By: Keith Travis
I see many people who would like to lose weight who have tried every diet under the sun. They keep going back to
the old ways of eating though and then the weight goes on again. I find that when you address and understand the
emotional reasons for eating for example anxiety, stress, worries, the eating for the wrong reasons goes away most
of the time and then the weight comes off and stays off. A new study seems to back my theory up.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Marketing Research, suggests training people to pay attention to
their emotions is a far more powerful strategy.
The authors and marketing professors are Blair Kidwell (Ohio State University), Jonathan Hasford (Florida
International University), and David M. Hardesty (University of Kentucky).
In the study, participants were given general training in recognizing basic emotions in themselves and in others.
They were then exposed to a variety of food products and packaging and asked to notice what emotions they, and
others, were experiencing.
After the training, both the trained participants and people who had received no training were given the
opportunity to choose a snack of either a healthy item or a chocolate bar. Those who had received the training were
more likely to choose the healthy item.
Three months later, participants in both groups were weighed: Those who had received training in recognizing their
emotions had, on average, lost weight whereas those who had received no training had actually put on weight.
The authors believe training individuals on emotional awareness is a more effective strategy than programs that
focus on reading nutritional labels.
“With a better understanding of how they feel and how to use emotions to make better decisions, people will not
only eat better, they will also likely be happier and healthier because they relate better to others and are more
concerned with their overall well-being.