve this problem, in the first instance, the general practitioner is probably the first point of call. When visiting one’s GP, it is important to consider the following components which may affect one’s ability to become pregnant. The following list has been adapted from Mustard’s (2012) work on fertility:
1 Alcohol consumption—although this does not affect sperm count, it can affect female’s ability to get pregnant; it can also can lead to miscarriage
2 Smoking—this can reduce oestrogen and progesterone levels
3 Caffeine—large amounts of caffeine (over four cups a day) can delay the time it takes to conceive
4 Body weight—obesity can affect libido and reduce optimum hormonal functioning
5 Stress—when stress occurs within the autonomic nervous system, the reproductive hormone prolactin is over produced if one is stressed, and this can affect ovulation
6 Tight underwear (males)—men are advised to wear loose underwear so that the scrotum remains at a constant temperature; constraint can also reduce sperm count to some extent
7 Prescribed drug use and recreational drug use—prescribed drug use needs to be monitored because some drugs have side effects; recreational drug use is not advised
8 Nutrition—it is important to maintain a normal diet and to take in vitamins—particularly vitamin A and B6; one should also make sure that one does not have a calcium or zinc deficiency
9 Exercise—a healthy body will help the reproductive system to work efficiently—this is important for both men and women
Your GP might take a series of blood tests in order to assess thyroid function and prolactin levels. However, many women find that they undertake various tests at the hospital or with their GP—for example laparoscopy, hysterosalpingography or hysteroscopy—before their partner has been tested and that they spent a significant amount of time asking their partner to get a semen test. In fact, this can be done easily at home: there are many home testing kits which assess sperm count and the motility of the sperm. And, also at home, there are ovulation predictor kits that can be used. However, the more women have these tests, the more they fear that they have a biological problem—for instance, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, a hormone imbalance, an abnormality of the uterus, polycystic ovarian syndrome, an ovulation disorder or hydrosalpinx—and that they will never be able to get pregnant: indeed, this unconscious block has negative effects on the body right down to the cellular level.
There are a number of fertility drugs on the market, and women tend, after a period of time, to investigate these before enrolling on an IVF programme. In a natural cycle, the follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone help to make the eggs in the ovaries mature (Mustard, 2012). If a couple decides to go the IVF route there is a waiting list, and most of the tests above need to be undertaken before IVF is considered as an option. However, the waiting and the IVF cycle itself can be exhausting and frustrating and often this can lead to mood swings, hot flushes and painful ovaries; in addition, this can affect quality of life in general.
For many couples, being unable to ‘get pregnant’ can have a huge impact on the relationship, and often it is the woman that seeks help from a psychotherapist, although this is still unfortunately rare. Indeed, most women go to their GP and then to a specialist, and yet there are some that realize that the problem could be related to their overall psychological well-being. It is important that we, as hypno-psychotherapists, or psychotherapists that use hypnosis as an adjunct to treatment, help clients to feel at ease as soon as they begin therapy and to challenge many of their negative ruminations at the start of therapy. Many women have already read articles on the internet and have done a fair amount of research: as a result, they begin to worry and, as these worries grow stronger, they convince themselves that there is something very wrong and fear that they will never be able to conceive.
A useful approach to use is a technique that can be called the ‘hall of learning’. This technique can be divided into three parts: (1): induction using 10-1 deepener, brief progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) (Wolpe, 1958), and a visualization of the colours of the rainbow; (2) visualization and experiential exploration of the hall of learning; and (3) preparation of successful conception of a baby. The following is an example of how this technique may be used (after the induction), and is an adaptation of the technique described by Sharon Mustard (2012).
