Interview with Midge Lansat “Eating Disorder Help”

MORTY: Thank you Midge for joining us for this interview. Would you mind introducing yourself with your name and what your affiliation is, please, and letting us know about the eating disorder help you can provide our listeners and readers.

MIDGE: Yes. My name is Midge Lansat. I’m a licensed Mental Health Counselor. I live in Florida – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I direct the Healing and Creative Arts Center. We have an integrated model of our mission statement which we believe in the Natural Science, nutrition, medical arts, which involves counseling, and creative arts, which produces healing.

I agree with you, Morty. I do believe it’s the belief system, the unconscious belief system that cause people to have eating problems.

MORTY: Okay. The term that I use is emotional eating, and I’ve talked to a bunch of people who say they don’t like that term. They use other terms, defensive eating, or addiction, etc. How would you describe eating disorders? If you want to leave out the extremes of anorexia and bulimia, and we’re just talking about overeating, what is the term you use, and how would you describe what the problem is?

MIDGE: I would call it “compulsive overeating.” The first thing I would do if you were talking to me is I would find out what your issues are. What is it? What’s the why? Can you tell me why you’re doing the overeating?

What is the purpose that it’s serving for you? What need was unmet in your childhood, or what did you learn in your childhood, what habits? Maybe it’s a cultural thing, maybe it’s a lack of knowledge, but what needs did it meet? Was it socialization?

What was their food of choice? I would ask them that. Do they like to overeat with fat, carbohydrates, or sugar? That would just be a curiosity for me because it does something to the body as far as endorphins especially when it’s sugar.

Are they lacking in good nutrition. I talked to one woman who was overweight today. Their family culture was they didn’t eat all day. They’d come home, they’d go out, they’d come back. They’d start eating at 11:30 at night. That was their family… Sometimes, it’s in the family system, things that they learn that they have to unlearn.

Do they know their body type? Do they know their blood type? Do they know how to eat properly? Do they understand low glycemic index, and all about the pancreas? I am in the process, Morty that –

MORTY: Before you get into that, I just have one question. Are most people able to answer those questions? Do most people know why they overeat, or what the stimulus is for them overeating? Do most people answer all those questions? Are they that in touch with what is going on inside them?

MIDGE: I have techniques that I use in terms of, it’s called the Imago Dialogue. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Harville Hendrix.

MORTY: I’ve heard of Harville Hendrix. Yes, I have.

MIDGE: Okay, he’s one of my trainers and I’m certified in his technique. I utilize those techniques and that’s how I find out.

MORTY: Okay.

MIDGE: Yes. I do find out. Whether the person knows or not I have ways of accessing through the dialogue. It’s an educational process, but I do find out what the issues are. It could be a mind-body disconnect. Maybe the person’s been abused and they have disconnected from their body.

Maybe it’s a hormonal issue depending on their age, exercise, food allergies. Do they know their personality style? I give a personality test, but I test the healthy side of the personality. What would you do if– and you’ve heard of borderline personality, what is the healthy side? What was the person born with, such as material?

Those kinds of people, they’re going to be different than, let’s say, a dramatic personality style. What if they’re a feeler? What if they’re a thinker? That’s going to make a big difference. I find with my clients that if they’re feelers, they really don’t have the languaging. They get stuck in their feelings. They don’t know how to ask for what they want.

A lot of times, it’s in the communication. I teach them boundaries. I find out what their stress levels are. Are they using food as a substitute for love, or to protect themselves, maybe if they were abused, or to feel good, like I said, with the endorphins? Are they avoiding rejection or perceived rejection? Or, is it like I said, cultural rules, or socialization?

I do a lot of teaching, and I use techniques, and in that process, you can talk to the lady that referred you to me. I did the Imago process with her. She can share with you the experience and how different it is to just ask a person straight on, “What’s going on with you?”

I also go over the four stages that all relationships go through, and I teach people how to set boundaries with verbal communication. Especially feelers, I find with my couples. I specialize with couples, and families. That’s my specialty. I have my certification in Family Systems, as well as the Imago. I’m a licensed mental health counselor.

I really find that it’s the feelers that have a really hard time expressing, cognating or getting into their brains what they’re feeling. They don’t know how to express. They do things like eat, get angry, blow up, explode, etc, or they’ll do drugs.

MORTY: There are a lot of different things that people can do to deal with their feelings, and obviously eating is just one of them. Once you get the answers, obviously, it sounds like you have a lot of different kinds of treatments, or different treatment combinations depending on the answers you get.

Is there anything you can give us as a general approach as to how you integrate these four different elements?

MIDGE: Yes. What I would do is I work in an hour and a half block for about 90 minutes, and I charge $1.00 a minute. If they have insurance then, I work within the insurance framework. But otherwise, I coach. I do coaching on Skype, as well.

I would talk to them, sit down with them, take an intake, navigate my process, and then I would go over their history a little bit with them, and then, I would teach them a process of how to mirror validate as it applies with each other, how to communicate, how to set guidelines. We would do that first.

Basically, the couples are sitting across from each other, and I have one do the sending, they get the information, and the other family member does the receiving. They mirror validate and they empathize. I teach them how to do that. It sounds like a simple technique, but it’s hard to do when you’re emotionally charged.

MORTY: What is the purpose if one partner of the two has an eating problem, and the other one doesn’t? What is the purpose of having your partner there for support? How does having your spouse there help you with an eating problem in the long run?

MIDGE: Probably you would learn how to communicate and get your love needs met, and get your intimacy needs met instead of using these… You’re actually bonding. Probably, my guess is, so that would depend on the person, stuff can happen early on.

The first stage is the imaginative stage which is the bonding stage of every relationship. The second stage is differentiation, respecting each other’s differences. The third stage is they examine it. That is figuring out who you are as an individual within the family structure, or within the community. Having your separate identity without feeling like you’re going to get overwhelmed by another person, by being able to set those boundaries, and take a stand for yourself, to find yourself.

MORTY: Yes, I understand that. Except that my own experience is that feeling unlovable, not accepted is clearly one important trigger for eating. But, I’ve also found that just in general, any negative feelings, feeling bored, feeling anxious, feeling depressed, etc, also which are not necessarily caused by a relationship. For me, I find that some stimuli come from beliefs you have from relationships. But, the majority do not.

I’m just wondering how does your spouse, or how does your partner help you when the trigger is boredom, or anxiety, or feeling left out, or things like that?

MIDGE: That goes to an earlier issue. For example, if I have a couple, I can give you an example where the person is having an issue with the person he’s living with. They have to have issues if they’re suffering with their feelings.

So, maybe the issue is there was somebody else. Maybe it was a co-worker, or a father, or some other person. But, that person is their support. They are able to express themselves, and that person reflects back to them, what they’re saying is that they feel heard and through that process, through my coaching, we get to the root of the issue.

Where is the root of that anxiety? Where did that belief system start? That’s what I do, and I use an inner child process, as well. It just depends on how comfortable the couple is, and how quickly they’re willing to go deep.

Sometimes, they’re so afraid. I don’t do the deeper work. We just set goals, and we work on the structure of the environmental safety. Some of them eating and overeating and they don’t feel safe at all. They’re anxious. They don’t feel safe in their relationships. Maybe there’s financial issues, whatever, and so, I meet the couple where they’re at.

But, let’s say I have a couple that’s very open and they already trust each other. They’ve worked through the differentiation but they don’t really know who they are. They don’t really know
who they are in the relationship. We work on that. There are roots of why somebody would be using food. Why are they bored? Well, they’re not… Their identity is skewed. Why aren’t they productive?

A person doesn’t get bored when they’re working in their gifted area or they’re expressing themselves. Even if it’s volunteering, if they have a purpose of why… Boredom triggers, for me, this person doesn’t know who they are. That would be something we could explore in the couple process.

MORTY: Got you.

MIDGE: The reason I do that is because I want the person to bond with family members, not me. My philosophy of therapy is I don’t want to be the person that they’re dependent on, or that they’re looking to. I want families to actually work together, and learn how to communicate, so they can use each other as a support system.

If we know anything about Harville Hendrix, one of the things I respect about him, he figured out that many of the great psychologists were fine in the therapy sessions that get them into personal relationships, no, it didn’t work. Why? Because of the subconscious.

When I have couples come in, I say to them, there are two adults here, and there are two children. We’ve got our memories from the past. Sometimes, it’s the inner child. I borrowed that from John Bradshaw. That’s acting out. I invite, we have different dialogues. I invite the couple to re-parent the other’s inner child so they feel safe.

Let’s say, the wife has an issue with her father. She’s eating because her father abused her when she was young, or rejected her on some level, and so, now, we have a whole conversation about how is she feeling, what is she feeling about the husband?

If he mirrors, validates, empathizes and then, I say, “When else did you feel this way?” We go with the feeling. She’ll say, “You know what, I’m really angry at my father, or I’m really anxious about this or that because my daddy did this to me.”

Well, then at the end I might say, “Okay, let’s do a dialogue where the husband now in a role play is the father.” Now I teach and I coach the woman to get the verbal skills to be able to confront her father. When she’s done, he, of course is the same person. There’s the husband just role playing as the father, it brings up the emotions.

We get to the root issues, and afterwards, then I say, “What would you like to ask for?” I teach people to ask for what they want. If people learn how to communicate and ask for what they want in a safe environment, they’re going to get their needs met.

A lot of times people are hungry. They think they’re hungry when they’re thirsty. They think they’re hungry when they need affection, or love, or touch. They think they’re hungry when they’re not hungry.

Or, maybe something isn’t working in their brain. Maybe, it is the physiology. We can find that out…

MORTY: You said there were four different elements, art therapy… Where does this couple fit? Which of the four elements is the couple work?

MIDGE: …There were four stages that all relationships go through. Ask me the question.

MORTY: You said something about art therapy … There were four different modalities you work with in order to help somebody.

MIDGE: Three.
MORTY: Three. Are the art therapy and the couple’s work, and what was the third one?

MIDGE: I said, I didn’t say art therapy. I said there are three modalities we work with– creative arts, it could be performing arts.

MORTY: Okay, creative arts.

MIDGE: Creative arts. It could be any other. Also it could be medical which means that we get involved with medicine, medical doctors. We check out that to see, and also counseling. The other one is the nutrition.

There’s three of them — creative arts, which involves several things. The nutrition, and we recommend, we have chats with, and we work with doctors on that to find out where a person’s status is nutritionally. We look at the whole person in medical.

MORTY: Where is the couple’s therapy? Is that under the creative arts? MIDGE: It’s under the medical arts.

MORTY: Under the medical. Okay, so the psychotherapy that’s done as part of your couple’s work is actually considered part of the medical.

MIDGE: Right.

MORTY: Okay, great. Can you give me a sense of what are the creative arts? How does that fit in after you do the couple’s work, what’s creative arts could do?

MIDGE: That would be like the Gestalt, or for example, I train counselors. I’m licensed and I also work with counselors to get licensed. I’m a supervisor.

For example, I have a couple come in. They have a child. The couple presents and then, I work with the couple, and then, I would refer the child for performing arts or dramatic arts, therapy and counseling with one of my interns.

I would do the Imago because the intern is not trained to do that, but her specialty in this work, and is working for quite a while in the performing arts. If I had an art therapist, I could do the same thing. If I was trained, I would want to be—

MORTY: You say this is for the child, not for the person with the eating disorder?

MIDGE: The child might have an eating disorder. In fact, the one I’m thinking about did have a problem.

MORTY: What if there are no children or the children don’t have an eating disorder, how are creative arts applicable to the man or the woman, the adults who come in, and say, “I have an eating disorder”?

MIDGE: That would be depending, I don’t actually do the creative arts piece. I do the medical.
I would talk to the performing arts counselor, and I would say, “Okay,” or the art therapist counselor and we would come up with a way for them to express themselves. She has got a lot of ideas on how to do that.

I myself couldn’t tell you how. I just know that what she does is she accesses the emotions so the person then feels like they can express themselves.

MORTY: I got it. In other words, they get trained to use the creative arts as an outlet instead of eating.

MIDGE: Right. MORTY: I got it. Okay. MIDGE: Yes.

MORTY: How many sessions do you normally find for each one of these three areas if somebody comes in? I’m sure that everybody is different. But, if somebody were to call you and say, “I’m interested in your program,” can you give me some idea of how many 90-minute sessions is going to be involved? Is there an average or a range?

MIDGE: I never really sat down and thought about it. It depends on what the presenting problem is. Like I said, I’ve worked $1.00 a minute so we would contract for these people. It depends how wounded they are and what other issues are going on.

If it’s just the eating disorder and they have a pretty stable environment, I would say maybe a month. I would get them on track. If it comes to four then, if we decide we’d do it month to month.

MORTY: That would be four 90-minute sessions you think would make some sort of a noticeable difference.

MIDGE: Yes. They would have a lot of release, absolutely. MORTY: Okay.

MIDGE: Yes, if we needed more than we would contract for more, but I would say that this per session, that the 90-minute session, with their partner, their family members, yes.

MORTY: What if you have a single person? How would you deal with a single woman who’s either not married at all, who’s widowed, or divorced or whatever, but there’s no man in her life, or the same with the man? There are a lot of men with eating disorders, too. I’ve worked with many myself. What would you say to somebody who called and said, “I’m interested in your

approach, but there’s no partner in my life,” what do you do then?

MIDGE: Yes, I would talk to them and see. I would encourage them to bring a friend, or somebody they trust in, or another family member. It doesn’t really have to be a partner.

I like to work with more than one-on-one if I can. It’s not that I’m not willing to work one-on-one. I do it sometimes. But, then, I usually will bring in another therapist just because there needs to be a dynamic going on of an interaction, for what I do. The client needs to be coached.

Yes, and I can be the receiver and that works, but all in all, it’s going to work a lot faster and better for them. It goes much quicker if I have more than one person.

MORTY: Basically, you’re just saying anybody that you feel you can trust or you feel comfortable with who can participate in this with you, be it a close friend, or a family member, or just anybody you’d like to bring, and you’d find that usually they are able to find somebody else to bring.

MORTY: Okay.
MIDGE: If they can’t, I can provide another…

MORTY: Okay, so you’re talking about four 90-minute sessions with you, how much more time is devoted to nutrition or any other medical aspects in the creative arts? If somebody came and said, “I need help.” You say, “I cover all three areas after four 90-minute sessions with you. “

In a couple situation, how much time do you recommend that they would need for nutrition, or the creative arts aspect? How long do the creative arts people usually take?

MIDGE: They don’t have to involve themselves in the creative arts. It’s something we offer. They may not need that.

MORTY: Okay.

MIDGE: That would be something we would tailor to the person. If they need education, it’s going to take a little while for us to educate them, probably a good couple of hours for them. We have a website. It’s called, and it has a lot of information on it. It has apps on it for their phones, so they can actually download recipes, and tell them what to eat that’s healthy if they’re going to restaurants. Everything is very informative.

It depends how much education they want, and how they want to use the program. It is… each individual. I can’t really say how long.

MORTY: I got it.
MIDGE: It may take a couple of hours.

MORTY: The couple’s work is the essence or the essential part of the program, and that generally averages four 90-minute sessions. Then, the creative arts, and the nutrition are optional if the client thinks that that would be useful.

MIDGE: Yes. And, there’s nutritional, we have a checklist. We have doctors that evaluate and tell them, what we’ve been doing to change them, that they can do online, and that they can send it away themselves, and there will be a printout.

I would go over that with them if they wanted me to, and do some medical, and they can incorporate in one of our sessions, and I would then set a plan with them, so that they would know, “Well, here is my blood type. Here is what my blood shows. This is about the best exercises for me, and these are my genetics. If I don’t take this prevention, then, this is what could happen to based on my genetics. “

That would take them about half an hour to do online. If they do a gene… it will take a little bit longer. If there’s a checklist, they could just… They could just have a physical.

MORTY: I got it.

MIDGE: It’s free. Then, I would go over the program with them, show them the website, and then, just periodically talk to them about that, maybe 15 minutes a week, just to see how they’re doing.

MORTY: Got it. Okay. What percentage of your people, your clients, would you say do you work with on Skype or the phone versus those who actually come into your Palm Beach facilities?

MIDGE: I would say right now, I’m on the radio, so I get out the marketing that way, through the Midge Show program.

But, as far as with Skype, that’s something that I would like to do more of. If it’s therapy, it needs to be in my office because there are the HIPAA laws and rules, etc, etc. But, the coaching, I can do online.

MORTY: How do you distinguish between coaching and therapy? If somebody calls and says, “I have an eating problem, and I can’t stop myself from eating,” how do you know whether they need coaching or therapy?

MIDGE: After I talk to them, I have to talk to them and see. If I felt that it was a therapy situation, then I would have to call it therapy, and they would have to sign the HIPAA form. I would have to be licensed in that state, if it was out of state and maybe they’re not for me.
The other thing is we could get into the coaching, which is the Imago dialogue, and I would structure it so that then, I could definitely, it would definitely have to be more than one person on Skype. I don’t want to get into therapy on Skype, unless they’re in the state of Florida.

MORTY: I’m not clear what distinction you’re making between… It sounds like you’ve got a couple, and you’re teaching them how to communicate, and how to get their needs met. Where does therapy get distinguished from coaching?

MIDGE: Coming from, I really don’t know how to explain it except this way. I look at it like this and this is what I train my therapists on. Under the structure of teaching that we’re teaching, there’s five things – there is facilitating, there is teaching, there is coaching, there is therapy, and there is counseling. I teach the differences in all of that. I guess, therapy to me, would be more if I was working one-on-one with a person and they transfer onto me their issue.

Actually, as you’re dissecting this, what I have done in my private practice is yes, it’s counseling, and under the… of the license, but what I do most of the time in my practice is both, even though I’m a licensed therapist under my definition.

MORTY: The definition that you’ve just given is true I think of some types of therapy, but I don’t think cognitive-behavioral therapists would say that there is transference, or that, if there is, then it has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the approach. Freudian psychiatry is based almost totally on transference. Other than that, the others either are not part of it, or it’s a very small part of it.

If that’s your definition of therapy, that would exclude what most psychotherapists do, which is fine. You can have your own, whatever definition you want. I’m just saying that that definition excludes most psychotherapy. You then would actually be calling most psychotherapy coaching as long as there is no transference.

MIDGE: Right. That’s how I define it. That’s my definition.

MORTY: Okay. Based on that, if there’s no transference, then it’s coaching, and you can work with anybody?

MIDGE: Yes, what I do is I have the couple transfer onto each other. I use that process for their feelings, so that they can then help each other get through the transfer.

MORTY: Got it.
MIDGE: That’s the meaning of the therapist.

MORTY: Okay. Before I forget, if people want to contact you, what is the website where they can get more details or else get some contact information?

