You’ve had several experiences with EFT by now.
You’ve tried it on some of your cravings and probably had immediate success. You’ve also probably identified some of the specific events that contributed to your eating behavior. You might have unearthed some of your limiting beliefs. Here are some guidelines for where to go next.
There are five possible outcomes after doing a full round of EFT.
I’ll cover what to do about each of these possibilities in detail, but please note that: All of the changes in items 1 through 4 are evidence that EFT is working for you.
1. What should you do if the craving or discomfort level improves or goes away completely? If the craving or discomfort goes away completely, you are done. You’re one of our well-known “one-minute wonders,” and while you may find it surprising, this is a frequent occurrence.
Enjoy the results and get on with your life.
If the craving or discomfort improves but doesn’t go to 0, do more EFT rounds until it reaches 0 or plateaus at some improved level. If it plateaus and three or four more EFT rounds don’t result in relief, you can assume that “nothing more will happen” and go to item 5 below.
If the craving or discomfort disappears but resurfaces at another time, this is evidence that more EFT is necessary. It would be a mistake to conclude that EFT “didn’t work” because it obviously did. Our bodies give us many valuable messages (if we are listening) and sometimes a single symptom can have several causes. You can try more rounds of standard EFT and, eventually, the discomfort or craving may subside permanently. If not, just assume that “nothing more will happen” and go to item 5 below.
2. What should you do if the location of a physical symptom moves to another part of the body, even if it only moves an inch or two? Sometimes while tapping for a specific food craving, a person will suddenly feel nauseated or develop a headache or feel pain or discomfort somewhere in the body. (See an example on pages 95–96). Any new symptom or movement of a symptom is cause for optimism because it suggests that the original problem has been alleviated in favor of a new discomfort that now gets your attention. It could also mean that the original discomfort had an emotional cause that was “alleviated in the background” and the new discomfort or craving is evidence of a new emotional cause. In either case, start over with EFT at the new location just as though it is a brand new condition—because it is.
If the symptom moves again, then keep “chasing” it until the discomfort level falls to 0. If you get stuck on a symptom that doesn’t move or if you don’t get relief after three or four diligent rounds of EFT, then assume that “nothing more will happen” and proceed to item 5 below.
3. What should you do if the quality of the symptom changes from, let’s say, a sharp pain to a dull ache, or from a throb to a tingle…and so on? This is similar to item 2 above except the symptom changes nature or quality instead of location. Any such quality change is cause for optimism because it suggests that the original condition has been altered.
In this case, start over with EFT as though this altered version is a new condition. Keep doing EFT rounds on any future altered symptoms until the discomfort level falls to 0. If you get stuck on an altered symptom that doesn’t move or if you don’t get relief on it after three or four diligent rounds of EFT, then assume that “nothing more will happen” and proceed to item 5 below.
4. What should you do if the discomfort level or craving increases? Although it doesn’t happen often, I have certainly seen cases where such levels increased after one or two rounds of EFT. Many healing responses triggered by other therapies show signs of getting worse (they call it a “healing crisis”) before getting better.
Three or four more rounds of EFT will usually “turn the corner” and launch noticeable relief. If not, or if the relief plateaus at a level above 0, then assume that “nothing more will happen” and proceed to item 5.
5. What should you do if nothing happens? The high likelihood here is that unresolved emotional issues are major contributors to the craving or discomfort you feel.
Since we have so many differing emotional histories, this bit of detective work has to be customized to you. I usually do this by asking questions.
If there was a specific emotional event contributing to this craving or this feeling of discomfort, what could it be?
The beautiful thing about this question is that it often points to a vital emotional cause even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. Your system has a way of knowing what is going on even if you see no realistic link. For example, your craving for vanilla pudding may seem to have no connection to the memory of your third grade teacher ridiculing you in front of the class. That’s okay, just use EFT on that memory with a Setup Phrase like: Even though Mrs. Johnson humiliated me in third grade…
Do this for as many rounds as it takes to bring your current emotional intensity on this event down to 0. When finished, you are likely to notice complete relief from the craving. If not, ask the question again and use EFT on the resulting emotional issue. Repeated efforts at this are likely to have two benefits: the emotional events will lose their sting (probably permanently) and your craving or discomfort should fade considerably.
Another good question is:
If you could live your life over again, what person or event would you just as soon skip?
