Early in the EBT training for stress eating, I introduce the concept of "body armor," the survival drive caused by a Body Circuit to hold onto extra weight for emotional protection.
The standard advice for EBT members who come to the program for freedom from eating and weight issues is: "Go ahead and rewire your Food Circuit, but do not expect to release weight easily until you clear your Body Circuit."
As a clinician, I know what I say, but I do not always know whether participants hear me or put that advice into practice. So, in a recent telegroup meeting in which I was discussing body armor, "Molly" spoke up and said...
"I've been in EBT groups for a year now...
...and I first went after my Food Circuit." I listened intently as eating and weight had not come up in the Cycles I had coached her through during our meetings. As our sessions were through teleconferencing, I knew her intimately through her voice, but I had never seen her.
I did not even know she thought she had extra weight to release. Her primary concern in joining EBT was to grieve the loss of her husband and jumpstart a new life after his passing.
"First, I rewired my Food Circuit."
Molly shared that when she completed the How to Rewire course, she went after the survival circuit that drove her overeating and cleared it. As per standard practice of EBT, once a person identifies a deep circuit, they either "put it on the shelf" or "crush the circuit" and take as many days or weeks as needed to reconsolidate it.
She chose to crush it. Once the drive to overeat is rewired, it's pretty obvious. People leave food on their plates, discover satisfaction when eating less, and free up time to devote to other activities.
If we collectively used every moment wasted on food obsessions to find a cure for cancer, we'd reach the White House Moonshot Goal of reducing the death rate by 50 oercent, maybe more. It's such a waste, but it only stops without sparking the onset of another obsession if we rewire the emotional brain circuits that fuel it.
"I had to grind it in 200 or 300 times."
Molly's wire was a "5 Circuit," which means it was encoded in trauma. Like many trauma circuits, it co-activated with other wires and was connected to some fear memories that needed processing. All that neural architecture requires clearing to have spontaneous changes in eating and weight.
That's not a problem. It just takes work – and the skill to spiral up. Molly used her app and connections with other group members between sessions to erase the Food Circuit and the emotional clutter it activated.
She went on: "Then I cleared my Body Circuit."
I felt my body relax when she volunteered that she had put "emotional force" behind not only rewiring that Food Circuit but her Body Circuit as well. The Body Circuit is either a body judgment wire or one that connects a survival drive with holding onto a particular body size for emotional safety.
The Body Circuit is unique to EBT, even though there is extensive literature on its role in promoting obesity – Vincent Felitti's article is a prime example. If the Food Circuit is busted, people usually eat healthier, but they hold onto the extra weight, or they white knuckle it and lose weight at a huge cost to themselves. They are going against a survival drive, so they are in constant conflict (stress), and devote an inordinate amount of energy to make the number on the scale match their neocortical desires for their "right weight."
These two circuits were primary, but Molly did the rest of the work, including rewiring her Love Circuit and Mood Circuit and collecting Joy Points to repair the dopamine extremes that had fueled her stress eating.
"Now I've lost 65 pounds without trying."
Using an exceedingly casual vocal tone, Molly shared her change in weight, and that she didn't force herself to eat in any particular way.
She said, "I discovered that I felt better if I ate more protein foods and healthy fats. I wasn't hungry, the cravings stopped, and the weight came off."
Molly didn't mention that she also was a "tiger" at completing the EBT Program to raise her set point. She averaged about eight to 10 spiral-ups per day to knock out chronic stress and was working through the Spirituality course at the time, the sixth of the seven Advanced EBT courses.
Spiraling up and moving through the advanced courses can raise the set point. That's important because it decreases the risk that the traces of old wires left after rewiring a circuit will cause spontaneous reinstatement of the circuit. The high set point keeps that Stress Triangle from spinning us out of control, opening the door to spontaneous, effortless improvements in our eating and weight.
The hallmark of rewiring: "It's natural."
Molly had just shared the classic story of EBT members. We weigh exactly what our emotional brain tells us it is safe to weigh and eat precisely what our emotional brain tells us to eat.
The biochemical activations of the "Stress Triangle" can be so strong, that when we rewire our stress and reward centers, our "interoceptive awareness" or ability to read the sensations in our body, including hunger and satiety, become highly sensitive. The unconscious drive is to release extra weight out of self-love, and we eat to honor that need.
People inspiring people to raise their set point.
Not everyone who uses EBT does this deep work, but this formula has made EBT the only non-surgical weight program that has been shown in studies published in peer-reviewed journals to produce lasting weight loss.
Molly did the work because she had a fire-in-the-belly desire to have freedom from food and weight issues , but the power of a group is amazing. She not only was the recipient of that loving connection, but her reward centers were activated by the inspiring words of others who were spiraling up, too.
This was a chance for Molly to give back.
Molly's casual report of her releasing 65 pounds sparked others to "crush" their Body Circuits. Two other members shared that they had not quite cleared their Body Circuits and committed to clearing them. People help people help themselves, and each person inspires the others.
What is the learning from Molly's story? You can change your own emotional brain. It takes clearing that body armor circuit and the food wire, then staying with it until you have raised your set point and feel expansive freedom.
That freedom is life-changing, which is why, at EBT, we're working hard to make EBT more fun to use and accessible to more people. Molly inspired others in her group to up their dose of EBT, and she inspired me to share her story with you.