MIDGE: Okay. My website is Oh, that’s my email. MORTY: That’s okay. I’ll get that. Creativearts, or .org, you said? MIDGE: .org.
MORTY: And you spell that A-N-D?

MIDGE: Right.

MORTY: Okay, so., if you’re trying to contact Midge, you can reach her at If you want to go to Midge’s website, what’s the website?

MIDGE: The same without the “Midge” added.
MORTY: Okay so, and the website is MIDGE: Yes.

MORTY: Okay, so that’s where people can get more details, more information, and more contact information. Okay.

You said at the very beginning that you think that what I had said we do, we focus in on two things for emotional eating. One is deconditioning triggers, and beliefs. You said, yes, you think beliefs are underneath all of it. You didn’t mention beliefs in your discussion. What role do you think beliefs actually play in somebody’s emotional eating problem?

MIDGE: The belief is at the core. Core belief is the reason why they’re acting in the manner that they’re acting. We can get to the core belief. We would just need to go to follow up the emotion, and get to the why. As the conversation is going, we’re going to get to the reason as their dialogue, as they communicate. It comes out.

MORTY: What are a couple of examples of what you would call core beliefs? MIDGE: All or nothing thinking.

MORTY: That’s not belief. That’s a type of thinking, yes. What is a belief that you would say, “This is a core belief that’s got to be eliminated”?

MIDGE: Okay, core belief that would have to be eliminated, let’s see. If I stop having big meals with my husband, I’m thinking of a client. That’s how we get together. That’s how we have connection times. We eat a lot of fat together. We have meals together. If we don’t do that, what is it going to be?

I believe that our relationship is based on the food that we’re eating together. That’s a core belief. That’s how we share, that’s how we have time together.

MORTY: I got it. The beliefs are not necessarily self-beliefs of not being good enough, or important or worthwhile or deserving, they’re more about the beliefs about your relationship and how food fits into your relationship?

MIDGE: Can I give an example? MORTY: Mm-hmm.

MIDGE: That’s an example. It could be that I hate myself, and I want to feel better with my friends. That could be it too. I feel out of control, and so I eat a lot. I stuff myself because I want to feel good. I want to feel like I’m in control and not lose my friends.

But, I have control now. I didn’t have control when I was growing up, my parents were screaming at me.

MORTY: And what is your technique for eliminating the belief? That’s just part of the dialogue you had during those 90-minute sessions?

MIDGE: What I feel is, I say, okay, in that situation, I would say, “Imagine that your partner is your father. Tell your father how you feel right now about the way that he behaved with your mother. Tell him why you’re angry. Why are you angry?”

The person gets into it, sometimes they sob. Then, the grieving comes out and they release a lot of emotion and anger, and they get scared. “Wait a second. I’m stocking a lot of rage. That’s why I’m…”

Each person is different, but through the interaction, through the Imago process and the Gestalt process, the person then feels safe, and they actually become aware of their anger and put it into words.

They become conscious of believing, yes, I do. They’re furious. They’re eating, there’s something they’re feeling. They’re trying to feel good, so they eat. Now, they know that all they need to do is talk about why they’re so angry and keep processing. Maybe they’re stuck in the grieving process.

I understand what you do and I respect it. I just come at it from a different angle. I help the person work through the emotions and then get to the other side and find another way. She might say to her husband, well, he might say to her, “What do you need from me?” She might say, “Well, I need you to listen to me. I just need to be able to feel safe with you.” Or, whatever her need is that she has, that she was eating and stuff. “I need to be able to express my anger. I need you to stop yelling.” Whatever it is that she needs, she asks for that. She gets that and then she goes on and she changes the way her thinking.

MORTY: Got it. To what extent, have you ever done any research or kept any statistics on what your success rate actually is, people who come in and said, “I have an emotional eating problem. I cannot stop myself. I keep eating and eating when I’m not hungry, and I can’t do anything about it. I can diet for a few days or weeks but then I go back and eat worse than ever.”

How many of the people that you actually work with end up saying, “It’s gone. It’s been years. I haven’t had the problem of eating emotionally at all.” Have you ever done any even informal research to know how many people, what percentage of the people feel that the problem is solved?

MIDGE: No, I haven’t. I haven’t done research on it. I haven’t had specific…

MORTY: When they leave you, you’re not really sure whether they’ve gotten better or not, or if they have gotten better whether it will last or not for the most part?

MIDGE: Right. It’s not just the eating. I’ve worked with people and their whole family relationship situations. They are more satisfied in their relationships and there are many life cycle tests that people need to master in their lifetime.

I may help the transition, that would be a piece of the relationship. It may be they have young children. They need to master that. I look at it more broad than just eating. Eating is just…

MORTY: What percentage of your people would you say come in and say, “I’m having relationship problems, or life problems, etc,” as compared to, “I have an eating problem that I want.” Is eating your specialty? Is eating a majority? Or, is that just one of many problems that you help people with?

MIDGE: … I look at it more from a family dynamic and a relational dynamic. I don’t just deal with the eating. We deal with the whole person.

MORTY: I understand that in order to deal with eating, you deal with something broader. I’m just asking when people come to you, is the presented problem generally an eating problem, or can it be any kind of problem?

MIDGE: What I would do, I’m a Marriage and Family Specialist.
MORTY: Okay.
MIDGE: …Marital problems, or family problems. That’s what I specialize in. MORTY: I got it.
MIDGE: … encompasses, so to speak, but I would say that’s my specialty.

MORTY: Okay, if people have eating as part of their relationship problem, then, that gets covered, but, you actually don’t have most of your people come and say, “I have an eating problem. Can you help me?” They come and say, “I have a relationship problem, or an unhappiness problem, or a family problem.” That’s what you deal with. Some of those people have eating problems, and some of them don’t.


MORTY: I got it. Well, it’s wonderful to get a whole different approach. This is a very unique approach to helping people with emotional eating issues. I think that the people on my list who have such problems, and are looking for some other possible way of looking at it might find this of interest.

If you want to get a hold of Midge, you can email her at, or
if you want to go to her website, just go to for more information, and to contact her for specific questions, if you have additional questions, or to find out about getting started with her.

Anything else you’d like to say just in general about the emotional eating problems that exist with so many millions of people today, and the possibilities of helping such people?

MIDGE: I just want to say that, if you contact me, I will be happy to help you in trying to figure out the root of your problem, and also to look at those three areas that are especially, psychological, nutritional, and medical issues. I have techniques , which are different than you’ve heard before on how to help you heal, if the root of that is a wound from childhood.

MORTY: Thank you so much for your time today, Midge. I’m looking forward to getting these transcripts, putting both the interview and the transcript up on the website and sending it out to everybody on my list. I think many people will find this very useful and hopefully a number of them will actually get in touch with you.

Have a great day and thank you so much. MIDGE: Okay, bye!


Download a copy of the interview HERE

Dr. Andrew Siegel on Helping People Who Can’t Stop Eating

Morty: Hi this is Morty Lefkoe with our podcast on emotional eating for this week. I’m very happy to have as our guest Dr. Andrew Siegel, who is a physician and educator. He’s going to talk to us about all of the different ways in which a healthy lifestyle can be useful for those of us who just can’t stop eating. You might discover some interesting ideas that you haven’t had before on how you can do that.

He’s written at least one book that I know of called Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food. So let’s get right on with our talk to Dr. Siegel and see if he has some ideas for people with an emotional eating problem.

Andrew, Maybe you can help us come up with some ideas. And thank you for being here.

Andrew: Thanks. Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

Morty: I noticed you’re casual tonight. You just came back from your long day at work and you got comfortable. I’m glad you did that. So let’s just have a little conversation. Where do you live and operate from?

Andrew: I live in Richwood, New Jersey. Right outside New York City.

Morty: Okay, very good. I’m actually going to be there in a couple of weeks. I used to live in New York and I now live in San Francisco. I’m going to go back for a week and become a real tourist. So I’m looking forward to getting back there.

Andrew: Fantastic.

Morty: So how did you get interested? You’re a doctor and you say you’re a surgeon, an educator. How did you go from being a general practitioner and a surgeon to getting involved and interested in the area of emotional eating?

Andrew: Well I’m actually a urologist and one of my passions is preventative medicine, preventative health, wellness. For years, I’ve recognized the importance of healthy eating, exercise and other measures that can be taken to avoid the doctor and avoid the hospital. That is really how I got interested in eating, longevity, and general health.

I realized that one-third of my patients are overweight, one-third of my patients are obese, and one third are of a healthy weight. It’s not just my patients, it’s a rampant and highly prevalent problem in the United States.

I also recognized, when being introspective, that I am an emotional eater. I’m healthy as can be–I exercise daily, I’m a good eater. But I recognized that here I am, a very healthy person who’s a practitioner of wellness and preventative health measures and yet under many circumstances I find myself eating when not actually hungry.

If that’s the case, then what’s happening to these people who are overweight or obese? Actually, when you break eating down, there are three general reasons why somebody brings food to mouth. One of course is genuine hunger. Another is circumstances that are often beyond our control–you’re at work and there’s a tray of donuts out, you’re at a religious celebration, you’re out to dinner with friends, et cetera. And the third is emotional eating. And I think it’s huge.

In my own situation, I often find that if I’m extremely stressed, extremely fatigued, I seek solace and comfort through foods. Even though I’m genuinely hungry, I find sometimes as well that if I’m put in a situation where I’m not particularly satisfied, happy or fulfilled, I will come home late at night and seek fulfillment through filling my stomach.

Morty: Yes, that’s how it works. Okay.

Andrew: It’s basically maladaptive. In my case I’ll come to work, I’ll exercise, I’m generally a really quite healthy eater. But I realize that if that’s the case with a healthy, fit person, then what’s happening with the average person? One who’s not nutritionally conscientious, who’s not a daily exerciser? In a world where stresses predominate and get worse every day?

So that’s really what got me interested in the situation. So what I started doing was casually asking some of my patients a simple question. It’s: “Under what circumstances do you eat when you’re not genuinely hungry?”

And I started tallying this information. I wanted to know what they ate, what the circumstances were, if the eating satisfied their need and soothed them afterwards, and what were the ramifications afterwards. Did they feel guilt, did they feel satisfied, etc.

I planned on interviewing about hundred people. It wasn’t just patients. It was friends and family. Anybody I came in contact with. All races, all religions, all ages, all weights–skinny, heavy, obese.

Morty: And what were the triggers you found?

Andrew: I think the largest trigger is stress. Stress, anxiety. Depression. Sadness. Unhappiness. Boredom. Fugue. Fatigue. Remarkably consistent. It’s mostly negative emotions that drive maladaptive eating behaviors.

Interestingly enough, negative emotions tend to be quelled with unhealthy foods. Negative foods. Don’t get me wrong, on occasion happiness and positive emotions drive reward eating. “I’m going to celebrate with an ice cream, I’m going to treat myself to this.” So any range of emotions can demand eating in some form or another.

Morty: In my work I’ve discovered that there were what I call triggers and rewards. The triggers are negative feelings like nervousness, boredom, loneliness, depression, stress, et cetera. The ones you’ve mentioned, I’ve actually found out about twenty-one or twenty-two.

In addition to that, you can also be conditioned with rewards. When you want to celebrate–when you want to give yourself pleasure, when you want to reward yourself–you can actually be conditioned to want to eat for reward. Just as well you can be conditioned to need to eat to deal with negative feelings.

So I’ve got pretty much the same experience as you do. I’m just sort of tracking along to see if you’ve got something different than me. So far we have found the same thing that there are triggers to deal with negative feelings and we also are conditioned to eat to achieve, to attain positive feelings.

Andrew: No question about that.

Morty: So where did you go from there? So now you’ve got all this information and you found out what the triggers were. What did you do then?

Andrew: I basically put this information together and I wrote a book about essentially what drives us to eat when we’re not hungry.

Listen, although I’m very interested in psychology–I’m a psychology minor in college–I am not a psychologist. I’m not a psychiatrist. I do not do therapy with individual patients. I just have a profound interest in wellness and health and I think this is an important subcomponent of it.

I’m very interested in nutrition. Exercise as well. And I’m very very interested in why we eat when we’re not hungry in a non-emotional basis because I think that’s a huge problem as well.

Morty: Do you actually find that? Because the one thing you’ve said so far, it’s a minor disagreement. But when you say there are three things when we eat: when we’re genuinely hungry, when there’s emotional eating, and circumstances.

Because I have found that people who eat because the food is there at parties etc. do not do that if there’s not an emotional component. That people who are in that third of normal eaters do not eat just because they’re at the party and there’s food. If they’re not hungry and there’s a big buffet, they’ll have a little bit and as soon as they’re full they’ll stop. Whereas emotional eaters will continue eating.

So I don’t know that circumstances as such would have a normal eater eating. If there’s food around and you’re not hungry, if there’s not some emotional thing going on, I’m not sure that circumstances as such would have you eat. Maybe, but that’s not my experience.

People who say that to me, if I look and say “What are you feeling when you eat?” There’s some belief, there’s something there. For example, “If I don’t eat it now, it won’t be there later” and “The way to be accepted is to be doing what everybody else is doing.”

But there is some belief or trigger that’s involved when somebody’s eating when there’s food around. They’re not just eating just because there’s food. Because many people do not just eat because there’s food.

Andrew: I fully agree with you that if you are an emotional eater and you’re put in a situation where you’ve got ready access and exposure to food then you are going to be the one likely to consume. But by the same token, if I’m sitting there on break at the surgery center and there’s a plateful of bagels or donuts out there, it is–I call it temptation eating, opportunistic eating, social eating, habit eating. I think those are all factors that come into play.

I am not saying I abuse the situation. I have a bite or two. But I do think in America there’s a lot of eating that goes around by the water cooler in offices. You might be right, that underlying that, there are emotional reasons for this.

Morty: Well, you have actually done a survey of over a hundred people so let me ask you. Did the people who say that they don’t gain weight, that their eating is normally healthy, that they do not consider themselves emotional eaters, who basically have all the signposts for normal healthy eating–did those people also eat just because there was food around?

Andrew: Yes, largely so. And I truly feel that we are all at some level emotional eaters. We bring our emotions to every situation which we are involved in. I think that humans literally bring their emotions to the table and some have much better control than others do.

I basically think that on a most primal level locating back to infancy, there was a time when we were frightened infants bursting with emotions and fears. And we were soothed and sought solace by breastfeeding by our mother, by oral pacification. And I think what happens is we grow old, we grow older, but deep inside there is still this sense of oral stimulation as a means of providing relief from anxiety, worries, tension, and pressure that lives on.

Morty: That could very well be. That very well may be true for everybody. I’ve never asked people who don’t come to me with an emotional eating problem the kind of survey that you did. So I find people who are obviously emotional eaters. And their emotional eating is part of their circumstantial eating.

It’d be interesting for me to start asking my friends who basically say food is no big deal for them, that only when they are hungry and they never eat when they’re not hungry: “What do you do when you’re at a buffet or a party and there’s food around and you’re not hungry? Do you just say ‘I’m not hungry’ or do you eat some of it anyway?”

It’d be interesting for me to do some research myself and see if there’s such a thing as circumstantial eating apart from emotional eating. That very well may be, I will check that out. I thank you for raising that.

Andrew: I’ll give you another example. Something that I call accessory eating. Which in my terms is eating that is linked to activities. Almost Pavlovian association. For example, going to the movies and getting popcorn and soda and candy. Or just sitting down at night and watching television. And turning on the television and having a compelling need to eat something, whether you’re hungry or not. Almost a conditioned response. I think that it’s an entirely common phenomenon.

The other thing I wanted to mention too is that in surveying a hundred people or so, there are people who are emotional non-eaters as well. I failed to mention that. People who deal with stress by avoiding eating. And then there are those who are over-consumers. It’s very interesting, the wide range of how we metabolize our feelings.

Morty: Yes. So in your practice, you do not then treat emotional eating. You wrote a book about it. You have some ideas on it. But you actually don’t work with people to help them with emotional eating. The only way you’re trying to help people is via your book, not with your practice. Is that correct?

Andrew: That is largely true. But when I see any patient, I really try to treat them as an integral whole and I deal with weight issues and eating issues. I will send people to the nutritionist, I would refer people to a psychologist. When I think that condition arises, I do a plot of nutrition and exercise and some aspects of emotional eating. I try to do what I can do.

But once again, I am not a therapist and the thrust is the book.

Morty: Well that’s fascinating because everybody that I’ve interviewed so far have sort of been a private practitioner or an author who still has some sort of course or private practice or working with some institution. So far you are the only person who has actually written a book about it almost like as a hobby, as an interest, as a contribution you wanted to make to people because of the extent of the problem. Even though it’s not something you worked on yourself.

So hopefully we could get some people to take a look at your book. The book is called: Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food and it’s by Andrew Siegel. S-I-E-G-E-L MD.

You can get some information about what Andrew’s come up with in terms of what did he discover in his interviews with a hundred people, and from his practice with people where he talks to people about their general well-being, their nutrition, their general health, their exercise et cetera. So it sounds like this book is going to have a lot of very interesting information even though Andrew doesn’t work with people directly. You only get to see him if you’ve got a problem with urology. Other than that, you’re going to have to find somebody else.

But it probably is very worthwhile to take a look at the book. I’ve got a bunch of books on eating and I can’t catch up with all of them. But given what you’ve said so far, it’s real small. It’s only a hundred and twenty-eight pages so I think I’m going to try and get through it myself and take a look. It sounds like you’ve got some really interesting ideas in there.

Andrew: Thank you Morty.

Morty: Anything else you’d like to say to our audience about what you consider the solution to be? You say you don’t work with people yourself, you refer them to therapists and so on. But given what you’ve identified as the problem, do you have any specific ideas if you were just giving advice before somebody saw a therapist? What would your basic advice be? Your basic solution to the problem of emotional eating?

Andrew: Well I find that a lot of emotional eating–and also circumstantial eating–tends to be mindless eating. You lose focus, you’re not paying attention. You’re in another world. So I always think that first and foremost, making an effort to be mindful is extremely helpful. Try and understand or ask yourself these questions: “Why am I eating?” “What am I eating?” “How am I eating?” “When am I eating?” These are all significant questions.

When somebody suffers from these issues, the use of a pen and paper–a diary if you will–can be extremely helpful. Essentially writing down what you eat, why you’re eating. And if it’s not for genuine hunger, is it satisfying the emotional hunger? What are the ramifications afterwards? If it’s stress, is your stress relieved? Are you more stressed afterwards?

I’ve found that a good majority of people who are stress eaters for example end up with a secondary stress based upon the overeating from the initial stress.

Morty: Yes. People feel guilty when they do not want to eat and say “I’m not going to do it again” and then they end up doing it. You then end up with more negative feelings when you’re done as a result of having eaten. I see that all the time.