This question is more general than the previous one but its answer usually leads to important specific events that need collapsing. For example, if your answer to the above is “My brother Jake,” then you can break down your experience with Jake into all the specific events you have had with him that left you feeling angry, frustrated, afraid, etc.
With these two questions, you can uncover and resolve important issues that limit your life and cause you pain and/or other symptoms. That’s very useful.
One point, though. You must come up with an answer to these questions or they will be useless. A response like “I don’t know” is unacceptable. If you really don’t know, use the first guess that comes to mind. If you don’t even have a guess, then make one up!
Often a made-up issue is as good as or better than a real one. That’s because it still came from within your mind and therefore drew from material that’s part of your actual experience. It still has your experiences and emotions embedded within it and it can even blend several forgotten issues together in a useful way.
When progress with EFT seems stopped—or it seems as though it doesn’t work—EFT itself is usually not the problem. Rather, the reason for the lack of progress can most often be traced to the user’s inexperience.
Why do I say this? Because those who master EFT don’t miss very often.
They not only get their share of “one minute wonders” but impressive progress is also made for just about any problem with an emotional cause, including many physical ailments.
In those cases where the masters are stumped, however, they don’t point the finger at EFT for “not working.”
Rather, the masters ask themselves questions like:
“What’s in the way here?”
“What have I not seen yet?”
“What core issue have I been unable to find?”
After asking myself those questions, session after session, for many years now, here is a list of the most common reasons why EFT hasn’t produced the expected results.
By far, the most common reason, especially with beginners, is that the problem is being approached too globally. Next, I have included one of my tutorials from the EFT website with further insight on being as specific as possible and finding those individual events.
During EFT workshops, we emphasize the importance of finding specific events to tap on. We drive home the point that a focus on specific events is critical to success in EFT. In order to release old patterns of emotion and behavior, it’s vital to identify and correct the specific events that gave rise to those problems. When you hear people say, “I tried EFT and it didn’t work,” the chances are good that they were tapping on generalities, instead of specifics.
An example of a generality is “self-esteem” or “depression” or “performance problems.” These aren’t specific events.
Below these generalities you’ll find a collection of specific events. The person with low self-esteem might have been coloring a picture at the age of 4, when her mother walked in and criticized her for drawing outside the lines. She might have had another experience of a school teacher scolding her for playing with her hair during class during second grade, and a third experience of her first boyfriend deciding to ask another girl to the school dance.
Together, those specific events contribute to the global pattern of low self-esteem. The way EFT works is that when the emotional trauma of those individual events is resolved, the whole pattern of low self-esteem can shift. If you tap on the big pattern, and forget the specific events, you’re likely to have limited success.
When you think about how the big pattern like low self-esteem is established, this makes sense. It’s built up out of many single events. Collectively, they form the whole pattern. The big pattern doesn’t spring to life fully formed; it’s built up gradually out of many similar experiences. The memories engraved in your brain are of individual events; one disappointing or traumatic memory at a time is encoded in your memory banks. When enough similar memories have accumulated, their commonalities combine to create a common theme like “poor self-esteem.” Yet the theme originated as a series of specific events, and that’s where EFT can be effectively applied. Below a generality like, “My mother didn’t nurture me,” you’re bound to find a whole slew of individual events. One of these might be mother saying, when she was planning your sixth birthday, “You’re too fat to eat cake. No more than one piece.” Another might be her saying, when you were eleven, and just entering puberty, “You’ll never attract a man unless you skinny up.” Cumulatively, these give you the message that your mother didn’t nurture you. You might today fail to nurture yourself, internalizing your mother’s behavior. Yet this general problem has its roots in those very specific events.
The good news is that you don’t have to tap on every single event that contributed to the global theme. Usually, once a few of the most disturbing memories have lost their emotional impact, the whole pattern disappears. Memories that are similar lose their impact once the most vivid memories have been neutralized with EFT.
Tapping on global issues is the single most common mistake newcomers make with EFT. Using lists of tapping phrases from a web site or a book, or tapping on generalities, is far less effective than tuning into the events that contributed to your global problem, and tapping on them. If you hear someone say, “EFT doesn’t work,” the chances are good they’ve been tapping globally rather than identifying specific events.
Don’t make this elementary mistake. List the events, one after the other, that stand out most vividly in your mind when you think about the global problem. Tap on each of them, and you’ll usually find the global problem diminishing of its own accord. This is called the “generalization effect,” and it’s one of the key concepts in EFT.
