Finally got rid of the monkey on my back!
For more than half my life, I experienced the shame and frustration brought on by bingeing on “forbidden foods.” I spent thirty-five years of my life either dieting or bingeing on foods high in sugar and fat. I never knew what it felt like to desire or eat in a normal, healthy manner.
I began bingeing at the age of fourteen, but my journey actually began when I was thirteen. I was five feet two inches tall and weighed 123 pounds when my mother began to express concern about the extra weight I’d put on. While it is not unusual for adolescent girls to add a few pounds at this stage, (they normally grow into their weight as they develop), my mother saw my weight as a red flag. She wanted to save me from the same kind of painful adolescence that she had lived through as an overweight teenager. She was well meaning, but she led me on a path to a very unhealthy relationship with food and a view of a young woman’s emerging body as something to be loathed. The shame and embarrassment I felt were almost constant. Along with these came the sense that I was a disappointment to the person I most wanted to please: my mother.
During my teenage years, my mother took me to a dietician and to Weight Watchers meetings. I was filled with anxiety and hopes of pleasing my mother and winning her praise and admiration. I always lost weight, but then I ran back to the comfort and sedation of bingeing. I lived through an unbroken cycle of losing weight and feeling worthy followed by bingeing and self-loathing. My stomach was almost in constant discomfort with what I called a “food hangover” or “gut rot.” My mind was affected, too, as I usually felt sluggish and unable to focus.
I continued bingeing well into my adult years as I periodically went back to Weight Watchers and other weight-loss programs. But none of these programs addressed the underlying issue for me, and so, I always fell back to square one.
I lived this roller-coaster life with the belief that I had a complete lack of will power. What I came to learn was that I was addicted to sugar. How did I feel before an episode of bingeing? Panicky, as if I were being led into a prison cell. I felt no sense of control and was absolutely mindless, as if I were hypnotized, as I picked up the sugary items in the store and loaded them into my cart. I began eating those sugary foods the minute I got into my car, and I continued the ritual once I was through the door of my home. I didn’t stop until I was saturated and completely numb. This numbness, of course, was immediately followed by remorse, physical discomfort, and a feeling of utter despair and failure. The next day, I always resolved to begin a healthy lifestyle.
In 2010, I met Mona Wind, owner and founder of Life Integrity in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Among the remarkable services and classes Mona created is a program called “Sugar Free Forever.” This beckoned me as strongly as sugar itself did. The program incorporates the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) with journaling, detoxification of the body, and lessons in making positive food choices. It is designed to break the sugar addiction and establish a healthy new relationship with food.
EFT is a scientifically-rooted technique that uses the body’s meridian network. A treatment begins with the affected person repeatedly tapping on acupuncture points at the inner eyebrow, the temple, under the nose, on the chin, on the chest, and a few inches under the armpit (and may include other points). This is done while the person being treated recites phrases that are associated with the frustration of the problem. Then the person moves on to phrases of hope, encouragement, and self-acceptance. I repeated this exercise daily and faithfully for the twelve weeks of the program. (I must have looked quite silly to my eleven-year-old son). EFT can be used to remedy other forms of addiction as well as stress, depression, and trauma. Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website, www.mercola.com, gives an excellent description of the procedure and a sample script. I believe it is best to have a trained EFT practitioner assist when anyone begins to use EFT.
I participated in the “Sugar Free Forever” program with five other women. We teleconferenced with Mona and received tapping instructions and information on the negative effects that sugar has on the body. We were also given journaling assignments and audio downloads of tapping instructions to use during the week. In addition, we began to incorporate a raw food diet into our routine, beginning gradually with highly satisfying green smoothies, then pulling in other raw foods and menus. It was up to us as to how “raw” we wanted to be. Finally, we were given methods of detoxifying our bodies, which is a great way to clean out and re-energize. I experienced almost immediate clarity and energy. In the final two weeks, the program added hypnosis sessions.
In the five years since I completed the EFT program, I have not binged at all. I feel free from a terrible psychic and physical burden. Have I eaten any sweets since? Yes, I have, but when I do, I truly enjoy each bite and don’t feel compelled to push my feelings or worries down with food. I no longer experience the compulsive, mind-numbing behavior of bingeing. An added benefit during the three months of “Sugar Free Forever” program was that I easily lost weight. I began the program at an unhappy 146 pounds and have moved gradually and naturally down to 136 pounds. Unlike other diet programs, I did not feel as if it was mind over matter. I am thrilled to have gotten off the roller coaster.
The “Sugar Free Forever” program and EFT have brought me a new passion for life and healthy living, for which I am truly grateful. I encourage anyone who is suffering and perhaps feels like giving up to consider employing EFT. Although it requires a commitment of time and dedication, there are no undesired side effects and tappers have a very good chance of success.