And as you enter your hall of learning…I wonder how soon it will be before you notice all your limiting and negative thoughts disappearing… as you learn new theories and philosophies your expectations grow stronger and stronger..and with each step you take you learn more and more what you need to do to effect change for you and your body…As you enter the healing room, with each step you take, you move closer to the control centre of your unconscious…and you notice all the colours around the room..what colours might they be?…Can you remember a time in which you saw some wonderfully relaxing colours that made you feel comforted and in the perfect position to learn and re-learn to be relaxed…and when you are ready, just allow yourself to sit on a comfy chair and move the knobs and gauges on your console in your control room…feeling yourself become more and more calm,, setting your breathing to the right level and your heart beat to 60…Just feel all the muscles around your uterus easing into a deep relaxation, releasing any unnecessary nervous tension…And as you continue to relax…I would like to thank your unconscious mind for its full and undivided attention and for its ability always and already to conceive, and for the wonderful job it has done and will do in supporting the growth and development of your reproductive system…and the time is right for you to enter a new phase of its life…to become a parent…to direct your muscles into areas of the body…to release and relax..making everything the right climate so that an egg can fertilize…
For men, the therapist can use imagery to help him to feel pleasant and soothing sensations towards to testes, seeing a consistent and 24 hour process of sperm production being ‘manufactured efficiently’. The man can then experience the sperm developing safely in the testes and that, when they are ready, the sperm can travel down the sperm ducts into a nurturing liquid which keeps them safe ready for travel. For the woman, after this process (described above), it is quite helpful to visualize having a baby using age progression, and this should be done before disengagement. Post hypnotic suggestions can also be used to suggest support and growth and creating a natural environment for conception.
In fact, the process of progressive muscle relaxation (Wolpe, 1958) in itself can be very helpful for women: some individuals can be extremely tense when they first come for treatment, and this technique, although time consuming, can be highly effective in reducing stress levels, and helping the uterus and pelvic floor to be relaxed. One can also focus on the body—uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix—to enhance the efficacy of this work. This can be set up as follows—again, this is derived from Mustard’s (2012) approach to fertility:
As this wonderful warm wave of relaxation continue to grow and develop all the way down your body…I wonder if you can imagine it developing and spreading all the way down to your uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix…bathing you in a golden light…allowing a natural process of development and healing to continue…whatever needs to be repaired will be repaired… and whatever will flourish will flourish..ready for this special journey ahead…
In some cases, however, it is important to investigate any secondary gains individuals might have in not getting pregnant—for example, many women fear childbirth and/or pregnancy, losing one’s free time or becoming fat. In some more complicated instances, a female might resist sexual intercourse or block having an orgasm because of an unconscious desire to punish the partner or men in general, and this is often to do with past trauma—for example, an abortion or rape. Bereavement may also play a significant role in reducing chances of having a baby, and these will all need to be addressed in the psychotherapy. In all cases, it is important to use hypnosis to enhance the support given in the psychotherapy, and not to use it inappropriately. For example, it is important to do a great deal of listening in the first few sessions, while devising an appropriate therapeutic programme; this should be combined with support and an unconditional positive regard.
Indeed, resistance can take on many forms and have a huge effect on the body. Ibbotson (2012) uses a technique which is particularly helpful for PTSD and this can utilized here to help individuals who resist treatment for infertility. The main premise of this approach is that there are some mechanisms which are resistant to change, and yet they are stopping the person from getting pregnant or leading a normal life. However, by letting go of these obstacles (Mustard, 2012), mechanisms which served their purpose at one time, but are no longer useful, one can move on in life and reduce negative thinking and behaviours. An example of this is as follows:
And as you enter a wood…just take three deep breaths…and each time you breathe out, you notice how relaxed you are becoming more and more…just let go…and this wood can be a wood you know or an imaginary wood…or a mixture of both…and I wonder what you can see in this wood…notice what sounds there are around you…or smells…and as you continue to walk, you decide that there is something you need to get rid of…perhaps a feeling or a memory…or a behaviour…and you notice some dead leaves by a tree…and, although they served a purpose in the past…they do not serve a purpose now…and, when you are ready…you can allow yourself to just discard those leaves…and you know which ones they are…just take your time to discard those unnecessary leaves…as many leaves as you want…and watch the leaves fall on the ground…and land wherever they land…and you feel good and pleased to be rid of this thing or things…and, when you are ready to move on, then continue on your walk…
Another useful technique, also described by Mustard (2012), is one which is often used in the treatment of panic disorder and phobic anxiety, and this where the client meets the older, wiser self (Milne, 1988; Degun-Mather, 2001; Brann, 2012). In the hypnosis, the older, wiser self comforts and advises the younger self in what to do, and this can be combined with a matching metaphor(Lankton and Lankton, 1983) in which the protagonist reaches his or her goal. Indeed, during the hypnosis, the therapist would be advised to reduce negative self talk—for instance ‘catastrophisation’, magnification of details, personalization, fallacy of fairness or over-generalizing (Mustard, 2012)—and to utilize the matching metaphor to effect a change for the patient’s desired future (DeShazer, 1988; Iverson, Gergen and Fairbanks, 2005).
