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Morty: Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe with another podcast that will help you stop overeating. Today we have a very special guest, Bill Cashell. He’s got an “Emotional Diet” which is a revolutionary new program that focuses on what he considers to be “the real problem” with people who are overweight. Even though he calls it an “Emotional Diet,” it is not actually another diet that forces you to use willpower.
So let’s find out what his ideas are and maybe something he has to say will help those of us who have a problem with overeating, with emotional eating. Maybe it’s going to help us discover what it’s going to take to stop overeating. So if we can stop overeating perhaps our problems can be solved and maybe Bill can help us solve them.
Welcome Bill and thank you so much for being with us today.
Bill: Well thank you, Morty. Thank you for inviting me.
Morty: Bill Cashell, C-A-S-H-E-L-L, where are you located now?
Bill: Well, I’m located in Omaha, Nebraska right here in the center of the United States.
Morty: That’s exciting. Tell us a little bit if would please on how you got involved in the area of emotional eating. What made you decide to try and help people to stop their overeating problem? How did that all start for you?
Bill: Well Morty, I’ve met so many people with this desperation. That was my inspiration. Because I would have a problem–when I was younger I was so active. That was when I was fourteen or so. I could get away with eating quite a bit. Then I would often eat the wrong kinds of food. But then I kept gaining weight and gaining weight. I tried diet after diet. And I could stick to it for a few days but then I’d go right back to where I was.
So I started studying other techniques. So I became certified in hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, emotional freedom techniques, a slew of other techniques. What I found was when I combined them all together and started searching for the real cause, then I started having success. Once I had success then I started helping other people by doing seminars and eventually writing a book on it.
Morty: And what was the name of your book?
Bill: The name of the book is called The Emotional Diet: How To Love Your Life More and Food Less.
Morty: And where can people find that?
Bill: You can find it in Amazon, in Barnes and Noble, in some of the bookstores, and also your local library.
Morty: So it’s The Emotional Diet. Tell us a little bit about what you actually do that helps people to stop overeating.
Bill: To put it simply, Morty–it’s like I told a friend of a friend of mine–I said, “I believe anybody who eats more than they need is an emotional eater. At that point she replied, “I’m not an emotional eater, I just love food.” So of course I said, “What’s love?” And she chuckled. “So I guess that’s an emotion!”
There are a couple of different ways that people become emotional eaters. One thing, we form a lot of attachments throughout our lives to food. We create what is called an anchor. You feel good–one of my favorite examples is cake. Often I ask people: “When do you think of cake?” They say “Well, parties, birthdays, celebrations. Things like that.”
So what happens Morty is you see the cake and you’re feeling really good. Then you create the association of feeling really good with eating the cake. You go to another party, another birthday, you feel good and you eat the cake. Pretty soon you walk through a store, you see a cake and bang you have that urge. The real urge is not so much the cake as the feeling underneath that. Because all human behavior is driven by the desire to feel good.
Now that goes even further for people who we tend to think of as emotional eaters. That is people who eat strictly to feel good. And often it’s because they’re feeling bad. So what they’re doing is using food as a substitute. Something to change their body chemistry. But it really doesn’t solve the root problem. The root cause of why they’re feeling bad in the first place. So when we get to that, to find out what the real issue is and resolve that, then the need to eat to feel better goes away. So there are a couple of different ways to deal with that … I hope I kind of explained it.
Morty: Yes. Well that is pretty much consistent with my own research and my own point of view that the main source of emotional eating is negative feelings. Boredom, feeling unlovable, feeling anxious, feeling angry. So we have negative feelings that we don’t want to experience and we get conditioned to eat as a way of distracting ourselves from the negative feelings or putting a good feeling on top of the negative feeling.
Bill: I agree completely.
Morty: I think there’s also some beliefs involved. But it’s some combination of our beliefs and conditioned triggers.
Morty: If that’s the case, what do you do when people are conditioned to eat when they are bored or anxious or feeling unlovable or depressed? What do you do to help people not need to eat in those situations?
Bill: Well, one of the things is creating different anchors as I’ve said. Creating different associations to food and feeling good. And one of the ways is to reframe things. For example, a lot of it has to do with the way we look at food. The way we feel about food.
A good example is this: I sometimes will ask people “Would you sit down and eat a big bowl of flour with a spoon?” and of course they’ll say no. Then I’ll say, “What about a big bowl of sugar and a spoon? Would you eat that?” “Gosh no!” And I’ll ask “Well, what about a big tub of Crisco and a spoon? Would you eat that?” And of course that’s pretty sickening. And then I say “What if we put them all together and call them donuts? Would you eat that?” All a sudden it’s like a light bulb goes off and they think, “Wow, here are foods I wouldn’t eat by themselves but then we mix them all together then we call them donuts.”
