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October 11, 2007


Andrea Amador

Dear Dr. Petty,

I'm very excited to have found your blog. I want to thank you for the work that you are doing in the field of Holistic Health.

Dr. Petty, I am a coach and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and I specialize in working with women who are emotional eaters. Considering your expansive knowledge in the field of medicine, It should probably come as no surprise to you that a large majority of women who are emotional eaters also have histories of being abused.

Presently I am in the midst of writing a non diet self help book for the woman who has learned to hate her body and unconsciously prevent her own success at weight loss. The book is entitled, Say Goodbye to Dieting: The Juicy Woman's Guide to Reclaim Your Power over Food, Love Your Body and Yummy up Your Life.

Dr. Petty, I am passionately devoted to helping women overcome emotional eating and want very much to ask for your help to put some threads together for me. Would you agree to sharing some of your thoughts with me and giving me permission to quote your research in my book?

If you are amenable to answering a few questions, I would like to share some of my insights with you for your comments.

From your blogpost, I understand that Norepinephrine stimulates neural connections creating heightened memories connected with pivotal events in our lives, thus creating the opportunity to recall the flashbulb memories that you discuss.

In the case of abuse, this memory and/or similar memories replay each time they are triggered by a given stimulus, such as in the case of a person with PTSD. It is my understanding and my personal experience that as a result of that stress trigger, it is common for a woman who has connected food to feeling safe to have a kneejerk response to stress embedded in her subconscious mind directing her to continually seek out food in the presence of stress. Dr. Petty, have you done any studies or can you direct me to a study which would enable me to explore this further?

As a personal note, in my capacity as a coach and a woman with my own history of abuse, after years of pursuing traditional therapeutic methods to encourage healing, I have finally found great relief from this internal tormenting of vivid memories in the form of a simple self adminstered tapping process called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT.

EFT is based on the science of Acupuncture, and it entails tapping on specific key acupressure points while at the same time thinking about the problem, pain or negative memory. This creates an internal release response in the body triggering natural stress relief chemicals that promote tension release and muscle relaxation. It also works to change the way that a person remembers events, neutralizing emotionally charged memories in minutes.

I have found that this works like magic to relieve pain of all sorts where there is an emotional component holding negative memories in place.

Dr. Petty, can you please explain how this tapping creates a physiological change in the body? In your expert opinion, what has to occur in order to discharge or rewire these negative memories?

In relation to the question of emotional eating, I understand that there is an actual mind/body connection that is at work in the individual struggling with obsessive eating.

According to Dr. Judith Rodin's research at Yale University, she showed fasting volunteers beefsteaks which were then cooked in front of them. Their blood was drawn and analyzed before and after the testing. In the during and after phases, the subjects' insulin levels showed a dramatic increase. Taking into account, that one of the things that insulin does in the body is it converts nutrients to fat, Dr. Rodin theorized that people can gain weight by simply seeing, hearing or smelling food cook.

It is my understanding that the chemical responsible for this elevation in blood sugar is Acetylcholine and it is produced in response to signals that come from our brain signalling the anticipation of food.

I understand from reading your blog that you have done some research with athletes and other people using visualization to achieve a specific outcome.

Dr. Petty, I'm sure that you are familiar with the work of the late Dr. Maxwell Maltz, creator of Psycho Cybernetics in which he draws the parallel of a person's internal image of themselves manifesting in physical reality.

In the case of a woman struggling with a negative internal image of being 'fat' or ugly due to the fallout from abuse, would you anticipate that her preoccupation and fretting over her weight, feeling badly and tendency to reinforce the negative image of an overweight body, would cause her to remain heavy?

Would the quality of her thoughts become commands to the subconscious mind to remain over-

Are you familiar with any recent studies that address this negative internal self image
issue? In your esteemed opinion, what would you advise women who want to override this tendency to dwell on the negative?

Is consistent visualization sufficient to change this or is there another element that you feel needs to be implemented?

Dr. Petty, I realize that these are many questions to address. Would you be willing to allow me to interview you for the responses?

Let me know what you think. I look forward to touching base with you soon.




I wonder what the impact of this research will be on research into "repression" or memory loss.

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