Health & Wellbeing
The challenge – wants control of refined sugar intake. Has a craving for sweet, sugary things - chocolate, sweets, cake, biscuits.
Unwanted behaviour - mindless grazing without actually enjoying what she’s eating.
My client - female in her 30s buys biscuits for her husband and sweets for the children, but also succumbs to the temptation of eating them.
The Effect Of Sugar On Her Body.
My client felt sluggish and upset that she was harming her body. When she eats sweets she gets pains in her tummy. Her triggers were being bored, urge of a sugar rush and sometimes her husband's negative behaviour. Her urge happened anytime after lunch, at petrol stations when buying sweets for the children and at cinemas where there's usually a pick'n'mix bar.
I asked her to describe what she was experiencing in mind and body when she knew she was going to succumb.
Indoors it was the sight of the kitchen cupboard, which housed the sweets and other sugary things. She mentally heard a fanfare flourish in her mind when she opened the cupboard door, and felt excitement seeing sweets as they reminded her of her childhood treats. Her head also buzzes, telling her not to succumb.
When out, she opens the sweets' packet before she gets back to the car, and in the cinema, eats them before even getting into the screen and to her seat. My client usually used tapping - Emotional Freedom Techniques on herself but it would just delay the inevitable.
Note. EFT is usually very effective, however if there’s a root cause it’s best to deal with that first. In this case guilt came in after she’d succumbed and shame at not being able to resist the urge. Also, there’s a childhood association of having these sugary foods as treats. That needs to be explored but in another session. Both these negative emotions of Guilt and Shame disrupt the energy system so using EFT for these is ideal.
Having taken all details to facilitate a Well Formed Outcome (goal), I decided to use a Neuro-Linguistic SWISH pattern tool to swap the unwanted behaviour for a desired one with the suggestion that we had another session to uncover the childhood negative triggers, probably using EFT.
Note. The worst offenders were the tin of biscuits and the buying of sweets for the children. In order to make a SWISH work, it is best to take one item at a time.
Allotted time 1hour. 30 minutes would be dedicated to each: biscuits; sweets.
I asked my client to associate herself with eyes closed (that is to be in the moment) whilst re-enacting exactly what was happening before she ate the sugary item. In this case it was opening the cupboard door, opening the lid of the biscuit tin and the biscuit and fingers coming towards her mouth, so we used this final movement as a trigger picture and she took a mental snap shot of it. She put that image to one side in her mind, opened her eyes and then we created a desired outcome. In this case - dancing in the kitchen, having healthier skin, flatter tummy and a cleaner feeling body.
With eyes closed again, I asked her to mentally shrink the desired outcome picture to the size of a postage stamp and to mentally blow up the unwanted trigger picture as big as possible. On my instruction and with me saying SWISH, she mentally swapped the trigger for the desired outcome. We did this about 5 times until the unwanted behaviour became blurred in her imagination. We future paced that afternoon, the petrol garage, the cinema trips and longer car trips.
My client felt the whole experience was very relaxing, seemingly simple and quick so now we have to future pace possible scenarios where biscuits and sweets would be issues.
...to this afternoon?
'I’ve no urge to go to the cupboard and even if I do have to go to that cupboard, I can’t see the sweets in there in my mind, even now. I also picture taking the lid off the biscuit tin but the contents are blurred.'
....when you pay for the petrol?
'I see myself buying the sweets. Handing the packets over to the children but not having one when they offer them to me. I’m salivating and feeling sick at the thought of them.’
....and at the cinema?
'I can’t see the ‘pick ‘n’ mix bar. It’s like someone’s erased it. I can still see everything else in the cinema in my mind but not the sweets’ area.’
....and longer car journeys?
'I can see me putting a healthier package together for my children and myself so that we’re not tempted to eat just the junk; that we see the sweets as a treat or dessert after the healthier option has been eaten. Hopefully, then we’ll be full and not want them anyway.’
I received a text later that day.
'I've had my usual cuppa but without the biscuits. Thank you.'
Since then, my client has had sporadic sugar fixes but has had more control. The underlying root cause needed to be addressed as the Swish technique does not address deep rooted issues.
Note. We only really had an outcome for the biscuits at this time as it was a daily afternoon and evening occurrence and during lockdown my client wasn’t going to the cinema so that couldn’t be tested. However, she did fill the car up without having the children with her, which is another great strategy to change an unwanted behaviour.
A month later we had other successful outcomes exploring Guilt and Shame and discovered Limiting Beliefs about herself and childhood trauma.