Monday, October 16, 2006

Color My World

Readers who are fans of the music group Chicago, or who are, like me, “of a certain age,” will no doubt remember the popular romantic ballad “Color My World.” Maybe you slow-danced to it at your high school prom while singer-guitarist Terry Kath warbled in his throaty baritone, “Color my world with hope…of loving you.”

If Mr. Kath was alive today, he might be singing a different tune – or at least a different lyric: “Color my world…with hope…of losing my acne.”

Or: “Of increasing my energy.”

Or how about this: “Of losing weight.”

Say that again?

It’s all part of the world of color therapy, also known as chromatherapy – a practice that has existed for thousands of years. I was first exposed to the idea a couple of years ago when I attended a book group meeting at an acquaintance’s house. Another, more sharp-eyed attendee noticed that the hostess – we’ll call her Susan – had a small red dot on a corner wall in her living room. I didn’t hear most of the resulting conversation, but picked up just enough to learn that Susan had had someone come in and place strategically colored dots in both her house and her office, to draw such forces as energy, etc.

I was frankly skeptical, although Susan claimed that she could see benefits in her office, where she’d had a dot placed to attract calm, since she had a stressful job. I didn’t dispute the result so much as attribute it to the power of belief.

About a year later, I got another look at color therapy when I received a newsletter advertisement from Dr. Susan Lark, a specialist in clinical nutrition and preventive medicine. One of the featured therapies was blue light treatment for acne. As someone who has struggled with complexion problems for more years than anyone should, my attention was immediately caught. It turned out that blue light allegedly kills the bacteria that causes acne. And even some dermatologists approve of the practice. Well! I thought. I wonder if light therapy can do anything for my rosacea? I eventually discovered that green light was supposed to be effective for that particular condition. After doing some cursory research, I decided against purchasing a special light and giving it a try, although the expense was not outrageous, largely due to the fact that I still had a healthy dose of skepticism on the entire subject of color therapy, intriguing as it was. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten all about it until I wrote last week’s entry on caloric retention.

What does one have to do with the other? Not a blessed thing, except for the fact that I was interested in looking at other non-traditional ways of losing weight after researching CR. Then the word “color” in a magazine article seemed to stand out in bold, and suddenly I had a strong hunch that someone, somewhere, had probably connected the dots, so to speak…especially in our get-fit-quick-and-painlessly society.

I was right. Readers, meet The Blue Light Diet.

Actually, this program isn’t as simple as it might at first sound, but is “designed to be used in conjunction with any nutrition program, exercise program, or virtually any method you might find for weight loss.” So how does it work?

It’s simple. Just install a Blue DietLight in your refrigerator. According to, research has shown that blue light suppresses the appetite, and that blue is the only shade in the color spectrum with such an effect. As if that wasn’t enough, they claim the Harvard Business School discovered that blue light promotes positive decision making and strengthens resolve.

Well, I can see how those two things could help with weight loss. But is it really possible to “turn off your hunger pains every time you open the refrigerator”? Seems to me you’d have to keep the fridge open for a while to get much effect. And what about the times you reach for food in the pantry? Or at the local fast food drive-through? Or even the freezer?

Turns out that the Blue DietLight is accompanied by a Weight Loss Hypnosis CD. According to the products’ producers:

“By using the Blue DietLight in conjunction with the Hypnosis program, every time you open your refrigerator you will be reinforcing your determination to follow through with your weight loss program. Your appetite will be suppressed, your weight loss goals will be brought up by your unconscious mind, along with the image of you being at your perfect weight, to aid you in your quest to lose weight and feel great!”

And you can get both for only $30.

But there’s more. For presumably faster and better results, you can also purchase Red Solarized Water, a “vibrational medicine” that will stimulate your metabolism. (For the record, I have no idea what vibrational medicine means, nor do I know why anyone would want to pour this water into their eyes. Apparently the latter is a possibility, however, since a warning is issued to not do so, as this will stimulate the appetite.) Then there are the Yellow Color Therapy Glasses, which will allegedly improve your focus and stimulate your elimination system. I’m all for improving my focus, but I can’t help wondering how my future coworkers, not to mention my supervisor, would react to my wearing them in the office. Finally, you’ll want to have a Color, Food and Weight Loss Book on hand as well. And the price isn’t bad – for only $50, you can buy the whole package with a Solarized Water Chart thrown in. (The Web site doesn’t explain what those last two products actually are, for some reason.)

I learned one interesting tidbit from – the origin of the term “blue plate special”:

“Weight loss plans suggest putting your food on a BLUE plate to assist in suppressing your appetite. Remember the old BLUE plate specials (when they came on BLUE plates), they had smaller portions, were less expensive, and the customer left feeling satisfied, all thanks to the color BLUE.”

Oh. And now I know why I get those Big Mac cravings every once in a while:

“… [D]o not look at red, orange or yellow as they are natural appetite stimulants, only blue is an appetite suppressant. Now you know why MacDonald's is painted in these colors, they stimulate your appetite, and also cause you to eat and run, great turn over for a fast food.”

Does this mean that if I drink the Red Solarized Water, I should close my eyes while swallowing it?

You may be wondering by now if I’m going to plunk down my $50 for the complete package, or $80 for a more deluxe model that would include blue glasses as well. Not so fast! I won’t deny that I find the idea of color therapy intriguing – and there’s a great deal more to it than I have room to cover in one week – but skeptics aren’t converted at the click of a computer mouse. The fact that the makers recommend their products as tools to accompany nutrition and exercise is encouraging, but I was not overly impressed with their Web site, on which I would have liked to see more hard facts backed by research. I also couldn’t help wondering that even if I used the glasses, drank the water, installed the light, etc., while exercising and eating more sensibly, how much of any weight loss credit would be due to the last two factors and how much could be attributed to the former – especially since I believe the majority of people who have made significant changes in their bodies have done so without the use of blue light or red water.

But I keep an open mind, folks. So if any of you have ever used the power of color to help you achieve any goal you may have – whether it’s for more peace of mind, energy, a better complexion or a slimmer body – write me and let me know. I would love to hear about it. In the meantime, my jury’s still out until I do more thorough research. And if you’d like to do the same, visit or Tell 'em Treader Lucie sent you.

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Readers Write! Last week I had the pleasure of hearing from Matthew Lake, a practitioner of calorie restriction, who lives in Cardiff, Wales. He's been doing CR for about a year and a half and found that his allergies completely disappeared within only two weeks of starting, along with other health benefits. You can find out more about Matthew and his diet at Check it out!

And until we meet again…May your path be filled with color as you Keep On Treading!

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