Dr. Carol Look's Series on EFT for Weight Loss
Dear EFT Community,
Dr. Carol Look gives us a seven-part series on the use of EFT for weight loss—all installments are below. Note her core-issue question: "What happened the last time you were at your goal weight?"
- EFT Universe
By Carol Look, PhD
Please notice in the case below how simply treating an urge or craving for food fails to address the real emotional drivers that trigger compulsive overeating (which, of course, cause a client to maintain excess weight).
Without the deeper work, effective treatment or lasting results will elude even the best of EFT practitioners.
During the weight loss seminar, I provided small DOVE chocolates as a prop to get participants salivating.
I then asked the participants who felt a strong urge for the chocolate to come to the front of the room for a tapping demonstration.
"Ann's" craving for the chocolate was an "8" (on a 0-10 scale).
She tapped for
"Even though I crave this chocolate, I deeply and completely accept myself."
After one round, the chocolate still smelled good to her, yet her craving/ urge was reduced to a manageable "4." However, she told the class she couldn't imagine passing up the Godiva chocolate at her favorite Barnes and Noble bookstore. (As is quite common, a new aspect had emerged).
She tapped again:
"Even though I can't resist the Godiva chocolate, I deeply..."
The urge faded a bit and she thought she "might" be able to resist them. She tapped a second round for "Even though I can't resist Godiva chocolate..." as she pictured the familiar, fancy, gold boxes tempting her in the bookstore. She was finally able to "see" herself passing up the formerly irresistible chocolates, although she still had some doubts.
Then I asked the class to tap for
"Even though I feel deeply deprived, I completely love and accept myself."
This hit a nerve with Ann. She was able to feel even more confident and empowered to pass by the Godiva boxes and felt more understanding of the emotional drivers behind her food cravings.
Later in the workshop, Ann said she became quite anxious about the thought of reaching/imagining herself at her goal weight.
We tapped for "
Even though I don't feel comfortable losing the weight again..." and
"Even though I can't picture myself reaching my goal."
The class also tapped for
"Even though I don't feel safe leaving my comfort zone..." and
"Even though I feel more comfortable staying overweight..."
Later in the class, I asked participants a question I use with all my clients:
"What happened the last time you were at your goal weight?"
A light bulb went on for Ann. She was able to identify the source of her emotional resistance to picturing herself successfully reaching her desired weight. She revealed to the group that she associated reaching her goal weight with her first marriage which had ended quite painfully.
She was quite surprised by this revelation, yet delighted to uncover this hidden connection.
In a follow-up phone call, Ann said she had been doing her daily tapping and was able to conclude that her "fears of intimacy and being hurt by love are definite contributors to my addiction to overeating."
Trying to avoid these fears and anxieties had allowed her to overeat and put on the extra weight. This bright, experienced, successful psychologist with years of professional psychological experience and self-exploration said she felt "blown away" by the previously unrecognized emotional issues that were revealed by using EFT.
Stay tuned for the next installment.
Dr. Carol Look
This is the second installment in a series of cases that came out of one of my "EFT For Weight Loss" classes. As you will note, getting to the underlying feelings, images, and emotional drivers is a must if there is to be any progress.
"Jan" tapped along with the whole class for "Even though I have these chocolate cravings..." and "Even though I feel deeply deprived." She had used the "cravings" round on herself so often that she didn't have any real cravings when I displayed the chocolates to the class. The issue of deprivation didn't ring many bells either.
It was not until I asked the class to tap for...
"Even though I don't feel safe leaving my comfort zone of weight..."
...that her ears perked up.
The whole class tapped several rounds with various wording addressing the "Fear of leaving my comfort zone..." and "Even though I feel more comfortable staying where I am...."
After these rounds, the meaning that surfaced for Jan was "With this weight, I know who I am...what would I really be like if I changed and lost the weight?"
This was an important fear that was revealed.
After the lunch break, Jan announced she had finally gotten in touch with a primary block/ fear to her losing weight. She told the group she was afraid to end up old and wrinkly with dried up skin like her grandmother. This was not a newly uncovered fear. However, she had never experienced emotion attached to it before. (I suspect the morning's tapping cleared the way for this.)