Andrew: What I’m trying to say is that I think being aware, being conscious, being mindful, trying to understand the introspective is first and foremost. There are whole hosts of behavioral tactics and strategies that I think can be employed also. I think I have twenty or twenty-five or thirty in the book. Little things.

One thing for example, I call “Vaccination and Inoculation”. Which means you’re in the office. It’s somebody’s birthday party and they’re going to carve up an ice-cream cake. And they carve it into eight big pieces. Well you’re trying to lose weight, you’re overweight, you’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re at work. You want to be social and join everybody. You don’t want to look like an anti-social pariah. So “Vaccination and Inoculation” is have a little piece. Have a vaccination. Have an inoculation. So you don’t end up with a disease. The obesity disease. Things like that.

There are a whole host of minor things that can be done. If you can’t deal with the situation fully on a mindful basis, you can at least try to re-engineer your environment in such a way that you are less likely to succumb to mindless eating, emotional eating, etc.

Other good management protocols are, for example, if you are stressed and you find yourself going to the refrigerator and you must eat here. Take what you want but the rest of it as I’ve just mentioned, eat something else. Have something healthier. Teach yourself to enjoy eating a piece of fruit. Another possibility is instead of eating to quell emotional hunger, use an alternative activity. Exercise for one. It releases the same dopamine and opiates in the brain that eating a Cinnabon does, for example.

Morty: Well it sounds as if this is very exciting. You’ve got a whole bunch of techniques that might be very useful to a lot of people. So again, it’s Promiscuous Eating by Dr. Andrew Siegel. S-I-E-G-E-L. Let’s see if we can get some of our listeners and the people reading the transcript of this to check it out.

Thank you so much for giving us a few minutes of your time at the end of a busy day at the office. I will let you know when this thing is up but I think a lot of our readers are going to find this really fascinating.

Thank you Andrew, I really appreciate it.

Andrew: Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you.

Interview with Meryl Beck – How to Stop Binge Eating

MORTY: Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe. I am very pleased today to have as our guest, Meryl Beck. Meryl Beck is a licensed counselor. She specializes in twelve-step recovering and eating disorders and actually created her own successful outpatient Food Abuse Treatment Week. She also uses energy techniques, which I’m really interested in finding out more about, and she has a book, Stop Eating Your Heart Out: The 21-Day Program to Free Yourself from Emotional Eating. She tells her story of binge eating and she gives us her ideas on the source of the problem and what can be done to stop it.

Today, we’re going to have a conversation and see if Meryl can give us all some of her wisdom and see if maybe something we hear can make a difference for us.

Meryl, thank you so much for being here with us.

MERYL: Thanks, Morty! It’s my pleasure.

MORTY: If you won’t mind starting out telling us just a little bit about your background, and how you got interested in the field of emotional eating. That might be a good way to get started.

MERYL: Well, I write about it because I have both personal and professional experience with it.  At very young age I discovered I could use food to numb feelings that were uncomfortable. What happened was I started using food as if it were a drug. I became a binge-eater and I actually had a binge-eating disorder even though I didn’t realize that I actually had an eating disorder for many years, probably from the first thirty years of my life.

MORTY: When you say binge eating, do you mean bulimia?

MERYL: No. Binge eating does not have a vomiting component to it.

MORTY: I got it. Okay. It’s binge eating but just eating.

MERYL: Right. Uncontrollable eating, urges to eat. I was the secret-eater. I was a public dieter and a binge-eater in private. I just felt so much shame around that because nobody knew who I really was, or what I was really doing with my life, especially in terms of food.

When I was a kid, I was only about 12 years old, I saw the teleplay “Days of Wine and Roses.” It tells a story of a man who was really in the deep trenches of alcoholism, and how it’s ruining his life, and how he gets helped with Alcoholics Anonymous.

I’m only in elementary school. At that time, in my own brain, I said to myself, “Wow, I wish there was a place like that for me because I must be a foodaholic. Once I start eating, I can’t stop.”

Fast forward, I’m 29, almost 30 years old, a friend says to me, “Oh, I went to this program. It’s a 12-step recovery program like Alcoholics Anonymous, but it’s about food.” I went, “Ah, there really is such a place?” That became my first step in learning how to deal with my food addiction or my food compulsion.

Some people do emotional eating and it’s not a food addiction for them. For me, it was because I really did use food the same way the alcoholic uses alcohol, the drug addict uses his drugs. It was a way of comforting me, and taking away pain, and anesthetizing myself, and making the world disappear for a moment. But, because of that, it was such a vicious cycle. So, I’d feel bad about something and I’d eat over it. Then, I’d have guilt and shame and remorse, and because I had all those yucky feelings, I got to eat some more. And then, I feel more guilt and more shame and remorse.

One of the things I do is I teach how to break that cycle. That’s what I do in the book and that’s what I’ve done with my work.

For me, the first step was getting into 12-step recovery. I know there’s a lot of people who are listening or that are reading this, that have tried 12-step recovery, and it wasn’t for them. And, that’s fine. You don’t have to go that route. It was just my way of doing it.

MORTY: What was the difference between your version of the 12-step recovery and the 12-step that you took yourself?

MERYL: I’m not quite sure I’m understanding because it’s not my version of 12-step recovery. I went to different meetings because there’s Overeaters Anonymous meetings, and Food Addicts Anonymous, and Co-dependency Anonymous… There’s lots of different 12-Steps that are all based on the original 12-steps of AA.

MORTY: Okay.

MERYL: The steps are basically the same. The first one is different because it depends on whether you’re working with food or alcohol and drugs, or sex, or whatever the addiction is. But, they’re the same 12 steps. They’re just modified for whatever the individual’s particular addiction or problem is.

MORTY: Okay. You basically use the 12-step program that you took yourself as a patient many years ago.

MERYL: Right.

MORTY: That’s what you teach today.

MERYL: Right, and that’s what I started with, and I wasn’t a patient because it’s a fellowship, and it’s very anonymous that’s why I worked it out in public and say I was a member of a particular 12-step program. I just say in general, the 12-step recovery programs that I went to. I did go to many different ones.

What that taught me is I learned a lot of things there. I had physical recovery. It has taught me what a portion size was. I had no idea that eating a one-pound rib steak for dinner was a larger portion that most people wouldn’t need.

I learned that, I learned what portion sizes were.  Then my daughte,r who was a young little girl, and I would go out in the store and buy a steak, a three-quarter pound rib steak, and she and I would split it, and that was fine. So, I learned portion sizes.

I learned about emotions. I grew up in a “looking good” family and we were a very positive family. That sounds great, but when you’re in a very positive family, sometimes there’s no room for the feelings that aren’t positive. If I felt sadness or anger, or any of those feelings that were feeling yucky, I knew that it wasn’t okay to talk about it, so I pushed it down with food.

When I went to the 12-step recovery meetings, I discovered what feelings were all about, and I had no labels for them. I would sit on the back of the room and I’d say to someone, “I’m feeling something and I don’t know what it is.” That person might say, “Well, describe what’s going on in your life,” and I did, and I’ve been able to label the feeling for myself. Oh, that’s jealousy. Oh, that’s grief. Oh, that’s sadness, or whatever the feeling was because I didn’t have the labels. That was the emotional recovery.

The third really big piece is that I had spiritual recovery as a result of going to 12-step meetings because for me, growing up, I always had a belief in God. The God I believed in was a God that punishes you. I knew that this God was keeping track of all my bads. My bads, thank you very much, were not all very big bads. I didn’t really hurt anybody outright, or kill anybody or anything.

But, I did a lot of judgments and there were judgments in my head. So, I might say to somebody, “Wow, that’s a beautiful dress!” And in my head I add something. In my head, I go, “Where did they get that? In the bargain basement?”

I was doing all these judging and acting. I got two faces on. I had my public face and the internal thoughts were very different, and the God that I believed in was keeping track. He was the Santa Claus, “who knows when you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sakes.” This God, in my belief, was keeping track. “Oh, another bad, mark it down. Oh, another bad, mark it down.”

I really believed that someday, all these bads, I would be punished for. The punishment was really, really terrifying for me. Deep inside I thought something would happen to one of my children, that I would get up one morning and find out that they had an incurable illness because that’s how God would punish me because I saw myself as being such a fraud, and I deserved that kind of punishment.

It’s a huge turning point for me when I was able to open up to–and I couldn’t say “God” for many, many years–I said, “Higher Power,” and to learn that this Higher Power, this God from my understanding, loves me no matter what. I didn’t have to be good to earn the love. It was huge for me.

The illness is mental, physical, and emotional, and spiritual. I had recovery in all areas.

MORTY: Here’s the question I’ve always had about 12-steps, so maybe I can get an answer for me and other people with a similar question. Does the problem actually go away, or do you learn how to cope with, deal with, or manage the problem?

MERYL: A person who is in 12-steps will get up and identify themselves and say, “I am a recovered compulsive overeater. I am an alcoholic. I am recovered binge-eater.” Sometimes, they’ll use the word “recovered,” sometimes, they don’t. But, they continue to identify with that because the belief is that if we go back to the old behaviors, or we can have a slip and it’ll take us back to the old behaviors, so the problem is not gone. We have a reprieve on a daily basis. We take it one day at a time, and sometimes, one minute at a time.

MORTY: I believe that the source of binge eating is triggers and beliefs. With the 12 step programs the triggers and beliefs are still there, urging you to eat, you’ve just found a way to overcome the urges.

MERYL: Right. I gave up sugar for six weeks for the whole summer once, and nothing changed. But, some people do and when they get off the substance that they’re really addicted to, their life will change because they’re no longer eating that. Sometimes, it’s not about the beliefs, the underlying beliefs. Sometimes, it really is physiological and sometimes, it is biochemical.

I do agree though. A lot of times, it’s about the underlying beliefs. The underlying beliefs come because as children, we try to make sense of the world. So that, when the event happens, and we all know that very often when parents get divorced, and the children are young, the child will say to himself or herself, “I have been a bad little girl, or bad little boy back when that happened.” So, they personalize it, and make it their fault.

In my case, my dad started to travel when I was four, and the little girl that I was couldn’t understand why he would leave me. So, the way I made sense of it was, “I must not be enough. I’m not good enough or he wouldn’t be travelling like he is.”

That was a belief that I held for years and years and years, and therefore it attracted to me people that would affirm that belief, who would say, “Yes, you’re not very good,” and they would be critical. “You’re not enough.” I understand exactly if you’re saying about the underlying beliefs because we have to take a look at what’s going on, and what’s driving our train, and the train that we are particularly riding in, is what the taste is right to the food.

MORTY: Yes. Basically then, it’s not a question of eliminating the compulsive need to eat. You basically have found a way through the 12-Step program to enable people to cope with the urges, with the need to binge eat, to emotionally eat, and to be able to refrain through the support system.

MERYL: Yes and no, because if you take a look at my book, it’s divided into 21 days. Each day, there’s a different tool and a different assignment, and it begins with having people write their eating history. Because so many of us, we’re in denial. We’re not even conscious of what we’re eating. We have no idea that there is an issue.

What just came into my mind is an image of my cousin and I, something they photographed.  We each have our hands ready to eat a whole pie, and I remember the picture, but I also remember that I wished I could really do it, that I wasn’t just posing for a photo.

With that kind of memory, I would have written that in an eating history, that I wasn’t eating it, but it was a, “wish I could eat it.” The other thing would have been in my eating history was when I was eating something that gave me a lot of pleasure. For instance, for me, I was very conditioned that ice cream would give me pleasure. That started when I had my tonsils out at age six. So that, that conditioning, and that need for ice cream was there for a long time.

As a little kid, we would sometimes go get an ice cream at a local place in the neighborhood, and I remember ordering a mint chocolate with ice cream cone and that was my favorite. But, instead of getting the pleasure, I was already into sadness, because I knew in a minute it would be gone.

MORTY: Oh, boy.

MERYL: Yes. All those kinds of things would be in my eating history. I would start getting “Aha moments” because we can’t really fix things that we’re not aware of. We have to bring them to consciousness.

When people start out by using my book, that’s the first place for starters, becoming conscious of some of the ways we’re using food, becoming conscious of, why is our eating out of balance? That continues because the next day, people will rise, start eating and writing in their food mood journals, and for most people, there’s a huge disconnect. I have no idea why I just grabbed all those potato chips. I have no idea. Then, little by little, they go, “Oh yes, that’s when my daughter talked back to me, and I ran and grab the potato chips.” They see that there’s a stimulus in a response. They see that there’s a condition to their eating. Then, they start getting an awareness around that, because later on, I’ll teach the tool on how to break that.

MORTY: What are some of the tools you use? You say you use energy techniques. How does that fit in?

MERYL: Energy psychology, are you familiar with it?

MORTY: A little bit. I’ve done some reading.

MERYL: Okay. Energy psychology is a fairly new field, and it is based on oriental medicine. EFT is one of the important ones, the so-called Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s using acupressure techniques to release physical and emotional pain, and also the food cravings.

We tap on points and they’re the same points that acupuncturists have used for thousands of years to let go of pain and discomfort, to get our energy running smoothly again, so that it is not blocked. Instead of using needles we just tap on these acupressure points.

I learned how to do this in the end of the 1990s. It’s made a huge difference in my life and in the lives of people I work with, it’s mostly women, but some men, because instead of having anxiety reaching for the food, if I’m feeling anxious, I know that I can do the tapping and the food won’t be a big issue anymore because I won’t eat it and then, I will feel okay.

MORTY: Are you able to stop, not through willpower, but because you stop the desire to binge eat?

MERYL: Right because you can use it, now I could tell you. What we do is when I teach it, we use a scale of 0 as in you’re not feeling or not craving it, 10 is having intense craving. If you’re already at a 9 or 10, you’re not going to want to stop and do the tapping. You have to catch it at an earlier stage before this binge is such a huge compulsion where there’s no stopping it, like this train that’s already on a track that’s going 100 miles an hour. You better stop at when it’s 50 miles an hour, you can cope with it. We can tap away the craving. But, where it gets too big, we won’t be able to do that.

It’s also the awareness of paying attention to, when you start having the craving, what’s going on? Is there a feeling… you tap for the feeling, and if not, you can tap directly for the craving.

EFT, I mentioned, was Gary Craig’s method that’s done by thousands and thousands worldwide, and there’s lot of researches being done with that now. There’s a similar technique that I use and talk about in my book called, RITT, Rapidly Integrated Transformation Technique, that my colleague rapid trainer, Macy and I put together. We did this because our clients loved this tapping that the angry 12-step recovery folks, they wanted to find a spiritual component. So, that’s what we do with this one. We ask the God, or Light, or Higher Power, constantly with us to release the cravings or to release the feelings.

MORTY: You basically created your own integration of 12-step and energy and EFT.

MERYL: Right. Yes, well, it’s not really integration of 12-step, but it does bring in the spiritual component.

MORTY: Yes, I get you, the spiritual element and 12-step.

MERYL: Correct. I wanted your listeners and readers to know that I describe both EFT and RITT in a free eBook that they can get by going out to my website, which is called All they do is sign up and they get the free eBook. It’s called, Acupressure Techniques for Weight Control, but it can be used for lots of things besides weight control.

MORTY: Let’s do that again. It’s (without any spaces).


MORTY: You can get Meryl’s free eBook, and you can order obviously her Stop Eating Your Heart Out book, and I assume that there’s other information there, or ways to sign up for information?

MERYL: Correct, correct.

MORTY: Well, thank you so, so much. I really do appreciate you taking the time to talk to our listeners here, and ultimately our readers. This is a whole new approach compared to anything we’ve ever put up here before, and what I find particularly interesting is your ability to add the EFT, which enables people to actually stop the cravings rather than just having to find a way to overcome the cravings, or not give in to the cravings, with support. But, if you can actually stop the cravings at the moment, that’s even better.

MERYL: Right. The other really interesting thing is that the book is written for people with emotional eating, but it can be used for anyone to change or break any habit or behavior. People have already told me that they are using it for procrastination, or to let go of judgments because you could follow. So, instead of writing your eating history, you’re writing your history of judgments.

And so, it can be adapted to change anything in here the person wants, or doesn’t want the person wants to change.

MORTY: Well, this is great. Anybody who is interested in finding out about Meryl’s book, or her free eBook, or other information about the work she does, or the energy technique that she’s devised, which is her own unique approach that integrates the spiritual technique, please go to (no spaces, no underscores, no dashes, just turn that into one word). You will be able to get more information about Meryl.

Thank you so much, Meryl for taking the time, and I am sure that the readers and listeners to this will find your material interesting, and hopefully, a lot of them will pursue it and get some more information.

MERYL: Thank you, Morty. Thanks for all the important work you’re doing.

MORTY: Thank you.

Bill Cashell on Stop Overeating with EFT and Related Techniques

Morty: Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe with another podcast that will help you stop overeating. Today we have a very special guest, Bill Cashell. He’s got an “Emotional Diet” which is a revolutionary new program that focuses on what he considers to be “the real problem” with people who are overweight. Even though he calls it an “Emotional Diet,” it is not actually another diet that forces you to use willpower.

So let’s find out what his ideas are and maybe something he has to say will help those of us who have a  problem with overeating, with emotional eating. Maybe it’s going to help us discover what it’s going to take to stop overeating. So if we can stop overeating perhaps our problems can be solved and maybe Bill can help us solve them.

Welcome Bill and thank you so much for being with us today.

Bill: Well thank you, Morty. Thank you for inviting me.

Morty: Bill Cashell, C-A-S-H-E-L-L, where are you located now?

Bill: Well, I’m located in Omaha, Nebraska right here in the center of the United States.

Morty: That’s exciting. Tell us a little bit if would please on how you got involved in the area of emotional eating. What made you decide to try and help people to stop their overeating problem? How did that all start for you?

Bill: Well Morty, I’ve met so many people with this desperation. That was my inspiration. Because I would have a problem–when I was younger I was so active. That was when I was fourteen or so. I could get away with eating quite a bit. Then I would often eat the wrong kinds of food. But then I kept gaining weight and gaining weight.  I tried diet after diet. And I could stick to it for a few days but then I’d go right back to where I was.

So I started studying other techniques. So I became certified in hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, emotional freedom techniques, a slew of other techniques. What I found was when I combined them all together and started searching for the real cause, then I started having success. Once I had success then I started helping other people by doing seminars and eventually writing a book on it.

Morty: And what was the name of your book?

Bill: The name of the book is called The Emotional Diet: How To Love Your Life More and Food Less.

Morty: And where can people find that?

Bill: You can find it in Amazon, in Barnes and Noble, in some of the bookstores, and also your local library.

Morty: So it’s The Emotional Diet. Tell us a little bit about what you actually do that helps people to stop overeating.

Bill: To put it simply, Morty–it’s like I told a friend of a friend of mine–I said, “I believe anybody who eats more than they need is an emotional eater. At that point she replied, “I’m not an emotional eater, I just love food.” So of course I said, “What’s love?” And she chuckled. “So I guess that’s an emotion!”

