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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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Clearing Out the Closet in Your Mind


A new patient came in to see me the other day about "other" problems in her life. However, it didn't take long for the conversation to turn towards discussing her disappointments surrounding her weight. Because her issues with weight were so closely woven with the rest of her life, we kept the focus on her obsession with food.

One day she came in as a totally different person. She was calm, self assured, and spoke with a greater sense of deliberation and self awareness than I have ever seen, or that she herself ever remembers.

She said; "I decided it was time to lose weight. It just happened, and I have not been hungry since then, and I have already lost 4 pounds."

She had crossed a mental threshold. She was thinking instead of eating. She had incorporated the pause exercise into her moment to moment style of living. She had integrated her insights about her past into the new woman she was becoming as a "thinking" adult. She was being her "Best Self," her own best friend that now replaced food as her best friend.

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Recent Posts
Married, Lonely and Hungry


A common theme, for many women, has been feeling various forms of frustration in their marriage, which triggers them to turn to food for comfort.

Let's start with a success story. This woman has a husband who works nights. He was home for the first night in awhile and was watching baseball. All of a sudden she felt emotionally hungry. Her hunger switch got turned on and she felt like she wanted to go to the fridge and binge. But she stopped herself and paused. She thought I could say something stupid like, "you never spent any time with me." But she didn't. She thought things through. She recognized the deeper feeling that was fueling her emotional hunger and instead she said, "I miss you." In response, her husband turned off the TV and paid attention to her. By being honest with her feelings, she was able to "speak her truth" and make the connection with her husband that she wanted.

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Messages From Your Mind


I think I have established clearly in previous blogs that there is a known pathway to break the emotional eating habit. It requires you to PAUSE and RE-THINK the situation with new INSIGHT. This requires practice, persistence and patience. You need to do this over and over again until you convince yourself, by your own experience, that you can handle whatever is stirring in your mind without using food as a form of medication.

So what is being stirred up in you, that is so disturbing that you want to hide in food rather than understand and deal with the messages your mind wants to deliver to you?

The range of issues that can trigger an emotional eating episode is vast but most people have a limited and familiar personal list. That makes the task of learning how to cope with these things much more manageable.

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Feeling Stuck and Hungry


Ninety-five percent of dieters gain their weight back. This discouraging statistic prompted the beginning of a group called the National Weight Control Registry. They became interested in determining what brought success to that 5% of people who are able to lose weight and keep it off. What they've found was that the people that kept the weight off didn't just change their eating patterns, they changed their life in some way.

Perhaps you know someone who has lost weight and kept it off. When you inquired into how they succeed you might have heard them say something like this:
  • I was ready to start having fun in my life.
  • It was time to get my career into high gear.
  • I was going through a divorce.
  • It was time to stop being so afraid of rejection.
  • I lost someone dear to me and realized it was time to take care of myself.
  • I was ready to own my own sexuality.
  • I was going through menopause and didn't want to go into the next part of my life as a heavy person.

The place where they were stuck wasn't just related to their weight, it was related to some aspect of their life. When a person feels "stuck" they will experience emotional hunger.

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