Jan tapped for "
Even though I'm afraid to look like my grandmother..."
She then told the group that she was 100% convinced of the "fact," that everyone who loses weight will look old and wrinkly.
She had other images of people who ended up just like her grandmother so we tapped for "Even though it's the truth that I'll look old and wrinkly if I lose weight..." We did a few more rounds for versions such as "Even though it's a fact I'll end up wrinkled..." and "Even though I'm convinced I can't lose weight and look good..."
By the end of these rounds, Jan said she could relinquish her position on the "facts" about the end result, and said, "well, maybe it wouldn't have to be totally true."
Jan told the group that her grandmother was an extremely hard, critical and unpleasant woman to be around. "She was not a good part of my life." Jan had gone to see her in the hospital before she died and had a vivid memory of her looking skinny, ugly and completely shriveled up. She shuddered in front of the class when describing this memory.
So we tapped again, "Even though that image disgusts me, I deeply...." And "Even though I'm afraid to be anything like my grandmother..." as she had been told she already had a family resemblance to her.
After the tapping, she said the quality of the picture had changed, allowing her to see herself differently. We also tapped for "I forgive my grandmother for being so mean and critical..." which led Jan to offer, "I guess she was only doing what she knew best."
In a follow-up phone conversation, Jan said that while I was addressing the class during her demonstration and suggesting some possible alternatives, (i.e., that she didn't have to lose all the weight at once if she didn't like the results) her "all or nothing thinking" began to fade. This was the first time she realized she had options and that she was the one in control.
Stay tuned for the next installment.
Annendum - Just a quick update on the recent post I sent ...that class participant (who was afraid to lose weight for fear of looking wrinkly and ugly) has lost five lbs in the one month since the workshop.
She has continued to tap for her cravings for all things sweet and sugary, especially heavily sweetened southern iced tea.
My client, "John," was very dissatisfied with his body and wanted to address his "weight issue." Despite "getting away with" an extra 15 pounds because of his height and build, he was still unhappy and uncomfortable.
Eating sweets in the office as a mood lifter or physiological pick-me-up was his main weakness. He is settling into a new job and finds himself reaching for sweets when he feels anxious, in a bad mood, or is grappling with confidence issues. Since we had been successfully using EFT for his fear of success and fear of envy, he was very open to using EFT for weight loss.
I offered John a plate of peanut M & M's and a small piece of wrapped chocolate. He attributed his low craving/urge to our having an appointment during the morning when he wouldn't ordinarily experience cravings. Nonetheless, he managed to focus in and rate his craving at about a 3 or 4 on the 0-10 scale.
When his first impression of the chocolate changed from "inferior, not rich enough to produce a craving" to "oh, now I see that's pretty high quality chocolate," his urge went up.
We tapped as follows....
"Even though I crave eating sweets, especially when I'm anxious...I deeply and completely accept myself anyway."
He instantly felt more relaxed and was far less interested in the chocolate.
We tapped again....
"Even though I reach for sweets because I think they'll make me feel better..."
We then talked about John's family's attitude toward food when he was young. He said, "I never told you about this? My father hated and still does hate fat people." John said he was continually criticized for eating too much, for being sluggish, and for enjoying reading novels and writing rather than playing sports as a kid. (Please note that John is now an extremely successful writer with both a staff job and several freelance projects for which he is well paid) We tapped as follows....
"Even though my father hated how and what I ate..."
"Even though my father criticized me for being overweight as a child..."
"Even though my father wanted me to exercise instead of read..."
"Even though I wasn't accepted for who I am..."
"Even though he never accepted me for who I was/am..."
John wept during and after this last set up. He said his self-esteem was incredibly low during adolescence because of his father's constant criticism and obsession with his weight and what he ate. He was surprised by the intensity of the emotion and then admitted that not being accepted by his father was the most painful part of his life he could remember.
John then remembered feeling inadequate and poorly about himself in school.
"Even though I felt ashamed of my body and the extra weight..."
