Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to get our Free EFT Get Started Package or our EFT Books and EFT Trainings for a more complete understanding. For more, read our EFT Info and Disclaimer Document. Please consult physicians on all medical issues.
Using EFT to Understand How Body Image, Weight and Self-Love Connect
Dear EFT Community,
Sandy Zeldes an EFT INT-1 Practitioner specialising in weight issues shares how when you are "stuck" with a negative belief process or trauma, what keeps it so locked in place is your lack of acceptance and love. When you shine the light of love and kindness through acceptance on an issue, it is like "the sun burning off the clouds."
By Sandy Zeldes, EFT INT-1
What do we do when we have been through enough trauma in childhood and have created a need for a coping mechanism like food to deal with all the unresolved feelings and trauma?
What is one of the biggest common denominators for so many of us?
We think somehow we must have deserved to be treated the way we were treated, it just feels so well, personal. We end up hating ourselves and usually denying our feelings or "stuffing them" as a coping mechanism. It works pretty well and helps us to survive as children but of course as we get older it starts to be pretty tough to feel good when we don't have access to our feelings. It can be the cause of so much stress, pain and suffering.
The coping strategy that helped us survive becomes a thick heavy coat we wear in summer.
I see this in terms of emotional eating and using food to cope with this kind of suffering and really all feelings that feel overwhelming, even joy eventually. In our society we also often develop a lot of beliefs about our bodies that can help to perpetuate the problem as well. This lack of self worth, coupled with the societal pressures and beliefs often overlap.
Example of the issue at work and how to release it:
I recently worked with a woman who shared with me her earlier childhood traumas having to take care of her very dysfunctional mother at the early age of 5-years-old. As a child she had taken this on as something wrong with her and felt very bad about herself that she couldn't do all that was required of her. In her current life she is using food very obsessively binge eating and has an expresses a lot of self-loathing.
Of course, how could a 5-year-old do all the laundry, cooking and shopping?
We know this in our adult minds, intellectually, but she was still carrying this fear, trauma and low self-worth it seemed once we began tapping.
The beauty of EFT is in the reversal statement.... "I love and accept myself."
Why is that so important? Why do we need to say it? Why does it help to "un-reverse" us?
Because I think so often when we are "stuck" with a negative belief process or trauma, what keeps it so locked in place is our lack of acceptance and love. When we shine the light of love and kindness through acceptance on an issue, it is like the sun burning off the clouds.
We realize it is not our fault. We can look at it and move on.
What we resist persists... with EFT, we stop resisting and therefore begin to release stuck emotional experiences.
We tapped on:
- "Even though I feel worthless and like I have to always take care of everyone else first... what if I could love and accept myself now?"
- "I have to take care of everyone else first"
- "I am worthless if I'm caring for others"
- "I come last"
- "My worth is in what I can do for others"
- "Nobody cares what I need, and neither do I"
- "I had to do everything for mom"
- "I can't love myself or feel worthy"
Then we added in a few rounds of tapping using the "what if" statement.
- "What if I could?"
- "What if I am?"
- "What if I am worthy just because I exist"
- "What if it is not my fault?"
- "What if I was just a little girl and shouldn't have had to do all that for adults..."
- "What if I am worthy now"
We did several rounds of this using the "what if" statement and what was under the worthlessness was all this fear- the constant fear she felt in her childhood.
- "Even though I've always been scared from the time I was 5 and I had to take care of mom... what if I could love and accept myself now?"
- "I've always been scared"
- "I've lived in fear"
- "I've been living in fear for forever now"
- "I'm used to this fear"
- "All this fear"
- "I have been living in fear all my life"
- After several rounds we added the choice statement:
- "What if I could love myself now"
- "Even though I'm scared, what if I could love myself"
- "What if I could love and accept myself now..." etc
By the end of several rounds of tapping and peeling back the layers, she felt much less self loathing. It was a great relief to her. The self loathing is often a huge thorn in our sides that perpetuates binge eating. When we pull it out, I often see binges subside.