There are a couple of different ways that people become emotional eaters. One thing, we form a lot of attachments throughout our lives to food. We create what is called an anchor. You feel good–one of my favorite examples is cake. Often I ask people: “When do you think of cake?” They say “Well, parties, birthdays, celebrations. Things like that.”

So what happens Morty is you see the cake and you’re feeling really good. Then you create the association of feeling really good with eating the cake. You go to another party, another birthday, you feel good and you eat the cake. Pretty soon you walk through a store, you see a cake and bang you have that urge. The real urge is not so much the cake as the feeling underneath that. Because all human behavior is driven by the desire to feel good.

Now that goes even further for people who we tend to think of as emotional eaters. That is people who eat strictly to feel good. And often it’s because they’re feeling bad. So what they’re doing is using food as a substitute. Something to change  their body chemistry. But it really doesn’t solve the root problem. The root cause of why they’re feeling bad in the first place. So when we get to that, to find out what the real issue is and resolve that, then the need to eat to feel better goes away. So there are a couple of different ways to deal with that … I hope I kind of explained it.

Morty: Yes. Well that is pretty much consistent with my own research and my own point of view that the main source of emotional eating is negative feelings. Boredom, feeling unlovable, feeling anxious, feeling angry. So we have negative feelings that we don’t want to experience and we get conditioned to eat as a way of distracting ourselves from the negative feelings or putting a good feeling on top of the negative feeling.

Bill: I agree completely.

Morty: I think there’s also some beliefs involved. But it’s some combination of our beliefs and conditioned triggers.

Bill: Right.

Morty: If that’s the case, what do you do when people are conditioned to eat when they are bored or anxious or feeling unlovable or depressed? What do you do to help people not need to eat in those situations?

Bill: Well, one of the things is creating different anchors as I’ve said. Creating different associations to food and feeling good. And one of the ways is to reframe things. For example, a lot of it has to do with the way we look at food. The way we feel about food.

A good example is this: I sometimes will ask people “Would you sit down and eat a big bowl of flour with a spoon?” and of course they’ll say no. Then I’ll say, “What about a big bowl of sugar and a spoon? Would you eat that?” “Gosh no!” And I’ll ask “Well, what about a  big tub of Crisco and a spoon? Would you eat that?” And of course that’s pretty sickening. And then I say “What if we put them all together and call them donuts? Would you eat that?” All a sudden it’s like a light bulb goes off and they think, “Wow, here are foods I wouldn’t eat by themselves but then we mix them all together then we call them donuts.”

It sort of reframes the way they think of these foods and the way they picture them. I mentioned that to one lady I was working with. A couple of days later people brought donuts to where she worked. Well she had always been a big donut eater, and she said the donuts looked good, they smelled good. But just looking at them she kept getting this image of a big ring of Crisco. And she said, “I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them.”

What was really great Morty was after a little while, everybody who had eaten these donuts were feeling very sluggish, lethargic, and she said she passed up the donuts and she felt great. So that created a new association that passing up the donuts makes her feel good. And eating the donuts was like eating Crisco or sludge. So she created a new association after that. At a simple, basic level like that.

To go further–we have talked about some of the feelings and so forth. If somebody says “I don’t feel lovable. I don’t feel good about myself.” Which is often the case as you well know. Then you say, “Okay, what is the root cause of that?” And that’s when we start getting to the subconscious mind.

One of the things I’ve found is that we can use things like affirmations or self-hypnosis for suggestions to say “Yes, I’m lovable” or “I’m worthwhile” or “I deserve to feel good.” The problem is, the root cause is there’s some experience or there’s something hidden in the subconscious memory or even consciously which prevents them from feeling good. So until you deal with or resolve that issue, using affirmations will really have limited or temporary effects.

Once they find that real cause I like to use something like emotional freedom techniques and things like that which really do focus on the physical feelings, the way they’re stored. Emotions often are stored–especially real strong emotions–are stored not only in our mind but also in our physical body. And that’s why using, for example, talk therapy won’t resolve trauma.

So when we use these other techniques to release those limiting beliefs and those bad memories and neutralize those, then we can follow up with things like affirmations and self-hypnosis and then that can start building stuff. But the first trick is to deal with those limiting beliefs and those bad memories. And that’s where it starts. In the subconscious mind.

Morty: And how do you help people eliminate those negative beliefs? If somebody didn’t get a lot of attention from their parents as children, and concluded “I’m not lovable”, what would you use? Which of your various techniques would be the most effective to get rid of the belief that “I’m not lovable”?

Bill: For a case like that I’d probably start with the emotional freedom techniques. And sometimes combine it–if I’m working one-on-one, the first thing I would do is “Think of a time, a specific event, when you didn’t feel lovable.” Because what you can find often is there could be–they could have a whole childhood full events when they didn’t feel lovable. When they felt rejected and so forth. And so what you find is if they had a lot of events–for some people maybe it’s one or two but it’s such a strong one that it left an impression on your mind–they may not even be aware of that. Maybe their parents didn’t love them or didn’t spend time with them. Whatever it may be, I tell them, “Think of the very strongest memory and tell me about that.”

Now the interesting thing is that the subconscious mind doesn’t keep track of time. We often say, “That happened years ago” or, “I’m way past that.” It doesn’t really matter. When you think back to an event when you were five years old and you still feel some negative feelings about that, it’s still affecting you on a subconscious level.

When I have people and tell them or ask them, “Think of your strongest event and how do you feel about that?” And they’ll come up with feelings like rejection or feeling bad or feeling “I’m not worth it.” And so I say, “Okay.” The way of course with psychotherapy is to–when you have a bad event–is to neutralize it and basically desensitize it by reliving the event with talk therapy, over and over again. That can be slow and that can be painful. And if there’s a lot of trauma involved, if often doesn’t work.

So what I say is, “Let’s go back to that event and tell me what the feeling is first.” Then we use EFT or meridian tapping and release those feelings and get them down. Then I tell them “Let’s watch through the events and neutralize the feelings involved.”

You don’t want to change people’s memories, you only want them tamped down. What you want to do is let go of the feelings associated to the memory. And then you go back and say, “Okay, now once we’ve released those negative associations, let’s now see what we can do to reframe them. So some of the reframing they would go into, say, “What kind of childhood did your parents have?” Maybe they had a similar role model in their parents. So maybe they were doing the best they could. So maybe you can go back and reframe that. Maybe you can forgive them because they didn’t know any better; maybe they had a bad childhood. So you start to see things differently.

If you had several events you may go through these one at a time. What you find is after you’ve done a few of these, by association then you’ll lose emotional charge on the rest of them. Once you’ve lost that, then all a sudden your feelings of “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not worthy” are no longer something you own. They are something that somebody else gave you but now you’ve given it back to them. Then I say, “Now let’s think of highlights in your life when you did wonderful things. When you felt good.” Then you reinforce those. And then that need to feel good for those events when you’re not worthy, goes away. And then you don’t have to have food to replace it.

Morty: Okay so you basically use a little bit of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy–and that sounded like a lot of NLP you were using with anchoring and reframing–and EFT. So you basically are using a lot of different techniques in your interactions with people.

Bill: Exactly, Morty. I have some hypnotist friends who think that hypnosis is the only way. Some people say EFT is the only way. And what I think is, the more tools you have, the better you’re going to be. Because I find that some people respond better to different things. I also find when you combine them all, then you really have much higher success rates.

Morty: Have you done any measurements? Have you done any follow-ups on a lot of people? Because people can use willpower to stop eating. Very often they use some sort of technique and it looks for the next week or so that the technique has worked because they are no longer emotional eating and they’ve lost a few pounds. But if you check six months later they’re right back where they’ve started.

So have you done any follow-ups three to six, nine months later to see whether the work you’ve done that seemed to be effective at the moment is still effective?

Bill: Yes I have, Morty. When I’ve worked with people individually–again I have a lot of seminars–when I’ve worked with people individually, I always like to do a follow-up a month later then three months, and then six months later just to see how they’re doing. In part the reason for that is of course to keep in touch with them and see if they’ve run into some challenges. In most cases I’ve found they’re doing very very well. Not having a problem. Occasionally I will run into something where something we didn’t see, something unexpected will pop up. I’ll say “Okay, let’s meet up with that.” And once we’ve resolved that then they’re fine. But for the most part, I guess they’ve done pretty well.

One of the things I find too–I sometimes do work with organizations, for example a company may call me to do a seminar there. Now one of the things I like to do after I’ve done a seminar is then I set up a weekly call-in. For time when I call in and they can be there as a group. And the two things that I find that really helps is that the follow-up keeps them going but also the group interaction, the group support is really wonderful. It’s just their getting together as a group, helping support each other.

Morty: In your private sessions, how do your private sessions work? Do you work with people on the phone or on Skype?

Bill: I do occasionally work with them on the phone or by Skype. Most of the time I work with them one on one. But I do–with technology, that’s the great thing because you can work with people any place and any time.

Morty: How do your sessions work? How long, how many sessions do people generally need in order to produce this success rate that you’ve been able to achieve?

Bill: I like to do five sessions. Because I’ve found that seems to be the optimal amount for covering almost everything. And I cover a lot of different things as well. Part of the session has to do again using these techniques. But part of it has to do with retrain your mind issues using cognitive behavioral techniques. Sometimes it’s just education for them, learning different techniques on how to handle things. So I find five sessions as I’ve said to be really really the best.

Morty: How long are your sessions?

Bill: Generally ninety minutes long, and usually the last half hour of that is generally doing hypnosis session.

Morty: So like an hour of EFT or cognitive behavioral or talking and then about a half hour of hypnosis. And then you do five of those. And then a follow up one, three, six months later and you’ve got pretty much a hundred percent success rate.

Bill: Pretty close. And when I say pretty close, occasionally I’ll find–I’ll give you the example of one woman who after three months said,”You know I just haven’t had any change in my weight.” And I said, “Well, let me ask this: First of all, how do you feel?” She said, “I feel terrific, I have energy, I’m exercising. I’m eating all the right foods.” I thought, “Hmm that’s interesting”. And so I said, “Have you gone to a doctor and have been tested? Things like thyroid and so forth?” And she said, “No, but I will do that.”

She did find out that she didn’t have a thyroid problem. So that was a case of where in spite of the fact that she hadn’t lost any weight, she did say that she felt terrific, she was healthier and feeling good.

One of the things that I think is so important is that people look past their weight. One of the things I often tell people is “Don’t put this on your weight. Because your weight, your current weight is the result of your current behavior.” I think that’s why diets fail. Because people are always trying to change their weight. They’ll say “I’m going to lose twenty pounds and then I can go back to eating ice cream and pizza.” And when they change back their whole behavior they go back to where they were.

I always tell people “Forget the weight, hide your scale, don’t even think about that. Focus on changing your behavior. When you do that your weight will take care of itself.”

My whole focus as I’ve said is on behavioral changes.

Morty: If people are interested in getting more information about your program or to contact you for possibly working with you, what’s the best way to find you, Bill?

Bill: The best way Morty, you could go to the website. It’s called There you can find information on the seminars I do and consultations and my book and just about anything else as well as contact information.

Morty: So your book Bill, is The Emotional Diet, which is a discussion of this program and how it works. And if you’re interested in contacting Bill directly or finding out more about his one on one sessions or possible group sessions, you can go to emotional E-M-O-T-I-O-N-A-L

Thank you so much Bill, this is really fascinating. It’s a somewhat different approach than anything I’ve heard before and I think that the people that are listening to this interview or reading the transcript to this might get some food for thought and people that are trying to stop overeating might get some that they haven’t had before as to a technique or approach that might be more effective than other things they’ve tried.

So thank you so much for your time today and hopefully some of the people will follow up with you and try to get some information from you.

Bill: Thank you so much Morty. I love all the work that you’re doing and all the help that you’re giving the people. I applaud you for that. It’s been great talking to you.

Morty: Have a great day.

Bill: Thanks, you too.

Interview: Treatment for Eating Disorders Using an Integrative Approach

Carolyn Ross: “Treatment for Eating Disorders With the Integrative Approach”

Morty: Hi Carolyn. Thank you so much for being willing to be part of our podcast series on treatment for eating disorders.

Carolyn: Thank you for having me on, Morty.

Morty: My pleasure. This is Morty Lefkoe with our weekly podcast and interview. We’re very fortunate today to have Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross. She is a physician who has some unique approaches to treatment for eating disorders.

We’re going to talk to her for a little while. She’s worked with Dr. Andrew Weil who is one of the major names in integrative medicine and she’s done a lot of really interesting things. I’m personally interested in hearing what she has to say myself.

So Carolyn would you mind just introducing yourself and telling us where you’re located, and then how you got started in this field.

Carolyn: I’m located in Denver although most of my work is located outside Denver. I travel all over the country and also to some other countries to talk about eating disorders and addictions. And I work as a consultant, primarily currently in this drug and alcohol rehab facility that also has an eating disorder program called “The Ranch,” which is near Nashville, Tennessee.

I’m also a writer. I’m working on my fourth book as we speak.

Denver is my home base though. I got started working with eating disorders through my work with obesity, which I’ve always considered as part of the spectrum of eating disorders.

Eventually I then became a medical director for an eating disorder center in San Diego where I was practicing. And then later worked at Sierra Tucson and was the head of their eating disorder program. And now, as I said, I’m a consultant for The Ranch’s eating disorder program.

Morty: So did you actually work with people directly yourself or do you work through a clinic or are you just a consultant to the clinic?

Carolyn: I do all of the above. I have my own private practice in Denver where I work with people individually. I also do supervision of–or training I should say–of therapists in the centers where I consult. I often will sit in on client interviews or therapy sessions with sessions and also in groups. I do a little bit of all of that.

Morty: How would you describe the problem? I personally call it emotional eating. Because from my point of view, overeating is really the result of eating when you’re not hungry because of emotional reasons for the most part.

Carolyn: Are you speaking just of the eating disorder that is called emotional eating or are you speaking of all of the eating disorders?

Morty: I guess there are some emotional problems in anorexia or bulimia too, but I’m speaking mainly of overeating, which is the problem that most of the people who’d be listening to this podcast are having a problem with.

Carolyn: Well my favorite saying is “It’s not about the food, it’s about the pain.” And I think eating is often in response to some discomfort. Whether it be related to emotions at work you’re experiencing, or stress or trauma or neglect. Beliefs that you have that are related to past experiences. All of those culminate in discomfort or pain, and we usually overeat to work through the pain or to numb ourselves from the pain.

I just recently read an old interview dating back in the 1990s with Oprah Winfrey who stated that she never realized that she felt stressed–which is hard to believe–because she ate her way through it. I think that’s a typical experience of people who are overeaters. They may have even lost track of the reason why they are overeating. But there is that pain that then leads to overeating behaviors.

Morty: What is your basic theory as to the source of why people end up eating rather than something else, if they have pain? Number two is, what’s your basic approach to helping people resolve that problem?

Carolyn: I think that most of the issues usually start with experiences that we’ve had when we were younger. I can give you the example of a client that I had some years ago who was a compulsive eater. He had a lot of sibling rivalry with his older brother. So when he got to be bigger than his older brother, for the first time in his life he felt safe. His older brother couldn’t beat him up.

This seems like maybe a small thing but we’re seeing a lot of this come up with kids who are getting bullied. Then ten years down the line they have overeating and obesity issues. And they can point back and say, “I was bullied, I was teased, and that’s when things began.”

From there, people starting in that moment have emotions that come up that often they may not tell anybody about or they may not have someone who responds to it in an appropriate manner. Then those emotions lead to beliefs that then create a kind of dynamic in their lives where they are that they may even have forgotten.

So in the case of the young man for example who had the older brother beating him up all the time, his belief that he’d formed in that time period was “Bigger is better”. Because bigger was safer for him. For many women you see that too. Women who’ve been abused or raped. They may feel that being bigger gives them a safety factor. Those beliefs then drive the behaviors. But I think underlying all of that is what I call a lack of soul satisfaction.

Many people are not able to express themselves authentically because of the reasons that I just mentioned. So part of them is really shut down.

What I find in all the eating disorders is that when you are able to really get back in touch with your true self, who you really are, whether it be “I am a powerful person, I don’t need to be heavy in order to be safe” or “There are other ways that I can get my needs met without using food.”

Beyond that, if your career is satisfying if your relationships are satisfying, then food becomes much, much less important.

Morty: What are the kinds of beliefs you find? Is your conclusion then that the primary source of overeating, emotional eating, is beliefs?

Carolyn: No, I go one step further Morty. I believe that beyond the core beliefs is this desire of the soul for expression. I think we have experiences in our lives that in some ways kill a part of our souls. Like when a child is bullied or when a child is abused. You’ve heard the expression that when you abuse a child, it takes away a part actually of who they could be. That’s what I’m talking about.

I think the beliefs are one level at which there’s a lot of work to be done. And once you can help people get back in touch with those beliefs, then the next step though is to help them understand how those beliefs came about and how those beliefs have actually stolen who they could have been.

Morty: What is your technique or what is your approach to both eliminating the belief and dealing with the soul expression? Merely letting people know they have the beliefs or that they’ve suppressed them? Their expression is sufficient, is it?

Carolyn: No. The best way to tell you about this is to tell you about a patient I saw who lives in the Bay area. She was severely anorexic. Now this is the opposite end of the spectrum but the problem is exactly the same. She was very, very successful in her career but not happy with that career. She’d been anorexic since she was a young child and had issues with her family and lots of younger child issues. So she became aware that her belief was “In order to be loved, I need to be thin.”

Many people who are obese feel the same. That they can’t have a relationship. They can’t have the life or the job they want. They can’t change careers. They can’t have children until they become thin. This really steals a big portion of your life. And for her, it had been over two decades that she had been struggling with her disease.

She decided to go back to school although she was still in the throes of anorexia, continued working on her disease and got her degree, developed a new career in which she was extremely happy and eventually started regaining her weight without any further treatment.

I think that is just an illustration that a lot of people say “I’ll be happy when I lose weight.” What I tell my patients is, “When you get happy, you’ll lose weight. So it’s really about looking at the big picture. We focus so much on the number on the scale and “If I can just get that number down then everything would work out.” But a hundred percent of the people I’ve worked with will admit that even when they were at their thinnest, their lives weren’t still where they wanted them to be.

So it’s really a process over time of identifying those beliefs. Getting the experience of how those beliefs have affected your life. That can be through experiential therapies like psychodrama or somatic experiencing. Using the body to help you do guided imagery that gives you a felt sense of the effects of those beliefs. Then as you get that felt sense, you can start to take action. To change the things that need to be changed. Starting with the belief, just making a statement about what you want in your life and then starting to just go through the process of making those changes.

