reduce excess kilos to feel and look good or to prevent chronic diseases. But we know that following the ‘typical diet’ can be frustrating and heartbreaking for many people particularly
for the yo-yo dieters. The diet approach of constantly weighing and measuring the food we
eat (as well as weighing our body), calorie deprivation, keeping a food diary and using
'diet’ foods such as protein shakes or superfoods can be an excruciating and never-ending
Yet the truth is, we don’t have to follow extreme weight loss practices that can often induce
the feelings of guilt and shame. There is actually a non-diet approach that shows positive
outcomes to our health and the way we feel about ourselves. It is called EFT which stands
for Emotional Freedom Technique. It may sound too good to be true but this healthy
approach is backed by science and proven to be an effective method in losing weight
without depriving ourselves or requiring us to regularly watch the scales.
What is EFT?
EFT often referred to as Tapping (because the technique itself is a tapping process) or psychological acupuncture. It is a gentle but effective technique founded by Gary Craig, an engineer from Stanford University. EFT is a therapeutic psychological tool based on Eastern medicine philosophy of acupuncture (without the use of needles) and affirmations intended to help us love, accept and shift our fears and limiting beliefs. The simple tapping of the fingertips stimulates the eight meridian points while mentally focusing on the issue being treated.
The Tapping Points
According to Chinese Medicine philosophy, there are special points along the energy pathways in the body that can be stimulated to remove blockages and balance the energy. When there is an imbalance, there is a corresponding disruption to the energy flow through the entire energy meridian, which can cause emotional issues and negative emotions such as guilt, anger, depression and fear. EFT is able to mend energy blockages through a set of techniques that stimulate the body’s energy meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips.
In Western science, negative thoughts, beliefs, and emotions associated with fight or flight response such as fear or anger activate amygdala (a part of the brain) that signals an alarm that alerts the body when danger is looming. When we are frightened or experience some other significant emotions in our daily lives such as fear of loss, losing money, failure, rejection and losing someone we love, our body’s adrenal glands release cortisol: the primary stress hormone. When cortisol is always present and we constantly feel under threat, this can disrupt almost all of our body’s processes and increase the risk of numerous health problems such as anxiety, depression and weight gain. EFT settles down the amygdala and the tapping routine relaxes the brain activating our body’s natural self-repair mechanism that can be switched on and off by the power of the mind.
To understand more on how tapping works from a neuropsychology perspective, watch this video from Weight Management Psychology.
In 2008, Dr Peta Stapleton a registered Clinical and Health Psychologist in Australia, EFT Master Trainer and currently working as an Assistant Professor at Bond University, conducted the world’s first randomised clinical trial on the effectiveness of EFT for food cravings. Her study showed that 'EFT had an immediate effect on reducing food cravings and participants were able to maintain this overtime resulting in reduced BMI in obese and overweight individuals'. Between 2012-2014, Dr Stapleton led a clinical trial comparing EFT and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (the current “Gold Standard” in treatment for food cravings and weight management) and found that EFT is as effective as CBT in eliminating food cravings, reducing weight, emotional eating and improve control over food choices. Her research also revealed that EFT is better than CBT in the long term.
The remarkable result of her study led Dr Stapleton and Glenn Mackintosh, Australia’s leading weight management psychologist to develop a comprehensive 8-week EFT online program that can be completed in the comfort of our home. It is the only program delivered by Dr Stapleton as she takes us through a step-by-step guide to free ourselves from dieting and develop healthy eating habits.
To help us understand more about the program, we interviewed Mr. Mackintosh, our favourite weight management psychologist to answer some of the basic questions about EFT.
1. How do you apply EFT for weight issues?
The great news is that you can apply tapping for ANY issue you have, so as long as you can identify an issue, you can tap it away! For example, a lot of people have some really negative thinking when they start a health-kick, if you can identify thoughts like "I'll never get there", "This probably won't work for me", or "I always slip back over time" you can clear them through tapping. Of course, Peta's research shows how great tapping is for permanently eliminating food cravings, and that is a massive area that is becoming very popular to tap on. A personal favourite of mine, starting off in Sport and Exercise Psychology, is to help people identify barriers to exercise - feeling like it's too hot or cold, or they can't be bothered, or it's not going to make any difference (or zillions of others) - and tap them away! So what we're doing is applying this global technique of tapping to whatever the particular problem the person is experiencing - in our online course we cover the whole lot - it's the most comprehensive tapping program in the world, and it helps people work through all of the areas, from eating, drinking, and physical activity, to managing emotions, and advanced modules covering resistance to change, transcending a dieting mentality even improving body-image!
2. Why use EFT rather than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for weight loss?
I use CBT with clients, and CBT is great. The reason why I often prefer tapping is twofold: First, the research shows tapping works better than CBT in the long-term, as the reduction in food cravings lasts longer, and tapping is one of the only therapies (apart from hypnosis and bariatric surgery) that shows continued weight loss after the treatment finishes! This is very cool, as all other approaches, including diet and exercise, CBT, and weight loss medications all show a reversion of results after treatment finishes (the loss and regain is what researchers call the "Nike Swoosh" of traditional weight loss interventions). Secondly, I find my clients like doing the tapping more - we can do a lot in session, they can follow our videos in between, and it's quick to learn how to tap yourself whenever you need to - people seem to like the tapping more than keeping a food diary or writing down their thoughts - I think the quick relief they get (tapping feels good) and the fact they are doing something physical (we are tapping on acupressure points on the body) makes it more user friendly!
3. How effective is Tapping in Weight Management?
We often talk about psychology being the missing piece of the weight management puzzle. For me, tapping is a missing piece within that missing piece. I must say, the tapping is the newest of my therapies (I've only been doing it for three years, I'm lucky that my learning has been fast tracked through developing the course with Peta), but it's fast become my favourite go-to for a lot of clients weight issues! With more and more research showing tapping equalling or working better than current interventions in many areas, we're also happy to be adding to this knowledge base following a world-wide University trial of our online program last year. This is the first ever trial of an online tapping program and we're looking forward to publishing the awesome results early this year. We also are aiming this year to test adding tapping to bariatric surgery programs, as much of the variability in results post-surgery is attributable to uncontrolled food cravings and other psychological barriers to adopting a healthy lifestyle that can be tapped on. I've found myself move from reading the research and being convinced it works to helping add to the research base for tapping, which is pretty cool! I'd encourage people to try it, and often after one go, you're hooked!
So what are you waiting for? Free yourself from eating, drinking, exercise, weight and body-image issues with the power of EFT!
Start the EFT tapping for weight management online course now and become the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.