Using love and acceptance is absolutely key to healing trauma and food and body issues. I can't imagine how we would ever heal without it. Combined with tapping on energy centers such as meridian points is a way to super charge the process.
Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to get our Free EFT Get Started Package or our EFT Books and EFT Trainings for a more complete understanding. For more, read our EFT Info and Disclaimer Document.
Two EFT Sessions Heal Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Issues
by Eloisa Ramos, EFT-Cert-II
I had an opportunity to work with a client, we will call her Amy. She had various issues she wanted to address (a relationship conflict, lack of self confidence and self trust: nerve pain and a cold). She booked two sessions of 1 1/2 hours each. This gives a good example of how much can be accomplished in just 3 hours of EFT.
Amy is 54 years old. Her issues were:
1. Physical—Constant Nerve pain (at least every ½ hr) for the past 6 weeks, and feeling unwell with cold symptoms for the past 1-2 weeks.
2. Emotional—Had a fight 2 weeks ago with a good friend whom she has known and shared many aspects of life with for the past 20 yrs. The incident took place when they were traveling back home and Amy was overcome with fear. She told her friend she could not go with her if her friend drove, due to this fear. Her friend is 70 years old and had been unwell beginning 6 months prior with high blood pressure and was diagnosed with renal artery stenosis, which can cause high blood pressure. The medication she was on had caused periods of very low pressure and caused fainting. Amy said, “I felt my fear was valid, but she saw it as a total lack of respect for her and said she was not an invalid. I also think it was a lack of respect for her, but my fear was greater. Then she became very angry and HURT. We are still trying to resolve this issue.”
3. Mental—“I never had much confidence in myself and even though others say I am good at my work, I still feel as I can’t be trusted. Even after 30yrs in the profession. I find it difficult to stand up for myself and am now only seeing this issue and would like to resolve it.”
4. Spiritual—“I still feel lost, although I feel as though I have a lot of wisdom to impart. I know I can be much more than I presently am.”
First Session Work by Phone:
Nerve Pain: we tapped directly on the nerve pain she was feeling at the moment in her back and left side. SUDS 7.
“Even though I have this cold nerve pain on the back and left side, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Pain shifted to the right side. SUDS 2-3.
“Even though I have this right side muscle pain, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 1. Pain shifted to the left arm pit—SUDS 7.
We tapped in a similar fashion and pain shifted to the right side, SUDS 3-4. Because the pain shifts on her even without the tapping, I decided to try to go back to see what may have brought it on instead of continuing with the direct tapping.
I took Amy back to before the nerve pain started. What was going on? She said they were moving. She felt overwhelmed physically and didn’t know how to cope. She felt “that I would fail and something is going to go terribly wrong, fearing that it’s not going to work out, that my decisions are not logical and will not turn out right.”
Table Top or Core Issue—Lack of Self-Confidence
Event 1: Using the Tell the Story Technique we targeted a childhood school event where a nun was going desk to desk asking times table questions. She got hit for not coming up with the right answer.
First emotion in the event was fear and nervousness. SUDS at a 6, tapped 2 rounds on the fear that she would not know the answer:
“Even though I am afraid I won’t know the answer, I’m a terrific kid.” SUDS 3.
“Even though I’m afraid it is not going to work out, I am a terrific kid.” SUDS 0.
Had her repeat the story from beginning and stop where there was intensity.
Second emotion in the story--anger. SUDS 7.
2 Rounds of tapping on
“Even though I feel angry that she hit me, I’m still a terrific kid.” SUDS 3
“Even though I still feel angry that she hit me, I’m still a terrific kid.” SUDS 0.
Had her retell story and feel if there was still anger there.
TESTING: Had her revisit event in her mind and exaggerate what happened to see if any intensity was left. None. Amy said the event just seemed ridiculous now.
Event 2: During previous tapping, I introduced a reminder phrase that said “there is something wrong with me”. This brought up the second event we tapped on: Age 7 putting on a show for mother’s day. She stood at the front of the whole audience and was so nervous, she wet herself.
Using the Minimizing PainTechnique we tapped on nervousness. SUDS 10.
Round 1: “Even though, I feel nervous, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 7.