It sort of reframes the way they think of these foods and the way they picture them. I mentioned that to one lady I was working with. A couple of days later people brought donuts to where she worked. Well she had always been a big donut eater, and she said the donuts looked good, they smelled good. But just looking at them she kept getting this image of a big ring of Crisco. And she said, “I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them.”
What was really great Morty was after a little while, everybody who had eaten these donuts were feeling very sluggish, lethargic, and she said she passed up the donuts and she felt great. So that created a new association that passing up the donuts makes her feel good. And eating the donuts was like eating Crisco or sludge. So she created a new association after that. At a simple, basic level like that.
To go further–we have talked about some of the feelings and so forth. If somebody says “I don’t feel lovable. I don’t feel good about myself.” Which is often the case as you well know. Then you say, “Okay, what is the root cause of that?” And that’s when we start getting to the subconscious mind.
One of the things I’ve found is that we can use things like affirmations or self-hypnosis for suggestions to say “Yes, I’m lovable” or “I’m worthwhile” or “I deserve to feel good.” The problem is, the root cause is there’s some experience or there’s something hidden in the subconscious memory or even consciously which prevents them from feeling good. So until you deal with or resolve that issue, using affirmations will really have limited or temporary effects.
Once they find that real cause I like to use something like emotional freedom techniques and things like that which really do focus on the physical feelings, the way they’re stored. Emotions often are stored–especially real strong emotions–are stored not only in our mind but also in our physical body. And that’s why using, for example, talk therapy won’t resolve trauma.
So when we use these other techniques to release those limiting beliefs and those bad memories and neutralize those, then we can follow up with things like affirmations and self-hypnosis and then that can start building stuff. But the first trick is to deal with those limiting beliefs and those bad memories. And that’s where it starts. In the subconscious mind.
Morty: And how do you help people eliminate those negative beliefs? If somebody didn’t get a lot of attention from their parents as children, and concluded “I’m not lovable”, what would you use? Which of your various techniques would be the most effective to get rid of the belief that “I’m not lovable”?
Bill: For a case like that I’d probably start with the emotional freedom techniques. And sometimes combine it–if I’m working one-on-one, the first thing I would do is “Think of a time, a specific event, when you didn’t feel lovable.” Because what you can find often is there could be–they could have a whole childhood full events when they didn’t feel lovable. When they felt rejected and so forth. And so what you find is if they had a lot of events–for some people maybe it’s one or two but it’s such a strong one that it left an impression on your mind–they may not even be aware of that. Maybe their parents didn’t love them or didn’t spend time with them. Whatever it may be, I tell them, “Think of the very strongest memory and tell me about that.”
Now the interesting thing is that the subconscious mind doesn’t keep track of time. We often say, “That happened years ago” or, “I’m way past that.” It doesn’t really matter. When you think back to an event when you were five years old and you still feel some negative feelings about that, it’s still affecting you on a subconscious level.
When I have people and tell them or ask them, “Think of your strongest event and how do you feel about that?” And they’ll come up with feelings like rejection or feeling bad or feeling “I’m not worth it.” And so I say, “Okay.” The way of course with psychotherapy is to–when you have a bad event–is to neutralize it and basically desensitize it by reliving the event with talk therapy, over and over again. That can be slow and that can be painful. And if there’s a lot of trauma involved, if often doesn’t work.
So what I say is, “Let’s go back to that event and tell me what the feeling is first.” Then we use EFT or meridian tapping and release those feelings and get them down. Then I tell them “Let’s watch through the events and neutralize the feelings involved.”
You don’t want to change people’s memories, you only want them tamped down. What you want to do is let go of the feelings associated to the memory. And then you go back and say, “Okay, now once we’ve released those negative associations, let’s now see what we can do to reframe them. So some of the reframing they would go into, say, “What kind of childhood did your parents have?” Maybe they had a similar role model in their parents. So maybe they were doing the best they could. So maybe you can go back and reframe that. Maybe you can forgive them because they didn’t know any better; maybe they had a bad childhood. So you start to see things differently.
If you had several events you may go through these one at a time. What you find is after you’ve done a few of these, by association then you’ll lose emotional charge on the rest of them. Once you’ve lost that, then all a sudden your feelings of “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not worthy” are no longer something you own. They are something that somebody else gave you but now you’ve given it back to them. Then I say, “Now let’s think of highlights in your life when you did wonderful things. When you felt good.” Then you reinforce those. And then that need to feel good for those events when you’re not worthy, goes away. And then you don’t have to have food to replace it.
Morty: Okay so you basically use a little bit of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy–and that sounded like a lot of NLP you were using with anchoring and reframing–and EFT. So you basically are using a lot of different techniques in your interactions with people.
Bill: Exactly, Morty. I have some hypnotist friends who think that hypnosis is the only way. Some people say EFT is the only way. And what I think is, the more tools you have, the better you’re going to be. Because I find that some people respond better to different things. I also find when you combine them all, then you really have much higher success rates.
