By Emma Watson
I stated using tapping for weight loss out of sheer, utter desperation. I’d reached a point in my life when at age 27 (having been overweight since 13) I felt that I had tried everything I could think of. My bookshelves were filled with diet books, calorie counters and notebooks listing my food intake and exercise program for weeks at a time. I had joined gyms, weight loss groups and tried so many diets that I lost count. I even tried going vegetarian for two years in a particularly desperate attempt, as well as doing a couple of the low carbohydrate diets that were popular a few years ago. Every new weight loss book or program promised me the world and disappointed me. Nothing worked for me in the long term and with every failure I became more and more despondent.
By January 2005 I weighed, I think about 20 kilos more that I wanted to. I didn’t weigh myself at my biggest, so I don’t know exactly how heavy I got. I know I felt depressed about the way I looked and generally hated myself. It was an almost daily occurrence for me to stand in front of the mirror in the morning and try on four or more different outfits to see if I find one that I thought I looked okay in. I rarely felt good about my appearance.
I decided to try tapping with weight loss to see if it helped me. I’d come across an article by Dr Carol Look on how she used tapping with people who overeat. She also had written an eBook along with Dr Patricia Carrington and Dr Sandra Radomski on this issue. After realising that other people had had success with tapping for weight loss I decided to try it. I’d had some success with tapping, I had used it in situations I found stressful, like giving a presentation at work. I knew that tapping worked for me with anxiety, but I wasn’t convinced that it would work with weight loss.
As a first step I decided to tap on those foods that I ate too much of and foods that I craved. I wasn’t sure that tapping would work for me on this issue and needed some proof before I committed any more time or energy into yet another weight loss attempt.
There were some foods that I couldn’t have in the house because I felt I had no control around them and would just eat them until they were gone. For me, one of those foods was a type of bread roll. This particular type of bread roll comes with small pieces of bacon and cheese already melted on the top, I liked them for many years but in 2005 I found myself buying them regularly and eating too many of them. I started to buy them individually (rather than in packets of six) in an attempt to curb my consumption of them. If I bought the packet of six I found I could easily polish them off in a day or two. One lunchtime at work, sitting alone in my office I started tapping on what I liked about those bread rolls. I knew enough about tapping to know that I needed to be through in addressing everything that attracted me to that particular food. I remember tapping on the smell, taste and appearance of them. I didn’t spend particularly long tapping that day. After about fifteen minutes of tapping I stopped, I can’t say that I felt particularly different. But over the next couple of days I noticed that my craving for those bread rolls hadn’t been present at all, part of me wondered if that was just coincidence.
A few days later I had a particularly stressful day at work. I was working in a large secondary school at the time and one of the students had had a huge emotional meltdown and I’d been left to pick up the pieces. After work, I found myself down at the supermarket buying a packet of the aforementioned bread rolls. As I ate the first few mouthfuls I decided to tap while I was eating to see what happened. There I was, standing in my kitchen shovelling bits of the bread roll into my mouth with one hand (always an elegant look) and tapping with the other. Suddenly the desire to eat the bread roll had vanished completely and it tasted rather dry and unappetising. I didn’t finish it.
My cravings for those bread rolls disappeared that day. I have had no desire to eat one since. Cheered on by this success I decided to try tapping on other foods and issues that I thought were central to my extra weight.
I decided to write down all the issues I wanted to tap on related to specific foods, the extra weight and how I felt about my body. It was a long list, I ended up filling four A4 pages with issues I wanted to work on. Over the next two to three months I worked methodically through that list. I didn’t tap everyday or anything close to that, just whenever I had a spare ten or fifteen minutes, which was often during my lunchbreak at work.
In retrospect, if I had known how well that tapping was going to work for me I would have stayed home for a week and tapped through all my food and weight related issues in a kind of ‘tapping boot camp’. Although I knew my overeating had an emotional basis to it at that stage, I had underestimated how much of an issue this was for me and how much success I would have when I addressed the underlying issues. Some of the statements on my list were the ‘reasons’ why I couldn’t lose weight. Two examples for me were:
Even though I’ve got a slow metabolism I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I’ve got no will power I deeply and completely accept myself.
Other statements related to the times when I used food as an emotional crutch:
Even though I use food to occupy me when I’m bored...
Even though I eat when I’m angry at myself for not being thinner...
Even though I eat at the end of a hard day to reward myself...
I made a note on the page as to how true each statement felt for me, on a scale of one to ten and I also wrote the date. I wanted to keep track of my progress. When I started this process in February 2005 , all those statements I’ve listed as examples above, felt completely true for me or 10/10. By mid March I had managed to get those same examples down to a 3/10 or less by tapping on them. I used this process to work through all the statements on my list.
As I tapped I can’t say that I felt any different, I questioned whether the tapping was actually working but decided to persist and see the process that I had started through to the end.
Around that time I remember reading a comment by Gary Craig, he wrote that "subtle change = powerful change". I knew for certain that my changes with the tapping were subtle because mostly I didn’t feel any different. I kept tapping. It took a few weeks before I noticed that my eating behaviour was changing and I felt more in control around food.
After about three months of tapping on food and weight related issues I suddenly stopped. I’m not sure why and I don’t remember making a conscious decision to do so. I hadn’t gotten everything on my list down to where I felt it was a zero out of ten, but nearly all of them were a three or less.
Ironically through the tapping I had done, my extra weight didn’t bother me as much. I’d spent so much of my life disgusted with myself and the way I looked. After the tapping, my self acceptance which had previously been zero moved up to a much healthier level. I noticed that the behaviours like trying on lots of outfits in the mornings and feeling the need to weigh myself compulsively all disappeared. As I put my sheet of A4 paper and file away, I didn’t give the issue much more thought.
Over the next 18 months those 20 or more kilos came off by themselves. I wasn’t on any form of diet or doing an exercise regime. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I exercised when I felt like it. I wasn’t willing to punish myself any longer with restrictive diets or exercise that I hated. The tapping had addressed the emotional eating that I had been doing and when that stopped, the weight just came off.
By 2006 I was a size 10-12. I had previously been a very generous size 14 (probably actually a size 16 although I could never bring myself to buy anything that large). I still have one of my size 14 dresses at the back of my closet, the fabric still shows the strain marks at the seams even after all this time.
I’m now a size 10 and have been for the last two years or so. I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in 2008 and have been on a gluten free diet since. Some people say no wonder I’m skinny, I don’t eat gluten. I have no doubt that if I haven’t done the tapping I would still be overweight and gluten free.
At times now I forget how big I used to be and try to put on something from the back of my closet thinking that it will still fit me. It always hangs off me like a tent. I am so relieved that my weight isn’t an issue for me anymore. I started tapping for weight loss but what I value more than any dress size or number on the scales is the positive emotional changes, particularly the self acceptance that came as part of the deal. I now specialise in helping others with emotional eating issues.
Emma Watson, Psychologist, New Growth Psychological Services ( http://www.newgrowthpsychologicalservices.com.au )