Round 2: “Even though I am still nervous, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 3.
Using the Tell the Story Technique we tapped on nervousness: SUDS 7
Round 1: Even though I’m so nervous, I feel numb all over, I’m still a terrific kid.” SUDS 3.
Round 2: “Even though, I wet myself, and judged myself as having something wrong with me, I am a terrific kid.”
In the reminder phrases, I introduced the reframe that “there is probably not one person alive that did not wet themselves at some inopportune time when they were kids—that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them.” She agreed. SUDS 0.
Testing: Had her retell the story again from beginning to end and exaggerate everything. She reported that it “was a funny incident”.
I asked whether there were other events where she thought or felt things were going to go wrong or where she thought or felt there was something wrong with her.
Event 3: High school swimming event, she was the captain of the team and she didn’t do something and the event “fell apart” and she was responsible for it.
Used Tell the Story Technique and did 2 rounds on the physical sensation in her throat—a sick feeling—when she got to the “responsible for it” part. SUDS 8
Round 1: “Even though, I feel this sick feeling in my throat, I didn’t do what I was supposed to, I deeply and completely accept myself, anyway.” SUDS 4
Round 2: “Even though, I still feel this sick feeling in my throat, it was my fault, I deeply and completely accept myself”. SUDS 0.
Had her retell story and found no more intensity. Testing: had her vividly imagine the event and no intensity.
Second Session Done by Phone
Amy reported that during her week after the first session she “was more confident at work, was better with decision making and was not caring so much what others thought and standing up for herself”.
I took her back to before the nerve pain started again. She said, “A lot of things going on, quite intense…we were moving house… friend couldn’t do physical work…I didn’t think I could cope with it. It was overwhelming. I was pushing myself too much: I stopped her to tap on these feelings. SUDS 6-7, tightness in her throat.
Round 1: “Even though I feel this tightness in my throat, I’m feeling overwhelmed, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS went to a 4.
Round 2: “Even though I still feel tightness in my throat, I’m pushing myself too much, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS went to 0. Tightness moved to stomach, SUDS 4.
Round 3: “Even though I feel this tightness in my stomach, I can’t cope, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS went to 0.
Using the Tell the Story Technique we tapped on a specific scene when they were moving house:
Event 1: The movers were bringing down the furniture and needed to be told where to put things and her friend could not decide quickly enough where to put the furniture and got very upset, and looked like she was having a nervous breakdown. Amy found this very hard. Felt physically sick in her throat. SUDS 10.
Round 1: “Even though this is very hard for me to see my friend like this, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 7 on sickness in her throat.
Round 2: “Even though I want to help my friend but I don’t know how, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 4 on throat.
Round 3: “Even though I feel stuck, unable to help my friend and unable to help the movers get their instructions, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
I introduced a reframe in the reminder phrases around how the situation was difficult for everyone, for her friend because she couldn’t decide, for Amy because her friend was in charge and she couldn’t overstep her authority and for the movers because they did not know where to put things. She responded to this well, commenting, “Things could have been fixed later-they didn’t need to be in the exact right place.” SUDS 0.
I had Amy retell the story and stop again if there was intensity. None.
Testing: Vividly imagine the scene and see if any intensity is left. None, but this lead her into the continuation on the story. 4 days later, Amy had to take her friend to the hospital.
Event 2: Using Tell the Story Technique we tapped on tightness in her throat. SUDS 8.
Round 1: “Even though I feel so scarred that she might have a stroke, and I feel this tightness in my throat, I deeply and completely accept myself.” The SUDS came down to a 6 for the tightness in the throat, but it was about a different aspect—fear in the hospital.
Round 2: “Even though I still feel the tightness in my throat, I am betraying my friend by worrying about what the staff is going to say” (This was the hospital where she worked at). SUDS on the tightness in her throat went to 4.
Round 3: “Even though all I’m thinking this is about me, that people are going to think badly of me, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 2.
Round 4: “Even though I am afraid my family is going to find out, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 0.