Solution-focussed therapists (DeShazer, 1988; Lankton, 2004) often use a goal-directed approach, and perhaps this is one of the essential components to Mustard’s (2012) programme for fertility. She points out that is helpful for patients to believe that they are going to get pregnant rather than consistently using the term ‘try’, and she emphasizes that feeling infertile can lead to a sense that one has lost control. She reiterates this point in her goals for treatment: this form of therapy should help both women and men to re-establish control of their lives and to enjoy both sensual and sexual intimacy in the bedroom. Of course, all individuals will have their own goals for therapy (the central one being that they want to become pregnant or fertilize their partner); however, Mustard (2012) makes the following suggestions as guidelines:
1To pursue fertility treatment (naturally or with IVF) without feeling that your life has been taken over
2 To be able to talk to your partner to address his or her needs as well as your own
3 To reduce stress and maximize your ability naturally to conceive
4 To have a life outside any problems with regard to infertility
5 To gain control of your life in general
We cannot guarantee that our clients will become pregnant, but the work that we do, if we follow these guidelines, can help increase the success rate. In addition, by working on reducing stress and by reducing cortisol levels in the body, therapists can work in conjunction with specialists in the field to increase the chances of conceiving naturally. The use of hypnosis in treatment is cost effective and, unlike IVF and fertility drugs (for example CLOMID), has no side effects. It is recommended that general practitioners should consider hypnosis as an adjunct to the treatment of infertility in both men and women.
Word Count: 2, 642
Brand, HJ, Roos, SS. and Van der Merwe, AB (1982), Psychological stress and infertility. Part 1: Psychophysiological reaction patterns. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 55: 379–384.
Brann L (2012). Phobias. In Les Brann, Jacky Owens and Ann Williamson (Eds) The Handbook of Contemporary Clinical Hypnosis: Theory and Practice (pp211-227). Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester.
Degun-Mather M (2001). The value of hypnosis in the treatment of chronic PTSD with dissociative fugues in a war veteran. Contemporary Hypnosis, 18 (1): 4-13.
De Shazer S (1988). Investigating solutions in brief therapy. New York: Norton & Co.
Domar, A (2009). Conquering Fertility. London: Penguin Books.
Ibbotson G (2012, March 10). ‘Treating PTSD using imagery’. Psychotherapy Advanced module at the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, London.
Iverson RR, Gergen KJ & Fairbanks II RP (2005). Assessment and social construction: conflict or co-creation? British Journal of Social Work, 35: 1-20.
Lankton, SR & Lankton, CH (1983). The Answer Within: a Clinical Framework of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. New York: Bruner/Mazel.
Lankton SR (2004). Assembling Ericksonian Therapy: the Collected Papers of Stephen Lankton, Vol 1: 1985-2002. Phoenix, Arizona: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen.
Milne G (1988). Hypnosis in the treatment of single phobia and complex agoraphobia: a series of case studies. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 16 (1): 53-65.
Mustard, S (2012, September 29-30). Conference at the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy. ‘Hypnosis for Fertility’, London.
Wolpe, J (1958). Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition. Stanford: StanfordUniversity Press.
