Ann admitted using food for 3 primary reasons (1) to soothe the emotional emptiness from her upbringing with her cold mother and absent father, (2) to comfort her when her physical pain was unbearable, and (3) to fill a void inside of her from feeling starved of emotional and physical affection from her husband. Over the past 4 months we have worked on all three of these areas. Ann has lost 25 pounds easily and effortlessly by addressing and neutralizing the underlying emotional states that drove her to binge and overeat in the first place.
Ann said she was overweight most of her life, and sometimes used food to "stick it to" her mother. She used food when she was irritated by her mother and to show that she was "in charge." She understood how this backfired, however, but was unable to stop using food in this way when feeling angry or resentful. "I eat to squash the turmoil" is how she put it.
Chronically angry at her mother, Ann felt as if she were the adult in the relationship. Essentially she was hungry for basic love and acceptance from her mother and never felt heard or understood. At the time Ann contacted me, her mother was entering the hospital for minor surgery. They had had a confrontation during which her mother had told her she didn't think her daughter was likable.
When I asked Ann what the "downside" would be to her losing weight and stopping her afternoon patterns of overeating, she said she would feel dissatisfied and angry all the time and wouldn't know what to do with those feelings. She also stated that she feared she would have to come to terms with all the turmoil in her life. Finally, she admitted that the extra weight was being used as protection against years of emotional pain and feelings of rejection and abandonment.
(1) We tapped for her feelings about her mother as follows:
"Even though my mother doesn't even like me, I completely like and accept myself."
"Even though my mother doesn't think I'm good enough, I choose to believe I'm lovable and good enough."
"Even though I use food to comfort my loneliness, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm obese, I choose to accept myself anyway."
"Even though my mother has never understood me, I accept her for who she is."
"Even though she is too selfish to hear me, I accept my own feelings anyway."
(2) During several later sessions, we tapped for her back and knee pain. Ann has had severe sciatica, and knee replacement surgery a year ago. This was followed by a second surgery to replace a plastic piece in her knee after tearing a ligament. She has felt very discouraged that she continues to suffer so much.
"Even though I'm angry that no one knows what I've been through, I accept and love myself."
"Even though I feel enraged by my pain, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I have this knee pain, and chronic back pain, I accept all of me."
"Even though my pain reminds me of my mother, and I feel resentful, I deeply and completely accept myself, including the pain."
"Even though I have this anger and resentment in my knee, I choose to love and accept myself."
"Event though my pain keeps me from living a normal life, I deeply and completely love and accept all of me anyway."
"Even though my pain gets in my way and makes me feel hopeless and helpless, I choose to feel self-accepting and lovable."
Her pain was reduced significantly during the session and she continues to tap for herself at home between sessions.
(3) The final area of Ann's emotional distress is her marriage; she is troubled by the lack of love and affection. She feels hopeless that it could ever change, and is unable to make any progress in communicating with him. She reported feeling angry and resentful because of a perception that her "needs don't count." We tapped as follows:
"Even though I'm not appreciated for what I do, I love and appreciate myself anyway."
"Even though I feel angry when he doesn't listen to me, I choose to listen to myself."
"Even though I feel terribly frustrated because I'm starving for love and affection, I want to feel comforted anyway."
"Even though I feel rejected and it feels painful, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though my needs are insignificant, and I don't count, I accept all of my feelings."
Ann has tapped sporadically in between sessions and has experienced progress in all areas of her life. She isn't bothered by her mother anymore, and feels more at peace with what she didn't experience emotionally as a child. Ann said, "food isn't as central in my life anymore...I eat moderately and am more conscious of when I'm full and what I need." She said "I enjoy not cramming food down my throat anymore." Ann felt thrilled that she didn't feel deprived by the changes in her eating habits and thought this feature would make her completely successful in reaching her final weight loss goals. She still eats her favorite foods but has a new awareness about what her body needs. "I no longer have to eat to fill the starvation I feel."
In the later afternoons, Ann used to binge on cookies and sweets. Now she takes the time to be by herself, read, think about her feelings, and tap. She acknowledges that neither her mother nor her husband have changed in any way, however, she feels confident she can identify and process all of her feelings in relationship to both of them. She has no desire to abuse food as a way to stuff her feelings or avoid the reality of her situation. Her pain is much better, and she continues to seek professional medical help for long-term ailments.
Ann has lost 25 pounds and feels confident that she will make it through the holidays with ease. When I asked Ann what was most useful about the tapping, she declared that using EFT for her pent-up frustrations and emptiness made all the difference in her life to help her stop overeating and care about her body and health.
Carol Look, C.S.W., D.C.H.
The case if taken from the EFT Gary’s Craig site: www.emofree.com with his approval but the case description is solely the responsibility of the writer of the case.