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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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Using Food to Disappear


I would like to continue the exploration of how the events from our past have set us up for the current food obsession. And how important it is to "open these doors" and walk through them with a new perspective. The following comment from last week, by Bonita, vividly captures the essence of the problem, which is using food to "disappear."

"There was always so much shouting at our dinner table when I was a kid. My mother took a lot of time cooking beautiful meals - German cooking, rich food, always much more than we could eat. She was a good cook, but my Dad used suppertime as a fault-finding mission. First he started with the cauliflower and then moved on to the kids. Food and criticism in our house went together like hot dogs in buns. Mom always said her good food was wasted because it went down our throats in lumps. You can't even call what we did eating. It was more like stuffing ourselves to the point of oblivion. Who tastes anything when there's a gun pointed at your head? And why would you even need to know when your stomach was full? That wasn't the point of eating. The point of eating in my house was to avoid what was going on around me, and once you got past the third pork chop, it worked!"

There it is, as real and clear as it can be. How one learns to override the biological signs of fullness in order to go beyond them to achieve a state of oblivion. How else could one disappear from a repugnant and dangerous reality at a family dinner table.

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Recent Posts
Blinded by the Obsession with Food


Every time I see a new patient come into my office with a food obsession, I am reminded of how durable the obsession is, and how difficult it is for the person to see what is really going on. From a therapist's perspective, what I am about to describe may sound obvious. However, the person who is struggling with the food obsession is practically blind, when it comes to seeing the source of the obsession.

A woman in her 50's came to see me after reading my book. She is an educated and intelligent woman who has a small profitable business and is happily married, with an adult son and four grand children. However, she was feeling totally desperate.

"I've been losing the same 15 pounds on and off for the last 40 years! I've tried every diet and nothing works. But I'm not ready to give up."

She went on to describe in a very tearful and painful way, her life history with a father who tyrannized her and a mother who couldn't protect her. Her siblings gave in to the father but she remained the rebel of the family. She was constantly getting herself into trouble but never giving up or giving in to her father, who was occasionally kind to her but more often brutally angry with her. This is a familiar story to me, since many of my patients who have an obsession with food also have a difficult family history that continues to cause them a great deal of emotional pain.

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A patient came in to see me the other day who I hadn't seen for three months. She was doing well and in the final stage of being "cured" of her food obsession. She decided to scheduled this appointment to "reach a higher level" and to complete the process.
However, in the three days just before her appointment, she had a little relapse.

I remember when she started to gain weight right before a visit back home. She was afraid that her sister would be too envious of her for having both a good life, and her weight under control. She was willing to be fat and angry at herself in order to ward off the envy.

I mentioned that: "It appears that your old fear of success has come back to haunt you. Success was dangerous for you then, and still is now, but probably for a different reason." This time she was asking for a deeper insight to deal with her core fear of success.

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Use your Mind, Cure your Food Obsession, Change your Life!


Clarity of mind is both the "solution" and the reward that comes when you cure your obsession with food. But what exactly is "clarity of mind" and what is lacking in your life when it is absent?

Let's start with this insightful comment from last week's blog:

"I have been cured of my food obsession. It was a wonderful moment when I realized it happened, it felt like a huge internal pressure had subsided, and a new mental clarity had begun. I have literally grown up. I now know what it feels like to be a full functioning adult. I now experience all life has to offer instead of running away from it all."

There it is, stated as clearly as possible. An attainable goal. Freedom from the obsession with food! To live life with an open mind and heart. No longer running away from the fear of confronting reality, but instead making reality work for you.

Another person recognized that the food obsession was occupying too much of her mind and interfering with her life when she made the following comment:

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