“K.” came to me in total frustration.
She had gained a lot of weight in the last couple of years and besides that she was overwhelmed and burdened with credit card debt. She was full of frustration, anger, and hopelessness.
At 39, most of her friends were married, buying houses and starting families. She’s single and felt so far behind her friends financially, plus she didn’t like how she looked with this excess weight. Everything about her life felt difficult. In her words: “I feel like a loser”.
We talked about both her weight and money issues and how they were related. I suggested she choose one of the two issues for us to hone in on first. She chose to tackle weight first as that was most bothersome to her.
We talked about the idea of emotional eating and specifically about her eating habits. I explained how we sometimes turn to food to calm our deep rooted anxieties. She was very self aware in that she recognized how she was “stuffing” in her anger at life, by eating and stuffing herself with food. She noticed she ate when she was lonely or feeling “low.”
I asked her to try to remember when she first turned to food for emotional reasons; for comfort.
It turns out she had a history of this since when was young. She grew up in a household where her sister got all the attention and in her words “there was never enough for me.” Her sister got better birthday gifts, gymnastic lessons, and all of the positive attention seemed to revolve around her older sister.
Her parents doted on her older sister (who was petite and thin) and K. always felt neglected or second best. There just wasn’t enough for her.
And so she ate — especially when no one was looking. And it comforted her.
My goal was to get specific with K. asking her to recall exact childhood experiences when she felt this lack of love, this “never enough feeling.”
We tapped on quite a few specific incidents where she felt unloved. I’ll share one example:
One was a Christmas when her sister got great gifts and K. got shortchanged with “crummy” gifts.
She said the disparity was laughable. Her sister got glamorous and expensive gymnastic & dance outfits — basically expensive and well-thought out gifts. K. remembers getting a couple of Tee shirts and a pair of earrings that she didn’t even like — nothing special or meaningful.
I used the movie technique and she titled her “movie” — “I got screwed at Christmas”
So we tapped on that:
Even though I got crummy Christmas presents while my sister got great ones, I got screwed again, it was the same every Christmas, I never got enough, and I never got enough love, there was never enough for me, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I didn’t get enough love from my parents, they treated me like a second class citizen, my sister got all the loving, she got the good Christmas gifts, and all the attention, I still deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I grew up without enough love or the right kind of loving and nurturing, my sister got it all so I had to turn to food for comfort and to feel better, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Then we tapped on the body points, saying “I got screwed at Christmas”. We did several more rounds. Adjusting the setup phrase each time to: “there wasn’t enough love for me” and “my sister got love but I didn’t”.
K. and I worked together for several sessions, tapping on various childhood/teen memories where she felt the pain of not being loved by her parents. I had her create a mini movie and vividly imagine each of these old events/memories.
When we tapped I sometimes used the phrase “I feel like a loser” since that was something she said during our first meeting.
Over the years, her father said a few things to K. about her weight, in front of friends, which embarrassed her. So we tapped on those precise incidents, using the Tell the Story technique.
Then we tapped on a few other emotional issues all of which typically led her towards food to compensate for what was lacking in her life.
At this point, K. started to simply feel better about herself. She wasn’t as discouraged and angry about her situation. She was more genuinely optimistic and the next time I saw her, she surprised me and told me she had joined a weight loss program and was exercising regularly.
She seemed happier and “lighter.”
Her whole attitude, the energy about her was different! She felt better about her job and her friends.
Next, I asked her if she felt like there was any tapping left to do on this weight issue. She expressed concern that she’d get half way through the weight loss program and then quit. As that had happened to her before.
We got specific and it turns out there were times growing up when she’d accomplish something but didn’t get the full recognition or praise she’d hope for so she starting thinking “why bother.” And she started quitting on things. To avoid this self sabotage, we tapped on these specific memories.
K. stuck with her weight loss program — as of now, she looks great, feels more energetic and is excited to continue this as a lifestyle program.
She was then ready to focus on her money issue, although since they are closely related, she is already on her way to improvement in that area. She did mention that when she logs into her computer, and checks her bank/financials statements, which she does daily, seeing her debt triggers great anxiety. I suggested she bring her laptop to our next session. That way we can log on and summon up the precise situation and the exact anxiety she feels when she sees her financial information. We can then tap on the anxiety she feels and use that as a starting point for digging further into those money issues.
I always like to finish our sessions by tapping on some positive thoughts.
Here are some of the ones I used during our last session on the weight issue:
I am a confident woman and people are drawn to me
I love myself and I appreciate myself
I enjoy respecting my body by eating healthy foods
I take good care of myself because I deserve to be healthy and fit
I love eating in a healthy manner
I am the perfect weight and I feel healthy
I enjoy exercising and feel so fit
I have all that I need
I inspire others
I feel good and I have lots of energy