You Don’t Need A Crutch

Emotional eating is the way we cope with negative feelings we don’t want to feel. By eating, even when we aren’t hungry, we get distracted from the feelings we don’t want to feel and experience a pleasurable feeling instead.

These negative feelings ultimately become conditioned and act as “triggers” that result in automatic, compulsive overeating.

When you use the Lefkoe De-conditioning Process to de-condition your many triggers, you realize that earlier in life you had (unconsciously) chosen eating as the best way to pleasurably distract yourself from your negative feelings (such as anxiety, feeling unlovable, depression, and boredom).  It wasn’t that eating was necessarily the best way to cope with the negative feelings, it was just that you ate three times a day and noticed that, whenever you ate, you focused on the pleasure of eating instead of the negative feelings.  That’s how eating got conditioned as an automatic response to the negative feelings.

You also realize that, in fact, there are many other things that might have worked to distract yourself from the negative feelings; you just hadn’t thought of them earlier in your life. Some activities that might have worked as a coping mechanism include a hot bath, exercise, a walk, talking to a friend, reading a book, or listening to music.

But using eating or any of these other activities to distract ourselves from our negative feelings implies that we are unable to cope with our negative feelings and that we need something to keep ourselves from facing them.  In fact, although negative feelings can feel overwhelming, distracting ourselves with eating doesn’t really work.  Not only doesn’t the distraction last for long, we end up feeling worse (guilty and bloated) after we stuff ourselves when we aren’t hungry.  The negative consequences of other distracting activities aren’t quite as bad, but they still are only a temporary respite and the negative feelings are still there when we finish eating (or any other activity).

It actually is possible to just allow ourselves to experience our negative feelings and to realize that while we “have” these feelings, they are not who we are.  We don’t have to use eating or any other distraction to deal with our negative feelings; we can just feel them and know they will pass.

If you really want to “handle” your negative feelings, the best way is not to pretend they don’t exist for a few minutes (which is the only respite eating gives you), but, instead, to eliminate the beliefs and conditionings that cause them.  Every negative feeling you have is either the result of beliefs and conditionings, or the meaning you are giving current events.  Events, as such, cannot make you feel anything.

Eating to feel good

If you eat to make yourself feel good, as opposed to eating to cover up negative feelings, there is a much better solution than eating, which only gives you a “high” for the few minutes you are eating.

Use the Who Am I Really? (WAIR?) Process, which enables you to experience yourself as the creator of your life, with anything possible and nothing missing.  People who have used that Process report a feeling of bliss and unlimited possibilities that can easily be a substitute for eating.  You can download an MP3 of that Process at

The only precondition for using the WAIR? Process is eliminating at least one belief using the Lefkoe Belief Process.  You can do that free of charge at

For more details, please see my eBook, The Secret to Ending Overeating For Good, at  You also can get answers to specific questions at my office, 415-884-0552.

Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe

5 thoughts on “You Don’t Need A Crutch”

  1. Morty, I feel that it’s inappropriate to ask this because TLM is your personal work and you have every right to refuse to help people with it for free but, I want to ask you…

    Since I don’t have any money, do you think it is possible for me to de-condition any triggers I can find on my own, using the example described in your free e-book as a template? I know the LBP, so I’ve already gotten rid of some of my eating beliefs like “You have to finish everything on your plate”. I just want to know if you trust it’s possible for people to do it on their own.

    And there’s another question I’d like to ask: Is every instance of overweight attributed to emotional eating? Of course not 100% of the cases, but would you say that most of the people with a little extra fat, have that because of these triggers and beliefs? Because you know, in my culture here in México, it’s normal to see that almost every adult is overweight. I’m generalizing, but an obese woman in her forties is so common everywhere it’s like a standard. It’s as if it was the default path: “When you become older, with less time for exercise and a slower metabolism, you WILL get fat. It’s natural”.

    For example: my mom, who has a little extra fat around the belly, receives comments all the time from women her age: “You are so slim, you look so good, etc” and ALL OF THEM are obese. And the truth is that she isn’t really that slim, she just appears to be in comparison to them. But it bugs me to see that. It’s as if people settle for it. “Oh, there’s nothing I can do. I will never look good in a swimming suit, so why try?” You know?

    What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Hi ALex,

    If you are able to go through the Lefkoe De-c0nditioning Process on your own and identify all the triggers and rewards on your own, please feel free to do so.

    Part of the overweight problem is poor eating habits, eating too much of the wrong types of food. This is not the same issue as emotional eating.

    Love, Morty

  3. Most people overeat because of normal reasons. The difference is, some just don’t know when to stop and these people are the ones in dire need of overeating treatments. Health professionals have found out that one of the reasons why people turn to eating for comfort and to feel good about their selves is because of deep seated psychological problems.

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