A Critique of Tracy Anderson’s Diet: Weight Loss Diets and Hypnotherapy
A Critique of Tracy Anderson’s Diet
The following report looks at a diet which has become popular with some celebrities recently—it is similar to the ‘Baby Food Diet’ (Anderson, 2009; Aniston, 2010; Cole, 2010) but, as we shall see later, although it claims to be a new, special diet which ‘kickstarts’ the body in a form of ‘self-renewal’, it is essentially another version of the baby food versions. This method is the Tracy Anderson Diet. Tracy Anderson was originally a dancer who struggled with her weight. Now, Tracy is highly successful entrepreneur who practises what she preaches: she has also been very popular as a personal trainer and ‘nutritionist’ to some top stars in the acting and singing profession, including Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Ritchie, Shakira, Madonna, Courtney Cox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakira and Cheryl Cole. In fact, Tracy helped Cheryl lose weight before she was employed as a host on the X-factor.
Tracy begins most of her introductions to her diets by pointing out that diets have negative connotations. She quite rightly says that many of us eat on the go and ingest the wrong types of foods—for example, salts, fats, sugars and complex carbohydrates—because we are so busy. She also points out that many of us need to re-learn how to enjoy eating food and to build a positive relationship with food in general. However, after this very positive introduction, she goes onto say that, for the first 90 days, one needs to go on a strict eating and exercise regime before one can hope to enjoy eating meals ‘normally’ again. She also points out that it will be unlikely that anyone will be able to go out for a party during both phases of the diet, and that, apart from the occasional glass of wine, alcohol is not allowed, and any substitutions from her strict menu is strictly prohibited.
The 90 day diet (Anderson, 2012) is divided into twelve weeks, and individuals are expected to alternate between ‘nutrient boost weeks’ and ‘body reset weeks’. During a nutrient boost week, the meals are very small indeed, and many of the meals are purified. Tracy says that it is not a cleansing week, and yet she does suggest that this regime will help to detoxify the system. Throughout the body reset week, dieters will return to three meals a day. You can drink as much tea as you like, and should drink a lot of water; you may also drink one glass of red wine or white wine a day. She points out that it is important not to add any oils, sugars or herbs to the diet and the regime should be kept strictly with no substitutions. The nutrient boost weeks have the same format for each day, as follows:
Green Juice (which consists of kale, and an apple)
Each Day (in any order)
Chicken or Tofu Protein Soup
Blueberry Apple Sauce
Sweet Potato Corn
Choco Chestnut Pudding
The food for the body reset week is a bit more interesting and less time consuming to prepare. The breakfast, unfortunately, consists of the ‘green juice’ but the first ‘meal’ that she suggests comprises turkey bacon and some fruit—one can also vary the protein from day to day. On other days, one can eat both protein and vegetables. The following is a suggestion for the first meal.
Pick one item from the protein list and one from fruit list.
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Poached Eggs
4 Pieces of Turkey Bacon
1 Cup of Blueberries
1 Cup of Blackberries
1 Cup of Raspberries
1 Green Apple
1 Kiwi + 1⁄2 Cup of Blueberries
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries + 1⁄2 Cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
Other options for meals include ½ grilled chicken breast, 3 slices plain tofu (grilled), a turkey burger patty, chopped kale, black beans, ½ avocado topped with cucumbers and tomatoes, spinach, jicama, green peppers, yellow pepper, tomato, parsley, radishes, red peppers and celery. However, in meal 2, one can only choose one protein and one vegetable from the following list:
1⁄2 Grilled Chicken Breast (without oils or skin)
3 Slices Plain Tofu (grilled)
1 Turkey Burger Patty (no breadcrumbs, mayonnaise)
1⁄2 Cup Black Beans
1⁄2 Avocado (topped with cucumbers and tomatoes)
Handful of Chopped Kale (you may add lemon or lime to season)
Handful of Chopped Spinach (you may add lemon or lime to season)
Handful of Chopped Jicama, Green Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Tomato, Parsley,
Radishes, Red Peppers and/or Celery
There are also combined meal options in which means that one can have a dessert as well. For example:
Combined Meal Option
Tuna Fish (in spring water)
1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Chopped Celery Stick
1⁄2 Chopped Red Pepper
Choco Chestnut Pudding
1 Frozen ‘Function Drink’
Finally, meal 3 consists of a ‘Thick Thin Bar’, ‘Kashi Go Lean Crunchy Bar’, or a ‘Kashi Go Lean Roll’.