I had her retell the story and since there was no intensity left I asked her about her family and the fear that they would “find out”. She explained that it was a “family trait” to protect your reputation by “looking good”. I asked if there was a situation where she had let her family down.
Event 3: This took her to when she was 21 years old and had a baby girl out of wedlock. She didn’t have a specific scene, so we just tapped on the emotions around it. Just having her tune in to her feelings around the issue, we tapped on
First Aspect: Embarrassment, SUDS 8.
Round 1: “Even though I feel embarrassed that I had a baby out of wedlock, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 6.
Round 2: “Even though I am an embarrassment to my family, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 3.
Round 3: “Even though I was young and inexperienced and got myself pregnant and my family was embarrassed, I deeply and completely accept myself. SUDS 0
I did some reframing around her being young and inexperienced to clear any guilt.
Second Aspect: Anger, SUDS 4.
Round 1: “Even though I feel angry at Mom, I didn’t have no support, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 2.
Round 2: “Even though I feel angry that I had no support, I recognize that Mom was probably having a difficult time handling this situation herself, and I deeply and completely accept myself.”
In the reminder phrases I reframed that everyone was doing the best they could. That Mom was embarrassed because of her own programming that she learned that said that this was embarrassing and had nothing to do with her or the baby. That no one can ever do wrong by bringing a beautiful baby into the world. SUDS 0.
I had her vividly image this event and she said it was fine.
I took her back to the moving house time and reviewed what was left there. Everything was OK there, but this moved her forward in time. Two weeks before our session (around the time that her cold started) to the unresolved issue with her friend, Anna.
Event 4: Using the Tell the Story Technique we tapped on worry, SUDS 8.
Round 1: “Even though, I feel so worried that Anna is driving in her condition, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 4.
Round 2: “Even though I am still worried that my friend is driving, and she has a mind of her own, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 8. New aspect showing up.
She said, “I just can’t let Anna drive. I’ve got to drive”. I asked why, and she said, “This great fear comes over me thinking of having to drive through the city”.
New aspect: fear of driving in the city.
Round 3: “Even though I am afraid of driving in the city, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 6.
Round 4: “Even though I would feel safer driving because I would feel more in control and I wasn’t able to communicate how I was feeling to Anna and she misinterpreted what I said and did, I deeply and completely accept myself, and I accept Anna too.” SUDS 4. Reframing around how there was miscommunication.
Round 5: “Even though Anna thought I was being disrespectful to her for not wanting her to drive, it was not about Anna at all, it was this fear that came over me, and I deeply and completely accept myself.” Reframing around the real issue, her fear.
During the reminder phrases I reframed further by telling her that “She had not disrespected her friend, it was a miscommunication because this fear had taken her over.” SUDS 0.
I asked her to reevaluate her feelings toward her friend over this incident. She felt at peace.
Moved to the new aspect: fear of driving in big cities: SUDS 7.
Round 1: “Even though there are so many possibilities of accidents happening and it is unpredictable, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 4-3.
Round 2: “Even though I don’t seem to be in control, there is so much traffic, I deeply and completely accept myself.” SUDS 2.
(Time was running out so, I rushed through the rest a bit)
I had her picture herself driving in traffic and she told me “those big trucks stay besides you…”
Round 3: “Even though those big trucks are scary and they stay beside you, I ….” SUDS 2.
Round 4: “Even though those trucks can’t see you and they drive so fast, I ….”
She said, “There are traffic accidents because of the big trucks in tunnels.” I asked her if she had seen such an accident. She said, “I saw a big one on the news.”
Event 5: Picture of the accident in the news:
Round 1: “Even though I saw the scary accident with the big truck, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Round 2: “Even though I concluded that it had to be the trucks fault that caused the accident, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
In the reminder phrases I said, “the news didn’t say who caused the accident, and I just assumed it was the truck” I also reframed the event stating that statistics show that truck drivers are some of the most experienced drivers on the road because they drive so much. I also said that it could have been a car that the truck was trying to avoid in that tunnel that caused the accident. She was laughing. She said she was fine.
I had her picture herself driving with two trucks on either side. She said she felt fine.
by Eloisa Ramos, EFT-Cert-II