Do you crave junk food when under stress? If you use food like a medicine to sedate yourself, you may have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off despite being diligent about dieting and exercising. Adding pounds can also be a metaphor for putting on layers of emotional protection after suffering significant trauma. Fortunately it is possible to dump your emotional baggage and the weight using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other mind-body spirit approaches.
I have incorporated many of the various techniques I am including in the 18 chapters of Let Magic Happen into the protocol I use routinely with clients in my private practice. This approach is partially summarized in the EFT tapping handout with additional imagery and color reframing components.
This newsletter is linked each month to a blog where I teach the individual steps of the EDANVIR tapping protocol including video demonstrations using generic phrases. In the newsletter, I offer a different clinical example each month illustrating the use of this approach with customized language for each situation. Upcoming newsletters will feature phobias, performance anxiety, infertility, and attracting abundance.
This month I address weight loss and food cravings, because I have been teaching group EFT sessions for this purpose at the Rice Diet Program in Durham since 2004. I also work with individual weight loss clients in my private practice. The tapping can be used to address the food cravings directly, as well as the underlying stress and emotional trauma which are stored in the body and act as triggers for the addictive cravings.
My first weight loss client was an acupuncture patient at the Duke Integrative Medicine Clinic who came to see me for low back pain. I taught her EFT along with the acupuncture, and she happened to mention that she also wanted to lose some weight. She confessed that she felt so stressed every evening that she kept a freezer full of Hershey’s chocolate bars to eat after dinner each night to relieve her anxiety.
She did EFT on that issue and came back a month later to say that her freezer was still full of chocolate bars, but she hadn’t eaten a single one. She had lost 10 pounds and was quite pleased with the results. Her husband took her out to a fancy restaurant known for their chocolate desserts, but she ordered fruit instead. In this case, her sense of what the chocolate would taste like had changed to being too sweet, a frequent experience after tapping.
EFT can also be useful in addressing emotional barriers to achieving weight loss goals. There are often limiting beliefs about getting back to an ideal weight relating to an emotional trauma that occurred the last time that weight was achieved. Resistance to exercise may also be due to a childhood trauma in gym class which then became a lifelong block to developing healthy fitness routines that can be overcome by tapping.
To start the EDANVIR process, you need to temporarily ENERGIZE an effective reminder phrase as detailed in the January Blog. My first client’s phrase was “I crave chocolate every night when I’m stressed” with a Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) score of 10/10. She then repeated the self-acceptance statement, “Even though I crave chocolate every night when I’m stressed, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times while rubbing the sore spot.
The second step is to DESENSITIZE the phrase by repeating it while tapping on each acupoint in the sequence with the middle finger, just long enough to say the phrase once at each point, as detailed in the February Blog. Start with the left Eyebrow point and proceed downward to the Under Breast point, then finish with the Top of the Head point. At the end of this first tapping sequence, take some deep cleansing breaths to let the negative energy drain back into the ground on expiration.
The third step is to AWFULIZE the cravings as detailed in the March Blog. Start with the original phrase at the right Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “I’ve got to have it; I need it every night; there is no way to resist; my body needs soothing; it reminds of getting candy as a child when upset; I thought I was over that; I’ll never reach my ideal weight.” Finish with the original phrase at the Top of Head followed by cleansing breaths.
The fourth step is to NEUTRALIZE the energy by alternating between negative and positive phrases. Start with the original phrase at the left Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “My craving is gone; I really got to have it; maybe not as much; I’m skeptical about tapping; my craving has lessened; I can’t let go of it; what if it actually works.” Finish with “that would be great” on Top of Head and breathe again.
The fifth step is to VISUALIZE what you really want to be true using all positive language. Start at the right Eyebrow saying “I have emotional freedom now,” then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “My craving is gone; I make healthy food choices; I tap away my stress; I let go of my emotional baggage; I enjoy exercising; my health is restored; I will reach my goal.” Finish with “it feels good to be free” on Top of Head and breathe again.
This time continue breathing deeper and more rapidly than before with eyes closed to INTERNALIZE the healing process. Keep the energies moving by breathing in your favorite healing color and blowing out any remaining craving in your body as a different color. Once the energies are circulating effectively, start to shake your arms and legs to REVITALIZE your body until your inner healer tells you that it is time to rest. These seven steps make up EDANVIR to immunize you to stress.
While resting with your eyes closed you can go to your favorite vacation spot, or somewhere else that is safe and secure. Use all five of your senses to get comfortable in that preferred place asking yourself: “What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting?” Look down at your feet in this place and pick up any small objects that you find such as stones or shells. Place any remaining cravings into the objects and throw them far away.
Image how you wish your previous food choices had been made instead of what actually happened. Give yourself permission to rewrite history and allow yourself to see a better outcome. Put a colored frame around this picture. Breathe this color throughout your body. Return to your preferred place. Notice a gift box that you hadn’t seen before. Open it and pull out whatever is inside. Accept the gift and the lessons you learned from your poor choices. Come back wiser and ready to choose sacred food instead as described in my article McFries used to be Sacred Food.
Please review the other related materials at letmagichappen.com and the Let Magic Happen Blog. Feel free to post any comments you have on the Blog regarding the use of this approach for weight loss and food cravings. I am planning a sequel to the book based on readers’ experiences with the techniques, so if you share an interesting story, I may ask you for permission to reproduce it.
Happy tapping and let magic happen!
Larry Burk, MD, CEHP