Two tapping rounds aimed at his shame reduced the intensity of the emotional pain to a faint feeling of discomfort. He was able to take a deep breath and relax. John then went on to describe other emotions connected to his daily eating habits. We tapped as follows....
"Even though I feel guilty EVERY time I eat..." and
"Even though I feel guilty spending money on food...I deeply and completely accept myself anyway."
There's nothing like intense guilt to trigger more anxious eating.
For John, having a high enough salary to enjoy sophisticated New York restaurants whenever he chooses has caused him a great deal of guilt. He feels disloyal to his parents for being successful and for spending money on dining out.
He struggles with guilt each and every time he and his friends eat out at a restaurant.
When I saw John 2 weeks later, I noticed his face looked thinner. He confirmed that he had been surprised when he looked in the mirror and noticed it too. The last time he checked, he had lost at least 5 pounds.
He had been tapping on himself for mild cravings and general anxiety, and found that it had been surprisingly easy to control his portions and avoid sweets--except for an occasional dessert. He felt in control, relaxed and more peaceful.
I am continually impressed by EFT's effectiveness in the areas of compulsive overeating and weight loss. I hope this case offers more encouragement to the list members who are overeating to manage and tranquilize anxiety.
EFT works for weight loss if you use it consistently AND if you address the deeper underlying emotions that are being anesthetized by food.
Dr. Carol Look
"Beth" volunteered for a group demonstration involving a visualization technique to create an image of herself at her goal weight. Before directing the group to try to visualize themselves at their goal, I asked them, "What happened the last time you were at your goal weight?"
When another class member said she associated her goal weight with getting pregnant, Beth was shocked that "someone else had the same memory/ association."
Beth had been unable to get pregnant and medical tests were unable to locate a cause. When she gained a little weight and reached what she considered her "optimum" weight, she was finally able to get pregnant with her first child.
Beth gained 60 pounds with her first pregnancy and was unable to get pregnant for the second time until she reached the same "optimum" weight. Following her second pregnancy (17 years ago) Beth said she was never able to lose the weight again, despite numerous diets and attempts and, needless to say, she never became pregnant again, although she had certainly tried.
Airing this association seemed to be emotionally freeing in itself. So instead of tapping for these aspects, my intuition led me to leave this discussion about pregnancy.
Accordingly, I moved the class on to tapping for the visualization exercise, knowing we could always return to this issue later if there were still blocks to the visualization.
I asked the participants to close their eyes and imagine themselves at their goal weight, and to then rate the clarity of this picture.
Beth and the rest of the group tapped as follows:
"Even though I'm having difficulty seeing myself at my goal weight, I deeply and completely..."
After the first round of tapping, Beth told the class she could now see herself twirling in a party dress, happy with a clearer picture in her mind of her "success."
She tapped two more rounds for "
Even though I'm still having some difficulty seeing myself successfully reaching my goal weight..."
and then the image evolved whereby she could see herself at her ideal weight in her everyday clothes, comfortable and peaceful with herself. There were no other immediate blocks to seeing the positive end result.
The feelings associated with being pregnant did not resurface.
During the tapping for the visualization, Beth revealed to the class that she had gotten in touch with a memory of the first time someone shamed her for eating too much. She was five years old and remembered being scolded at a party when asking for more food.
The surfacing of this memory was definitely a surprise to her.
I asked the entire class to tap for "Even though I'm ashamed of myself...and my body...and for being overweight...I deeply and completely accept myself anyway." I then asked them to use the forgiveness set up ("I forgive myself for being overweight...for being ashamed of myself...") while tapping the treatment point on the index finger.
In a follow-up phone call with Beth 5 weeks later, she reported the following: "I have lost 10 pounds, I have been able to stick to my low carbohydrate diet, and I have lots of energy."
During this time, tapped for the following aspects:
"Even though I crave carbohydrates...,"
"Even though this weight loss stuff is going too slow...," and
"Even though I seem to be at a plateau..."
She tapped for
"Even though I can't eat like others..." (an essential key for her) and "Even though I need to exercise more than twice a week..."
