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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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Fear, Hope and Growth


We've firmly established that in order to "cure" yourself of a food obsession, you have to do some personal development work, i.e. reinventing some part of yourself. The comments from last week both add to the list of what it means to reinvent yourself and at the same time, re-introduce the fear of doing so. Today I want to discuss that fear.

Growing and learning from experience has such a positive value and outcome, it is always liberating. No one, who has ever grown and found deeper parts of themselves, has ever said they were sorry they did it. So why is it that what seems so right and natural, is also seen in such a dark light as something dangerous and impossible? It is true that whatever is avoided tends to grow dangerous in the dark recesses of your imagination. If you have been avoiding growth by interrupting it with compulsive or binge eating, then whatever you have avoided has grown to monstrous proportions inside your mind. The longer you avoid it, the more frightening it becomes to look at.

I can assure you that there is nothing to fear and everything to gain. However, some of your emotions may be telling you a different story. One of the comments from last week illustrates the extreme degree of fear and avoidance. -- "I've been reading this blog for a while now. Sometimes I am too afraid to read it. I guess that's what you would call avoidance."

She is too afraid to even learn about emotional eating in this very safe venue probably because it might tempt her to look at herself, and learn about herself. But she does look a little, and has a peek at what we now know is a familiar starting fear for almost everyone who becomes a member of the Shrink Yourself program. -- "Why? I don't know. What am I afraid of? Good question. I don't know really, but it may just be failure. Because I've failed so many times before."

Now she is intrigued and determined to do something more, meaning maybe something like this can work, and maybe she can look deeper. -- "I decided to finally buy your book and get serious. Stop avoiding. Thanks for making your blog available for people like me who are comforted by reading it." However, then she also pulls back her commitment so she can escape if she needs too. -- "I will eventually, hopefully, be inspired to make positive changes when the time is right."

Why not make positive changes right now?

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Recent Posts
Reinventing Yourself: Part 2


Emotional eating is a way of interrupting the natural conversation that is taking place within you, between your mind and your brain. Your brain continuously sends you messages in the form of feelings and thoughts and makes a demand on your mind to think in order to sort them out and figure out how to respond. This is the way that people grow, change, mature and recover from their childhood experiences as they go through the phases and stages of adult life.

If you put the "mute" button on by overeating or binging, you shut off the flow of wisdom and intelligence of your own brain, and the maturation process comes to a halt. The normal process of reinventing yourself in little daily steps doesn't happen, but the need to reinvent yourself doesn't go away. You are aware that you have to change in some way, but you don't do it because you are too scared to try. Then you get behind in the personal development work you need to do.

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Reinvent Yourself


Emotional Eating is not simply a bad habit, but a symptom of a much more complex human phenomenon that involves all parts of your mind and life.

Recently a well respected figure in the world of adult development died, Dr. Robert Butler, someone who I knew professionally, but not personally. He too wrote about the life cycle and the issues of adapting to the various phases of adulthood. His primary focus was on post retirement, where my focus has been on mid-life crisis.

His thesis is that people have to "reinvent" themselves many times during the course of life, and that this is especially important if one is going to enjoy healthy aging. Although we haven't used that particular term, that is core of what we do here. In order to fully break the emotional eating habit and free yourself from binging, compulsive eating or the food obsession, you have to reinvent yourself!

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To Eat too much or To Be Free?


The comments on last week's blog were perfectly timed, they were all about independence from past events and perceptions that reinforce the tyranny of food. A good theme for the Fourth of July week. Thank you all, for your willingness to share openly. Today I am going to focus on the comments that illustrate the theme of freedom.

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Reality is Your Friend


We've been looking at the childhood influences of the past that have led to the current obsession with food. Last week, I asked for comments about what is going on in your life now, that you would like to wish away. We all know that wishing for things to go away will not provide relief from a food obsession. However, it does brings to the forefront the situations in the present that trigger us to overeat. And if we look closer, it will give us clues to the qualities we need to own and develop to live more fully in the present. Particularly those qualities we have hidden due to the painful family dynamics from our past.

Let's look at some of the comments so we can see the link between the past, the wishes of the present, and the growth that needs to be completed before the obsession can be cured.

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