Categories super nutrition academy health class
Do You Suffer From Stress and Anxiety with Your Diet? Nick Ortner is Here To Help
Click here to subscribe in iTunes (and download)
Yuri: Hey, guys, how’s it going? Yuri Elkaim with you, back with another episode of the SNA Health Class. Today I’m very excited to be joined by my good friend Nicolas Ortner. He is the CEO of the Tapping Solution, LLC, and we’re going to talk about some really awesome stuff.
As you recall, we had a fellow friend of ours, Carol Look, on the podcast a couple episodes ago, and we were talking about the basics of tapping. Today we’re going to go a little bit deeper and really bring it into some very, very cool stuff with what you can do with respect to the foods that you’re eating, getting overwhelmed by being perfect with your diet and stuff. There’s going to be a lot of value to that, so be sure to plug in and stay tuned over the next half hour or so.
But before we start, let me formally introduce Nick. His goal is to empower people to create healthy, financially abundant, and stress-free lives through his books, films, CDs, and online events. If you follow The New York Times at all and The New York Times’ Best-selling list, you’ll have noticed his book The Tapping Solution, which has been on there for, what, four or five weeks now in the top ten, which is tremendous. It’s an awesome book and I would highly recommend you pick it up. It’s called The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living, and this was published by Hay House earlier in 2013 of this year obviously.
There’s so much more to say about Nick. He’s helped hundreds of thousands of people through his Tapping World Summits. They’ve done so much great work now with posttraumatic stress.
They’ve developed a taping foundation, actually, in Connecticut to deal with a lot of the trauma that took place after the Sandy Hook shootings, and they’ve done all sorts of amazing work with kids in Rwanda. It’s just incredible the work that he’s done with tapping.
He’s also a guy that just really has a big heart for wanting to help people, and I’m really honored to have him with me on this episode, so welcome, Nick.
Nick: Yuri, thank you for that very kind introduction.
Yuri: Absolutely. So, without any further ado, why don’t we talk about the topic of today’s episode, which you actually brought up a great idea to talk about the fact that so many of us get stressed out by feeling the need to be perfect with our diets and how that can create more stress and more harm than perhaps the foods that we’re even eating?
Nick: Yeah, I mean, the topic of diet and nutrition and food is a hugely important one, and that’s why people listening to this podcast are looking to get great, cutting-edge information. I’ve been on that journey myself for the last decade, exploring what’s best for my body and how to have the most energy and have the healthiest body, all really important stuff.
The challenges, what I often see with people and where we sort of need to be aware—I don’t want to say careful because careful implies more stress and more danger—so, be more aware is the stress that we can often create in our own minds and, thus, in our bodies about food. When we get conflicting information and say, “I heard this here and heard that there, and now I don’t know. Now I’m eating this piece of food, and I don’t know if it’s good or ‘bad’ for me.”
We have these delineations that food is good and bad for you. Again, it’s important to have the awareness, and I think one of the things that we can do and where tapping can come in really well is: How do we relax into this whole experience? How do we continue our quest for healing and for cleansing ad for strengthening our body and finding the energy and the best foods for us without being obsessive about it? Without being so overwhelmed emotionally that we’re creating stress in our body?
Yuri, you’ve probably ran across some people along your journey where you’re like, “Wow, they’re so stressed out about food and what they’re eating and everything that it is doing more damage to their body than whatever they’re putting in.”
Yuri: Yeah, just a few.
Nick: Ha-ha, just a few, exactly. Very good. And it’s okay if you’re there. Sometimes we need to be there at the beginning to really get passionate about something, get the energy.
Passion is good; stress is not. We can be passionate about eating the right food, but not if we’re carrying that stress in our body. My friend Mark Hyman, who’s a functional-medicine doctor, said the other day at a conference where I was seeing him speak, he said, “If you know,” as kind of a joke, he said, “If you knew what stress was doing in your body, you would freak out.” Because, as a doctor, he knows that the cascade of hormones, the changes that happen in your body when you are stressed are massive, and they’re often more powerful than anything you can put in your mouth.
So, what I’d like to explore today with the tapping and conversation is: How do we release some of the anxiety and the overwhelm that we tend to feel around food and diet and nutrition and that whole world?