I made the following suggestions to Beth to fine tune her language and hopefully push her off her plateau.:
"Even though my body doesn't want to let go/ wants to hold on to the weight..." and "Even though my body refuses to leave this plateau..."
She was also using the phrase, "I need to exercise" which I thought needed some revision. So, I asked her to be more specific about her exercise routine and to target the feelings she had about exercising. Here is the recommended wording.
"Even though I dread exercising..." or
"Even though I resist exercising more than twice a week..."
I asked Beth how she was feeling emotionally about having lost 10 pounds so far. She said she wasn't terribly excited because she's "done it before" and just felt very frustrated with herself for getting back into this position of needing to lose the weight again.
We tapped over the phone for
"Even though I'm frustrated and mad at myself that I've got to go through this again...I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway."
My final suggestion to push through the resistance was to start every day with the classic treatment for deep psychological reversal, "I deeply and completely accept myself even if I never get over this problem/ never lose the weight."
She promised to write me when she lost the next 10 pounds!
Dr. Carol Look
"Susan" came to me complaining of being "stuck in a rut" as she had gained back 30 pounds in a 3 year period. The last 6 months had been the most stressful because of a chronic struggle with depression, the stress leading up to her wedding, her expensive honeymoon in a foreign country, and her adjustment to married life.
She described late afternoons as her "dangerous" time of day for eating because she said she craved sweets at about 3:00pm at work, no matter what she had for lunch. We began tapping on this simple issue to see if any emotional layers surrounding the cravings surfaced.
"Even though I crave sweets in the afternoon, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway."
"Even though I always want M&M's every afternoon, I deeply and completely..."
Susan stated, "I think they are my reward for the stress at work. They allow me to take a break." We continued to tap:
"Even though I eat when I feel overwhelmed by stress, I deeply love and accept myself."
"Even though eating sweets feels like a reward, I deeply..."
I asked Susan what other times of the day triggered her compulsive overeating.
"After work I go home, plop myself in front of the television and stuff myself."
"What do you think is going on emotionally?"
"I'm not sure..."
We started tapping again:
"Even though I overeat in front of the television, I deeply and completely accept myself." Susan said, "I don't really feel like accepting of myself because I think it's kind of disgusting...but I think I made an important connection."
When in college, Susan would only be able to concentrate and study well when she overate in her dorm room. She would eat and eat while typing papers or studying for exams. She said, "It helped me to concentrate."
I asked her to connect the college eating with her eating in front of the television after work.
"It's the only way I can concentrate after work."
"Why do you need to concentrate after work?"
"It's the only way I can distract myself and leave work behind."
She identified that the television watching wasn't key--as she had previously thought. However, she felt compelled to stuff herself with junk food in order to keep her mind off of work. "I need the food to help me focus on the television which helps me ignore the stress of work."
Susan said she felt desperate to unhook from overwhelmed feelings from work stress, and eating was her way to do that.
I asked Susan what else she "needed" after work.
"I need to relax after work, and unwind, but I can't seem to feel relaxed unless I overeat."
We tapped as follows:
"Even though I need to eat to relax and feel calm, I deeply..."
"Even though stuffing myself calms me down, I deeply..."
"Even though overeating feels soothing after a long hard day..."
"Even though I can't feel relaxed unless I'm eating/overeating..."
Somewhere around her chin spot Susan began laughing. "That's so silly...there are obviously other ways that I can feel relaxed."
"Well, I could go to the gym or I could write in my journal."
"Did you think of these before?"
"Well they seem so obvious but they didn't occur to me until now. They would of course be more relaxing than overeating while watching bad TV shows."
Susan literally couldn't access these reasonable alternatives to her overeating behavior until the tapping loosened up the associations and relieved some of the anxiety.
"What other connections are you making?"
"The stress at work of having to prove myself in sales is making me feel awful. And it makes me feel deprived."
(Deprivation is my favorite theme for weight loss clients) We continued to tap:
"Even though I feel deprived because of the pressure at work..."
"Even though I overeat when I feel deprived..."
"Even though I'm tired of having to prove myself in front of my boss..."
Susan said, "Now I feel guilty."
"Because it's so silly and selfish to feel deprived. I have so much in my life, like my health, my parents and my husband. I shouldn't feel deprived."
