Step One: Acknowledging the present
Maya Angelou said, ‘I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.’ We ask that you do the same. Allow yourself just to be, and to acknowledge where you are today without self-blame, or negative judgements. You’ve already come further than you think and survived times more challenging than anyone else really knows about.
The early stages of this work are designed to reveal and explore old habits and old, engrained and unquestioned ways of thinking about yourself that you may not even be fully aware of. There are revelations in this work that can surprise you. You are beginning to mine the past to recall half-remembered times which have somehow kept you stuck and influenced your relationship with food.
You are about to take a life-changing step on your road, and to see for yourself your potential to live every day as a brand new day, with a brand new dawn.
Step Two: End sugar cravings and eating compulsions
You already know that you are prone to using food to comfort yourself, and that you often eat as a way of dealing with stressful situations. This is your opportunity to track back through time, and find early, or the earliest, instance of turning to food in this way. By exploring those early triggers you can release, and resolve, your compulsions to eat, and begin to find new ways of soothing yourself that do not involve eating.
Begin by considering the current events and situations that trigger you to comfort and stress eat. Focus on the feelings you experience at these times. Really get in touch with those feelings and emotions as strongly as you can, then use them as a link to track back those familiar feelings to much earlier events.
Allow your mind to drift back through those broad brushstrokes of time to focus not on events, but on those feelings that are familiar. Allow memories of those times to return to you, and focus on your emotional responses to whatever was happening to you. Give yourself time to feel those familiar feelings all the way back through time when you were triggered to eat in the past. Gain an awareness of what emotions you were stuffing down with food.
Step Three: Heal the source of your self-hatred
Our bodies bear testament to our lives. Carrying excess weight is a manifestation of a body out of balance. Your work is to bring yourself back into balance so that it is safe to release the excess weight and achieve your natural weight. The goal is to feel at home and safe in yourself – to honour and care for yourself to the best of your ability and to end self-punishing and self-sabotaging behaviour.
It is helpful now to acknowledge how little we are at peace with ourselves by writing down as many of the negative, and positive, judgements you make about your looks and your own body
Use the words you, or others, have used to describe you physically. Write down the praise and the admonishments.
As you do this, make a note of any emotions, or memories that surface. As always, take your time with this. We carry the weight of our own self-criticism, and bear the emotional load of harsh words, and the physical trespasses others have made against us.
Step Four: Setting and achieving your goals
People trying to lose weight are often prone to catastrophic thinking. They’re on a diet and meet a friend for coffee. The cakes in the display are tempting and they buckle and have one. This then causes them to panic and the entire experience then becomes an absolute disaster in their mind. They then go on to escalate their thinking to tell themselves that they are failures… What’s the point?… They might as well give up… It’s all so hopeless… and they then go down into a destructive spiral. Not once will they have thought, ‘Okay, that was delicious and now I’ll go back to my healthy eating programme.’
Always make sure you keep perspective and focus on the bigger picture. One cake is not the end of the world if you have just managed three weeks of healthy eating. Practise challenging your thoughts. You have many hundreds of thoughts during your day that you never act on, so why can’t you do the same with thoughts about food
Step Five : Breaking through
Gary Craig, who was instrumental in developing emotional freedom technique (EFT) to be how we know it today, also invented the run-the-movie technique. You will always have the memories. They will not be deleted, but the link with uncomfortable emotions can certainly be reduced if not completely eliminated.
Take one of your early negative recollections of an event or situation that led you to emotional eating and write it out as a two-minute movie script, beginning by giving it a title. If you have numerous memories, then choose the one with the most emotional heat still attached to it. Tap with a soft fist on your collarbone and breathe as you do this. Condense the memory to a two-minute film — who was there, where did it take place and how did it make you feel? Slowly read through your movie script. If/when you feel any uncomfortable emotion, then stop and give this discomfort a number from zero, which is equal to almost no discomfort, up to 10, which represents intense discomfort.
Step Six : Explore and release remaining resistance
Now is the time to explore any remaining resistance to losing weight and being slim and healthy. Ideally, allow yourself ample time to sit and contemplate this part of the work. Tap with a soft fist on your collarbone. Breathe and, as usual, have a glass of water close by so you can stay well hydrated.
What self-sabotaging behaviours are you holding on to? hat fears do you retain when you think of achieving your natural weight? What do you think you could lose in your life by being successful? Have you come as far as you are going to go? Are you doing everything you can to be successful or are you holding back? What benefits are there for you to fail at achieving your natural weight?
Try and work below the surface of your everyday thoughts. Write down whatever comes into your mind without necessarily getting too caught up with reading it back to yourself in the first instance. Be kind to yourself. Try not to judge yourself. This is the work that is left to do and acknowledging these last parts of resistance is the start to releasing them.
Step Seven : Become more intuitive
Take a big deep breath. Easy, nothing forced, and breathe out slowly. You’ve come so far, and we want you to reflect on the courage it has taken and remind you how proud you should be of yourself.
When you’ve been stuck for a long time, or been in the thrall of uncomfortable emotions that have ruled your life, it can feel very strange when those influences are no longer in control. Emotional eating has, in the past, taken the place of you speaking out or having your needs met. Having worked so hard to release and resolve your triggers to emotional eating, you may be wondering: what now?
Well, there is a part of you – a very powerful, wonderful part of you – that you have underused while you were swallowing down your emotions with food. This incredible part of you always works to promote your best interests and is your greatest advocate.
Are you intrigued as to what this part of you might be? Well, it is your intuition – your gut reaction. For some of you this will be tantamount to a formal introduction as this is not a part of you that you have ever acknowledged or even known existed.
Your intuition was drowned out with emotional eating and somehow got turned down and muffled under plates of food. Now, though, you are clear of all those emotional triggers, and it’s time to meet your own very best friend.