Yuri: Absolutely. Now, with, in your experience and the people that you’ve worked with, do you feel that most people even understand that they’re stressed out? Do they have that body awareness where they feel, they know that they’re stressed, or is this something foreign to them?
Nick: It’s usually foreign. I think most people acknowledge, “Oh yeah, I’m stressed. Life is stressful; I’m stressed.” I don’t think they know just how stressed they are.
One way to tell is to stop right now and take a deep breath and just relax and feel into your body. When we do that for just a second, we start noticing the difference between how we felt ten seconds ago, when we were holding some sort of tension; a deep breath relaxes a little more. People tend to notice it when they’re on vacation maybe or walking in the woods, and they go, “Whoa, I’ve been carrying around all this stuff.”
Or at the end of the day. Someone’s taking a bath at the end of the day, they feel that their shoulders are still clenched. It’s like, “Whoa, I’ve been carrying around all this stuff.” Now, that’s stress around life in general.
About this topic specifically, stress about nutrition and what to eat, I think people are really not aware of that. I think that they feel, “Look, I’m just trying to find the right information and solve this problem.” There’re two ways to go about it. There’s the stressed way to go about it, and there’s a relaxed way to go about it.
The relaxed way is important not only because we’d rather be relaxed because it feels better, but because when we are stressed—if you think about the stress response, that’s the stress response? It’s the fight-or-flight response in the body. It’s the amygdala in the brain firing in the body and saying, “Something isn’t safe here. I gotta run away or I gotta fight it.”
When we’re stressed the blowout flows away from our forebrain, and it goes into our limbs so we can run or we can fight. We literally have less blood in our brain to come up with creative ideas, creative solutions, or we even have less blood in our brain to be able to make these, what can be in the beginning, more difficult choices.
If you look at when people “fail” on their diet or when they cheat, it’s usually at moments where their willpower’s weakened. It’s late at night, they’ve had a stressful day, they’re by themselves in front of the TV, and they go, “Oh my God, a bowl of ice cream would just make my life so much better right now. I’m going to have it. I’m going to eat it.”
If that stress isn’t there in the first place, we have more conscious awareness, more ability to make better decisions. And from the physiological perspective, I know a lot of people, one of the things they’re looking for in improving their nutrition is they’re looking to lose weight. Well, if you’re stressed about your nutrition and your cortisol is firing through your body all the time, the body’s actually going to hold on to weight.
Belly fat has been directly correlated with cortisol levels in the body, with the stress hormones in the body. Your body is stressed, it says, “I’m not going to drop these pounds. We’re stressed. We need to keep it. Maybe there’s a long winter coming ahead. I don’t know why we’re stressed but we’re stressed.”
The body holds on to the weight and makes the whole thing even more difficult. There are a myriad of reasons why reducing the stress not only in your life but the stress specifically around food and nutrition is going to make everything go so much better.
Yuri: Absolutely. So, bring it into kind of dinner this evening. The individual, let’s call her Jane. She comes home from work; she’s had a long day. She might have kids at home, waiting for a decently healthy meal, and she’s just stressed.
She doesn’t know what to eat. She just heard on the radio the latest study showing that this was bad or this was good, so now she’s even more confused, and she’s been struggling from one diet to the next, different sources of advice and she’s kind of been pulled in a lot of different directions. What does she do?
Nick: Yeah, absolutely.
Yuri: She makes her meal, she sits down, how does tapping, how can she, in this case, kind of lessen some of that stress with tapping and kind of just become a little bit more at peace with what she’s doing?
Nick: Yeah, great question. Really briefly in case some people missed Carol’s interview and just caught this podcast on tapping, we’re talking about the tapping technique or also known as EFT, emotional freedom technique. We call it tapping because we are literally tapping on endpoints of meridians on our body while saying certain statements, while focusing on what’s stressing us out.
It’s a technique that certainly can look funny at first. I know when I discovered it for myself personally ten years ago, I said, “What are people doing?” Working on it seemed really silly, but it’s been around for over 30 years, and it’s been shown time and again to help with issues such as food cravings and stress in the body and physical pain and emotional issues.
We’re just looking at one angle of it today, but it’s massively effective on a huge variety of things. What the latest research has shown, and I’ll bring it back in just a second to the question about the lady having dinner, what the latest research has shown is that when we tap on these endpoints of meridians of our body while focused on the stressful situation or thought or idea or memory, we actually send a calming signal to the amygdala in the brain.