The overall 90 day plan can be set out as follows:
Nutrient Boost Weeks
During these weeks, participants eat the small meals which are set out by Tracy Anderson. The foods have nutrients but are very small indeed.
Body Reset Weeks
Here, participants go back to eating three meals a day. There are also food choices for these weeks, and Tracy advertises a food bar as a replacement. Participants are also allowed a glass of wine per day. The regime can be set out as follows:
The 90 Day Eating Schedule
Week 1: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 2: Body Reset Week
Week 3: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 4: Body Reset Week
Week 5: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 6: Body Reset Week
Week 7: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 8: Body Reset Week
Week 9: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 10: Body Reset Week
Week 11: Nutrient Boost Week
Week 12: Body Reset Week
The diet sounds strict already before one takes a look at the ingredients in each of the dishes. I have included the main recipes here below:
Green Juice (8 ounces)
1 Bunch Kale (chopped)
1 Apple (peeled)
Juice thoroughly and chill.
Chicken Protein Soup (8 ounces)
Peeled and Chopped Carrots (½ cup)
Chopped Celery Stalk (½ cup)
Boneless Chicken Breast (2 ounces), or Tofu [cubed]
Low-Sodium Chicken Broth, or 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (2 cups)
Chopped Broccoli Spears (1/2 cup)
Chopped Fresh Parsley
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Simmer the carrots, celery, and chicken or tofu in the stock gently for 20 minutes,
then add the chopped broccoli and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the
parsley, season with black pepper, and serve.
Kiwi Basil (4 ounces)
4 Kiwis (peeled)
12 Basil Leaves
½ Orange (juiced)
Puree and chill.
1 Medium to Large Apple (quartered, cored, and steamed)
Fresh Blueberries (½ cup)
Blend the steamed apple in the food processor with the blueberries.
Sweet Potato Corn Pudding (4 ounces)
1 Sweet Potato (peeled and diced)
1 Ear Fresh White Corn
Steam the sweet potato. Slice the corn off the cob. Combine ingredients
in a food processor and puree, adding water as needed until you have
the right consistency.
Choco Chestnut Pudding (4 ounces)
1⁄2 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Cooked chestnuts (2 tablespoons)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (1 tablespoon)
4 Whole Pitted Dates (prunes or dried blueberries)
Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (2 tablespoons)
Water (½ cup)
Melt the chocolate chips slowly in a double boiler. Puree the rest of the
ingredients. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until all the ingredients
are combined. Add the water and make sure it has a soupy consistency.
Tomato Gazpacho (8 ounces)
Chopped Mixed Bell Peppers (¼ cup)
Chopped Cucumber (½ cup)
Cored and Chopped Sweet Apples (¼ cup)
Chopped Red onion (1/8 cup)
Chopped Fresh Tomatoes (1 cup)
Chopped Fresh Chives (1 teaspoon)
2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro (2 teaspoons)
Pinch of Paprika
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Black Pepper
Puree the first four ingredients in a blender for few seconds to a small dice, then
add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Excess liquid can be drained.
In the first instance, it is important to point out that Tracy Anderson has made a huge amount of money as a personal trainer, entrepreneur, ‘nutrition expert’ and ‘fitness advisor’: these diets are extremely expensive to maintain especially as Tracy herself points out that there should be no substitutions made. For instance, during both body reset and nutrient boost weeks, one would need to go shopping daily or at least every other day to make sure that one’s ingredients are fresh, and one’s fridge will need to have a permanent supply of herbs, fruits, fresh vegetables and meats. In addition, certain ingredients—for instance unsweetened coconut flakes and unsweetened cocoa powder, Kashi Go Lean bars and so forth are extremely hard to come by. Dieters would need to search health food stores in the local area and then pay over the top prices for each separate ingredient. ‘Ear Fresh White Corn’ is also very difficult to find outside the United States of America.
