Trying to quit the sweet stuff? Self-help guru Paul McKenna's quitting technique could be just what you need

Constantly reaching for the biscuit tin mid afternoon? Never satisfied until you finish your dinner with a sweet hit? If you’re always looking for your next sugar rush, it might be time to cut back. Giving up the white stuff may not be as difficult as you think. Find out how you can beat sugar cravings fast.


A hundred years ago, physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered the power of conditioning when he made dogs salivate by ringing a bell. This principle can be used to create a conditioned response to a sugary food or drink. No matter how much you want it, the imagination is more powerful than the will. You can use these techniques to programme your brain to link compulsion with repulsion, so the next time you see that drink or food you won’t want it.


Think of a sugar food or beverage that you crave and are out of control around. It could be anything that is a problem for you. Rate your craving on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest. This is important, because at the end of the process we want to know how much it’s reduced.

We are going to get your brain to re-create the feeling of compulsion for the food or drink you crave and blend it with your physical reaction to food that revolts you. This will be unpleasant because you need to get a strong feeling of revulsion to cancel out the compulsion. But don’t worry it will be worth it.

  1. Think of a food that absolutely revolts you, so that even if you just think of it you feel nauseous. Imagine a plate of whatever you really hate in front of you now.
  2. As vividly as possible, imagine eating that food. Taste it, feel the texture in your mouth and the awful feeling of swallowing it, again and again. Keep doing this until you feel really revolted.
  3. Imagine adding some of the sugar food you crave to the food you feel revolted by. Mix the taste and texture as you chew and taste them together. It feels disgusting.
  4. Imagine adding the hair from the floor of a hairdresser to the food mixture. Taste how they all feel together and experience the texture in your mouth with all those hairs.
  5. Continuing to experience the taste and texture of the food makes you feel sick, mixed with the food you used to like, mixed with the hairs, add the taste of a bucket of spit and let all the tastes mingle in your mouth until you feel revolted.
  6. Vividly imagine swallowing them together. It must taste disgusting!
  7. Now think about the food you felt out-of-control cravings for and rate you desire on a scale of 1-10. It should be much lower. If you want to make it lower still, go over the steps again.
  8. When you can think about the food you craved and can take it or leave it, you are back in control.