As I mentioned before, the amygdala is that fight-or-flight response in the brain; it’s a part of us that says it’s not safe. It’s not safe to be in this situation and, again, fires all the stress hormones in the body.
So, dinner rolls around, she makes dinner. Sitting down to eat it, and all these stress hormones are flowing through because that broccoli that she’s about to eat, she heard some report about something being wrong with it and something’s going on. Her kids wanted to make this, so she had a little bit of that.
This is a moment where the amygdala is firing and the stress response is happening. What she can do is take a few minutes and, certainly, the deeper you go with the tapping work and spending more time, it can be even more effective, but just taking a few minutes and going through the tapping points and focusing on statements.
We tap while we say certain statements, so focusing on statements like, “Even though I’m totally overwhelmed by these food decisions, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though I don’t know if I should eat this, I don’t know if I should eat that, my body’s stressed, there’s so much going on, I deeply, and completely love and accept myself.”
And then going through the tapping routine, which you can learn in Carol’s audio. Tapping through the points in the body, focusing on the stressful statement, the stressful response to let it go.
A lot of people ask: Why are we focusing on the negative here? We’re just spending a few minutes acknowledging the feeling in the body, saying, “This is how I feel,” doing this physical process to calm the body, to calm the mind, and then letting it go.
She will find this, even after just a few minutes of tapping, the thoughts that were dominant and strong have faded away, and that real energy, that stressful charge around it has also faded away.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s powerful. What I love about tapping is that it’s not only a very conscious process, so you’re kind of coming in to the moment and recognizing that, but it’s also a very truthful process, so you’re not suppressing feelings; you’re actually bringing them to the surface, and you’re being honest with yourself about the fact that you don’t feel comfortable or you feel anxious.
I think that’s probably, it’s tough to say because whether it’s the tapping itself or the verbiage or the, I don’t even know what the word is, but just kind of expressing those feelings.
Nick: Yeah, I think it’s a magic combo of everything that’s why the results are so powerful. I agree with you completely. We tend to do a lot of repression in this society; push these feelings down.
And even within the realm of positive thinking and positive psychology, which I agree with completely. I work on being positive all day, every day. It’s the way to go.
But that doesn’t mean you want to be positive to the exclusion of acknowledging a feeling and acknowledging, “Hey, this is where I am right now, and you know what? I’m frustrated. I thought this was going to be easier, and I’m stressed out. I’m beating myself up for it, and something isn’t working here, so let me do the tapping to calm down, to let go of these feelings of anxiety, to let go the stress from my body.”
Yuri: Yeah, and that’s really important too because let’s say they don’t acknowledge how they’re feeling and then they eat a specific food or meal that they don’t think is as healthy as what it should’ve been. Then they feel worse about the whole thing. They degrade themselves even more; then they make even poorer food choices moving forward. It’s just this downward spiral.
Nick: Absolutely. We tend to think that if we beat ourselves up enough, then we’re going to finally make the right choice. “Oh, you’re an idiot for eating this food. I can’t believe you did it again. You didn’t go to the gym,” blah, blah, blah.
It doesn’t work that way, and we know it because how has that self-talk worked in the past? That’s not the experience that moves us forward. The experience that moves us forward is actually accepting ourselves as we are.
People do have a hard time with that. They think, Okay, if I accept myself as I am, then I’m just going to eat poorly and I’m going to do all these things, so I accept myself. I don’t think that’s the case at all. When we accept ourselves, when we love ourselves, that’s when we take better care of our bodies.
Yuri: Are there specific times throughout the day that you recommend people tap? Is it better to tap when you’re maybe not as stressed out so you can kind of develop that foundation or—
Yuri: —or is it kind of like a last-resort thing?
Nick: That’s a great question. Let’s say, looking at food cravings specifically. If someone is saying, “Eight o’clock at night every night, I have to eat a bag of potato chips or ice cream or a candy bar,” ten o’clock at night or at midnight, whatever it is, the challenge is, if you eat it at ten o’clock at night and as ten o’clock rolls around and the craving rears its ugly head and you’re in that emotional state and you’re like, “I gotta have it,” it is harder to go, “Oh, let me bring a lot of consciousness to this situation and do some tapping right now.
