You have all heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” A newly released study by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, may have us spinning that to “you are why you eat.”
Diet and weightloss professionals have long pointed to the link between emotions and food to explain everything from stress overeating to eating disorders. This latest study takes a much closer look at the psychological relationship we have with food, and how emotional states can interfere with, or improve weightloss. The survey of psychologists concluded that emotional states can affect successful weightloss as much as food intake and exercise!
In the study, more than 1,300 licensed psychologists were asked about how they deal with patients who come to them with weight issues. About 44 percent said that “understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management” was critically important for clients struggling with weight.
Almost as many, about 43 percent, felt that “emotional eating” was behind their clients’ initial weight gain and difficulty in “maintaining a regular exercise schedule.” Almost 100 percent of those psychologists in the survey who specifically provide obesity counseling said that one of the main goals of therapy was to, “address underlying emotional issues related to weight gain.”
What They Advised
The psychologists surveyed employed a number of techniques to help their patients come to grips with emotional eating. Strategies included things such as cognitive therapy, problem-solving and mindfulness.
In cognitive therapy, people are taught to identify and replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive emotions, the idea being that people who think negative emotions are more likely to have unhealthy food-habits. Mindfulness, as you know if you read my recent post on “Mindful Eating,” has to do with becoming more focused and “mindful” of how and why you eat, including being more aware of your emotions.
In a statement released in response to the study, Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association, said, “Anyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds and keep them off knows that doing so isn’t easy. The good news is that research and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose weight.”
You can see the entire study in Consumer Reports Magazine and online at Consumer Reports.
For some food that will for sure help with your mood check out