Morty: So are you saying that basically, doing things that will make you happy and changing your experience of life will get rid of the eating disorder or is there a step in the middle there someplace?

Carolyn: Well the step in the middle is the one that we have been talking about. Which is recognizing the influences that have caused the overeating. Was it neglect when you were younger? Was it trauma? Was it abuse? What are the things that have caused your problem? Were there emotional issues that then led to beliefs? So awareness is the first step.

Then the second, third, fourth, fifth step is working through and processing what happened to you with someone who’s qualified to do that. So it’s just like any other process. Like the grief process. You lose a loved one, you can cry for months but then it’s still not over. So you have to work on different layers of the emotional overeating until people start to see that the deepest layer is “What’s going to satisfy my soul?”

One of the questions I ask in some of the conferences I do is, “If you were to focus on doing the things that satisfied your spirit, your soul, your deeper self, how would your food intake be different? How would your level of activity be different?”

I think it’s connecting to that deepest urge that we all have inside of us. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about that deepest urge that we have to be fully ourselves and to express ourselves fully. When we are able to do that, a lot of other things fall into place. But you have to do that groundwork which usually occurs in therapy or with groups.

I have a book called The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook. And I’ve had so many people come up to me in talks and say, “You know, I’ve used your workbook. That helped me get into understanding what happened to me and become more aware of my beliefs and make those changes.” And so on.

So there are different ways you can do it. But you have to do that groundwork.

Morty: What influence did Andrew Weil have? I read that you had a two-year fellowship in Integrative medicine with Dr. Weil. How did that affect your approach to treatment for eating disorders?

Carolyn: My entire approach for treating eating disorders is an integrative medicine approach. I’ve done that from the very beginning at my first position in Sierra Tucson. What that means essentially from my point of view is really looking at the whole person. So you’re not just looking at what’s happening to the body, what the number on the scale is, how many calories someone eats. I don’t even look at calories anymore.

It’s really about looking at all of the influences. That could be spiritual influences. It could be physical, mental, emotional, et cetera.

As well, in the integrative approach, which I describe in my books–obviously I use nutrition because that should always be the first tool for anybody who has any of the eating disorders. But we also use dietary supplements to help the brain function better.

Many people with eating disorders including those who are overweight or obese have nutritional deficiency. They’re undernourished even though they may be overweight. So we use supplements to replace nutritional deficiencies. To support mood. Because emotional eating is directly connected with our moods and particularly people who suffer depression or anxiety etc. But even without that, having your moods be more stable is also very helpful.

Then also, supplements are important to help with digestion and absorption of the foods that you eat. And amino acid therapies that work with the brain to help reduce cravings and improve cognitive functioning and decision making. All of that.

Morty: I read that you developed your own line of supplements. Did you research what was needed by people who are overweight and have an eating disorder?

Carolyn: Absolutely. It’s called the “Basic Recovery Support.” I also have a new formula called the “Crave Free Formula” which involves the use of the amino acids such as tryptophan and tyrosine and those that help reduce cravings. Both of those formulas are available on my website. If people are interested, there’s a lot of information on them.

We did do research that looked at the use of those supplements and found that they help with sleep and also with reducing digestive problems. The research showed both of those areas that it was a statistically significant benefit over and above the use of traditional Western therapies such as sleeping pills or Metamucil for digestion.

Morty: I want to ask you some more questions. But for people who are interested we’ve got to give your website and that’s That’s C-A-R-O-L-Y-N. Carolyn Ross R-O-S-S and then because you’re an MD, Carolyn Ross M as in Mary, D as in David, dot com. So

Carolyn: I also want people to know that I do have another website which is called “The Anchor Weight Management Program” site. That’s That’s my weight management program where I offer webinars. I have a webinar weight management program that’s running right now and we’ll have another one starting next month.

The reason it’s called “The Anchor Program” is because of what I was saying to you. Being anchored is being really true to yourself and accessing your inner strength rather than looking to external sources for validation, the “Yes you’re pretty, yes you’re thin enough, yes you’re okay. The number on the scale makes you okay.” It’s about really looking inside for that inner strength to give yourself what you need.

Morty: So you basically have courses, you have individual treatment, you have internet courses, you have books. You’ve done a little bit of all of it, right?

Carolyn: That’s right. Yeah.

Morty: If somebody wanted to work with you directly do you work with people on the phone or Skype or do they have to be in your area?

Carolyn: No, I work with a lot of people by phone. And if they’re interested enough they go to and they can either send me a message about a webinar or about individual consultations via that website. Or about programs in Denver.

Morty: But your programs are in Denver though.

Carolyn: The in-person programs are in Denver, but like I said, right now I’m running a webinar program, which is a group program for weight management. This one is a four-week program. In August we’ll be starting a ten-week program by
webinar. So if people live outside of Denver they can still work with me in a group setting via the webinar.

Morty: How would you describe the difference between your approach and the hundreds of other approaches? Is there a specific way in which you would distinguish it?

Carolyn: Absolutely. I can tell you the biggest difference is I do not believe in dieting. I don’t use a diet, I use simple guidelines for nutrition. The biggest thing that I can guarantee to people is not that you’re going to lose fifty pounds in two days. Which I think is–you know, all of the studies have shown that diets do not work no matter how nice the diet is or how hard you try. So my goal is to put people in a path where they can have lifelong success rather than just momentary success.

So I can guarantee people that they’ll stop feeling uncomfortable around food, they’ll be more able to choose foods, they’ll be able to eat the foods they like and not gain weight and they’ll lose weight. But slowly. And they’ll also stop hating their bodies. I think that once you do those two things–if you hate your body, why would you take care of it? So starting to have that partnership with your body–you know, the body is really where all of the knowledge and the wisdom is on what you need to do to be successful in reaching a healthy weight.

Instead of working with the body, most diets are about punishing the body, depriving the body, beating the body up with exercise. Look at “The Biggest Loser.” That’s a great example of how you’re not working with your body. Most of the people who go through that, well they may lose weight on the show but they do not keep that weight off.

So that’s the big difference. I’m not as focused on getting you to that rapid weight loss. People who go through my program do lose weight, but more importantly, they learn to keep it off.

Morty: I understand and agree with that totally. I also tell people who work with us the same thing. That gaining weight or losing weight is a function of so many things. Your endocrine system, the kind of food you eat, etc. What I can guarantee and certainly what you do is you’ll stop emotional eating, you’ll stop eating when you’re not hungry. You’ll stop eating for emotional reasons. And that usually will lead to a loss of weight. Losing weight is the consequence of dealing with the emotional issue, which is really the source of the problem.

Carolyn: Yeah and I think that also it’s important for people to refocus on their health first, and then weight. If you start eating not good foods–again, I don’t believe there are good foods or bad foods–but just eating foods that your body likes and that make you feel good, not emotionally good but physically good, then I think that emotional eating can definitely be reduced or gotten under control. We all do a little bit of emotional eating but it shouldn’t be to the point where it’s making you get fat or where it’s compromising your enjoyment in your life.

Morty: One other question. Have you ever done any research or any follow-up on the people to see if it lasts? Because there are so many people who are able to stop eating using willpower for short periods of time. So sometimes it looks like some sort of treatment has worked but when the willpower runs out, they’re right back where they started. So in order to see that any particular treatment plan really works you need to be checking in three or six months or even a year later. Have you ever done any follow-up like that to see what the long-term results are?

Carolyn: Some of my patients I’ve been working with for more than three years so I do have follow-up for those people. And like I said, the big important thing is that they are able to lose weight but more importantly, able to keep it off. I don’t have a large sample in my practice right now where I could do that follow-up. But in one of the other treatment centers where I worked at, we did follow-up for two years and found that people were keeping off at least ten percent of the weight that they had lost. That’s really better than the industry standard.

Again my goal is if you can learn to keep it off–I think most people learn how to lose weight. But they don’t know how to keep it off. So learning those skills will help you in the long run to eventually reach that weight. What I do is what I call the “Step Approach,” which is to help people lose a certain amount of weight like ten percent and then to maintain that weight for several months. Then lose another five to ten percent and then maintain. So again you’re really getting the muscle to keep the weight off.

Morty: Great. Well thank you so very much, this is really interesting material. It’s a different approach, it’s a more spiritual approach that seems like a lot of other weight loss, eating disorder, or treatment programs should include.

For people who would like to follow up with Carolyn, you can reach her at and you can find out about her group program webinars there or you can find out about individual consultation programs with her. She also works as a consultant in a couple of clinics and you can find out about those clinics if it turns out that’s the best way for you to go. So and also her other website is

So thank you so much Carolyn, I really appreciate your time.

Carolyn: Thank you Morty. It’s been great being on with you. Thanks again.

Emotional Eating Interview with Karen Koenig Author of “The Rules of ‘Normal’ Eating”

MORTY: Hello, Karen! How are you today?

KAREN: I’m fine. How are you?

MORTY: Great. Thank you so much for being willing to spend a few minutes with us. We’ve got a bunch of listeners and people who are going to want to read this interview, who are interested in how to stop overeating.  They are interested in understanding better what has caused their emotional eating problem, what’s involved in it, and perhaps some new ideas on what to do about it.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background, what makes you an expert in this area, and what you think you might be able to offer to our readers.

KAREN: I’m an expert both professionally and personally. I have a Master’s in Education, and I have a Master’s in Social Work, and I have been what I consider an expert on the psychology of eating, which is the how and the why, not the what, for more than 30 years.

Personally, I am a former chronic dieter, and what I consider a world-class binge eater, certainly an emotional eater, and I have been a relatively normal eater since the 1980s.

MORTY: Okay.

KAREN: I use my expertise that I learned educationally, and I use what has worked for me, and readings in the field to help people learn how to stop overeating.

MORTY: Okay. It sounds like an interesting background with some personal and professional expertise on it. Did you have an institute, a clinic, or are you a private therapist? How do you help people?

KAREN: I’m the author of four books on eating and weight. I can certainly talk about those.

MORTY: Would you please name your books, so that people can possibly check them out if they’d like to?

KAREN: Sure. These are in the order that they’re written. The Rules of Normal Eating is my first book, and that gives basic guidelines to connect to appetite, hunger, food preference, satisfaction, and fullness.

My second book is the Food and Feelings Workbook, which deals specifically with emotional eating and lays out what emotions are for, why do we have them, how can we use them, and how can we stop eating and connect with feelings, so that we have a better life.

My third book is What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Treating Eating and Weight Issues. It is for non-eating-disorder therapists, general therapists who have clients with eating and weight problems.

My fourth book is Nice Girls Finish Fat – Put Yourself First and Change Your Eating Forever. That is for all the women out there who take care of everybody else with their warm feeling and kindness and loving hearts and then, as I describe it, take care of themselves through multiple trips to the refrigerator.

MORTY: I got it. Okay, well, thank you. You’ve got a lot of material that we could take a look at. Let’s just start. I have called the problem emotional eating, and I’ve had a lot of therapists and other authors disagree and call it other things, such as compulsive eating or addiction, etc.

I call it emotional eating because it seems that the, although there are obviously differences with different people, the main source of the problem is that people have negative feelings—anything from boredom to feeling unlovable to anxiety to anger, etc. They use eating as a way to keep down, to get rid of, to cope with these negative feelings. I call it emotional eating because they’re compulsively driven to eat by their emotions.

Do you see it that way? Or, if not, how do you see the issue of compulsive overeating?

KAREN: I also call it emotional eating. I do differentiate between what I would call compulsive eating, you’re watching a basketball game, and your hands are in the chips, and you just keep feeding yourself. I think that’s when we sometimes just get out of touch with our appetite. I would call that compulsive eating. I think there can be a problem.

However, emotional eating has this specific intent to avoid or lessen internal distress through food. I think, as well, that people have bad habits that you can call it non-hunger eating. You could call it “cued eating.” A client was telling me she’s been really enjoying food, eating healthfully, and then there were five cookies leftover in the teacher’s room, and she just ate them all. I think that was just mindless.

MORTY: You don’t think there was an emotional reason? You just think that this was almost like accidental that it wasn’t being driven by some emotion that she wasn’t aware of?

KAREN: I don’t think in that particular moment that it was an emotional response. I think it just wasn’t thinking because for decades she has gone to the teacher’s room, and sort of “Hoovered” all the food that’s left on the table. I think in that case.

But, I do believe that most of the unwanted or troubled eating that goes on is emotional eating as you had described.

MORTY: How would you then describe from your point of view, the basic source of the problem, or how do you think the problem develops?

KAREN: Well, I think it develops when we are first held by a nurturing person, and we are fed and we feel contained and secure and comfortable and comforted. That makes the connection between food and feeling. Mother’s milk gets us drowsy. Carbohydrate, sugars, and fat do something similar. There is a natural relaxation response from certain foods.

We have a biological — most of us, not all of us– tendency to get that reaction from food; it changes our brain chemistry.

MORTY: If it’s something that everybody starts with, if the source of it is breast milk from a mother and how we respond initially, then, how come only half the people, or perhaps even less than that, end up with an emotional eating problem? If the source of it is something that’s common to everybody, then what else is there for people who ultimately develop the problem, and those who don’t? What distinguishes them?

KAREN: Okay, that’s a great question. I would speak to two fronts. One is that we are not all born with the same complement of neural transmitters that are mood regulators. Some people have a more high-strung or sensitive temperament from their genetics, and not having enough self-soothing neurotransmitters. They’re more likely to go to food.

Other people have a deficit of life skills, or self-soothing, or self-stimulation, whatever it is that food happens to do for those people.

Unfortunately, many people have both. They have the genetic propensity to be unable to self-soothe, relax, or stimulate with themselves, and they didn’t learn the life skills. That’s what I call a “double whammy.”  Those are the people for whom it is really hardest to overcome emotional eating.

MORTY: What do you do when somebody calls you up? You’re basically a private therapist working with individuals. Somebody calls you up and says, “I find that I can’t stop eating. I need help.” Basically, what is unique about what you do to help people overcome the problem of emotional eating?

KAREN: I work in several areas. One is I’m very interested in their beliefs about food, eating, emotions. We do a lot of identifying irrational beliefs, and how do you change them to rational beliefs? In that sense, I do a lot of cognitive behavioral work.

I help them build up life skills, how to say no, setting boundaries, problem solving, critical thinking skills, learning how to play, and relax, and let go, how to find passion and engage in life. Because when you can do these things effectively, you don’t want to turn to food. You just don’t think of it. I work on the life skills front.

One last front that I work on is I find many of my clients have mixed unconscious feelings about becoming a normal eater. It may be part of their identity.  An eating problem may be a way to say, “Look how I’ve suffered in life.” They may have mixed feelings about how hard they want to work on this, and just want it to be resolved quickly.

I work on the issues, the unconscious mixed feelings that they have. The major one I find is rebelling, that people will say, “I know what I should do, and then that little voice says to me, ‘Oh, eat the cookie. No big deal’, it’s telling you what to do. “

I call this section the boomerang effect—when we are told to do things over and over, we do two things, we tune out the information and then, we also rebel against it. I work a lot with clients on this whole idea of rebelling.

MORTY: Yes. I have found that a specific belief, people who feel powerless as one of their beliefs, I am powerless, then have the belief the way to be in control is to do what I want, when I want regardless of what I should or shouldn’t do, or regardless of what anybody wants me to do, or regardless of even what’s good for me.  Basically, by eating what you want when you want regardless of what makes sense, it gives you a sense of power and being in control what you don’t experience most of the time. I find that what you’re describing as that rebellion is actually the result of a specific belief.

KAREN: Yes. The belief is the result of whatever happened to people in childhood. Their sense of self was annihilated because they had very controlling, domineering parents. They’re going to want that part, sometimes called the wild child or just the self, to come out, and they do battle between that and the “should” and the “shouldn’ts.” I try to help them develop a nurturing self, which only has one goal, and that is to do what is in the best interest of the person. And–

MORTY: And … I’m sorry, go ahead. Keep going. I’m sorry.

KAREN: I was just going to say, and by developing that, this whole ping pong between I should, I shouldn’t, or rebelling, that whole ping pong match gets tossed out and you’re just focusing on what can I do now that is going to be best for myself.

MORTY: Your main technique is, you say, is cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s your main approach in working with these people?

KAREN: It’s a big part of it. Another approach that I use is trauma resolution that really has to do with people understanding, because there’s such a high correlation between eating problems, and trauma. It’s helping them understand them, when they have really intense feeling that they are generally from recall, not reality. Once they understand that, then the drive to eat lessens.

MORTY: Mm-hmm.

KAREN: Would you like me to explain that a little more?

MORTY: Sure yes.

KAREN: Okay.

MORTY:  I’m not sure that I understand what you mean.

KAREN: Okay. Let’s say that your father was alcoholic and came home, and you were scared the minute you heard him come in the house, and just the sounds of his feet on the stairs frightened you and then, he walks in the room, and somehow you got hurt.

If you’re in a situation where perhaps you’re waiting for someone, and you’re not knowing how they’re going to react when you see them, maybe you’re just in a job interview, and you hear that person coming up the stairs slowly, about to open the door to meet with you. You might have intense fear feelings, but it’s not because of the person who is going to interview you.  It’s because you’re stuck in recall. That’s what you’re reacting to.

I help people identify what’s stored in there, and what’s recall, and what’s reality. Once they’re in reality, they do much better managing them.

MORTY: Yes. I see that as conditioning, and we have a specific process to work on that. For me, the two major changes you’ve actually talked about are the same we work on, namely beliefs and conditioning.  I found about twenty triggers that when those triggers come up, as I say, which are mainly negative feelings, when they come up, you just find yourself eating because that is the way you’ve conditioned yourself to deal with those negative feelings.

KAREN: Yes, absolutely. It is a form of conditioning. I’ve been saying to clients, “You know we’re all rats at heart.”

MORTY: That’s right.

KAREN: We really are.


KAREN:  We respond to rewards and punishment.

MORTY: What would you say, do you have any sense to any follow up, not necessarily formal research on some informal basis, do you have any sense of what the effectiveness is, the recovery rate?

KAREN: I couldn’t give you numbers, but I will say that it is a long process, and that the people who stick with it, which are, I don’t know, many of clients do make changes in their eating, and in their lives.

MORTY: Do you follow up six months later to see, or do you have them call you? Or, do you have any?

KAREN: I do not.

MORTY: I don’t mean necessarily on a formal basis, but just for your own satisfaction to know how it’s going or you just basically, when you’re done, they seem to be in good shape, and you assume they’ll call you back if they still need you, and if they don’t, you assume all is well?

KAREN: Yes, to the latter. I don’t do for any formal or informal follow up. I do, it’s interesting, I run a Yahoo Food and Feelings message board. A good number of the people have been on it for a number of years, and so I can track their progress that way.

MORTY: Uh-huh, okay.

KAREN: That has been very interesting to see people who came on the board with no skills, and no clue how to stop emotional eating. Now, having resolved a lot of their issues, they are now helping new members on the board.