As we tap on a painful memory and our SUD score goes down, the benefit generalizes to other similar events. Our SUD for these might reduce even though we haven’t tapped on them.
Another way to uncover important issues, limiting beliefs, and specific events related to your weight is to use an affirmation process that will trigger “tail-enders.” Tail-enders are the “yes, but” statements that contradict and sabotage your new goals.
For example, if you ask your system to confirm something that isn’t currently true, such as, “I now look like a swimsuit model,” your mind will instantly begin screaming its objections. Here’s how to take advantage of these objections and make them work for you.
When I began my weight loss journey, I took a hard look at my routine. I’d go into the bathroom each morning, take a look at the Humpback whale around my belly, and say, “My natural weight is 222 pounds” However, I had all kinds of other voices that made contradictory statements. Those contrary voices are why affirmations don’t work.
I think affirmations can be very powerful and useful, but most of us have, like me, had mixed success with them.
That’s because of all the tail-enders that arise when we state our affirmations. Just stating an affirmation usually brings up a host of negative voices ready to speak up and ensure we don’t meet our goals.
For example, if your goal weight is 125 pounds, you might use the following statement:
My normal weight is 125 pounds and that’s what I weigh.
Try this now by filling the blank with your ideal weight and saying it out loud with as much conviction as you can muster:
My normal weight is ____ pounds and that’s what I weigh.
Now listen to what happens on the inside. When you declare a reality that is not currently true, your conflicting issues will often present some opposition, also known as negative self-talk or tail-enders. You might hear something like:
No way…look at the scale.
It isn’t safe to be that thin.
I’m afraid of being hungry.
My friends or family won’t like me.
I won’t be able to complain anymore.
I can’t afford new clothes.
I don’t trust skinny people.
I’ll never lose weight.
I’ll always be fat.
I can never be skinny. Look at this cellulite!
Losing weight is just too difficult.
Unaddressed, tail-enders have the power to sabotage any goal you try to achieve. On the bright side, tailenders also point directly to issues you can disarm with EFT, thus removing their power from your weight loss process.
For example, if the tail-ender you heard was “My friends won’t like me,” you can bet there have been events in your life that helped you come to that conclusion. Take some time to review your experiences and tap on any events that might be related. Maybe your mother made fun of the skinny kid who lived next door or you heard your friends judge thin people on TV. Anything like this could contribute to your resistance to losing weight, but using EFT for those events can release their intensity and provide the freedom you need to reach your goal.
Once you identify a specific event that may be contributing to your issue with weight, simply tap the points while telling the story of that event until its emotional intensity disappears. To be more effective, identify which emotions you experienced during the event and address them individually:
Even though I felt humiliated when my mother said that, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Use “this humiliation” as your Reminder Phrase.
Once the emotional intensity for humiliation is released, substitute anger, hopelessness, or any other feeling you experienced and address it next.
There are several common “themes” for people who can’t lose weight. For some, weight is a shield that protects them from having to do certain things, like socializing or being intimate. Others have a painful association with exercise or feeling hungry. Most often, for myself included, food can be a form of self-medication, something we indulge in the way other people indulge in cigarettes, alcohol, or other addictions. We do it because it makes us feel better—at least temporarily—by relieving or suppressing at least some of our stress, anxiety, fear, anger, or other damaging emotions. If any of these themes resonate with you, use them to identify the individual events that are still affecting you and address them with EFT.
Another way to find core issues is to ask yourself the simple question:
If there were an emotional reason why I can’t lose weight, what would it be?
You can also complete the following sentences: If I reach my goal weight of 130 pounds, the consequences would be __________.
In order to lose that much weight I would have to __________.
Losing weight would be nice, but what I really want is __________.
Losing weight reminds me of __________.
These queries can bring up a whole daisy chain of events, beliefs, attitudes, and other tail-enders that are restricting your life and showing up on your body as excess pounds. Whether you use challenging questions, affirmations, or some other process to find these issues, break them down into specific events and tap them away with EFT. You’ll notice a greater sense of overall relief with each event you address and soon your excess need for food will start to fade.
If your issue is stubborn and just won’t budge, or if you are ready for even better results, here are some more approaches you can try.
• Tap with a friend: Whether it’s the feeling of support, an objective outside perspective, or the increased motivation, tapping with a friend can often make a big difference in your results. Find a friend who also wants to lose weight and then schedule an hour together once or twice a week. Work together to find the underlying events, then take turns using the Tell the Story Technique to address them.