This strict diet is time consuming during the week, especially during the nutrient boost week and may cause significant problems in a social context. For busy people, the dishes would mean getting up very early indeed, or spending an entire day preparing the produce for the whole week, putting foods into small containers and labelling each meal type. For this period of time, you will not be able to visit friends for a meal or for a drink, unless you have just one glass of wine (or nothing at all) and bring your own food. The soup sounds appetizing but when you evaluate the ingredients it is more or less another puree like the ‘baby food diet’. The ingredients are as follows: two ounces of chicken (or tofu if vegetarian), chopped carrots, celery, two cups of low-sodium chicken broth, ½ a cup of chopped broccoli spears, parsley and some cracked pepper. Sound appetizing? In essence, Tracy has very cleverly called this baby food a soup in order to give the dieter the feeling that he or she is eating ‘real food’. Further, on the page which outlines the diet, Tracy has made a point of adding the heading ‘No Restaurants or Parties’. It seems clear from this message that the diet, with its ‘no substitutions policy’, will affect the dieters’ social life and overall happiness. Indeed, not only are the foods boring but the exercise regimes—for example, the daily pilates-type toning movements and cardio work—are for most people uninspiring and repetitive. Apart from the chicken soup which includes real chicken, carrots and broccoli, and the Kashi crunchy bars in the body reset weeks, you are unlikely to chew very much for weeks on end. The rest of the food is blended or processed and will all look like various forms of baby food, and will take a great deal of time to make. At the end of each day, most dieters will feel hungry and many have reported that this affects sleep (Author, 2011).
With the hype that celebrities cause in modern-day society and the way in which many young women try to emulate their heroines, their clothes body shape and physiognomy, it is little wonder why this diet has become so popular. People even talk about getting a ‘celebrity body’. This diet, with its advertising and examples of ‘beautiful’ physiques lures young women into the clutch of mass advertising and the world of Hollywood. Even some of the advertising on the website uses hypnotic communication. In the example below, Tracy, knowingly or otherwise uses an implied causative (Yapko, 2003; Kaplan, 2007) to intimate the inevitable success of this approach (Anderson, 2012, p1):
‘And as you see the changes in your body, see the pounds melt away and a new, sexy shape emerge, your commitment will only grow stronger’.
Indeed, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson are now partners and have released a book entitled ‘Tracy Anderson’s 30 Day Method’ (Anderson, 2010) and produced four highly successful exercise courses on DVD. In fact, if one looks at the advertisements and the comments on this diet on the internet, it is clear that the dieters have to ‘buy in’ to the Tracy Anderson method, without exception, in order ‘to succeed’. Many feel compelled to buy a complete range of materials including the books, the exercise DVDs, and a box set, entitled ‘Metamorphosis’, which one can only start if one has completed the ‘30 Day Method’. All the merchandise in this collection are expensive and are aimed at getting you hooked on the approach. Participants on chat forums and internet discussions lines are told to ‘trust in Tracy Anderson’ and to ‘believe in the method’: these statements sound distinctly as if this regime has become some form of cult.
More alarming is the effect this diet will have on the body. According to Tracy, she recommends that we all follow her diet and exercise 1 ½ hours to 2 hours a day, six times a week. The videos consist of toning exercises which are repetitive and lengthy: indeed, both Tracy and Gwyneth do not recommend running because of the fear that this will build unwanted muscle in the thigh region. After a period of time some dieters may experience unwanted effects on the body including lethargy, loss of concentration, mood swings and.or dizziness. But this is the beginning. If one stays on the diet for too long, even with the body reset weeks, problems can become greater still. The effect of the stress alone on the body can be enough to cause problems in the immune system which, in turn, can lead to psychosomatic problems or other more serious conditions. Tracy, for example, put a huge amount of strain on her dieters, insisting that they keep rigidly to the rules and measure their wastes—of course with a special Tracy Anderson tape measure—every ten days. Dieters are also told to weigh themselves at regular intervals. This can build into an obsession with body size which may also lead to anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia nervosa (Kaye, Klump, Frank & Strober, 2000). Some women complain that their periods are not regular and this can lead to amenorrhea, due to an endocrine disturbance. Indeed, apart from the use of specific medication and hormone imbalance (for instance, polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid malfunction, pituitary tumour and premature menopause), there are three main reason for causing amenorrhea or an irregular menstrual cycle in young women—namely, stress, low body weight and excessive exercise. All three problems can be caused by this diet.
