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EFT Tapping Finds the Core Issue in Using Food as a Reward


By Bronwyn Queen

Dianne’s presenting issue was the 15 pounds that she couldn’t seem to lose. Often overweight in her life, she had handled many issues around food and ate very well at present, but felt stuck with these last 15 pounds.

I asked if there was a recent specific event and she said, “No, it’s just this feeling of being stuck with these extra pounds.”

We decided to focus on how this feeling stuck with the weight showed up in her body. The significant aspects of this feeling were somatic: a solid sensation in her belly, like a full meal not being processed, that doesn’t want to budge. Her SUD level was 8.

For round 1, we used Basic EFT:

Even though I feel stuck with this weight, and it feels like something solid in my stomach, I deeply and completely honor myself.
Even though I feel like I’ll never be rid of these last 15 pounds, and it feels like a full meal not being processed, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though this weight feels like something solid stuck in my body that doesn’t want to budge, something unprocessed, I deeply and completely love, honor and accept myself, and I’m open to listening to what my body is telling me.

This weight that I can’t get rid of
These last 15 pounds
I’ve lost weight before
But I can’t get rid of these last 15 pounds
It feels like something stuck in my body, like something solid
Why can’t I get rid of this weight?
This weight, like a full meal in my stomach that doesn’t want to budge

After two rounds, she had a Cognitive Shift: She uses food as a reward. The stuck feeling in her stomach was still at a 6, but she was now speaking of how she used food as a reward. She experienced the emotional aspect of guilt for using food as a reward. SUD 6 or 7.

For round 2, we used Basic EFT:

Even though I still have this solid feeling in my stomach, using food as a reward, I deeply and completely honor my feelings.
Even though I use food as a reward, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though this weight isn’t budging, maybe because I use food as a reward, I deeply and completely love, honor, and accept myself.

Using food as a reward
Just a little bit of extra food that I don’t need
Using it as a reward
Because no one else is rewarding me
Using food as a reward
I know what’s good for me and then I blow it
Just a little extra food, using it as a reward

In the middle of the first round, she had a cognitive shift: Her father gave her sugary treats when she was a child and it was the only affection she received from him. 

We went straight into round 3 using Basic EFT:

Even though giving treats was the only way Dad acknowledged me, and now it’s how I reward myself, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I’m following this old history of being rewarded with food, I honor myself and I’m open to changing this story.
Even though I’ve used food to reward myself, I deeply and completely love, honor, and accept myself.

Using food as a reward
The way Dad acknowledged me
The only way he showed affection
That old lack of acknowledgment
Rewarding myself because no one else is going to
Using food for reward
That reward from my father
This old story that I’m carrying with me

She had a visible reaction here and I asked what was happening. She said, “Wow, this is really big. The stuck feeling is moving. It’s now a roiling feeling, bubbling in my belly.” The SUD was 6 or 7.”¨

She talked about all the EFT work she did in the past on the issues of her childhood but that she still hadn’t resolved issues with her father from when she was a child. It was the same issue she’d worked on before: Her mother was mentally ill and not able to care for the children, but the father wouldn’t help. He assumed the man’s role, working and earning money, and left the ill mother to tend to the children.

She said she would like to speak to her father about his relationship with her mom, but he has passed away now.

I asked if she would give Unfinished Conversation work a try. She agreed.

She tapped as she asked her father: “What was your perspective on how you handled Mom in relation to us kids? You knew she had problems. How much did you understand?”

He said, “Yes, I knew it was tricky and it wasn’t a happy, usual family. I was trying to do my best, to work hard so you had the basics. I didn’t understand how you felt. I thought Mom would handle everything.”

She said, “I would have thought she [mother] wasn’t capable because she had so many problems. She couldn’t think straight. She wasn’t capable of being a mom. You knew that when you married her.”

He said, “I thought settling down would help her.” 

She said, “It wasn’t a good idea. By the time she was looking after the kids, you would have realized it wasn’t a happy situation.” 

He said, “I don’t do that. My job is to make the money. It’s Mom’s job to look after you.¨
Dianne had a cognitive shift: “I’m not blaming him. I understand he was doing the best he could. Mom was doing the best she could.” 

We did a round of Basic EFT:

Even though Dad didn’t take care of us, he was doing the best he could, and I deeply and completely honor myself and this journey.
Even though Dad’s job was to make money, and he didn’t understand what his children needed, I am open to forgiving him. 
Even though I have this history with my father not acknowledging me, not taking care of me, leaving me with the problem, I deeply and completely honor my journey and make space for healing now.

I was a kid relying on my father, and he didn’t do what I expected and needed
We weren’t a happy family
Things were complicated
Things were tricky
But I know he was doing the best that he could
I was doing the best I could
Mom was doing the best she could

We paused to breathe for a moment. 

