Sunday life: tapping (a cure for food cravings and overeating! yes!)

This week I tap my food cravings away


We modern humans do some mighty weird stuff in our efforts to make life more endurable. Take laughter clubs. Or Reiki.  Or foil-wrap body masks. Or this weird thing I saw a guy do on the beach where he dive-bombed into the sand and rolled around like a baby, over and over. A sort of new-age capoeira…definitely, weird.

My Dad likes to remind me how weird we are, proclaiming in his day he never bloody stood on his bloody head to find focus. “We just bloody got on with it.” Yeah, Dad, but in your day you didn’t make life inordinately messy and complicated for yourself. We do. Ergo, we stand on our heads to undo the damage.

Up there in the mix of mighty weird stuff is tapping. Have you seen someone tapping? It’s bonkers. It involves tapping your face and repeating out loud highly personal statements about one’s current dysfunctional state of being.

Also called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), tapping could very easily be walloped with the Entirely Ludicrous and Self-Indulgent stamp. But I wouldn’t, now I’ve tried it. Several leading psychologists in America and Australia have recognised, through research and practise, that it is highly effective for treating stress and emotion-based issues. In short, it moves you on without the wallowing.

There’s also something very gentle and generous about the practice. It doesn’t cost big bucks – you can learn how to do it online (just Google it). And EFT practitioners seem to be a very relaxed bunch who discourage codependence. Brett Porter, the open-hearted and very committed guy who taught me, invites me to text when I feel like doing a session. Only if I feel like it. And we do the session on Skype.

So you know, Brett teaches the process around the country, but if you’re interested in trying it to deal with food cravings and over-eating you should definitely try the Food Craving and Tapping Program (CDs and DVDs) he put together with Dr Peta Stapleton at Griffith University – $149 and you can buy it online.

Tapping works a little like acupressure, but you administer it yourself by tapping a sequence of eight points on your face and torso that correspond to the endpoints of your body’s energy meridians. As you tap, you say a statement that goes like this: “Even though I (insert feeling/issue, eg: am freaked by clowns), I accept myself as I am.” It’s said aloud to engage as much of your neurology as possible.  And you repeat the process a few times, assessing the original feeling each time, scoring it out of ten (10 is catatonically bad) until it whittles down to 0. And it does. Whittle down. As other issues arise (“but I can’t be bothered facing my clown phobia”), you tap those. Layer by layer you work through the feelings. And soothe them into oblivion.

It’s said to work by consciously disconnecting the uncomfortable feeling attached to an issue that’s become trapped in a meridian. So, you’re scared of exams. You hold that fear in your stomach, which disrupts the meridian. By tapping the gut meridian you sort of “wiggle out” the fear. Too esoteric for you? Well, most EFT literature states you don’t have to be into this stuff for it to work. It still will. Work.

It also works particularly well with food addictions. Earlier this year Griffith University researchers found EFT reduced cravings in chronic bingers by 89 per cent, and that the effects of the treatment lasted 12 months. As I say, Brett, my guy, was the study’s practitioner and anyone interested can do their program online.

So, I used EFT this week to deal with my oddball food cravings. I currently crave rice cakes with honey. In fact, anything with honey. Honey straight from the jar. I’ve always had cravings. In the past it was for finger buns. And there was a fried egg sandwiches phase, too. I tapped a few times a day whenever I got the anxious, fluttery feeling that accompanies my cravings. I didn’t realize I had those feelings until I tapped. And I didn’t realize where those feelings came from until I kept tapping. Which is Best Thing #1 about tapping: mostly it’s about tuning in to how you’re feeling. Which makes you alive to your habits and what they’re about. Best Thing #2: it gets you to accept the feelings. When you accept something in all its “isness”, something extraordinary happens: it disappears. It’s like staring at a ship on the horizon. Or touching a bubble.

Tapping this week, when and as I needed to, got me lighter. My cravings kind of faded as I tuned into my feelings. As I did, I viewed the feelings afresh as rather funny and ridiculous and unnecessary. Like little bubbles when touched with gentle attention. Pop!

Have you tried it? What did you think? Crazy-good? Feel free to recommend practitioners in your area for other readers…

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