Morty: Have you done any measurements? Have you done any follow-ups on a lot of people? Because people can use willpower to stop eating. Very often they use some sort of technique and it looks for the next week or so that the technique has worked because they are no longer emotional eating and they’ve lost a few pounds. But if you check six months later they’re right back where they’ve started.
So have you done any follow-ups three to six, nine months later to see whether the work you’ve done that seemed to be effective at the moment is still effective?
Bill: Yes I have, Morty. When I’ve worked with people individually–again I have a lot of seminars–when I’ve worked with people individually, I always like to do a follow-up a month later then three months, and then six months later just to see how they’re doing. In part the reason for that is of course to keep in touch with them and see if they’ve run into some challenges. In most cases I’ve found they’re doing very very well. Not having a problem. Occasionally I will run into something where something we didn’t see, something unexpected will pop up. I’ll say “Okay, let’s meet up with that.” And once we’ve resolved that then they’re fine. But for the most part, I guess they’ve done pretty well.
One of the things I find too–I sometimes do work with organizations, for example a company may call me to do a seminar there. Now one of the things I like to do after I’ve done a seminar is then I set up a weekly call-in. For time when I call in and they can be there as a group. And the two things that I find that really helps is that the follow-up keeps them going but also the group interaction, the group support is really wonderful. It’s just their getting together as a group, helping support each other.
Morty: In your private sessions, how do your private sessions work? Do you work with people on the phone or on Skype?
Bill: I do occasionally work with them on the phone or by Skype. Most of the time I work with them one on one. But I do–with technology, that’s the great thing because you can work with people any place and any time.
Morty: How do your sessions work? How long, how many sessions do people generally need in order to produce this success rate that you’ve been able to achieve?
Bill: I like to do five sessions. Because I’ve found that seems to be the optimal amount for covering almost everything. And I cover a lot of different things as well. Part of the session has to do again using these techniques. But part of it has to do with retrain your mind issues using cognitive behavioral techniques. Sometimes it’s just education for them, learning different techniques on how to handle things. So I find five sessions as I’ve said to be really really the best.
Morty: How long are your sessions?
Bill: Generally ninety minutes long, and usually the last half hour of that is generally doing hypnosis session.
Morty: So like an hour of EFT or cognitive behavioral or talking and then about a half hour of hypnosis. And then you do five of those. And then a follow up one, three, six months later and you’ve got pretty much a hundred percent success rate.
Bill: Pretty close. And when I say pretty close, occasionally I’ll find–I’ll give you the example of one woman who after three months said,”You know I just haven’t had any change in my weight.” And I said, “Well, let me ask this: First of all, how do you feel?” She said, “I feel terrific, I have energy, I’m exercising. I’m eating all the right foods.” I thought, “Hmm that’s interesting”. And so I said, “Have you gone to a doctor and have been tested? Things like thyroid and so forth?” And she said, “No, but I will do that.”
She did find out that she didn’t have a thyroid problem. So that was a case of where in spite of the fact that she hadn’t lost any weight, she did say that she felt terrific, she was healthier and feeling good.
One of the things that I think is so important is that people look past their weight. One of the things I often tell people is “Don’t put this on your weight. Because your weight, your current weight is the result of your current behavior.” I think that’s why diets fail. Because people are always trying to change their weight. They’ll say “I’m going to lose twenty pounds and then I can go back to eating ice cream and pizza.” And when they change back their whole behavior they go back to where they were.
I always tell people “Forget the weight, hide your scale, don’t even think about that. Focus on changing your behavior. When you do that your weight will take care of itself.”
My whole focus as I’ve said is on behavioral changes.
Morty: If people are interested in getting more information about your program or to contact you for possibly working with you, what’s the best way to find you, Bill?
Bill: The best way Morty, you could go to the website. It’s called www.emotionaldiet.com. There you can find information on the seminars I do and consultations and my book and just about anything else as well as contact information.
Morty: So your book Bill, is The Emotional Diet, which is a discussion of this program and how it works. And if you’re interested in contacting Bill directly or finding out more about his one on one sessions or possible group sessions, you can go to emotional E-M-O-T-I-O-N-A-L emotionaldiet.com.
Thank you so much Bill, this is really fascinating. It’s a somewhat different approach than anything I’ve heard before and I think that the people that are listening to this interview or reading the transcript to this might get some food for thought and people that are trying to stop overeating might get some that they haven’t had before as to a technique or approach that might be more effective than other things they’ve tried.
So thank you so much for your time today and hopefully some of the people will follow up with you and try to get some information from you.
Bill: Thank you so much Morty. I love all the work that you’re doing and all the help that you’re giving the people. I applaud you for that. It’s been great talking to you.
Morty: Have a great day.
Bill: Thanks, you too.
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