The likely result is, you’re going to go, “I don’t care about this tapping technique. I know it can make my craving go away but guess what? I don’t want it to go away because I want this food.” We are consciously and emotionally dominated by that thought, so if you find that’s happening to you, that’s when tapping at a different point can make difference.
Tapping in the afternoon or in the morning and saying, “Even though I will probably want this ice cream or these chips at night and I get stressed out and here’s what I think happens, I deeply and completely accept myself,” and going through the tapping points, even running this future vision in your mind, seeing yourself having that craving, seeing how you react and what it’s going to feel in your body and what comes up and doing the tapping to reduce that intensity.
That can make it so when ten o’clock rolls around, maybe you have the craving, but instead of a level ten out of ten, it’s a level five. A level five is a heck of a lot easier to have self-control to bring it down, to make different choices. It’s when we’re at that eight or nine or ten level where it makes it really difficult to say, “I’m going to will myself out of this,” because that big rebellious part of ourselves says, “Nuh-uh, I’m going to do this.”
Yuri: Yeah, totally. That’s actually a really good recommendation in terms of future pacing, kind of seeing ahead of time how you would react, because it kind of equips your brain and your body to kind of know what to expect when you’re in that environment, in that situation. That’s probably a very, that’s obviously a very powerful technique for anyone to use.
Nick: Yeah, and for a lot of things. The future pacing can go beyond the food cravings. If you have a speech to give this weekend and Saturday night you gotta give a speech at a wedding and you’re all nervous about it, don’t wait until five minutes before to do the tapping.
Run it in your mind’s eye right now. Do the tapping. You’ll feel it in your body; you’ll feel the anxiety; you’ll feel the stress. Go through the process right now so then once you get there, you’ve diminished the anxiety or eliminated it all together.
Yuri: Do you recommend, I don’t know if there’s, not a magic number, but is there a certain amount of time that’s necessary for, you know, is it two minutes, four minutes, or is it just a matter of going from a level of ten stress to a level-two stress or below? How much time does one devote to tapping, or is it really on an individual basis that that would be determined?
Nick: Yeah, it’s very individual. It’s a great question. I think one of the things, there’s a couple ways to approach it. If you reach out—certainly, this is a technique. You can pick up the book and learn how to do it for yourself, and that’s one of the most powerful parts to it.
If you’re really struggling and you’ve been trying to lose weight for 30 years and falling on the diet and nothing’s happening or you just keep falling off whatever your plan is and really struggling, you might want to reach out to a practitioner who will sit down with you for an hour. That could be a coach, it can be a licensed therapist who uses EFT. There’re a lot of different people out there who use it.
And that hour where that can be really handy is, they can help you go deep. They can help you explore the issues that are going on and use this powerful technique to clear them. And if that’s not for you, then just doing it on your own five, ten minutes.
I sometimes recommend when an issue comes up to try to set a, sometimes I’ll take my iPhone and just set a ten-minute countdown on it, because if you don’t, oftentimes you’ll tap for even two or three minutes. You’ll feel better because you’ll partially clear the issue.
It’ll go from being an eight or a nine to a four, and you go, “Well, I’m kind of fine at a four. I can live with a four,” as opposed to spending the time to go deeper and clearing it completely.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s good. What other, how else can…it’s almost, the funny thing about tapping is that it’s almost too simple. I’m sure there are ways that we’d probably try to complex things.
Other than becoming more conscious and practicing tapping two to three times a day or whatever it is for the individual, how else can or what other types of strategies can we use to reduce cravings or to go deeper with discovering what the root issue is with a lot of these, whether it’s cravings or addictions to specific food?
Nick: Sure. What will often happen with the cravings work is that first, you tap down the initial physical craving, and then if you start really feeling what’s going on in your body, you can ask questions like: What is this craving really about? And then you’ll find that it goes well beyond “Oh, I just need this piece of chocolate” to emotional issues.
I’ve heard a lot of different answers, people. I remember working with a lady who, every time she came home from work, she ate, like, a whole box—or a whole bag, whatever it was—of Oreo cookies. She just devoured them.
