Becoming Ready to Lose Weight with EFT
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If you say you want to lose weight, you no doubt really mean it. But are you ready to make the necessary changes that result in weight loss? Probably not. It’s one thing to want to wear a smaller size, to move more easily, or to just feel better. It’s yet another thing to be willing to eat differently or eat less, to learn new ways of behaving, or to move one’s body more. In my experience as a weight release coach, it is rare for a new client to be ready to do what it takes to release their excess weight. Are you ready to do what it takes to lose weight? And if you aren’t, how do you get ready?
The Six Stages of Change
There are six stages of change, according to James Prochaska, Ph.D. and his colleagues. For over 25 years, they have studied how people intentionally change. Surprisingly, the action stage is the 4th stage, not the first.
Here is a short description of the six stages. At which stage are you?
1. Precontemplation—You show no desire for change. You may be resigned to being overweight. You feel you have no control or choice and have no hope. You may also deny you have an overeating and/or weight problem. You can stay in this stage for years.
2. Contemplation—You are ambivalent. You know you are overweight or that you overeat but have many excuses for not changing. You may gather lots of information and talk about changing your behaviors at this stage but you don’t. You may stay in this stage for years, waiting for the magic moment.
3. Preparation—You are intending to take action to lose weight in the near future. You make a plan. Perhaps you pick a diet, join a program or hire a professional weight loss coach. You experiment with small changes.
4. Action—You take definite actions to change. You begin the diet or attend a weight loss program. You begin your sessions with your coach. You may begin to exercise. Some results are being achieved.
5. Maintenance—You maintain the new behaviors started in the action step. You continue to be committed to your new way of eating. Your weight stabilizes at a healthy weight or you are well on your way to it. This is a long-term stage and, like the action stage, requires continued commitment.
6. Termination—The new behaviors are now automatic and effortless and you are free of your old overeating behaviors. The threat of relapse lessens. Vigilance can safely decrease. You exit the cycle of change.
Spiraling between Stages is Normal
Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a stage before the action stage. Chances are good that you have been in the action stage before and have been successful with losing weight but you have gotten off track now. Cycling between the stages is normal. Prochaska and his colleagues note that only 20% of the population conquers long-standing problems on the first try. But their research shows that experience with change strengthens people. Most return not to the precontemplation stage but to the contemplation or preparation stage and they get ready to take action again. Is this where you are? Fortunately, the cycles spiral upwards, making each new attempt more likely to succeed.
How to Become Ready to Lose Weight
with Emotional Freedom Techniques™ (EFT)
Perhaps you can’t quite muster the motivation you used to have for tackling that diet or exercise program. You still have hope (so you’re not in the precontemplation stage) but you can’t get off the misery-go-round of dieting. You are in the contemplation or preparation stage again and you’re discouraged. Most people expect to lose weight and keep it off the first time they try and are disheartened and self-condemning when they regain the pounds. We allow a learning curve for every other new behavior but not weight loss! According to Prochaska and his colleagues, this is unrealistic. But with EFT, you can become ready for action.
EFT is a form of energy therapy. Eliminating your negative thoughts and feelings is achieved by balancing your energy system since this negativity is a result of a disruption to it. With EFT, you use fingertip tapping on your acupressure points, achieving the same balance as acupuncture does with needles. Happily, EFT is a self-help tool, allowing you to tap on yourself whenever you want to change a negative thought or feeling.
Many negative thoughts keeps you overweight, stuck in the dieting/overeating cycle. So changing your thinking is one way EFT can help you achieve your healthy weight. With EFT, you automatically move from thinking negatively to positively in minutes as you tap on your acupressure points. Your behavior changes because your old thoughts become false and the new thoughts are now true. Some common examples of negative thoughts and their positive reframes are:
Negative thought: I had a slip, I blew it. I’ll start again on Monday.
Positive reframe: I had a slip. That’s to be expected. Two steps forward, one step backward. I’m getting back on track now.
Negative thought: I have to lose weight fast! I hate to lose only 1-2 pounds a week. The faster the better!
Positive reframe: Releasing one pound a week is desirable. I am patient with this process. New habits will help me maintain this slow but steady weight loss.
Negative thought: I will feel deprived if I don’t eat my favorite foods. They make me feel good and I can’t give them up.
Positive reframe: I don’t have to feel deprived. I can change my attitude about what I’m eating and enjoy healthy foods.
Negative thought: I need excess food to comfort me.
Positive reframe: Even though excess food numbs my feelings of anger and sadness, I can learn a better way of coping with these feelings so I don’t have to overeat.
EFT Works on Many Levels
Changing your thoughts and feelings can take a few sessions or many. It depends on how many negative thoughts and feelings you have and also on their complexity. If you are in the Preparation stage, almost ready to stop overeating but can’t get past some stubborn habits like eating at fast food restaurants or eating junk food after work, you can often eliminate these in a session or two with an experienced practitioner or even on your own because these habits are not usually complex. One woman overcame her obsession for peanut butter, her “lover,” in one session. She just didn’t want it again! Another stopped eating while reading after dinner. This had been a comfort behavior that, after using EFT, suddenly wasn’t comforting anymore.
However, if you are afraid to lose your excess weight because you will attract too much attention, this could take a number of sessions with a practitioner since personal safety is a complex issue. Or if you don’t think you deserve a good life, including a healthy body, you will need to eliminate the core belief that you’re not good enough.
Sometimes it will take months of EFT sessions to overcome a life time full of negative thoughts and feelings that began in your childhood. The good news is that EFT usually works more quickly than typical talk therapy. The change happens on an energetic level. By unblocking your energy system, your thoughts shift to the positive, your mood improves, you become healthier on every level. By using EFT to get rid of the blocks to your weight release success, you will move from the contemplation stage to the action stage and finally to the maintenance stage. EFT releases inner tension and with diligence you become ready to release excess weight for good. Emotional freedom is achieved.
Being ready to release excess weight or stop overeating is a journey. The journey usually takes many turns, some seemingly backwards. But Prochaska and his colleagues, experts on the change process, have found that the journey spirals upward, moving toward long term success with every attempt. Most people are rarely in the action stage when they claim to want to lose weight. But with the effective tool of Emotional Freedom Techniques™ and sometimes with the help of an experienced EFT practitioner, they become ready for change and move more quickly through the stages. Since spiraling between stages is normal but not welcome, EFT helps keep a positive attitude no matter what stage a person is in, keeping them focused on the next one.
Prochaska, James O., Ph.D., John C. Norcross, Ph.D., and Carlo C. DiClemente, Ph.D. Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward. New York, William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994. Print.
©Ann Smith 2010
Ann Smith is an EFTCert-I Practitioner with 4.5 years of experience using EFT to help her clients move beyond their blocks. She specializes in weight release. She is a recovering binge eater and wishes she had known about EFT 20+ years ago when she needed it most to overcome her bingeing. Ann recognizes that overeating and excess weight have both emotional and physical contributers. She works with each client to uncover his/her own unique blocks to success. They can range from bad habits, a stressful relationship or job, to a traumatic childhood. No block is too big for EFT! Systematically, Ann and her client neutralize whatever is standing in the way of permanent weight release. Outward change is achieved from the inside out.
Posted March 05, 2010 02:13 PM
Dear Ann, this is profoundly helpful, especially the part about the 6 Stages of Change.
I have a friend who is going to run a workshop called 'Weight Wisdom' - she's been struggling with her own weight loss for years. This piece is incredibly inisghtful. I'm going to assist her by introducing the participants to EFT, and will most definitely use the information in your article. Thank you!
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