On closer analysis, if following the regime is adhered to strictly, dieters will be eating approximately 700 calories a day which is not adequate enough to be healthy. It also lacks the fibre and the vitamins that one needs on a weekly basis. Further, it does not contain the calcium, iron, salt, proteins and carbohydrates that one requires to function normally. This can lead to loss of concentration, muscle strength, exhaustion, lethargy and hyponatremia (low levels of sodium) and the low levels of iron can lead to anemia. And, as dieters get better at hiding their hunger, the problems will worsen: in extreme circumstances, some dieters might begin to suffer from regular episodes of constipation or might able to feel full after a small quantity of food (Gross, 1984). Some individuals, of course, might experience the other extreme, IBS-D (diarrhoea predominant IBS), as a result of eating too much liquid food. Further, in some situations, dieters might begin to suffer from from bradycardia (Kollai, Bonyhay, Jokkel, & Szonyi, 1994). These cardiac abnormalities may be associated with hypophosphataemia and delirium (Beumont & Large, 1991). Other dieters may suffer from osteoporosis: indeed, Gwyneth Paltrow herself has already been diagnosed with suffering from this condition already. It is clear here that some of these extreme problems are those which are associated with anorexia but, even after a period of two months, some of these associated problems may begin to emerge. Further complications include thiamine deficiency (Smith, Ovesen, Chu, Sackel, & Howard, 1983), zinc deficiency, dry skin and sunken eyes (Voorhees & Riba, 1992; Katzman, 2007).
Some of the messages given by Tracy also encourage perfectionism, something can never be achieved. On her website, Tracy claims that her diet is a, ‘regimen to help you get that perfect physique in the shortest time possible!’ Even the running title to the Metamorphosis programme (‘The weight-loss kick-start that makes perfection possible’) may suggest to impressionable minds that this diet will help them achieve a ‘perfect body’, while she describes her approach as ‘Tracy Anderson’s perfectly healthy diet’. This theme continues with the ‘perfect sit up’, the ‘perfect performance wellness shake’ and the ‘perfect dancer’s body’. This striving for perfectionism, obsessive dieting and exercising can lead to anorexia (Kraft & Kraft, 2006), malnutrition and/or depression.
Of course, it is more common for individuals to spend huge amounts of money on this diet only to return to regular routines, binge eating sessions and/or fatty processed foods. A change in diet should involve a lifestyle change which incorporates some realistic rules, healthy smaller-sized portions and some regular exercise (Biddle, 2012). Extreme diets, for example, in helping individuals suffering from obesity, should only be employed if it is monitored closely by a health professional. Tracy gives some excellent tips on exercise, particularly the cardio workout and lower body exercises; however, her generalizations on how to build smaller muscle groups do not account for compound movements in her exercises, and her understanding of basic anatomy is limited. There are also no warm ups or cool downs on the DVDs. Certainly, by telling individuals to stop all other cardiovascular activity and only to do her work-out is not only controlling but is also absurd. Further, she gives a great deal of advice about what to eat over a long period of time but it is important to note that she is not a dietician. The book contains a great deal of tips on exercise, some inspiring phrases to help you continue with the diet; however, there are very few recipes and little, if any, information on nutrition. Ideally, if you are involved in a sport regime, you should increase your calorie intake—certainly the intake of carbohydrates before exercising—unless you are eating too much in the first place.
As more and more men and women become obsessed with celebrities, their clothes and bodies, more of these diets will go on the market. There is nothing magical about this diet. It does not, as Anderson puts it, help you to, ‘rediscover your relationship with food so that you can sit at the table and enjoy a meal without worrying about how it will impact your weight’ (Anderson, 2012, p1), nor does it, ‘detoxify your system and recalibrate how you think and feel about food’ (Anderson, 2012, p1). It is a 700 calorie a day regime which is based on pureed foods which do not give you an adequately balanced diet; and, if this combined approach of dieting and exercising is followed meticulously, it is likely to have a deleterious effect on an individual’s health and overall sense of well-being.
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