Published with kind permission of the Hale Journal .
It has been my life-long ambition to be slim again. In my youth I was a tiny size 8 and weighed 8 stone but when it became apparent at the age of 26 that I couldn’t survive solely on vodka and cigarettes my weight shot up to 11st 7lb and a size 14, making me quite chunky for my height of 5ft 5in. Since then I’ve tried many crazy diets, praying each one would be the answer. One month I spent Â£100 drinking nothing but protein shakes. Another time I attempted the blood group diet, which meant I could only eat foods that complemented my blood type.
When my clothes started to loosen I was delighted but somehow without noticing I’d snaffle boxes of chocolates or guzzle martinis and soon would be squeezing into my size 14 jeans again. It was exhausting.
Even though the average UK woman is a size 16 and a new report discovered women are happiest when they’re a size 14, I’ve never been able to shake the feeling I’m waiting for the real me to be born.
I’d always assumed my weight issues were directly linked to my lack of willpower and not enough visits to the gym. It never occurred to me my problem with food could be an emotional one. Then my friend told me about emotional freedom technique (EFT), also known as tapping. She said an EFT practitioner called Kimberley Trevett helped her to give up smoking.
EFT has been around since the Nineties. Combining elements of acupuncture (but without needles), hypnotherapy, meditation and psychotherapy, it is based on the premise that negative emotional experiences create a disturbance within the body’s energy field.
By tapping on the body’s energy meridians — nerve channels within the body — while talking about negative issues, equilibrium is restored and the negative feeling is cleared out. EFT is commonly used for depression, stress, PMT, phobias and confidence and relationship problems, as well as chronic pain, addictions and weight loss. It is very similar to acupuncture, which is why it is often called “psychological acupuncture”. It helps the body undergo a physical process that helps negative emotions to dissipate.
Many methods such as psychotherapy, neuro- linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy are used to aid the release of negative emotions. However, it is claimed that it is the physical intervention of tapping on the nerve channels that makes this particular technique work more quickly than other methods.
Fed up with hating my reflection I decide to try the technique. I am relieved to discover that Kimberley is down to earth and easy to talk to. She tells me most problems or illnesses can be traced back to an emotional root.
When I say I’m desperate to lose weight before my wedding this summer she warns me that often people who think they want to lose weight actually have an emotional block and the problem is not their weight at all. She suggests it’s because they don’t believe they deserve to be slim and therefore happy or that the weight is somehow keeping them safe.
I laugh at this suggestion. My love handles are my nemesis and I definitely don’t want them.
Just to be sure, she wants to carry out a test on my subconscious. She asks me to hold my arm out taut, presses her hand on it and asks me to repeat after her: “My name is Emma.” I do what she says and my arm stays steady. Then she asks me to say: “My name is David.” My arm dips. Apparently the body can’t lie.
Next I repeat after her: “I want to lose weight.” To my shock, my arm dips. Then I repeat after her: “I don’t want to lose weight.” This time my arm remains steady. It appears what I really want is the opposite of what I think I want. Maybe I don’t want to lose weight after all.
Kimberley asks me if I’m ready to let go of my obsession with wanting to lose weight. Without hesitation I say I can’t. All my life I have fought against being fat. I can’t let it go.
“When you go on a diet and tell yourself you’re not allowed cake, your subconscious mind can only see the forbidden cake. You’re sabotaging yourself by eating it and it’s almost like someone else is doing it,” she says. “Once you let go of the wanting and start feeling good about yourself changes will happen. As soon as you stop thinking, ‘I’m fat and I wish I was thin,’ the weight will fall off and you won’t have to try to do it. The power of the mind is astonishing.”
Put simply, my conscious mind and subconscious mind are involved in a tug of war and EFT ensures my conscious will win. I give Kimberley a potted history of my weight struggles. I started getting chubby at the age of eight and I was diagnosed “slightly obese” by the school nurse.
As an adult there was an embarrassing incident when a woman asked me if I was pregnant when I wasn’t, along with the well-meaning relatives telling me how lovely I’d be if I “could just lose a few pounds”.
I admit that I’ve always felt fat even when I’ve been thinner.
Kimberley begins to tap on me while we talk. Her fingers connect with various points such as my collarbone and under my eye. It feels very calming. She asks me to repeat phrases such as: “Even though I know I’m fat and I’ll always be fat I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Kimberley points out this isn’t true but it’s what I believe and we are trying to reason with my subconscious mind.
She continues: “All this wanting, all this obsessing, all this worrying, I choose to let it go. I choose to enjoy food, not worry about food and I choose finally to let this weight go.” Then Kimberley asks me to say: “I choose to feel beautiful.” I find myself holding back tears as I realise this obsession has hijacked my life.
The session lasts an hour and afterwards Kim tells me to drink lots of water because tapping is very hard work for the brain. She also tells me to eat whatever I fancy. Apparently once I know I can have whatever I want I will naturally gravitate towards healthy choices.
I joke that if I really could eat whatever I wanted I’d be living on a diet of Ben & Jerry’s and Doritos. However that night, as my fiancé offers me a Quality Street, rather than refusing a chocolate yet wishing I could devour the entire box as I usually do, I accept one. I find a single chocolate is enough.
A s I go to bed that night I wonder if I’ll wake up a different person. The next morning, as I stand in front of the mirror, a strange thing happens. Although I look the same, I feel different. I can hardly believe it myself but I realise I don’t feel fat any more. Surely a lifetime of obsession can’t dissolve in an hour? For the first time in many years, I begin to eat whatever I want rather than what I feel I should eat.
Six weeks and three EFT sessions later, I’ve found that what I’ve wanted has, for the most part, been healthy. I still look at nutritional content labels but I don’t obsess. When I fancy chocolate I eat it without feeling guilty. Yet I’ve lost 10lbs and now weigh 10st 7lb. Best of all I can fit into a size 12 dress.
People have been telling me I look great and my confidence has been boosted massively. I’m still not skinny but I honestly don’t mind. I’m happy being me.
For more on EFT, please visit www.emofree.com