"Even though I still feel deprived when I shouldn't..."
The following week Susan looked different in her "affect" and sounded different in her tone. Her compulsive overeating after work had definitely calmed down, and she had been attending the gym more regularly.
She admitted she was still making poor food choices for dinner, but felt she was moving in the right direction. She felt less clouded, less depressed, and more hopeful.
While she was convinced that putting the clocks forward had something to do with her new feelings of well-being, she couldn't deny that the tapping had helped turn around her attitude and perspective.
Most importantly, she felt hopeful she could make a commitment to a new weight loss/health program instead of spiraling downward. The upwards momentum felt wonderful to her and changed her outlook about everything.
Nonetheless she still felt deprived, although the focus of these feelings this week was connected to her husband's attention. He works a night shift while she holds a nine-to-five job.
We tapped for "Even though we don't have enough quality time together..." and "Even though I miss my husband's attention..." and she continued to feel more hopeful. It was physically and emotionally obvious that former limiting beliefs and feelings of discouragement about her capabilities to lose weight had been dramatically diluted.
In this case, my client's excess weight has not begun to fall off yet, but we both could identify significant progress. Susan will continue to aim her tapping at feelings of deprivation and stress as key emotional drivers to her compulsive overeating.
She admitted she still felt afraid to make the final commitment, but was delighted she was so much closer to taking this step. She felt like a "new person." This, I told her, was the perfect starting point to losing weight.
Feeling the way she had before---discouraged, depressed, lethargic, self-hating---had only inhibited her ability to even imagine that she could successfully lose weight.
In my experience, too many clinicians and clients become discouraged at this point only because the scale is not registering dramatic losses. This is the time to keep tapping on the underlying themes as well as the behavior until the subtle shifts gain momentum and direct the client to new behavior and visible results.
Carol Look, C.S.W., D.C.H.
At last weekend's San Diego Energy Conference, "Sharon" came running up to me to tell me how well she had been doing with her weight loss program since the EFT Specialty conference in Flagstaff, Arizona where she participated in my 3-hour presentation on Weight Loss with EFT.
Below is part interview/ part narrative describing her progress in attitude, feelings and pounds.
Sharon had volunteered during a later portion of the Flagstaff workshop when I specifically asked for participants who didn't manifest a physical, visible weight problem, but had negative body image issues.
CAROL: What do you remember as part of the Flagstaff seminar that worked for you?
SHARON: When you asked us to remember times we had been shamed about our bodies, I started tapping and suddenly remembered a shaming comment from High School.
CAROL: Tell me what you remembered.
SHARON: I think we all tapped for "Even though they shamed me about my body..." and I remembered an incident when I was 16 years old and dancing the twist with MC. I thought I was really hot and MC said, "Gee, Sharon, you don't have much of a body, but you sure know how to use it!"
I felt mortified when he said it and I felt terrible and surprised on stage when I remembered it and connected it with my poor body image. Then I tapped for "Even though MC shamed my body..." and "Even though he hurt my self-image..." until it subsided.
I also think you asked us to tap for "Even though I feel inadequate, and my body's not enough..." which is how I've always felt about myself.
CAROL: And how has the tapping we did on stage helped you since then?
SHARON: I realized I have been trying to get "THAT BODY" since I was 16 (now in early fifties) which was impossible.
CAROL: What body?
SHARON: The body that MC said I didn't have and would never have. I no longer feel that I can't have THAT body. Now when I see beautiful women in the gym, I don't have to hate them, but I see models of the type of body I can have when I reach my goal weight.
CAROL: And you think unearthing and tapping for that shaming incident helped you lose weight?
SHARON: Absolutely. I've lost 7 pounds since then and the body shame is gone.
Sharon and I had trouble remembering exactly what other setups were used for tapping, but the general themes were sadness, shame regarding body image, and forgiving the people who shamed her. Examples were:
"Even though I hate my body..."
"Even though I'm mad at him/her for shaming me...." and
"Even though I forgive him/her for shaming me..."
CAROL: What else have you noticed?
