Eight Keys to End Emotional Eating

Books and Book Reviews:

Eight Keys to End Emotional Eating By Howard S. Farkas, Ph.D. Clinicians in the field of eating disorders as well as an increasing number of people with disordered eating have embraced the truth that diets do not work. For every food restriction, a backlash binge is waiting in the wings. And every time we surrender our eating to the “wisdom” of an external “authority” like a diet, we further lose the connection with our inner promptings of hunger and fullness. In this book, Dr. Farkas deepens our understanding of why diets don’t work by explaining the dynamic of “transgressive motive” in which unwanted eating becomes a defiant response to feeling controlled by a diet. He acknowledges, quoting Jane Austin, that we humans are often compelled to react with the “spice of perversity” or an inborn rebellion against being told what to do, and we take pleasure in breaking out of restrictions and barriers to our freedom and autonomy. Reducing the constant pressure to diet, the author explains, can be enough to eliminate compulsive eating. He offers an 8 step guide to end emotional eating and reestablish a healthy relationship with food. He also covers topics such as bariatric surgery, whether food can be an addiction, how to create the “do-it-yourself autonomy diet,” tracking behavioral goals, and negotiating with your own self to resolve internal conflicts around eating and weight. Dr. Farkas’ main emphasis is that disordered eating is prompted by struggles of compliance versus defiance to a diet. Although he also acknowledges that emotional eating is used as a coping device for stress, where a person seeks comfort through the self-medication of food, I would have liked more elaboration on this point. After all, food is the most available, cheapest, mood altering drug on the market and a “solution” that people recruit to soothe depression, grief, anxiety, trauma. This is an excellent book that will help people extricate themselves from the false promises of a diet mentality and guide them to move forward toward more freedom and autonomy. I highly recommend Eight Keys.

Howard S. Farkas, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and founder and president of Chicago Behavioral Health. Visit him at https://equipoiseteletherapy.com/about/about-howard-s-farkas/.

Book review submitted by Mary Anne Cohen. Mary Anne’s books French Toast for Breakfast: Declaring Peace with Emotional Eating and Lasagna for Lunch: Declaring Peace with Emotional Eating are available in paperback and Kindle. Continuing education credits for mental health professionals are available at https://www.ce-credit.com/courses/102201/french-toast-for-breakfast-declaring-peace-with-emotional-eating. Her latest book, Treating the Eating Disorder Self, is published by NASW Press. To read the Introductions to her three books: www.EmotionalEating.Org

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