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The Alpha Solution for Permanent Weight Loss.

By Ronald Glassman, PhD, MPH, with Mollie Doyle

Broadway Books, New York, 2007

First the disclaimer: I know the author, I like him; he is a friend. What he writes about, nevertheless, is valuable and has a solid foundation.

We have all been surfeited with diet books. None are valid; most are thoroughly dishonest, appealing to our need for immediate success and the author's financial success. All diets fail; there is no such thing as a diet. Keeping weight off involves a lifestyle, a lifestyle not always so easy to stick to.

Not only the overweight can benefit from this book. Many of us who once burned off weight running but now run much less--or not at all--who at the same time are collecting weight and age, will benefit from this book. Its principles are sound and date back to ancient times, in fact to the book of Proverbs, Proverbs, 23:7: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (This is the very basis of cognitive behavioral therapy.)

How does one modify and fine-tune their thinking? The method here is called medical hypnosis. It is the hypnosis all of us practice without knowing it, not the theatrical hypnosis used for entertainment. Medical hypnosis is essentially the same thing as meditation.

The first part of the book explains medical hypnosis and the "Alpha Solution." It goes something like this:

We all experience hypnotic states daily. It is where our brains cycle 8-14 times a second, slower than our normal waking beta state but faster than our sleep rate. It is the state we are in when we meditate or when we are about to go to sleep. That very state, the alpha state, becomes the gateway, the vestibule, to the subconscious.

Glassman defines the subconscious as that part of us housing the blueprint for all our behaviors, habits, tastes, and preferences. (He distinguishes this from the Freudian concept of the subconscious, a concept that delves into repressed and painful memories.) One reaches their subconscious thinking through the gateway of the alpha state. New thoughts are submitted to the alpha state entranceway Here is where the client takes over and dictates the new thoughts.

Enter now your creativity: You are the composer, the writer of the new script. The beauty part of it is that the subconscious can be easily conned. It will believe most anything. The idea is to communicate with the subconscious. And that is done by first summoning one's alpha state.


To reach the alpha state, simple techniques of breathing and muscle relaxation are detailed and prescribed. One then delivers prepared messages to their inner subconscious mind. These new messages, dictated to the subconscious via the alpha state, often are a variation around the idea that you are the master of your fate, that you control the food you eat rather than that the food controls you. The individualized message, the "anchor statement," deposited when one is in the alpha state, is recorded on tape or CD and in the client's own voice and played back at various times of the day or night. The new message is essentially first in embryonic state. It is nurtured to fruition by repetition amounting to daily boosters for the first month or so.

The book may appear repetitious at times. No matter. It is repetitious but not redundant. Each recapitulation contains something new, with repetition really more of a teaching device.

Here are a few caveats: The subconscious will not accept any and all messages. It accepts that which is beneficial and safe; if a detrimental suggestion is made, or one outlandish or simply objectionable, it won't be accepted. The undesirable suggestion will alarm us out of alpha and awaken us. In short, it will jolt us awake and alert, alert enough to reject anything unreasonable or otherwise negative.

Once a CD or the equivalent is made, how do you use it? Using the CD while awake and alert has little or no medicinal value. So, it's recommended that it be used only while drifting off to sleep and while asleep. (If, however, you meditate or take a nap during the day, it can be used at those times.) But having it on during the day while totally alert won't do much.

The book is comprehensive and thorough although I wish it had an index. There are, however, many references sources cited. Just when you have digested enough of theory and of case studies, there enters the nuts and bolts of how to get to the alpha state, with ideas of what kind of sales pitch, called the anchor statement, you compose, remembering that you can do a real good soft shoe job on your subconscious as long as your message is sound, healthy, positive, and reasonable. The main point is that you, the client, are the director and controller.

I've given here a bare bones outline. To add some meat (lean) and potatoes (boiled or broiled) you need to read the book to be able to fashion your own blueprint. It does work. Unlike any of the fad diets or pills, its success is permanent.

The book is no longer on shelves having come out in 2007 but can be bought through the author ($15 including mailing, payable to Dr. Ron Glassman, 1501 Fox Trail, Mountainside, NJ 07092).

Ed. Note: Dr. Paul Kiell is a retired psychiatrist who is currently writing a book on exercise and psychiatric disorders. Stay tuned for details.

Reviewed by Paul J. Kiell, MD
COPYRIGHT 2009 American Running & Fitness Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kiell, Paul J.
Publication:AMAA Journal
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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