Dr Peta Stapleton is a clinical Psychologist who works at Bond University in Queensland Australia. She is also one of the leading researchers in the world, into how EFT works.
She has completed several studies of EFT and weight loss and the results have been stunning.
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique.
You might know it as Tapping.
In one of her recent studies, she had 89 women with a BMI in the obese category. Over an 8-week period, they learned tapping and completed about two hours of tapping per week. They were not required to change either their diet or their exercise.
The participants lost an average of 8kgs in the 8 weeks and have kept it off for the follow-up studies, some going on to lose even more. This contrasts with most diets that once stopped people put the weight straight back on and usually add even more.
How is this possible?
Inside us, we are a complex chemical factory, and most of us are taking a drug that when used in excessive amounts causes weight gain.
This drug is called STRESS.
Stress begins in the amygdala which is found in our midbrain as part of the limbic system. This is the body’s warning system that alerts us of danger and initiates the fight or fight response. As part of that response, we produce the hormone cortisol. This hormone has been linked to increased appetite, sugar cravings and excess abdominal fat. Even mild stress can cause your body to operate in stress mode.
This response is very valuable when it is telling you to run from the dangerous monster, but not so useful when you are stuck in a traffic jam and the cars behind are beeping at you. (It is not a good idea to start fighting with those around you the traffic, although it does explain road rage.)
When this response is activated, our body is instantly ready to fight or run. Your adrenaline levels increase, your muscles tighten, and your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar all rise so that you can react quickly, run faster, and climb higher.
Because all your body’s energy is going towards self-preservation, less essential functions such as digestion, reproduction, and thinking through a problem slows down or even stops.
Because most of the stressors we experience are not of the dangerous monster variety but more of the daily annoyances and frustrations, it means that our stress levels are higher for longer periods of time.
And this means that our bodies are in the fight or flight response more frequently and for longer periods of time.
This results in increased fat-storing hormones, struggling digestion, and poorer decision-making. It can also result in reduced fertility, more easily angered, increased anxiety, and less nutrition.
So even if you are exercising and eating well, stress can still stop you from losing weight.
This is where tapping becomes such a powerful tool. It disrupts the fight or flight response, allowing the body to be more relaxed, which then stops the overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline, and the body can return to normal digestion, and faster metabolism.
The reduction in cortisol has been shown in a number of studies now. The first was done by Dr. Dawson Church who took blood samples and measured the cortisol levels and then after an hour tapping session their blood sample was taken again and showed an average of 50% drop in cortisol in the tapping group. It was such a significant drop that the lab processing the samples reran the test because they could not believe the dramatic drop!
Other studies have also shown the same results, even showing the changes through fMRI brain scans showing the reduction of activity in the amygdala.
So how does this work for food?
When you experience a desire for a specific food you may be in the throes of a limbic response. Your brain has been trained to responds to stress by inhaling a box of chocolates or a bucket of hot chips.
At the end of a hard day at work, or with the family you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. You are looking for ways to relax and reward yourself. You turn to comfort foods, or drinks. You look forward to zoning out on the couch with your favorite treats. Everything you are doing is to try and calm down the amygdala and turn down the stress response.
When you incorporate tapping into your daily routine – firstly, your stress response will not be as high, and secondly, you have a tool to use instead of turning to food.
Tapping halts the fight or flight response and lowers your cortisol levels, and you are able to change how your brain reacts to stress and to comfort foods.
Instead of turning to the food, stop and take a breath and take some time to think about whether you really do need the food. I know this might feel impossible, and you might die if you do not get what you are craving, but you are just at the mercy of the limbic response that has been ingrained for many years, maybe even since you were a child.
Once you incorporate tapping into your life you will actually change the neural pathways, training the brain to react differently.
It is that simple and also that hard. I know because it is something I have struggled with even after learning how to use tapping for everything else and through trying to solve this for myself I have learned some advanced techniques that enhance the use of EFT.
I have 3 spaces available to work with people one on one, to help with these changes. For a period of three months, we will meet weekly and delve into your cravings and change your responses. Obviously it takes time to lose weight, but once you have stopped the overproduction of cortisol and changed your responses to stress and food, the weight will automatically fall off.
Contact me for further information or book your first session here.