Her diet was perfect beyond this. She was well aware of what was in the cookies, the high-fructose corn syrup and the hydrogenated oils and everything that was in there. She ate organic, she ate everything right beyond that, but the Oreo cookies she was addicted to.
We started tapping and talking about it, and after she visualized having the craving and tapping and bringing it down, after she brought down some of the actual craving for the Oreo cookies, I started asking her, “What’s this really all about?”
She got this flash of a memory that she hadn’t thought about in ages, and she said, “You know, growing up, right after school my sister and I used to have Oreo cookies all the time.” She could picture the kitchen table where she sat at and having the Oreo cookies in milk.
And as she brought up that memory, it was a really happy memory. You can see where it’s going. You can see what her brain did. Happy times, care-free times in childhood.
Now she has a busy life in New York City and doesn’t have that care-free experience, except some part of her brain does when she’s eating those Oreo cookies. We need to delink that craving for the Oreo cookies and then also work on strategies where she could give herself that happy time.
Oftentimes, for people with food, it is a time when they can reward themselves, when they feel fulfilled, when they feel relaxed. You’ve gotta find a way of doing that without food or with food. There’re certainly ways to do that with food in healthy ways, whether it be switching to a different brand of Oreo cookies that are healthier or having other food, the right cup of tea, the right thing that creates that atmosphere for her that brings her happiness.
Cravings and addictions, I mean, addictions are oftentimes so much more—yes, there’re emotional issues underneath it, but a lot of times, they’re just habits that have been so ingrained. The cup of coffee in the morning. “Oh, I just love the smell of it and I have my little routine and it’s my peaceful, quiet time. It’s before the kids are up. I love it.”
The cigarette. I mean, I’ve heard from a lot of smokers, they’ll say, “The one thing that smoking gives me is that I can be at the dinner table with my family, they can be driving me crazy, it’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and I go, ‘I gotta have my cigarette,’ and I get to sit outside by myself, taking deep breaths and relaxing. I love that time, so I’m going to keep smoking because I’m not willing to give up that time.”
Sometimes we have to come up with, a) identify those things and then come up with new strategies to function and be happy and serve ourselves and reduce our stress because at the end of the day, these addictions are happening, these cravings are happening because they work. They serve a purpose in our body, and we need to replace that and go with a different approach.
Yuri: Totally. That’s awesome advice. For all of our listeners, I would highly, highly recommend you grab a copy of Nick’s book. Again, it’s a New York Times best-seller; it’s called The Tapping Solution. You can pick it up at your local bookstore, you can grab it on Amazon, you can probably grab it anywhere they have physical books.
But also check out the Web site, TheTappingSolution.com. You can check out the first two chapters for free and just get a lot more awesome information on tapping. They’ve got—I mean, you and your sister and then Alex, you guys have done an amazing job just really educating everyday people about how to use tapping, how to incorporate it into their lives.
There’s a lot of great resources on the Web site, and I’d highly recommend you guys check it out. Again, it’s TheTappingSolution.com. And, Nick, I want to thank you again for sharing your wisdom, for spreading the message of what it is that you’re spreading in terms of helping people live happier, healthier, stress-free lives, I guess, and I think what you’re doing is awesome.
Is there anything you want to finish off with before we end today’s interview?
Nick: No. Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for having me. What I would say about tapping is that it can seem strange, but give it a try. Take five or ten minutes and just have an experience.
Like you said, the first two chapters of the book are free, and you can actually see all of the instructions on exactly how to do the taping there and have an experience. It works on so many things. Physical pain, if you’re dealing with any physical pain in the body, it’s really powerful for that. We talked about weight loss and cravings today and then also more obtuse things like financial challenges and limiting beliefs around money and finances and following your passions.
Again, the tapping works in decreasing the tress around it, helping the body heal. It’s powerful stuff, so give it a try.
Yuri: Awesome. Well, thank you so much again for taking the time to join us today, Nick. It’ been awesome. For everyone listening, again, thank you very much for tuning in. Check out TheTappigSolution.com and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
About Super Nutrition Academy
Super Nutrition Academy is the ONLY nutrition course that makes it easy for everyday people to understand the complex relationship between nutrition and health. If you're tired of all the conflicting health information out there and want a clear-cut, evidence-based understanding of the nutrition and health topics that matter you, then get started today.