By Pam Nolte
The client presented with long-term issues with her weight. At present, her doctor considers her obese. According to her, she has been overweight all of her adult life. She said that she has lost and gained over 100 pounds three times in her adult life. Prior to turning 18, she never had a problem with her weight. But from 18 onward, she had problem after problem and couldn’t shake it. By her own admission, she had tried every diet and exercise plan. She had also tried many other techniques, including hypnosis, which she said didn’t work. She decided to try EFT when a breathwork practitioner recommended it.
As weight was too global, we started by checking for resistance to releasing the weight. I had her come up with a statement about what she wanted with her body and weight: “I want to be a healthy size and weight.” I asked her to say the statement three times and rate her VOC (validity of cognition, how true a statement is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being absolutely true).
Her VOC rating the first and second times she said the statement was a 4. On the third time, the VOC dropped to a 1, indicating that she barely believed the statement. Thus, proceeding with tapping on other events would be impacted by resistance.
I suggested that we clear the resistance first. She located the resistance to being a healthy size and weight as a huge black magnet in her solar plexus. We tapped several rounds using the Tap and Talk technique. By the third round of tapping, her resistance had weakened and her desire to be a healthy size and weight had increased from a 1 to an 8.
Next, I asked for a recent experience. She said she’d had a bad day recently in which her doctor told her she had to lose weight or her heart wouldn’t survive and she went to lunch with a friend and couldn’t fit in the seat. Of the two, she said the embarrassment of not fitting in the seat had a higher SUD level.
Present event: embarrassment of not fitting in the seat at lunch with a friend in the midst of fit, yoga-type people (starting SUD 9/10). She said she felt the embarrassment as a heavy, black, blob in her heart/chest area.
I explained the Tell the Story method. We started right before she went into the restaurant (neutral event). She said she felt okay, not great, but okay. We tapped each of the following aspects one by one, rewinding after each to the starting point. (The aspects were selected based on her reaction. Not all aspects are listed, only those that had the highest SUD level.)
- Not fitting in the little chair at the table in the center of an outside eating area that was packed with people in shorts and yoga pants. (Visual)
- SUD 8/10 tapped to a 2-3
- Feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. Both feelings were “bunged up” in her heart/chest area, black and blue like a big bruise. (Emotional)
- To try and narrow the scope, I asked her why she felt self-conscious and embarrassed. She said that if she had been in a room with normal-sized people, she would not have felt so exposed. She said the self-consciousness and embarrassment was due in large part to all the yoga-type people.
- SUD 6/10 tapped to a 1-2
She had a few more aspects to tap through. Once we finished the entirety of the story and tapped each aspect (rewinding to the beginning after each), I had her stop and breathe. She checked back in on her feelings about the story overall. She still felt a bit uncomfortable, but for the most part the “emotional zing,” as she put it, had reduced.
I asked if she’d felt any of these uncomfortable, embarrassed, self-conscious feelings before. At first, she couldn’t remember ever feeling any or all of the feelings before. Shifting gears, we discussed her experiences and history with her weight and body, focusing first on her most recent experiences. Then I asked about her first memory of having issues with her body or others having issues or not feeling comfortable in her skin. She remembered when she was 11 or 12 and a girl pulled up her shirt to point out her love handles that she didn’t even know she had. They were teeny tiny and barely there, yet this girl who she thought was her friend showed them to another girl, because the other girl was jealous.
Childhood event: 11 or 12 years old, her so-called friend pulled up her shirt to show the other girl her “teeny tiny love handles”, because the other girl was jealous. She said she felt embarrassed/exposed/humiliated about the whole thing, 8/10 SUD.
We tapped using Tell the Story, starting at a neutral moment when she arrived at her friend’s house and got off her bike.
- Her so-called friend grabbing her shirt and pulling it up and pointing at her love handles. (visual)
- SUD 8/10 to a 4, then a 1-2
- SUD would not go below a 4 until we tapped on the second aspect.
- Once we tapped on aspect 2 and reduced that to a 2, we rewound to the beginning. She was able to tap this aspect down to a 1-2.
- The two other girls who she thought were her friends laughing and pointing at her body (visual and auditory)
SUD 9/10 to a 2
- Shift: After tapping the story and the aspects, she realized that they were jealous of her. She was prettier and taller and lankier than the other two. It still stung a bit, but it wasn’t debilitating. She could also see how this had wormed into her life.
I asked her if there was anything the 11- or 12-year-old version of her needed to hear. She wasn’t certain. I suggested that she check in and ask. She did so and she said her young self nodded. I explained the Empty Chair technique and how it allowed her to complete conversations, say things that needed to be said. She agreed to do it.
I pulled out a chair. I had her visualize the 11- or 12-year-old her sitting in front of her. She said she was wearing pink shorts and a white top. The younger version kept tugging at her shirt to pull it down, like she couldn’t get it down far enough. She gasped and said that was something she did to this day. I told her to tap and talk to her young self, telling her anything that she would have liked to hear, as well as provide her perspective from her current age.
She tapped silently, focused on the empty chair. I tapped along with her. Several rounds later, she stopped and tears flowed. I had her tap the Gamut point (without the eye movements, as her eyes were closed) while taking long, deep breaths until she was ready. It took several more minutes before the tears stopped. I asked if she wanted to stop or continue. She wanted to continue. I offered several methods to limit the pain, but she wanted to rip off the Band-aid. She tapped and spoke silently to her younger version.
She finished and turned to me, tears on her cheeks, the start of a smile on her face. She told me that as she spoke with her younger self, she had epiphanies about why she did some of what she did, most of which she wanted to keep secret. She did share one shift. She identified as a fat person. When someone asked about her or asked her description, she always started with being large or fat. She realized that she was much, much more than just a fat person. In fact, that was a small part of her. She felt a huge weight lift when she shifted that perspective.
I asked her if she could visualize the situation at the restaurant from that perspective. She said she could and that it wasn’t that bad. She was okay with it. She was certain she wasn’t the only person to embarrass themselves. It wasn’t the end of the world, or her world for that matter. I gave her homework of tapping when she needed.
We agreed that this topic wasn’t finished, though our session was up. I walked her through sneaking away. She liked the idea of placing the issue somewhere no one but her could access it and that she could access it at any time.