• Break out the oldies and the photo albums: What are your favorite songs from the “good old days”? Do you remember any that still make you cry? What about the yearbooks and old family photos? Chances are, your old collections of music and photographs will remind you of important emotional events that you might overlook otherwise.
• Adding emphasis: When your normal tapping rounds haven’t shown any progress, try raising your voice to add some emphasis. Shout the Setup Phrase, especially the “I deeply and completely accept myself” part. Say it with as much emotion as possible and see if that makes a difference.
• What words are you using? If you feel intimidated because you’re unsure of what words to use, then it’s likely that you are not being specific enough. Ask yourself a few more questions and do a little more detective work. Once you find something specific, like an event from the past, then use the Tell the Story Technique and just describe it as though you were telling it to a friend. Otherwise, go back to the default “Even though I have this _________, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
• Testing, testing, testing: Whether you’re working on a craving or a more general belief about food, putting yourself in the actual situation is a very powerful way to dig up contributing factors. What are the times of day, emotional events, or particular foods that make you feel the most like eating? In those moments, try not eating and take a few moments to see what emotions or memories are there waiting for you. Going to your parents’ house for dinner might also bring up childhood food memories that need attention. • Daily tapping: If all of this detective work and bothersome memories are more than you want to deal with right now, just try tapping every day. You can tap on whatever emotional events happen during the day, or just do a few rounds on “Even though I have this weight loss issue…” It is a global, longer-term approach, but if you tap your meridian points several times a day for a month, you may be surprised by the results.
• Personal Peace Procedure: I always recommend the Personal Peace Procedure as a fantastic way to start making significant shifts in your life. Rather than doing all the detective work, you can sit down once and make a list of past events that were less than pleasant. Then simply resolve one or more each day with EFT. The complete instructions were provided in Chapter 1. You can also go through a guided version of the Personal Peace Procedure here.
• Easy EFT: This is a tap-along procedure that you can use with EFT videos. Just identify a problem that you want to work on, choose one of the free Tap- Along Videos on EFT Universe, and tap along with the session. You can do this once a day or as often as you like. The sessions are entertaining and you get to “borrow benefits” for yourself.
Please review the complete instructions in Appendix B before getting started.
• Hire a practitioner: The EFT Universe website provides a list of certified EFT professionals who resolve these issues for a living. Many of them list weight loss as a specialty, but you will get good results from anyone who can uncover your core issues. Keep in mind that EFT is just as effective over the phone or Skype, so I would suggest working with one who seems best suited for you, rather than the one located closest to you.
• Get a personalized session using the Stress Solution app: Some patterns are just too entrenched for us to be able to solve them without help. On the Stress Solution app, you can work with a certified Clinical EFT practitioner any time you want.
The following case from Michelle Hardwick shows how easily tapping can be worked into your daily routine.
I encourage all my clients to use EFT on a regular basis. This allows them to feel empowered and to be in charge of their own growth, change, and healing and to have the tools to continue to make changes throughout the rest of their lives. I encourage everyone to tap. I tell them that I tap in the car, when on the toilet, in the shower, waiting for planes/trains/ buses etc., in fact anywhere! I give plenty of examples so that clients can see how EFT can be a part of their everyday lives, not just once a week or fortnight when they see an EFT practitioner!
Recently, I encouraged one of my clients, who was suffering from extreme sugar cravings that were completely out of control, to tap on a regular basis, whenever she thought of sugar, whenever she thought of overeating, whenever the urge or craving hit, during it, after it if she forgot to tap, and whenever she felt fearful or worried about a craving happening again in the future. I asked her to think about as many other aspects about the craving that she could think of and tap on them. I explained that the more specific she could be in that moment about the craving, the better.
She returned for a follow-up session this week, saying, “Wow! It really works! I tapped during the ad breaks while watching TV. I just put the TV on mute and did a good couple of rounds of tapping and when my program came back on, I turned the sound back on and continued watching. There’s not a night I didn’t do that tapping.” And what happened to her sugar craving? She went 13 days without feeling it at all! That same craving had been out of control for the past five weeks.
We still have a little way to go, but we made major progress after just one session! She was thrilled with the change.
So for those of you who say there’s not enough time in your day to tap, I suggest that you first tap on the belief of having “no time to tap,” and how about doing it during your ad breaks? Happy tapping!!