MORTY: That’s great. You said a moment ago, you said, if they stay with it, how long a process, I was talking with someone the other day who said, she has four 90-minute sessions, and that seems to handle the psychological element, and she has some nutritional and other kinds of work. How many sessions would you say, for the average person again, I know that everybody is very different and there’s a wide range, but roughly, what would the range be? If they stayed as long as you thought they needed to really get over the problem so that it’s gone, how long would you say your average client needs to stay?

KAREN: I don’t think in terms of sessions because I start off maybe with two or three weekly sessions, and I do mostly telephone and Skype for calling all over the world. I have a small private practice in here in Sarasota.  After that, people go to every two weeks, three weeks. For me, it’s not the number of sessions, but I would say from many months to a few years. Now, that doesn’t mean they need to be working with me that whole time.

I give people a treatment plan after the first session, and once they understand what the work is, some of it they do on their own. But, for me, it certainly was not a quick process. It was a thorough process, an organic process of changing, and not everything starts at the same place.

I’m thinking it takes quite a while for people to really be what they want to be, which is normal eaters, or relatively normal eaters.

MORTY: Where can people get some more information? Obviously, you’ve stated the names of your four books, but what website can people go to, to get more information about you and what you have to offer?

KAREN: The main website is


KAREN: Yes. They can go to, and I write eating blogs that you can find at They can access my twice-weekly blogs, and if they go to Yahoo, and put in Food and Feelings message board, they can come up with my message board. I also have a free Facebook app on Emotional Eating, as it happens. If they put in Appetite Facebook app, they should be able to get it.

MORTY:  We have a lot of ways to find you Karen.

KAREN: Yes, anyway.

MORTY: Thank you so, so much. I so appreciate your time today. This is Karen, do you pronounce it Koenig?

KAREN: Koenig is fine.

MORTY: Yes, Karen Koenig, thank you so much for your time. I’m sure that my readers and listeners will be fascinated with your particular approach, your particular way of thinking about the problem of emotional eating. I’m sure that some of them will check out your books, or possibly get in touch with your directly.

Have a great day, and I look forward to talking to you at some point again soon.

KAREN: Okay, thank you so much, Morty! Bye.


Interview with Estil Boyd – Using hypnosis for eating disorder recovery

Morty: Hi. This is Morty Lefkoe with another podcast interview of somebody who has some ideas that might be useful to you on eating disorder recovery.. We’ve had authors and people who run clinics and today we have somebody who’s totally different. We have a hypnotist, a hypnotherapist who’s done some good work in a lot of different areas, including the area of eating disorder recovery,, who might have some really good ideas for you on how hypnosis might be a potential treatment for eating disorders. Estil, is that how you pronounce it?

Mr. Boyd: Estil.

Morty: Estil. Okay, it’s Estil Boyd. He’s the graduate of the Ohio Academy of Holistic Health and has been certified as a clinical hypnotherapist in 1998 and has had a private practice in the Oxford Ohio area since 1997. Estil thank you for coming and welcome to our show today.

Mr. Boyd: It’s a pleasure to be here, Morty.

Morty: Good. Could you give us a little bit of background on how you got interested in and started working in the area of emotional eating.  What is your specific treatment for eating disorders?

Mr. Boyd: Well, being a full service hypnotherapist I have had clients interested in weight management, which is usually the way it’s put to me. It’s always an issue that clients come to me for.  As far as emotional eating goes–one of the first things that I explain to people is that it makes a lot of sense that eating and emotions are closely tied together and it goes way back usually, to when we’re infants and we only have one way of communication. Once we cry, we get support. We get nurturing. We get physical contact and at the same time we get food.

It makes sense that we would associate the two with each other. So then in later life anytime that you’re feeling down, or depressed, or uncertain of yourself, maybe not feeling as good about yourself as you might like, it makes sense that one would find solace in food. In a lot of cases the emotional issue goes way back and is deeply seated by the time it becomes a problem for an adult.

Morty: Very interesting. I have one question based on what you said so far. You said you called it weight management. I like to make a distinction between emotional eating and weight.  I am actually able to tell people, “I can help you. I can almost guarantee to help you with your emotional eating. I have no idea what’s going to happen to your weight because weight is not only a question of how much you eat but the type of food you eat and exercise.

“If you are eating when you’re not hungry for emotional reasons–because you’re upset, you’re anxious, you’re bored, you feel unlovable, etc., I can figure out a way to help you stop doing that. But if all you eat are high carbs and you eat 5,000 calories a day and never get up from your desk, you’re going to gain weight even if you don’t have an emotional eating problem.” So I try to make a distinction between the two and it sounds as if you’re not making that distinction or are you?

Mr. Boyd:  Well, there’s a fair amount of guilt involved. People who eat emotionally never feel good about it. We’re such a visually oriented society these days that the compelling issue  that usually brings people to me is the way they look, their health, and things like that.

The first thing that I usually do my best to dispel is the whole idea of diet because it just doesn’t work. We’re hardwired, the unconscious mind is hardwired to protect this, to preserve this and if we threaten that unconscious mind with starvation, withholding food, it rebels. Now one can consciously overcome that for a while.

One can go on a diet and lose weight but eventually it comes back. The approach that I put forth is rather than denying yourself food, treat yourself to the proper kinds of food in the proper amounts.

Morty:   Okay but do you actually identify something that I call emotional eating, which is people who say, “when I have certain negative feelings–I am anxious, I am angry, I am sad, I am depressed, etc.,– I just find myself going to get food, and I have to use tremendous willpower to stop myself from eating or if I am eating I keep eating and eating even when I am full.”  I actually distinguish a particular behavior that is eating when you’re not hungry because you’re triggered by an emotion.

Mr. Boyd: Well, my intention is to re-channel that. If my client is feeling down, depressed, a situation where they would ordinarily go for food, well I am going to re-channel that to a more healthy choice. People feel that they have limited options. My job is to convince them that they always have options. In a place where they would have formerly gone for food, they have a walk instead. How about deep breathing? How about the things that are apt to uplift the body rather than drag it down?

Morty: Okay.  You actually acknowledge that there are emotional triggers to eat and what you do through hypnotherapy is get them to stop eating in response to the trigger and do something healthy in response to the trigger?

Mr. Boyd: Right but I am always going to put that in a positive way.

Morty: Got it.

Mr. Boyd: I am always going to phrase a suggestion positively rather than negatively.

Morty: So how would you do that? What would that sound like?

Mr. Boyd: I’ll talk about the good things they could do rather than the bad things they want to do. The unconscious mind doesn’t process negative very well. If I were to say, “Morty this is very important and your life depends on this. Whatever you do, don’t think about a blue tree.” Do you understand what it is I ask you not to do, you have to do it. For instance, you will never smoke again is a useless suggestion for a smoker.  You can now become a non-smoker is a much better suggestion.

Morty: Got it.

Mr. Boyd: So I am always going to phrase things in a positive way. So the suggestion would go like–in those times when you feel a little depressed or a little anxious, you can do this, you can do this. I am not going to talk about what they don’t want to do.

Morty: Got it. What is your experience–I always ask people who call with different techniques–what is your experience on the success rate of people no longer eating when they feel negative feelings and instead starting to go for a walk or whatever suggestions you make? To what extent, what percentage of the people, would you say are amenable to hypnotherapy as a solution to an eating problem?

Mr. Boyd: Well I think everybody is amenable to hypnotherapy. I have yet to find anyone who couldn’t do it.

Morty: Oh boy. Okay.

Mr. Boyd: One of the misconceptions because people think that hypnosis is something that a hypnotist does to you. That’s not what it is. Hypnotic trance is something that a person does. I just show them how. It’s not about one person’s control over another. It’s about self-control, taking charge of your own issues. Everybody that I have dealt with, I would say, at least 75% of them have positive results.

Morty: Oh boy, great.

Mr. Boyd: People move around, so it’s hard to keep track of your former clients, but that’s my gut reaction. I think probably 75% had some positive results.

Morty: Excellent. Congratulations. That’s exciting.

Mr. Boyd: It tends to generalize in a person’s life too. Once they have the techniques to deal with this issue, everything else seems better, as far as eating and exercise for instance. Once the person starts eating better and starts eating the proper diet and the proper amount, they’re going to be the one who rises so it’s much easier for them to exercise and they tend to want to.

We have an automatic system for weight management. It’s hardwired into us. It’s called the appetite. Now the problem comes because most Americans’ appetite are buried under about a meal and a half, but your body will tell you when it’s proper to eat. In its own–

Morty: What do you mean buried under a meal and a half?

Mr. Boyd: Well, most people don’t wait till they get hungry. They eat at a regular time of the day when their job or their regular schedule tells them it’s time to eat.

Morty: Okay.

Mr. Boyd: If they waited until they got hungry, their appetite would them when they’re hungry. Since they never let themselves get to that point, their appetite never gets engaged. They never notice it. One of the things that I stress with my weight management clients is it’s always proper to eat when you’re hungry and it’s always proper to stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore.

The appetite works exceptionally well if one pays attention to it and the idea is not to kill the appetite. The idea is to become friends with the appetite and as you go on and become better friends and get to know each other better, your appetite will not only tell you when you’re hungry, it will tell you what your body needs to eat at that time.

Morty: That I agree with totally. My experience in working with clients is that sometimes having to eat before you go to work at 7 o’clock or having to eat at noon time is a problem, but for me that’s not as big a problem as being triggered by negative feelings. It’s not that people eat so much when they’re not hungry because it’s time to eat, it’s that people eat when they’re not hungry because they’re driven to eat in order to cover up some negative feeling.

People have negative feelings all the time, all times of day and night, and in between etc., so that what drives people to the cupboard, or to the refrigerator, or the pantry on a regular basis is feeling lonely, feeling bored, or feeling depressed, or feeling unloved–so that’s the way they handle it. It’s the way they handle negative feelings, so I agree with you.

For me, we don’t even talk about weight, we just talk about can you stop eating, getting you to stop eating except when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. And if you do that and if you eat relatively healthy food and get some modicum of exercise, you’ll be fine. But for me the problem is eating when you’re not hungry because there is an emotional need.

Mr. Boyd: We’re pretty much on the same page with that. I probably am going to play up the healthy eating and treating yourself to proper nutrition and I am probably going to play down the negative emotions that you might be feeling that trigger it, but other than that I mean our outcome is the same.

Morty: How do you work with people? Do they just call you for a session and how many sessions does it normally take to get somebody to stop eating emotionally and start eating only when they’re hungry?

Mr. Boyd: Well, for most issues I’ve never been into this for long-term therapy. I would normally see a client for weight management probably three times with the initial session being pretty long because I need to learn quite a bit about how they approach the world and what talents they already have for dealing with things. Then usually a couple of weeks later we do reinforcement and then probably 3 months later. Usually, with weight management clients probably 3 sessions over the period of about three and a half to four months.

Morty: Okay.

Mr. Boyd: With most issues, I believe that change happens in a instant. Smoking for instance, I ordinarily see a client twice. Preparation for surgery, once. Now the only thing that is sort of ongoing would be hypnotic preparation for natural childbirth because I won’t be in the delivery room there so it’s necessary for me to teach the client self-hypnosis and to train their coach or partner in helping them deepen their trance.

So I probably see them half a dozen times starting their third trimester up until the birthday but the therapy can work, it’s not magic. It can seem like that sometimes because the power of the unconscious mind, but ordinarily it is short lived, the therapeutic setting.

Morty: That’s amazing to be able to produce that kind of result in a such a short period of time. And you find that hypnosis, I mean I’ve heard that some people are good hypnotic subjects and some people are not. Is that accurate or is everybody a good hypnotic subject?

Mr. Boyd: Everybody is different. The way they come up with the statistics is they’ll fit a hundred college students in a room and deliver a general hypnotic induction to the whole group or something like a systematic relaxation which works on about 80% of the people and that’s how they come up with their statistic, but I have yet to find out anybody that couldn’t do it. It’s just a matter of how a person would prefer to do it. Everybody can do it, it’s just people do it in different ways. I’ve had clients that giggle their way into trance.

Morty: [Laughs]

Mr. Boyd: Everybody does it differently but everybody can do it. It’s not something that’s strange or weird. It’s something that we all do all the time. People go in and out of trances in different times everyday. It’s not something mystical. It’s a function of the unconscious mind that happens all the time.

Morty: So basically you contend that if you’re working with an individual and you can work with them the way their mind works, you can get anybody into a trance that would enable them to resolve an overeating problem.

Mr. Boyd: Yes.

Morty: That’s exciting. Well, congratulations on that.

Mr. Boyd: It is indeed. I love what I do.

Morty: Most of the people that I’ve read about and have talked to basically say it’s an X number of weeks program or an X number of months program.  In our case I would say maybe 5 to 8 one-hour sessions, but to be able to do that in 1 or 2 sessions where they supplement an hour or a couple of months later is amazing, so congratulations.

Mr. Boyd: Well, you’re releasing belief systems.

Morty: We’re doing two things, releasing beliefs but also deconditioning triggers. Basically we would say that there is a conditioned response. Just like if you hear a gunshot, there can be a conditioned emotional response, like with PSTD. You can have an automatic response of dropping to the ground or something like that. If every time you have a negative feeling, you just happen to be eating because you eat three times a day, and you notice that there is a kind of a pleasurable distraction. Instead of feeling some negative feeling, you’re feeling good because you’re eating some tasty food. Number 1–it’s pleasurable. Number 2–it’s a distraction.

While you’re eating, you’re not thinking about your boredom or feeling unloved or your anxiety.  What people get is there is a positive reinforcement to eating and if you do that five times, ten times, or twenty times–at some point, it gets literally conditioned so that when you have any of these negative feelings, you just feel the desire to eat.

So what we do is we have a process that deconditions and it only takes about 10 minutes, but it actually deconditions each one of those because each one is conditioned separately. Boredom is conditioned separately from feeling unloveable, which is conditioned separately from general anxiety, which is conditioned separately from anger, etc.

We have found about 20 different conditionings, 20 different triggers so the first thing you do is to decondition each of the triggers and then you say, “Do you have any beliefs?” In many household, beliefs can be based on parents who were always on a diet, or say you have to clean your plate whether you’re hungry or not, or you were in a big family where there wasn’t enough food, so if you didn’t get it right away and you waited until the end, there wouldn’t be any food left. So there’s a whole bunch of situations, things your parents might have said or done around food that would result in you having several beliefs around food too.

Mr. Boyd: Right.

Morty: And what we’ve concluded is that if you decondition all the triggers and then eliminate all the beliefs, the emotional eating just stops. There’s no situation where, “Oh I feel like eating now.” You just eat when you’re hungry and that’s pretty much it, but that takes as I say, depending on a person, from 4 to 7 one-hour sessions and then yours is even faster. I thought ours was the fastest I know about but yours is even faster. I think everybody ought to–all of our listeners ought to know about this. Could you say where people could get in touch with you?  Give them a website where they can check you out.

Mr. Boyd: I have one that’s under construction. It’s not really ready to go yet.

Morty: But if you have a phone number. If any of the people listening on my list are interested in contacting you, what would be the best way to contact you?

Mr. Boyd: My phone number is area code 513-200-5720.

Morty: So that’s 513-200-5720 and it’s Estil Boyd.

Mr. Boyd: E-S-T-I-L.

Morty: Estil Boyd, yes. And you’re in Ohio, right?

Mr. Boyd: I see in clients in the Oxford, Ohio area. Yes.

Morty: Are people able to work with you on the telephone?

Mr. Boyd: I’ve never done that. No, I don’t think that would work very well because I–

Morty: Okay.

Mr. Boyd: I need to see responses. One definition of hypnosis is a listening unconscious responses so I need to be able to see that.

Morty: Well, you can see that on Skype which we didn’t have set up today but it costs nothing at all. If you have a computer, you can buy a webcam for $10 and download Skype for free and make as many calls. So basically we work with people in 60 different countries around the world and use the telephone or Skype. Our work is amenable to telephone work but it’s nice to be able to see people so almost all the time now, people are calling in from all over the world on Skype.

So you’re sort of limited, I mean we have people from 60 countries on our mailing list and from all over the United States so the possibility of anybody happening to be near Oxford, Ohio is pretty slim. I mean, maybe there is somebody there but there are probably lots of people from all over the world who might be interested in pursuing this. You might want to consider getting a webcam as I say it’s only about $10-15 for a workable webcam and they’re very easy to set up and if that would enable you to work with people outside of your area, that would open up the entire world for you.

Mr. Boyd: Yes, it’s certainly worth considering. I keep up with all the new things in hypnotherapy but I’ve got to admit I am sort of a technology dinosaur, but there are young people around me I can always ask for help.

Morty: As I said, I’ve given people your phone number 513-200-5720 so if any of you are reading a transcript of this interview or listening to the interview want to call, please call and maybe you’ll convince Estil to hire some local high school or college kid and set Skype up for him because as I say, it costs nothing. It does require no technical skills at all. You just click on the Skype button and then you click on the name of the person you’re trying to call and if you’ve got the webcam attached, they will see you and you will see them.

Mr. Boyd: Okay. Well I’ll look into it, Morty, and thank you very much for your time.

Morty: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the feedback, it’s great. I am always interested in learning myself about more approaches to helping people with such a widespread problem and it seem to be growing both in the U.S. and around the world. There’s literally tens of millions of people with emotional eating problems and the result of the emotional eating and the weight is significant health problems. It’s wonderful that there are more and more approaches to dealing with it and I thank you so much for your time and as soon as we get this thing up I’ll let you know about it, but we should be able to get this out to everybody some time early next week.

Mr. Boyd: Great. Thank you very much, Morty. Have a great time the rest of your day.

Morty: You too. Take care. Bye-bye.

Mr. Boyd: Bye-bye.

Emotional Eating Interview: Dr. Margaret Jamal

Morty: Hi. This is Morty Lefkoe and I have a very exciting guest with me today, Dr. Margaret Jamal, the author of the book, When Girls Don’t Tell: A Survivor’s Story of Child Sex Abuse and Re-victimization. She has had some experience with how sexual abuse affects our eating and how sometimes eating can be a defense or a way of dealing with that particular problem. I am very excited to hear your story today, Margaret, and whatever you can tell us about how sexual abuse can sometimes lead to body issues, over eating, and what you have done about it and what recommendations you might have for my listeners. Thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Jamal: Thank you. I appreciate you having me, Morty. I am excited about this.

Morty : If you could tell a little bit about your background and how this all arose for you and we can then have a little conversation that might illuminate some of the issues that might be useful for the people who are listening to this interview and who are reading a transcript of it.