SHARON: I am working out longer and harder at the gym and I'm loving it.
CAROL: That's new?
SHARON: Yes, it no longer seems like a chore. It's no longer a "should" or a "have to." I'm excited about it now.
CAROL: And what else have you noticed?
SHARON: The cravings in general are gone.
CAROL: You tapped in Flagstaff with the other participants for cravings?
SHARON: Yes, for all those cravings for chocolate and bread. "Even though I have terrible cravings..." and "Even though I don't want to give up my favorite food..." etc
CAROL: And "Even though I'll feel deprived if I give up my chocolate?"
SHARON: Right. And "Even though I'm afraid I won't feel safe without my food..." and "Even though I'm afraid to leave my comfort zone..."
CAROL: What else?
SHARON: My portion control is much better too. I no longer have this tormenting dialogue that went something like, "Should I, shouldn't I...If I eat it now I'll pay for it later...I'm not going to have it, but I wish I could..." I no longer feel the pressure that I have to lose weight. It feels like a choice now.
CAROL: Have you done much tapping yourself since the Flagstaff workshop?
SHARON: No, only a little for some cravings I had in the beginning. And for the exposure and vulnerability I felt when I was up on stage.
CAROL: What do you mean?
SHARON: I felt I didn't belong because I see myself as overweight and the others all seemed very thin to me. So I felt embarrassed and vulnerable and afraid everyone was thinking I didn't belong in that group when you asked for volunteers who weren't overweight.
CAROL: And the vulnerability subsided?
CAROL: And what else seemed significant?
SHARON: You gave me permission to say out loud all those nasty, ugly, hateful things that live in me about my body. It felt like infinite permission when you asked us to tap for "Even though I hate my body, and don't accept my body, I deeply and completely accept myself ANYWAY." And now I really do feel accepting of my body.
CAROL: Anything else?
SHARON: Yes, now I'm not so afraid of my deteriorating body as it gets flabby and loose as I age, but rather I'm focused on taking care of it and how to make it strong and healthy. And I have deep confidence, because I KNOW I can reach my goal now.
Dr. Carol Look
"Patti" called me for sessions to help her lose weight. She had attended the Flagstaff, Arizona EFT Specialty Conference and had participated from her seat in the audience in my 3-hour presentation for weight loss. She had lost 9 lbs. since then, but was frustrated by hitting a 2-week plateau.
During her 1st session (90 minutes), Patti told me she had always felt fat, had been told she was fat by an ex-husband, and had basically been obsessed with her body image and weight problems her whole life. We tapped as follows:
"Even though I feel fat, and always have, I deeply love and accept myself anyway."
"Even though I believe I'm fat...Even though I'm convinced I'm too big..."
"Even though I feel huge and fat now when I look at myself..."
Her SUD's level (level of intense emotion on a scale of 0-10) on these issues dropped dramatically. Patti looked at her body and admitted she had a decent figure after all.
We also tapped for Patti's addiction to/cravings for carbohydrates.
I asked Patti if feelings about family members or friends were contributing to this plateau.
She admitted that she felt guilty losing weight because her mother was overweight. In fact, when she visited her mother after having lost 9 lbs., her mother was anxious and uptight, tried to "feed" her and gave her extra high calorie food to take home. We tapped as follows:
"Even though I know I'll feel guilty if I lose more weight and my mother stays fat..."
"Even though I feel guilty now because I lost weight and she feels uncomfortable..."
"Even though I still feel guilty about being thinner than my mother..."
Again, her SUD's levels dropped significantly and she felt more detached.
Patti said "I'm sabotaging my personal weight loss to protect myself from my mother and my success" and felt trapped by certain limiting beliefs about her success.
"Even though I'm never successful at what I want to do...and the more I want it the less able I am to accomplish it..."
"Even though I can't be successful without my mother's support..."
"Even though she won't give me her support if I'm successful..."
"Even though I don't feel safe when I'm successful...I'm afraid to lose more weight..."
Patti then described painful feelings surrounding her perfectionism and became severely anxious during this discussion. We continued tapping.
"Even though I feel the pressure to be perfect...."
