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Weight Loss and Control:
Roger Gould, MD's Weekly Blog
on Emotional Eating


 
Knowledge is power.
Understanding why you turn to food is the key to changing it. Join in the discussion each week as Dr. Gould shares his valuable insights from over 30-years of clinical experience.

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Response to No More Cravings from Dr. Gould

MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008 | POSTED BY DR. GOULD

I am so pleased with all of the comments on this first blog. So many of you have said I have hit the nail on the head, this is the issue you know and can identify with, but what is the "cure"? I know the answer,but it took me a book and an online program, to deliver that answer so a simple sound bite won't do it. But let me give it a try anyway, and welcome to the rest of the blogs in this series, where I will do it in more detail. Once eating has become a favored method of soothing, you have to do some work to change that habit. The work is simply learning how to stay with your thoughts and feelings long enough to understand what you are trying to tell yourself. Food shuts down the thinking/feeling process. You have to go in the other direction. The reason we have an online program is to help you become comfortable with your own mind so that you can discover exactly what mental patterns you have to change in order to be at peace with yourself. Once you switch your attention to your own personal development, food becomes secondary. Think of it as a train track switch. Many of the comments above from members describe that switch. Unfortunately one member couldn't make the switch the first time around but I hope she will do it the second time around, and I hope she will ask for our help so we can show her what she might be missing. Changing this pattern permanently requires real personal growth, not just a few tips about some temporary ways to distract yourself. The step by step, therapy like approach, is the only way I know to get there. Stay tuned to the next blog, or read the emotional eating 101 for some more information.


 
Recent Posts
Pause and Taste the Feeling, The Feeling That Makes You Eat Too Much

MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008 | POSTED BY DR. GOULD

In this third blog I intend to fulfill my promise to you. I promised to introduce you to the one and only technique you will need to engage in a meaningful conversation with yourself about why you eat too much. You simply have to pause every time you recognize you are about to enter an emotional eating episode. The first part of technique is to recognize an emotional eating episode. The second part is to ask yourself why you want to eat too much at that particular moment. That is something you can observe and discover. Not why you want to eat in general, but why you want to eat at that critical moment.

Last week I told you how to recognize the beginning of an emotional eating episode. Here is what I said about the three signs.

Read more


 
Michelle on Hot Mom's Club Site

FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008 | POSTED BY MICHELLE

Many of us are women.

Hot Mom's Club is a site that provides information and community for mothers who don't want to sacrifice their sexuality and confidence just because they've had children.

To Read Article click here.



 
3 Reasons You Won't Lose Weight

MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008 | POSTED BY DR. GOULD

Today we are going to discuss the three reasons you won't lose weight: an overpowering urge to binge, an intense hunger when you know the hunger is not for food, and a mind filled with thoughts about food or worries about weight.

The good news: once you learn to control the emotional eating that causes these three obstacles... well, then you can take off the weight -- and keep it off -- for good.

Last week, in the first of this series about emotional eating, I left you with the dilemma of the divided self. One part of you wants to control your weight by eating in a healthy way while the other part of you wants to hold onto food as a form of self medication. You have to resolve this dilemma before you can control your weight.

Read more


 
No More Cravings: Simple Secret Revealed

MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2008 | POSTED BY DR. GOULD

I am still taken aback every time I think of the answer a patient once gave me when I asked her WHY she ate half a dozen donuts. She said, "what else could I do?" She couldn't figure out a better way of dealing with the demands of her 16-year-old daughter. She temporarily "lost her mind." She was paralyzed. She was unable to think like the intelligent adult that she was.

I started asking other patients the same WHY question, and kept on getting the same kind of answer, in one way or another telling me that the strength of a craving, the lure of a binge, or the power of food over them, was overwhelming, and they too "lost their mind" to food.

Emotional Eating: Blessing or Curse?
I heard more and more people tell me that their mind was taken over by thoughts about food and weight. They told me that their mind was "occupied" by a force they couldn't understand, and what they wanted as much as weight loss was liberation from this preoccupation. In fact, there are 17 million Americans who have this same mental struggle even though they maintain a normal weight.

So why do YOU eat too much after you have committed to a diet and told yourself you are not going to do that anymore? On one level the answer is simple and obvious. You eat too much when you think you HAVE to use food to reduce your stress level or get away from some uncomfortable feeling or thought because you BELIEVE that you don't have any other way of doing that. Then food becomes a tranquilizer; an instant, always available, medication that shuts down your mind. At those moments emotional eating is a BLESSING.

But when those moments pass, and you realize you have a bad habit of using food as a tranquilizer TOO often, and you understand that this is the single most sabotaging factor in your weight control struggle that makes you break your diet every time, then you know that emotional eating is a CURSE, and you spend a lot of mental energy beating yourself up.

And if this habit of emotional eating is too embedded in your life, it is even more of a CURSE because on some level you understand that this habit so overloads your mind with obsessive thoughts about food and weight, that you can hardly think of anything else. It is a very bad eating habit that distracts you from vigorously pursuing your own personal development and the betterment of your relationships because it uses up too much mental oxygen. It is the addictive habit that causes binge eating and bulimia.

Control Your Binges
If you have struggled with your weight and quit as many diets as you started you are very familiar with what I have just described. Your problem is that you have not yet decided whether emotional eating is a BLESSING or a CURSE. On one hand you desperately want to control your eating; and on the other hand you want to be able to binge when the craving becomes so strong that you feel helpless and think to yourself, "what else could I do?"

You have a divided self because it is BOTH a blessing and a curse for you. You will be at peace with yourself about food and weight only after you have resolved the divided self conflict within you. If you don't resolve this conflict you won't be in charge of yourself and no matter how successful you are at losing weight by any diet, you'll always be worried about regaining it.

Large scale research on dieters tells us that you are in one of three equally large groups.

1.You only want a quick fix, fast-loss diet which means you would rather go through another cycle of weight loss and regaining than deal with this divided self conflict.

2. You have given up on all diets or weight loss approaches which means you have decided that emotional eating is too much of blessing to ever think of giving it up.

3. You recognize you need to make real lifestyle changes in regard to food which means you recognize emotional eating is more a curse than a blessing and you are looking for ways to resolve this divided self conflict.

I know this conflict very well. As a psychiatrist I have studied this with my own patients, written a book, and then created a program that has been used successfully by over 14,000 people. For those in the third group who are looking for lifestyle change, emotional eating can be controlled if one takes a careful step-by-step approach, at each step learning a critical piece of insight, and eventually replacing the initial helplessness thought "what else could I do" with the in-charge person who says "look at all the other ways I can handle this stress." Then a new sense of personal power naturally emerges, and the cravings that were so strong in the past, actually disappear.

The discovery I have made is not that there is such a thing as emotional eating. We all know that. The discovery is that there is actually a way to replace the "blessing" of food with much better ways of handling life's challenges. When you learn that well enough to act on it, your conflict is resolved, and the "curse" is gone; the "occupied" part of your mind is liberated.

In the next series of blog posts, I will tell you how that is happening right now with some of my patients and the members of my Shrink Yourself program.