brandedmedia produce Lily Allen's hypno-diet CD

February 11th 09, 11:50

As it's awards season I'd like to thank everyone who knows me, including Susan Hepburn, the hypnotherapist I went to, weeping, a few years ago after a doctor had told me to give up wheat, dairy, chicken, yeast, pineapple... everything, really. This was years before Lily Allen went to see her and spectacularly cleaned up her eating and drinking habits, but in its own small way (I like to think) no less dramatic. I gave up the intolerables and I got better.

At the time I thought I was on to a bit of a secret with Hepburn, although if friends asked, I spilled. Some were sceptical, as I had been. Most weren't, though. Turns out, Hepburn's the worst-kept secret in the country. Scores of A-listers see her, although only Lily has had the courage to go public.

Hepburn is philosophical about celebrities' insistence that they stay slim by dint of sheer willpower, aware that hypnotherapy is still seen by some as a crank activity. For someone who makes a living helping people to eat less (or quit smoking, drugs or other harmful behaviour), she's remarkably opposed to diets. Instead she trains patients to eat less, chew more, drink lots of water, and visualise themselves at their ideal size. She also tries to remove what she calls “the clutter” from their minds - whatever it is that prompts them to eat when bored, stressed or tired.

This involves having long, cosy chats in her big leather armchairs and then listening as her soothing Yorkshire accent goes what she calls “a bit funny. You have to pitch your voice so it's quite monotonous but doesn't send patients to sleep”.

The hypnosis part lasts around 20 minutes, although most patients think it's much shorter. There is no going into a trance, or pretending you're King Alfred. I didn't think I'd been hypnotised the first time. “Everyone says that, but it's impossible for it not to happen,” she says serenely. You come out with a strong sense of purpose.

Now she's produced a booklet and a hypnosis CD for weight loss. It's called F*** Diets, rather a forthight title. “It is a bit shocking, isn't it?” she says, “but diets are evil. People call this hypno-dieting, which has become this month's trend, but it's not about trends. It's about feeling normal and free.”

F*** Diets is £17.99 from out February 23

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