Dr. Jamal: Okay. Really my background of abuse actually began from age 4 and it came up in the City of Chicago, the west side of Chicago and we lived in the projects. My mother was a single parent raising us and so many situations happen with single mothers, the children find themselves engaged with the boyfriend who was our stepfather at that time. My stepfather was actually the father of my younger sisters. He started sexually abusing me, he started molesting me at age 4, and it just kept going into my later years. I talk about re-victimization because I was one of those people there, say about 25% of people who have been sexually abused, who actually get sexually abused later on in life for different reasons, as I discussed in the book. It happened to me repeatedly in grade school, in high school, in college with different people. So I definitely have a lot of issues. One of the things that, I believe, contributed to the eating, or what I would call my defensive eating, was that it seemed like in every situation, people would say, “You’re so pretty. You’re so pretty.” I believe in my mind, I began to think that it was because I was so attractive that these sexual abusers, which of course I didn’t use that term at that time, that they were attracted to me because of the way I looked. Okay? Coming up of what people consider to be attractive nowadays was thin, I came up with twiggy, the thinner you were, the more attractive you were. So I believe in my mind, I would say, Okay, if I get bigger I am not going to be as attractive.

Morty: Yup. I’ve heard that one before. Even for people where there is no sexual abuse, it’s just fear of sex or discomfort around sex due to perhaps religious upbringing where sex is just uncomfortable, and I’ve had many clients who’ve talked about–if I am heavy, I can bypass the whole issue of sex

Dr. Jamal: Absolutely and the thing that is really interesting to me about that is if I was upset and didn’t want to be bothered with anyone, my defense would be to eat. I figured, as I eat it and I continue to get bigger, they will leave me alone. It didn’t correlate with me that also my attitude has something to do with it and that was just the eating portion of it. Sure enough, the eating problem really got worse in high school. Right. I was pretty heavy in high school.

Morty : At what point did you realize what was going on? What kind of help did you get? Who helped you realize it and how were you able to ultimately deal with it? What technique or what approach did you use to deal with what you call defensive eating? How did you handle that?

Dr. Jamal: Actually it wasn’t one particular technique even as I reflect in my book. It was a number of interventions that occurred with, of course, my mother, I believe prayer had a lot to do with it, from a spiritual perspective. From a mental perspective, finally having a male figure that I felt I could trust to protect, that didn’t betray his role as a caregiver. I had to see that example first of all. That was important for me.

Morty: And who was that person for you?

Dr. Jamal: My husband. He is very instrumental with not only being patient with me, but I remember, Morty, one day he said to me, “You’re not that child any more. He said, I am not him. I am not those men. I am not those male people who hurt you. I am not going to hurt you and you’re not that child.” I had to realize that every time people would act out or revisit what happened, I would actually go back there. I am leaving my present state of existence. I am leaving 2000 and now I am going back into the 60s or I am going back into the 50s. That was one of the things that I had to recognize.

Morty : Let me just ask one thing. I am curious along the way, if you were so afraid of men and afraid you can’t trust men and started eating in order to get heavy to keep men away, how did you manage to open yourself up to your husband? How did you manage to open yourself up to creating a relationship with him and ultimately marrying him? Or had you done a lot of work on yourself before that part?

Dr. Jamal: Not really. I was pretty destructive and reckless by the time we met. I have done a number of things. I believe that even though I was trying to push people away, protect myself, I still had that basic need to be wanted and to be loved and to feel loved. I still wanted that and I believe that that’s one of the things the perpetrators use in order to get close to you. People want to be loved. The term seems to be cliché-ish but I think is really: looking for love, so I was definitely looking for that. As far as my husband was concerned, he pursued me and was able to see beyond the hard exterior. Let me just tell you this, I had body issues so I went up and down. I would gain weight then I would get tired of being heavy, and then I would lose. By the time we met, I was actually pretty slim. By the time my husband and I met. I had actually done a crash diet. I remember looking at the television. He is actually my second husband. After my first daughter was born, I had ballooned up to … I wore a size 18 at the time.

Morty: Okay.

Dr. Jamal: I could only fit stretch pants. I remember very vividly looking at the television, these women with the bikinis and stuff running along the beach and I am eating in front of the television and I just started crying. I am crying with my food in my hand and I am like, I hate this. I am going to have to do something about it. I didn’t know about going on any diets or anything so I just started starving myself. I just would not eat. Of course, I lost weight and it didn’t look very healthy but then I got small and then I started working out. Because there is something that happens that I think is very important. When you begin to lose weight, the people in your environment, if they start complimenting you, that is giving you affirmation. That is giving you encouragement. So I began to change into this person that people were attracted to. Now, I thought, Okay, now I want to be attractive.

Morty: But that was still will power? What did you ultimately do other than just not eat for a period of time? Did you find any techniques to deal with the need to eat? Anybody can go on a diet and stay on it as long as the will power lasts, but how do you deal with the compulsive need to eat? Did you find any particular technique or techniques that you’ve used that may be my listeners and readers might find useful?

Dr. Jamal: That stops me from the need to eat? No. I mean, really what I do now is eat differently and it think in a way that I eat the right types of food. I actually eat often now. I had to make myself eat often. I learned about how my body operates, that is one of the things that I did. I said, okay you can go up your metabolism. I am in my 50s now. I am in my middle 50s. I am 56. I needed a metabolism, so I am studying this. I am studying with the Healing and Creative Arts Center. She was telling me how to eat every 2 to 3 hours, right? So I am eating but I am learning how to eat the right types of food. But at the same time, what I recognize is if I start thinking in terms of a diet, I think about food too much. Diets can make you think about food too much. You know, the reasons that you are eating.

Morty : That’s true. As I said, there have been books called Diets Don’t Work and they basically … all a diet is is trying to eat less or differently than you would normally eat. By definition, a diet requires forcing yourself to do something that you wouldn’t do naturally and as a result of that, it requires a tremendous amount of will power, so the real issue is how can you deal with that. We have one technique that I write about in my e-book on eating, but there are various techniques that people have to deal with the need to eat. I called it “emotional eating,” you called it “defensive eating.” We have negative feelings that we don’t want to have. We either try to gain weight to remove ourselves from romantic or sexual situations or we eat because we’re triggered by neediness, by feeling unloved, by feeling depressed, anxious, bored, etc. So eating is a way of coping with negative emotions. Basically you need to …

Dr. Jamal : Well, I actually think that … I am sorry go ahead.

Morty : All I am saying is I have created one technique to decondition those triggers and I know that there are other techniques out there that people use to deal with emotional eating or defensive eating because diets, as I just said, don’t work in the long run. You can go for so long and then the pressure of doing something that’s not natural or normal just stops. You can’t do it anymore, so I am just wondering, did you ever create any sort of an approach that’s helped you when you feel a need to eat, it’s my protection against men, it’s my protection against sexual abuse if I am heavy. Have you been able to deal that or is it mainly just will power you’ve done?

Dr. Jamal: I don’t even know that is willpower. I would have to think about that a little more, Morty but I will tell you what, I have a different attitude about food.

Morty : Okay, tell what changed and how you changed it.

Dr. Jamal: Okay, my attitude about food is that food has its place. Food is meant to be an enjoyable experience and food is for eating in order to enjoy. So I have even gotten into making recipes, just thinking of good ways to make recipes to make my food interesting, which I really wasn’t involved in that. I really didn’t take into account what food was as much because it was a tool.

Morty: I got it.

Dr. Jamal: Now, it is enjoyment. Just say for example, I am getting ready to make these vegetables. I am not Susie Homemaker by any stretch of the imagination, but I am into herbs now and to actually getting my food to taste good, learning about food, the make-up of food, the vitamins that are contained in food. I am appreciating food for what food is.

Morty : I got you, but how did you make that switch? Because if you used food as a defense, as a way of covering up of negative feeling or way of getting heavy to keep men away, etc., then obviously you have a problem. If you were able to change what foods means to you, your attitude towards food, that obviously makes a big difference. How did you do that? Is there anything in particular that you could say at what point did food change from being a defense to being something just to be enjoyed and what it’s supposed to be in life. That’s something that we enjoy, we enjoy eating and we eat to survive. We need to get enough food in to nourish us, the right kind of food. How did you create that attitude from what you had prior?

Dr. Jamal: I am not exactly sure when that started. I would say as far as not using the food as a defense mechanism. I am not exactly sure at what period in my life it actually switched. You asked me that and I am going to go back and think about that but I will you this, my attitude about food now just began, I would say, in February. My husband and I went to Florida. I heard about Midge Lancet, something called “Living Lifestyle” or something where there is a lifestyle change and you want to be healthy. I believe that we are at that age … we are baby boomers. So we are at the age now where you have our attention. We want to be healthy. We have grandchildren. We have children. She was telling us about this and we went there for about a week and when you go to Midge’s house, you eat chicken soup. You can’t drink coffee and it is a very peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. What it did for us is it allowed the noise of the world to be cut off. There is no noise and so you can receive, right? We were watching the way she prepared food. She says, This is how I prepare food. I prepare it ahead of time so that I am not rushed. Actually a lot of the time the reason that people eat so poorly is because they don’t plan and she had to show us the short cut because you know, we are fast food people. This is how you can quickly plan your food. She had this crackpot with chicken and vegetables and right in front of our eyes, she put an apple in there. Right? We didn’t think that we would like it but just experimenting with food. It was fun! What she did was she kind of gave us that platform and we are doing it together and I think that that makes a difference. Just learning about supplements, learning about how our bodies operate, that, I believe, has helped me to see food differently.

Morty : That’s real interesting. Thank you. I appreciate that explanation. Margaret, would you say that you’ve had a weight problem in the last 5 or 10 years?

Dr. Jamal: Absolutely.

Morty: Did you still keep ballooning up and down? Do you still keep going up and then having to diet to come down or are you staying pretty steady?

Dr. Jamal: That’s what I am saying. I have just started losing. What happens is my mom passed about a year and a half ago and then my sister passed. I noticed that from the time my mom passes, I started getting heavier and heavier. I just noticed some pictures previously; I had no idea that I had even gained that much weight. I believe my friend who noticed it, other people noticed it but they didn’t say anything. You know that happens, right? It is not that I have been dieting or anything, I just was not eating the right way. I definitely wasn’t on a diet but if you don’t take care of yourself especially, like I said, when you get older our metabolism is different. It wasn’t even that I was eating a lot. It was just I had poor eating habits. So I am saying the eating habits that I have now, these new outlook as far as what food is there for, being able to enjoy food, I just got into that like I said in February.

Morty: And have you been losing weight eating that way?

Dr. Jamal: Oh my goodness. I have lost at least 20 lbs. I had clothes in my closet since my mother passed that now I can’t wear. This just happened since February.

Morty: That’s interesting in itself. Again, for the people reading and listening, without changing perhaps any emotional needs, without changing the need to eat, just eating healthily, just focusing on the good taste of it and learning about nutrition and different foods and experimenting foods, just eating healthily without trying to diet has taken off 10 pounds a month for the last 2 months.

Dr. Jamal: Absolutely. Again, appreciating what food is for, having fun with the food. My husband and I are getting up, making up little recipes, doing a little juicing here, drinking more water, just caring more about my health. Yes, it has made a tremendous, and a lot of times people say, You need protein. So I make sure I have added protein to my eating. I still pretty much eat what I want to eat. Oh, and then I cut out certain things that I realized are not good for my body, like gluten. I learned about gluten, to remove the gluten and not have so much of the starches in there and I don’t feel like I am depriving myself at all. I am actually eating better.

Morty: That’s great. Congratulations! That’s very exciting to hear.

Dr. Jamal: Thank you.

Morty: That’s pretty much it. Is there anything else? Like I said, I appreciate your taking the time to tell me your story and this is … if there is any advice that you might want to pass on to people who eat emotionally not because they are hungry but as a way of covering up feelings or defensively in some way or another, is there any final word you would like to give to them? Anything you’ve learned along the way yourself that might be useful to other people?

Dr. Jamal: Yes. One of the things is that eating in order to keep people away is unhealthy. It is definitely destructive. It is bad for you physically as well as emotionally and it does not stop. It can continue a cycle of chronic sicknesses where you will have other health issues such as diabetes, which runs in my family, high blood pressure, that will actually compound the problem and you might not even realize that really the foundation of your problem has to do with your eating.

Morty: Well, thank you so much. I very much appreciate your time, Margaret, and we are going to get this transcribed, get it up on our website and make it available to everybody and I am sure that many people will find your words useful.

Dr. Jamal: Okay, thank you for having me, Morty.


Interview: Freeman Michaels

Morty: Hey, Freeman. How are you this afternoon?
Freeman: Good, Morty. How about you?

Morty: I’m doing good.  Thank you so much for taking the time to tell my audience a little bit about your take on eating disorders, on what you consider emotional eating to be, and some ideas you have for a possible solution. Just tell me a little bit of your background, your name first. Your full name is Freeman Michaels. And then a little about your background. How come you’re an eating expert? What are your credentials in this area?

Freeman: You know it’s interesting. I have formal credentials, but I think that the more informal credentials are actually most of what I draw from so I’ll talk about both.

Morty: OK.

Freeman: I have over a hundred pound swing in my adult life from my low weight to my high weight. And I’ve hit sort of every point of course in between, and some of those points I’ve hit many times. I was a soap opera star in the middle ninety’s. It might ring a bell; my name Freeman Michaels. I played the role, Drake Belson in The Young and Restless.

And I was about a hundred seventy pounds at time and that was really under weight. I was starving myself. And I was trying to stay thin for the camera. And then I ballooned to about two hundred and seventy five, two hundred and eighty pounds at my highest weight when my partner I were managing about a half billion dollars in real estate development projects.

I was really stressing out, over eating, drinking too much, especially as the market started coming apart in mid-2007. I landed in hospital with chest pains and they thought I was having heart attack. I wasn’t! But it was time to take a look at my patterns of behavior and really go to work.

Now I have a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica, and I have been around personal growth work for about twenty years. For me, that was going to be the right approach. I wasn’t going to go on another diet. I did plenty of that. Diets are way of depriving ourselves.

I know you’re friends with Geneen Roth. I love her book by the way, Women, Food, and God, which really does a beautiful job with illustrating how we get into these negative patterns where we’re reaffirming the negative self-image. One of the things I see, Morty, that’s really important is you can never get to a positive outcome from a negative prospective. In other words, when you look in the mirror and you don’t like yourself, if that is the foundation for trying to, in essence, love yourself and make positive choices, it’s not going to work.

I did that for years and it always meant depriving myself, punishing myself, and then binging and over-indulging. That’s sort of the way that I worked for a long time on my unconscious patterns. When I started work on, there’s going to be a different way to do this, I started to look at people such as Geenen, who at that time didn’t have Women, Food, and God. She had Emotional Eating, which is a beautiful book, but it wasn’t enough.

I had to put that and other modalities I’d worked with together and begin to really look in what’s going to work for me.

Morty: Let me stop you one second to get you to define some basics. This is very interesting but how would you define emotional eating? What is your take on that as an issue?

Freeman: So for many of us, food is the way that we learn to cope with stress, anxiety, feelings, and so it’s often triggered. It’s triggered by some event that occurs that linked to some part of our own experience where we go into this adaptive patterns. These patterns have been learned usually at a very young age, which means in a particular way, they’re locked in a developmental stage that we never really grew beyond.

In fact I’ll reference your work, because I think one of the things, Morty,  you do a beautiful job of is you help people to dimensionalize the beliefs, help them see these often irrational, often again they’re very judgmental, they’re very developmental, see them dimensionally so that they can unwind  them and debunk them in many ways because a lot of things that are running the show were these sort of taped loops in the back of our heads. These unconscious ways that we learn to think at very young ages are still the director of our choices is ten, twenty, thirty, forty years later.

Morty: Hmm.

Freeman: It’s really important to be able to unwind that patterned thinking, which of course is also patterned behavior. In order to do that, there has to be a process of awareness that is founded in compassion. Compassion allows us to see clearly.

When we judge, we narrow our perception. That’s that fight or flight mechanism. When we’re judging something, it’s a defensive way of approaching things. Compassion allows us to open up and take a look at the world in a different way. When we do that, we begin to see it more dimensionally.

We start to realize, “Oh, that was a place in my history but that was very appropriate.” With that, we can again begin to unwind it and then we have to go somewhere with it. It’s not enough…

Morty: Again, just one sec. Before we get into the solution, I call that emotional eating and many other people do because the basic issue is eating when you’re not hungry but for emotional reasons. Would you use that term or is there another choice? Is that the way you see it or would use another term?

Some people I’ve interviewed say, “I don’t consider it emotional eating. I consider it an addiction, something totally different.” How would you describe what we’re talking about here?

Freeman: I’m going to saying both. It’s habitualized patterns. Most often they’re unconscious patterns. When we start to recognize, you open Pandora’s Box because the feelings piece is really tricky. When we talk about food and feelings, one of the things that most people don’t recognize is that feelings are separate from the sort of emotional ride that we go on with feelings that’s really perpetuated by stories. So the feelings…

Morty: So you’re distinguishing between feelings and emotions?
Freeman: I am…
Morty: Because what’s the difference between feelings and emotions?

Freeman: When you watch children, children go from happy to sad very quickly. I’m speaking of very young children. As they get older, that’s not true. You and I had a wonderful conversation—several actually—about parenting, and your wife, of course, I had as well. There’s an important piece about parenting here and it relates to parenting the part of us that learned the unconscious eating patterns as well.

When my kids come to me and they’re upset, I don’t ask them what happened. I ask them, “What do you need?” When I do that, I get underneath the issue and I allow them to express their feelings without attaching it to a story of “Someone did something to me or I’m upset because…” We want to unwind that “I’m upset because” stuff.

We want to allow for feelings to be more dynamic as opposed to attached to a story as opposed to attached to a pattern. See, emotional patterns are like scripts. Once we get into an emotional pattern, we will project it on to all manner, person, and circumstances. We get people to play the roles we need to get the scripts going.

We want to interrupt that script. We want to interrupt that emotional ride. Recognize their feelings coming out, and then have somewhere to go with it. That’s the big key. That’s where we’re get into the solution.

Morty: What do you mean by an emotional pattern? I’m still not clear what you mean the difference between the feeling and emotion. I know what I mean by it. I’m not sure what the dictionary says but I’m not clear what specifically is the difference? How would you define an emotion and a feeling? That seems to be crucial to your approach to eating.

Freeman: It is. Well ok. Emotional patterns and emotional scripts—these are ways that we attach feelings to reasons or we attach them to events from a past and we ride them into behaviors that may or may not be at our best interest, okay? When we allow ourselves to be a feeling human being, we just allow feelings to come up! They often pop or they float away.

It’s the part of us that attaches them to something that then perpetuates the pattern. We want to allow for feelings without calling them something. We just allow them to come up and be more dynamic! Let me describe it in terms of how we moved to self-care practices and pattered interruption practices.

Morty: Could you just give an example of a feeling and an emotional pattern?

