Every day I talk to women (and I used to be one who did this too) who feel compelled to constantly diet to lose weight or to control their out of control feeling with food. There is a push-pull relationship that develops, an all or nothing kind of view.
It is incredibly frustrating, defeating, and totally depressing because the dieting never works permanently. It is a temporary fix for some to a deeper problem; the compulsive need to eat.
Unlike other addictions, you can't stop eating. You can't just avoid food totally. We have to eat to live, so it gets tricky when food is your obsession and/or addiction.
A process of hyper-vigilance and avoidance, fear and deprivation sets in for many with food. This is also where a state of black and white thinking comes in. On the one hand many feel they have to restrict or control food intake in some way (some form of diet, and there is always a new one) or there is constant eating or bingeing.
Often there are painful feelings or difficult feelings that require addressing but that are too overwhelming and need to be numbed with food.
So a constant focus on food as the "problem" and food as being the thing to control is really sort of dangerous for people with this issue. I often see any hint of deprivation throw clients into a rebellious desire to eat.
The first step to stopping reliance on dieting for some is using EFT to clear the painful or difficult emotions that haven't been addressed successfully in the past. I have come to believe that emotions are like water and meant to just flow naturally through us. They are not good or bad but an experience. It is when for some reason they get "stuck" or don't move through us that we have problems and pain.
We don't have to be aware of what these emotions are, we can start wherever we are at with tapping.
With one of my clients recently we began by tapping on the desire to eat.
Set up phrases:
Even though I just want to eat and I don't know why, I can't stop and I don't know why... I deeply and completely love and accept myself
Beginning of eyebrow: I don't know why I want to eat
Side of eye: I just want to eat
Under eye: I don't know why
Upper lip: I just want to eat
Chin crease: I'm not even hungry!
Collar bones: I just want to eat
Side of body: I wish I knew why
Top of the head: I'm really tired of it
After this first round a thought came to her about how her father always used to make her feel ashamed and fat, and how once he humiliated her in front of others.
At this point we began tapping on the feelings of humiliation through all of the points:
"My dad made me feel humiliated that time in the living room"
After we tapped on that issue, there were several others that came up for her too with him. It seems he was a primary figure in her humiliation with weight and desire to diet to relieve it.
After a few sessions working on these issues and tapping on what came up for her she is no longer binge eating or emotional eating at all through difficult situations where she feels triggered.
Dieting is a way to punish ourselves or use force to achieve a goal, it seems to me. When we take away the force, address the underlying feelings - whatever they are - and release them, we are free to eat in a more "natural" way and the strong desire to binge or eat junk foods can just disappear.
San Francisco, California, US
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on July 23, 2011.