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Psychology of Food

This topic came up in one of my groups, and I was wondering if anyone has ready any good books on the topic. I'm thinking about more that just emotional eating, but also, how we think about eating and how we can have eaten a full meal but still "feel" hungry for something sweet, etc.


Wed. Apr 19, 9:44pm

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I am currently reading "Body Intelligence" by Edward Abramson, PhD. I have not finished it yet, so can't really give you a good opinion yet, but I am the type of person that will take SOMETHING away from anything, no matter how bad - sometimes reading something - even if I think its wrong - helps spark my mind. There are some points that he brings up so far that are great.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 10:22 PM

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could you share some of those points? I'm very interested in the body/mind connection. I know from experience that when the mind is in order the body quickly follows.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 11:56 PM

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Try "On Eating" by Susan Orbach, book that keeps things simple and helps you really think about your own issues. It's a good one.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 8:10 AM

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I recommend Thin Tastes Better, written by a doctor (can't remember his name). It deals with the psychology of dieting and gives you real strategies for dealing with the rough patches we all hit sooner or later. Whenever I fall off the wagon, I reread this book as I get back on and stop beating myself up.


Thursday, April 20, 2006, 2:02 PM

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A brief excerpt from "Body Intelligence"

"When we have a negative emotion, it's natural to look outside of ourselves to find the cause. You are stressed because of all the work that you have to do by Friday. You are depressed because your partner ended your relationship. You are angry because that idiot telemarketer interrupted you while you were cooking and now the rice has burned. The truth is that the source of the emotion is not outside; it is inside, in between your ears. As the bumper sticker crudely proclaims, "S--t Happens." But when it does, it's not necessary for you to become anxious, depressed, angry, or otherwise stressed (and then to eat to feel better.)

No one is suggesting that you won't have a reaction to the unpleasant events that happen in your life, but how you think about these events will determine the type and degree of emotional response you will have. After a divorce or at the end of a romantice relationship, it is perfectly reasonable to feel sad about the loss. However, if you then think that you will never find another person to love you because you are unlovable (or have some other permanent defect of character) you will sink into a more pervasive depression. Negative thinking causes depression, not the external event that you are thinking about."

Here is a BRIEF summary of how he proposes to end emotional eating -

1) Change your automatic, irrational thoughts to rational thoughts.
2) Develop other methods of nurturing yourself, other than eating.

Anyway, that is from the 4th chapter and I haven't read beyond that yet. There are 13 chapters total.


Thursday, April 20, 2006, 2:14 PM

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OP here -
Thanks for the excerpt Star, what they say makes sense. And thanks for all the good suggestions everyone. I'm going to check out the library tonight and pick up a few of them.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 3:41 PM

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emo eating books

Fat is a Family Affair - Judi Hollis
Fat and Furious - Judi Hollis
The Diet-Free Solution- Laurel Mellin (NOT dr. phil)

these deal with the compulsion & addiction aspect of overeating.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 3:46 PM

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Yes, Laurel Melin (Mellin?) talked about this on Oprah. The hunger as a desire to fill a void within us that we just can't seem to fill, because it is an emotional void. Some people shop, some drink, some overwork, and some of us eat. You are on to something.

Friday, April 21, 2006, 5:20 AM

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To the 5:20 poster: Thanks for adding shopping to the discussion!

I'm very in tune with the fact that shopping is used to fill emotional voids. (I like that the previous poster mentioned this.) I resist shopping because I notice that it just makes me depressed. It's like a sugar rush: it's great when you walk in but then I start to feel like crap about the fact that I'm wasting hours of my life looking at stuff I DON'T need. My closet is STUFFED and what I really need is to read more books and be OUTSIDE more and make friends. And one more thing: I grew up going to malls with my mom a couple times a week because she didn't want to be home much after my parents divorced. So I associate trying things on in dressing rooms with her depression. I'm not saying she is a terrible person. (I've read enough to know that there's no point to that.) I'm just saying that shopping triggers a negative emotional response for me. Food, on the other hand, doesn't! So it has been hard to reduce my portions!

Friday, April 21, 2006, 8:36 AM

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Taming of the Chew

I can't recall the author right now. My mom went to a fat farm a couple of summers ago (she is morbidly obese) and it was one of the books she came home with. Talks about a lot of different sources for overeating and how to deal with them. It's not preachy or 'you're broken' but gives you strategies.

Friday, April 21, 2006, 4:49 PM

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laurel mellin

wow, cool that she was on oprah. i bought "the diet-free solution" bet 5-10 yrs ago... (that shouldn't be a sign that it doesn't work - i take it out and make a little progress mentally each year). anyway there's a lot of journaling and thought exercises and i like it a lot. once i googled the book and it seems dr. phil has one by a similar name! anyway, good luck!

Friday, April 21, 2006, 9:15 PM

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Online Article

Thought this might be helpful...



Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 9:34 AM

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time and money

I read the Prevention article, it had a lot of good points, but it also depressed me. They basically say, you eat because you're stressed and you want comfort. Absolutely! But their solutions nearly all need time and money -- the things I am short on, and stressed about! I can't afford to buy new shoes every time I want a donut. Or take an hour to do some yoga and meditate. And when I'm food shopping / eating out, its amazing how much cheaper the junk food is. It seems like the major change I've made so far (have lost 60 lbs, want -15 more) is deciding that its okay to spend money (gym membership, better food, and buying non-food treats) and wrest chunks of time away from the other stuff. But when work is demanding, it's such a conflict! Which is more important, my career or my health? Both are, and both need a lot of time. (sigh)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 10:39 AM

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First off - congratulations on your weight loss! You have definitely been doing something right, without having to read articles like this! :<)

You make all valid and good points. However, I thought the article in and of itself didn't point to spending a lot of money compared to other advertising means out there.

It did suggest purchasing some books, cd's or dvd's to fight off eating from boredom. However - these things are usually fairly attainable at a local library.

Don't you hate that the junk food is cheapest? That's because sugar costs next to nothing. Here have 10 nutty bars for a dollar!!! Why can't they give you ten apples for a dollar?

Time is definitely crucial to staying healthy - anyone have any time saving tips out there?

As far as eating and time saving goes - I usually divide my leftovers into single-serving sizes and then freeze them for quick meals later in the week. It has helped immensely because all I have to do is pop it in the microwave. And this saves me money because I am not wasting any food.

Do you have specific time issues that you need help with?


Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 1:26 PM

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My biggest time saving trick has been to turn off the TV. Sounds a little corny, I know, but I have one show that I like right now, and it's on an hour a week (and I haven't found when the reruns are, so I'm saved from them). I watch it, and I literally don't watch any other TV.

Sometimes it's really hard because I just want to come home and veg in front of the tube to decompress from my day. But I try to either just lie down for a couple minutes on my bed with a cold compress on my eyes, or do a little meditation/yoga, or just power through it. I find that on days when I power through it and go straight to the gym or straight to making dinner, I'm more productive the rest of the evening in getting my cleaning/orgainizing/bill paying/projects/etc tasks done. It's like if I sit down, I'll never get back up. But as long as I don't sit, I'll get a second wind and get a ton of stuff done.

The other hard time for me to not watch TV is during dinner, but now I just read a magazine, or sit in front of my computer and read the newspaper or my email, or a book, or I try to focus on my food and really enjoy what I'm eating (although I find that gets boring pretty fast).

Thursday, April 27, 2006, 2:44 PM

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thanks :)

Sorry for the whining, you guys are right. I was feeling sorry for myself, but it's not impossible to balance things, it's just a matter of making priorities and being a little organized, like you suggest.
The leftover thing is smart -- I need to get more of those cheap tupperwares, those help. My big thing is at work, I try to have lots of yummy but healthy options at hand, cause I am surrounded by several sources of tempting junk food! I've been really happy with the dried "Big Soup"s by Fantastic, and they're not too pricey. And I absolutely agree on the TV -- I've been "off TV" for almost a decade now. Sometimes I miss it (and I am a little out of it re: pop culture!) but it was incompatible with grad school, etc (also see scary link!). I rent DVDs of the really good series for weekends -- no commercials, and less mindless vegging out. I do find myself zoning out (and eating) while web surfing though....
Anyway, somewhere I read that if you're prone to overweight, you should think of it as having to live with some chronic condition, like diabetes I, or a food allergy or something -- Yeah, you'd rather not have to deal with it, but you know what to do and you simply have to be responsible about it. ie, You're not going to let it stop you, and there's no point whining about it. :) And in a way, it forces you to take charge of your health.


Thursday, April 27, 2006, 6:57 PM

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this is a great thread.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 11:51 AM

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Psycholoy of food

Health will always be more important than career or anythin else. No health, no career! HEALTH IS OUR GREATEST WEALTH. MY mama use to say,"if you ain't got your health, you ain't got nothin.....

Monday, April 07, 2008, 3:46 PM

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So many thoughtful people on this thread -- I'm surprised it's not a continual stopping point for folks. I will go and check out some of these resources , and come back and comment further.

I'll say this, though: to me, emotional and mindless eating is THE problem. That's IT. WHEN I get a handle on THAT, I will be free from the tyranny of overweight.

Monday, February 08, 2010, 10:07 PM

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I like "Intuitive Eating" by Tribold and Resch. It's a nondiet/no forbidden food approach with a view to nutrition, but I see myself/my triggers in a lot of their pages. Helpful.

Monday, February 08, 2010, 10:48 PM

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We talked about that topic in one of my classes in college. It was actually a pretty big part of the course, but I don't remember the book we used. I loved my psychology program, but I found it very hard to find the right program for me. That's why I created my website below; to help prospective students find the right school for them. Now I love my job and I have enough time to focus on my health.


Thursday, April 05, 2012, 4:24 PM

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