Freeman: Well it’s that sentence. “I’m upset because.” If we’re starting to feel, let’s call it “upset,” it could be a fear-based upset like “Ooh, I’m scared something’s going to happen” then we can go into all manner of future fantasizing of a negative outcome, negative possibility. Our heart rate rises and then we’re all frazzled. The truth is nothing’s actually occurred.

Morty: Hmmm.

Freeman: The chances of that exact potentiality playing out is probably quite slim. We fixate on it.  We increase the chances of it playing out. We recognize we just went on a ride. All that happened is we had an experience of fear come up or anxiety come up. The big trick is to be okay with the part of us that gets scared and to have some place to go, self-soothing practices, self-care practices, patterned interruption practices.

This is what I help people with so that when they experience a trigger, they don’t go on the ride. They go “Wow!” as quickly as they can become aware that they had been triggered. This has to do with really having a relationship with ourselves and having a relationship with our bodies.

For a lot of us, and I’ll raise my hand on this one, I went to my head to be safe. To get back on my body and to feel myself in my body is a challenge. Life created practices to ground myself to stay rooted to my body to check in with my stomach especially around eating.

There’s a lot of practices about how I want to be in a relationship with food that then gets expressed as what we call ritualized practices around eating. I even like the word sacred. If I can make them sacred, if I can ritualize my experience with eating so that it becomes a way that I’m fueling something, that I want to have more within my life, versus feeding and…

Morty: That sounds good. Give me an example. The way I see it is, which is similar, is that certain emotions act as triggers. They are uncomfortable. We don’t want to feel it. If we are feeling bored or depressed or unloved or anxious, when that comes up, if we eat, that seems to diminish that negative feeling for a while.

I would say that the emotion has become conditioned as a trigger to force us to eat. Now what is your approach then if somebody is having this negative feelings.  I would say they’re conditioned, but how would you describe it? ,What do you do to get people to not eat when they’re having feelings that are sort of driving them to eat? What approach do you use?

Freeman: Part of the inquiry is recognizing when these experiences, these emotional conditioned triggers tend to occur. We actually want to structure our lives in such a way that we take care of our self on a regular basis that I’m calling a self care practice.

Morty: Hmm…

Freeman: That we have an awareness that allows us to make these choices consistently but that doesn’t mean that we still won’t be triggered. Of course we will. Again, the conscious compassionate observer developing this way of recognizing what’s coming up for us, watching ourselves as we’re moving into what might be an unhealthy habit or pattern and then interrupting it.

Having an outlet, a place to go, a practice whether it’s a clearing best practice or self- soothing practice or “I take it for a walk” practice. If I’m feeling a lot of anxiety, I say, “I’m taking my anxiety for a walk.” And not to the cupboard, by the way. Around the block or something.

There’s a way of interrupting pattern in a very gentle, very compassionate way as opposed to going unconscious and then beating ourselves up for downing a pint of ice cream or a whatever, half a gallon of…

Morty: If I understand you, let me repeat it back and let me know if this is accurate, it sounds what you’re saying that is when we notice that we feel triggered, when there is some belief or conditioning that is moving us to eat, you have practices, other things you can do that will relieve that need to eat that’s other than eating.

Freeman: Absolutely! And there’s a critical component which is that we begin to orient towards what we do want. It’s having a sense of vision. Having a sense of where we want to direct our energy. We have things that really feed us.

Interesting enough, one of the practices is the creative self-expression practice. It’s amazing, Morty. I found this part to be critical. That people have some way of expressing themselves that’s constructive. It helps build a level of self-esteem, of self-love, of self-acceptance that these are outlets because we want to be aware of what we’ve been feeding.

A lot of times, we’ve been feeding a negative impression of ourselves. We have to begin to build off of how we want to be in a relationship with our body and what practices are we going to create to express that. How we want to be in a relationship with food. And what practices we’re going to build to express that.

How we want to be in a relationship with exercise. What are the outlets from me? If we can create an imperative, that imperative is that sense of sole purpose. That’s spelled both ways. S-O-U-L and S-O-L-E.

That then begins to direct choices. That is very empowering. We want to feed that. We don’t want to feed the negative self-perception.

Morty: And how do people find out about these different practices? Have you written these down on some form?

Freeman: I gave you a copy of my books. There’s a two-hundred-and-fifty page book. There’s also a hundred-and-twenty-five page workbook and then there’s my program. Folks are interested in this, they can go to Again, that’s

They can look at all of the materials involved in my program, my program itself. It’s a nine week program. There’s some wonderful bonus people. Morty, you’re going to be one of our bonus people talking specifically about beliefs to help them really approach this in a different way, a substantive way that’s not a diet. That’s not about deprivation.

It’s about making positive choices towards the life you do want to lead and cleaning up all the bits of pieces of beliefs, of patterning that get in the way of going where you want to go.

Morty: Oh great! What’s the name of the book if somebody wants to take a look on at your book along the way? Where can they find the book?

Freeman: It’s called Weight Release: A Liberating Journey and of course it’s available at Amazon.

Morty: Weight Release: A Liberating Journey by Freeman Michaels and obviously that’s at Amazon or any other big bookstore. They can start with that. Now what’s the workbook? Where does that fit in?

Freeman: The workbook is only through the program. When people do my program, there’s a workbook that accompanies it and we take them through in nine weeks. That’s beginning to end, from start to finish. We go through a bunch of exercises that help reveal some of the programs and patterns that are underneath, get them up to the surface in a very compassionate, loving way and they find constructive ways to meet those beliefs and ideas head on and then begin to develop practices that give us more constructive outlets.

Morty: OK. Very good! Anything else? I think we got a pretty good sense for my audience. Is there anything else specifically you’d like to say about your take on emotional eating, over-eating, and your approach to it or how it compares to other people?  What’s the difference between your system and the many other systems that are out there that you know about?

Freeman: I think that when people find another system, the critical question is “Is it a compassionate program? Is it bigger than just the patterns?” If it’s just about food and exercise, it’s going to be a miss because this is deeper than that. There’s a tremendous opportunity in looking at our relationship with food, our relationship with exercise that allows us to grow and transform and that’s the bigger offer.

Again whether it’s my program or someone else’s program, that’s the critical component versus going towards deprivation trying to fix it or solve it.

Morty: It sounds like there’s a spiritual component to this?
Freeman: Absolutely!

Morty: Good. Again, people can find information about your program at Wellbeing is one word. Your book is available obviously on Amazon.  Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate your sitting in and giving us this background.

I hope people check out your program and your book. There’s a lot of very useful information in the interview itself. It’s great having you and look forward to talk to you real soon.

Freeman: All right. Take care now.



Interview: Jeanne Rust, CEO of Mirasol

The following is the transcript of an interview I conducted last week with Jeanne Rust, the CEO of a major eating disorder clinic in Tuscon, AZ. I think you will find what she says useful.

Jeanne: My name is Dr. Jeanne Rust and I am CEO of an Eating Disorder Treatment Program in Tucson, Arizona.

The name of the program is Mirasol and we specialize in integrated treatment which means that we do the best of the cognitive behavioral model combined with the most empirically successful things in the alternative world.

Morty: Good. What are some of these alternative things? Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most common and most effective of the therapies. What are some of the alternatives?

Jeanne: The cognitive is the most common and the most effective and it’s also why the relapse rate with eating disorders is so high.

Morty: Explain that, please.

Jeanne: Dr. Stewart Agras who is a researcher at Stanford said that only 32 percent of people that have had treatment are eating disorder-free after a year.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: It’s insane. That’s just not good enough. There are people that come to my clinics that have been through seven, eight, nine other treatment programs.

Now, we’re talking about several hundred thousand dollars, we’re talking about a lot of time, we’re talking about the emotional impact, the feeling of failure.

“Well, there must be something really wrong with me. I can’t get this.” This is through just strict cognitive behavioral therapy and nutritional education.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: So, if a standard treatment program is going to do cognitive-behavioral therapy and nutritional education 80 percent of the time and maybe a little deeper psychotherapy or other interventions, the other 20 percent, we’re the opposite. We’re 80 percent up here.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: Because I believe that a lot of the ideology of eating disorders lies in the brain. I think there’s a strong genetic aspect.

I think that when somebody’s coming to treatment, we need to look at every aspect, a very holistic view. We’ve got to look at their brains. We do brain mapping. We do complete physiological exams.

Jeanne: I have a naturopathic physician on the staff and I can get a rate that MD if I need that. So we do a lot of neuro-feedback. They’ll have five sessions a week. We do acupuncture. We do polarity therapy, which is form of bodywork.

We have a spiritual director. We have an R.D. as our nutritionist. Our food is all whole food, mostly organic, because I believe that food can be used as medicine as well as just good food.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: But because I think really when their bodies are so depleted, whether they’re anorexic or whether they’re a binge eater, nutritionally they’re not in great shape. So these are some of the things that we do.

Morty: Okay. When you say emotional eating, do you distinguish between anorexia, bulimia, and just general emotional eating?

Jeanne: I don’t think all emotional eaters are overweight.

Morty: OK.

Jeanne: I think a good number of them are. Because they learned eating disorders, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive eating, it’s something that somebody learns a behavior they are going to use as way of coping the stress, and we’ve read this a million times.

Morty: Sure.

Jeanne: I’ve heard that the gastrointestinal system is one of the most highly educable systems that we have.

So when somebody is under a lot of stress, whether they’re a child, a teenager, or an adult, they’ll start practicing with some eating disorder behavior and before you know it, boom, they’ve got a clinical eating disorder.

I see people who are overweight and it looks to me like they’ve tried to build a house around themselves so that they can’t be exposed to all the hurt and the pain that’s in the world.

Morty: I agree.

Jeanne: A number of these people, not all mind you, but a number of them have been subjected to one kind of traumatic event, whether it’s an accident of some kind, an automobile accident, abuse, sexual, emotional abuse, physical abuse. It’s not all sexual abuse. There’s a lot of other kinds.

Whether they have had a series of bad events or it all happened in a short period of time. So you have a woman who was involved in an automobile accident. Her mother died and her husband left her all in the same year.

She’s in a world of pain. So, if alcohol and drugs don’t work for her, boy, food sure will.

Morty: You use a wide variety of techniques; you’re sort of eclectic. If you say the study indicated that CBT was effective only 32 percent at a time, do you have any statistics on the results of your clinic?

Jeanne: We’re someplace between 65 and 70 percent at a year. That’s why I was curious about what you do and just knowing intuitively that it affects the brain.

Because this is where so much of it is. Even if there’s a genetic aspect, sometimes you see families that are just fat families and they pass that down.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: But if there’s that genetic thing, you’re doing what you do or whether you are using EMDR or EFT for trauma, there’s traumatic incident reduction. For some people, just they’re so sensitive in the world that just breathing can be traumatic in a sense.

Life is not good for them. But we do focus a lot on work with the brain.

Morty: Okay. As I was indicating in our conversation earlier, in addition to beliefs, we have found that there are triggers that have been conditioned.

So what happens is, for example, negative feelings like boredom, feeling unlovable, feeling depressed, feeling unworthy, etc. can be conditioned to produce eating when you aren’t hungry.

Jeanne: Sure.

Morty: We’ve discovered about 25 different triggers and we discovered that when each one of those has been de-conditioned, that that trigger no longer as you automatically eat. That that’s a large part of what seems to be the compulsive eating problem.

Jeanne: I believe that’s true, where something that is so repetitive. By the time somebody gets to the place where they’re seeking out me or they’re seeking you for some kind of relief, they for sure have conditioned those triggers.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: You may have been doing this for a long time.

Morty: Yes. Generally the triggers get conditioned much earlier in life. Sometimes it can be with traumatic incidents later in life, lots of stress. But very often, you can trace the original source of a conditioning to teenage years or even earlier than that, which is where a lot of the eating beliefs also seemed to start from.

Jeanne: Remember with boredom, and I always giggle when I hear that. One of my clients told me, “Oh, gosh, I eat all the time at night. I’m just bored.” Every time I have to ask him, “Well, if you weren’t feeling bored, what would you be feeling?”

He sat back, and breathed, and really thought about that question. Oftentimes, there’s a tremendous amount of anger there.

Morty: For sure.

Jeanne: Then, if you’re talking about belief systems, that feeds right into that for sure.

If they are feeling sad, if they’re feeling a lot of anger, there’s just that hurt and pain and all of that kind of thing and they’re using some of these more acceptable feelings like boredom to cover that up.

Morty: Yes. How long a stay is it for the average person or is there an average stay? Is it different for each individual at your clinic?

Jeanne: Well, its minimum length of stay is 45 days, and I have experimented all over the place with that. I started out, twelve and a half years ago, doing two-week workshops and I thought, “Now, I’ll treat them for two weeks, send them home to work with their therapist, and with the good aftercare program, they should be fine.” Well, they weren’t.

Then, I went to 28 days, and then I went to 35 days, 42 days. In all of these, I do a lot of testing, EDI, the eating disorder inventory and the Beck depression test.

Our results are pretty stable from six months to a year based on our post testing and that’s what so unusual and I attribute that to what we’ve done in the brain.

Morty: Excellent.

Jeanne: I think you’ll probably find the same thing because there’s a changed gear.

Morty: Well, there’s clearly a change in the brain. The conditioning must go through some brain pathways. So if you’re de-conditioned, you’re clearly changing neural pathways, breaking neural patterns in some way.

Same with the belief. If you think something’s true and then get to the point, you say, “Wait a minute. I just made that up. It’s not true that I’m not good enough. I don’t believe that anymore.”

There had to be some neural connection before that’s no longer there or some new neural connection. So, at some point, as far as we’re concerned, we would like to do some studies where we do functional MRIs or other type of brain scans to see what happens at the moment in a brain a belief is eliminated.

Jeanne: That would be exciting to see, wouldn’t it?

Morty: So not only do I think you could identify what happens in the brain when beliefs are eliminated and when conditionings are de-conditioned, I also think you would find a change in the brain when a significant problem like compulsive eating is eliminated. I think that could be identified in some way also.

Jeanne: One of the reasons why is because a lot of the research that they’re doing now about obesity where they’re coming up with hormone stuff.

Jeanne: Doing our work is going to the same place as you, but in a different way.

Morty: It sounds like it.

Jeanne: Ours is not as fast as yours maybe, so that’s why I’m really, really interested in what you’re doing.

Morty: Well, I’ll give you more information about it later on, but I just want to get anything else you’d like to say about your system or your clinic. How would people find out more?

Jeanne: M-I-R-A-S-O-L.

Morty: M-I-R-A-S-O-L dot net.

Jeanne: Yes.

Morty: That’s not com, it’s dot net.

Jeanne: Dot net. Mirasol means sunflower.

When I chose the name for the clinic, I pictured all of my clients heading out of treatment with their little faces pointed to the sun.

A lot of them do that. One of the things that we do as well is we offer a full year’s worth of aftercare, and that’s done on the phone. The advantage of that is when our clients leave, we just don’t say bye-bye.

We continue to maintain that relationship because we’ve developed a close relationship with them.

Morty: That’s good.

Jeanne: So, if they start to struggle, we still have that release which says that we can be in touch with their therapists at home.

We contact that therapist, talk together, and then figure out what we can do to keep her from going into full relapse, and I think this is really significant for us keeping people on track.

Morty: Okay. That sounds good. What is the scale of prices for this type of 45-day in-patient treatment?

Jeanne: It might cost $1,350 a day. I’m always willing to try work with people, working around price and everything.

You’ll find we’re in the middle as far as prices go.

Eating disorder treatment is expensive because you have to have, at least for us, so many staff.

It also seems like our patients are getting sicker than they have been, say, eight or nine years ago.

Morty: So the people that are arriving, they are in worse shape now than they were earlier?

Jeanne: Yes.

We require that people be medically stable even though we’re a level one substitute facility.

We don’t do IVs or things like that because it changes the whole quality of treatment when you got people whose little neurotransmitters aren’t working.

Morty: I understand. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Do you have an overall theory or philosophy? You say it’s 80 percent alternative, 20 percent cognitive behavior.

Jeanne: No, no, no.

I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. I said that traditional eating disorders treatment centers will use the medical model and treatment 80 percent at the time. We go in and we’re looking for other issues. The underlying issues are the things that drive the eating disorder. It’s not the behaviors. If it were just the behaviors, that would be nothing.

But it’s all of these underlying issues.

Morty: Can you explain that further? Can you give a sense what you mean by that? What do you mean by underlying issues?

Jeanne: Okay. Probably 90 percent of our patients come in with the eating disorder and depression and anxiety.

Some will have severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are a number of people that have multiple psychiatric issues.

Morty: Yes.

Jeanne: Schizoid personality. Just a bunch of things. So, these are things that are difficult to get out on the phone when you’re interviewing somebody for treatment.

We do get a lot of psychiatric patients. Whether we keep them or not depends on how much they want to get well.

Morty: From your point of view, do you see these as two separate issues arising at the same time or do you see most of the psychological issues like depression, anxiety, et cetera, as the primarily cause of the eating disorder?

Jeanne: Well, I don’t think it’s the cause.

I don’t think it’s the chicken and the egg kind of thing.

But I think they’re definitely a part of it.

Morty: Okay.

Jeanne: The kind of treatment that we do is now is integrative. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dr. Andrew Weil.

Morty: Yes, I have.

Jeanne: Well, he does integrative medical treatment.

Morty: That’s right. He’s from Tucson, isn’t it?

Jeanne: Yes.

Jeanne: It’s where I got my idea of thinking, “Well, he’s doing something in the medical community, and why can’t we do that for behavioral health?”

Jeanne: It doesn’t have to be all talk therapy because that doesn’t work for a lot of people.

You can talk to a patient till you’re blue in the face and nothing is going to happen until you start working up here, in the brain.

Morty: Yes. Very good. Is there anything else you’d like to say? We’ve got a bunch of people on our mailing list, most of whom have some sort of eating disorder, generally compulsive eating, and are interested in learning everything they can. I think what you’ve told them has been very, very useful and it’s good for them to know about your facility. Is there anything else you would like to say to people who are sitting there suffering from some eating disorder right now?

Jeanne: Yes. Right now, I’m in the process of writing. This will be available free on my website. Twenty tips for people. That’s to be for people that are compulsive eaters.

I’m also writing a short e-book on, what’s it called now? I’m Young, I’m Fat, and I’m Eating Myself to Death.

Morty: Sounds interesting.

Jeanne: Here again, I’ll use client stories and then I’ll give actual interventions that people can do at home to begin to help themselves.

I think at the bottom, I’m going to put, “Do all of these things and then call Morty, too.”

Morty: Thank you, Jeanne. I very much appreciate your time and for providing this useful information to all of our audience. Good luck with what you’re doing and we shall talk again soon.

Jeanne: You bet, Morty. Thanks a lot.