I asked her what she would say to him now. She said, “I understand. I’m older and wiser. But it has caused me problems and I would like you to acknowledge things were tricky. I wasn’t trying to be nasty. I wanted to help the situation. To get more help. To protect Sarah. I was a kid so I was relying on you, but you didn’t help us. Now I feel like the black sheep of the family. My solution was to walk away. Now I’m not as close to the family. I can’t be as close to you as you would expect me to be. I’d like you to understand that’s why I am the way I am.”

I asked how he would respond. “He would be upset. He would say he’s sorry he didn’t get that.” 

I asked for her SUD rating on her stomach now. The roiling was at a 0, altogether gone, but her focus had turned to her mother and she was at an 8, presenting as “a sharp hurt in my core.” She was very ready to speak about her mother, so she talked and tapped as she told me about her mother’s depression and mental illness. How she had been a threat to her mother. And how her mother left her nothing in her will. 

We did a round of Basic EFT on the hurt of being left out of the will:

Even though I’m hurt, my last connection to my mother was being left out of her will, I open space for myself to heal. (She connected with this.)
Even though I have this sadness over the loss of potential, this core sadness, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though I have this core sadness, and they both let me down, I deserve peace of mind.

Left out of the will
This pain deep in my core
The sharp pain of being left out of Mom’s will
It was vindictive
How could she do that?
After all I did to try to help
I deserved to be remembered and rewarded
I deserved to know I was loved
I deserve peace of mind
Left out of the will
It hurt
It still hurts
And I’m ready to heal
Healing all this old story

We took a deep breath with hands over our hearts. The pain in her core had subsided. The SUD level was 1 or 2.

She felt she would like to try the Empty Chair with her mother.Ӭ
She tapped and said to her mother, “I would like to hear your perspective. I’m sorry if I made it worse by being born.”

Her mother said, “I always wanted kids. It took a long time to find a husband, a home. Maybe I knew I wouldn’t be a great mom. I did the best I could. It was scary. I didn’t always know what to do. I wanted to look after you as best I could.”

Dianne broke off to provide some history of her mother’s difficult childhood growing up in the South and being orphaned for a period when her parents couldn’t care for her and her siblings.

I asked what her mother had to say now.

“I didn’t know how to have a normal childhood. I didn’t know when to have kids. It wasn’t a good time. I met your dad. We got on. Went to dances. Were happier and settled. My life was still difficult. As soon as we saved enough for a house, we had kids. That was the next thing to do.” 

Dianne broke off to tell me that her mother must have been terrified when she had her. She felt she caused her a great deal of pain in childbirth. I asked what she would say to her mother.

“I’m sorry I caused you so much pain. I hope you realize it wasn’t my intention.”

Her mother responded, “Yes, it was painful, but I had to get on with it.¨
Dianne felt that having a second child must have been very scary for her mother. And that she believed her mother had the second child so that Dianne would have company.

I asked if this was a loving act. Dianne said, “As loving as she could be, I guess.” To her mother she said, “I’m sorry for the pain I caused. I just wanted things to be better. I’m really sorry if you didn’t see it that way.”

Her mother responded, “I didn’t know how to handle you for the best. I was doing the best I could with all the problems and voices in my head. It was confusing. Dad wasn’t helping. I felt alone and confused. It was better that you left when you did. Better for both of us.”

Dianne responded, “Yeah, I think it was. I wasn’t causing you any more problems.” 

I asked if they had more to say. She said, “Mom, I wasn’t disappointed you didn’t leave me anything. You just didn’t acknowledge your oldest daughter. I’d like you to explain why.” 

Mother responded, “I thought you’re a big girl and stood on your own two feet. You didn’t need anything from me. I did what was expected and left it all to my husband. That’s what you do. You leave it to the other half.”

I asked how Dianne felt about that. She continued tapping and said, “Makes sense. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t vindictive. It still hurts. I would have liked an acknowledgment but I get the thinking so that’s fine. I don’t owe anyone. I’m free. I couldn’t have pride in my achievements because I was a threat to her. But because of her, I found my calling. I love what I’m doing.”

We did a round of Sneaking Away:

Even though there is still this hurt, I was set on the path that I now love, and I like who I am, and I honor myself and my journey.
Even though there is still work, still some healing, I honor the healing work that I have done, and I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though there was a deep pain in my core, and it’s still a little bit there, I am proud of who I have become, perhaps because of her, and I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

This pain deep in my core
There’s more work to do
But it’s softening
I’m free
I walked away
And I found myself
And I’m doing great things
I’m helping people
Maybe I’ve become the best version of myself because of this history
All this history with my mother
Healing this old story
Maybe there’s a gift. Becoming who I am today
All this history with my father
Healing this old story
Free to be myself
Free to be the best version of myself

We checked in on the feeling in her core and she said there was a dullness, a residual sensation that felt as if it would dissipate. She felt good, realizing her true inheritance from her mother, which is the power of words and writing, and her role in leading Dianne to her calling.