I have seen core limiting beliefs about body image keep many of my clients stuck in a self hate mode that makes them want to chronically diet, food restrict, or go on continual "cleanses" to lose weight. The problem isn't the diet or the cleanse necessarily, but how it is getting used.
The diet, restrictive eating or cleanse is a form of punishment in most cases for being too "big" and a feeling of well, lack of self worth or acceptance.
So the vicious cycle of dieting (and then of course binging that MUST come next after food restriction, that is the rule with brain chemistry and our physiology) often begins I think from a negative self image.
Finding where that negative self image took root and releasing the emotional charge however is the key.
How do we do this?
Here are some powerful questions to ask to find core body beliefs that may be keeping you stuck with food obsession, food restriction, chronic dieting, or hyper-vigilance with food in general.
Good Questions to Ask:
1) What is my current body image? How positive do I feel about myself when I look in the mirror? It's ok I think to have things you want to change, like get in shape, lose weight, etc. But if you feel a lack of self worth or extreme feelings about yourself as a person, that is something to take note of. Believe it or not, these feelings can change no matter our weight.
2) When did this negative self image begin? I think if we really look, we often find that even when we were in shape or thinner a negative body was still there. (At least in chronic dieters or people with food issues.)
3) Another way to ask the above question is; when was the first or the worst time you recall feeling negative about your body or the way you look? Interestingly, the first time may NOT have been the worst.
So for example I was working with a client that had something happen in high school with friends that made her feel ashamed about the way she looked but really it just confirmed how she already felt due to a much earlier episode with her mother when she was 10 years old where she told you that her that she was too big in an outfit she needed to wear. THAT was where she first got that something was wrong with how she looked... then that would be where to begin with tapping.
For best results with tapping for these incidents, completely resolve each incident with all of its aspects before finding more to release. I have found that usually there are one or two big ones usually to clear for many. However sometimes clients can't recall when it all began. In that case I would recommend starting with a general statement if someone has a poor body image and see what comes up in tapping.
Tapping For Body Image Without Knowing A Core Incident
Begin with the setup on the side of the hand:
Even though I feel (fill in exactly how you feel) about my body right now and I don't know when this began... I choose to find acceptance for who I am now."
Through the points:
I feel xyz about my body
I look in the mirror and I feel... xyz
I hate looking in the mirror
I can't recall when this whole thing started
Maybe it was when I was a child
Maybe when I was in middle school
Maybe when I was in High School
I don't know when this negative self image began
Go through all of the negative feelings through all the points as long as that still feels true. Usually a memory of a specific time will come up through tapping. If it does, go back to the side of the hand and tap for that specific incident.
When I tapped with the client I mentioned above for the earliest incidents she had with her body image interestingly, several things happened. She began to be much more empowered in her relationship with her partner for one. She started to feel more confident and much more self worth where she had traditionally felt very challenged with him in the past. Later I noticed she had started to slowly lose some weight where she had been very stuck previously. Maybe it was that the cravings lessened. Maybe it was that she felt that she was making herself a priority more and eating regular meals instead of skipping them and then binging.
All of the changes I think came from increased self worth and healing a very basic wound that told her she wasn't worthy.
San Francisco, California, US
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on December 29, 2012.