"Even though I'm not perfect but want to be..."
"Even though I wish I could accept myself as not perfect..." (during some of the reminder phrases we used "I choose to accept myself even though I'm not perfect")
Patti described her "if only" game in which she could never arrive at her goal. There was always a sense of "if only I could lose this weight...then I could be successful."
She then revealed a prejudice that was getting in her way. "I hate fat people because they aren't perfect." So we tapped for that phrase. "Even though I hate fat people because they're not perfect...and NEITHER AM I..." This turned into "Even though I hate fat people because they resent me and disapprove of me..."
Patti had had a few experiences at the conference where women who were considerably more overweight than she was criticizing her for having "issues" with her body/weight. In addition, she felt her mother's resentment and disapproval.
After these few rounds of tapping, she noticed a dramatic and clear cognitive shift. She no longer felt this prejudice against others or herself. (This was a critical shift since Patti wished to work as a therapist with overweight clients).
We then addressed additional beliefs that were impeding Patti's weight loss progress.
"Even though I'll probably gain the weight back like I always have..."
"Even though (no matter what) it has to be a struggle to keep the weight off..."
"Even though I believe I always have to be on guard or else I'll gain it back..."
Again, some of the reminder phrases were "I choose to feel relaxed about my body, I choose to feel peaceful about my weight loss...safe about my weight loss and success."
Finally, we tapped for the extreme guilt she feels after eating and her overall anxiety about food:
"Even though I want to release the guilt about overeating..."
"Even though I give food too much power and I'm tired of being anxious all the time..."
We ended with a visualization of her at her goal weight and tapped for any discomfort.
During our 2nd session (45 minutes) Patti reported being in control of her food portions and that she had lost an additional 3 lbs. with ease, although she continued to feel guilty when she wasn't hyper-vigilant about watching what she ate. We tapped as follows:
"Even though I don't feel safe letting down my guard..."
Another important limiting belief surfaced. Patti said, "If I lose the weight, I'll have to excel at what I want to do." This was a "downside" (or pressure) of her reaching her weight loss goal. We continued to tap around safety issues for losing more weight:
"Even though I still feel unsafe about getting thinner..."
"Even though THEY won't feel safe if I lose more weight..."
"Even though I'm afraid to change..."
Then I asked her what the downside was of her feeling successful and powerful. Patti replied, "I wouldn't know how to be in the world. I've always been an underachiever. I only know myself as someone with dreams who never follows through. It won't feel like me unless I am unhappy at what I am doing professionally." We tapped for all of these phrases, alternating "I choose" with positive/negative statements for the reminder phrase.
"Even though I'm afraid to step into my power...(I can feel safe stepping into my power)"
"Even though I've never been good enough because I'm not perfect...I AM good enough"
"Even though I let myself get distracted so I can avoid my power..."
"Even though I think I'm a fraud so I block my power..."
(Notice there was minimal tapping for food, eating habits, or actual pounds during these sessions).
During Patti's 3rd session we focused on her tendency not to live up to her potential, the "upside" of this behavior, and how she felt unprotected when she was thinner. She described a deep sense of loneliness about the loss of a major relationship that had been contributing to her eating this winter.
We tapped on a physical lump in her throat as well as the feeling of loneliness. We tapped more on the theme of feeling unsafe and vulnerable when being powerful and successful, as well as the threat her mother might feel about her progress.
We ended with another visualization of her at her goal weight and tapped for any emotional or physical feelings of discomfort. Her homework assignments were to tap for "feeling inadequate," "fear of changing" and "not feeling safe."
Patti canceled her 4th session because she had reached her goal weight (actually 1 = pounds below her goal) and had lost a total of 20 pounds. In a follow-up phone call Patti said she had maintained her 20 lb. weight loss and summarized her progress as follows:
1. "I feel in control of myself and my eating."
2. "I no longer feel fearful of food."
3. "I don't have any more guilt after I eat."
4. "There's no more body hatred or severe self-criticism."
5. "I am enjoying food more than ever."
We scheduled a follow-up session for some anxiety about a new relationship and the anticipatory fear that she might gain back some weight.