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Book Review – Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food

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I’m always interested in reading a book by a seasoned psychotherapist who, like me, has also recovered from emotional overeating. It’s the perfect combination to educate and counsel people who want to manage both their emotions and relationship with food. In Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food, Arlene Englander, MA, LCSW, offers a 5-point plan that, when diligently and joyfully followed, will change your relationship with food.

She describes emotional eating as “eating neither to satisfy hunger nor for enjoyment, but in a desperate attempt to distract oneself from painful thoughts and feelings.” In short, when we emotionally overeat, we not only abuse food but also mistreat ourselves. To help readers understand and identify with what she says, she shares experiences from her own emotional eating days and uses case examples from her clinical practice. 

Her major focus is to teach readers how to connect with themselves and enhance their lives by tuning into feelings and using clear thinking to change their behaviors. The book describes how by “developing an awareness of what constitutes compulsive overeating and by learning how to eat in a more pleasure-oriented, self-regulated manner, you’ll not only enjoy food more but will also gain control.” 

Englander starts off by giving an explanation, backed by scientific studies, to prove why diets not only don’t work long-term but actually cause rebound eating and weight gain. Subsequent chapters cover a lot of ground: how to reduce stress, enjoy exercise and love food, hydrate through water and food choices, choose daylight over evening eating, develop skills to deal with family and friends as you become physically and mentally healthier, and manage food decisions at parties and on vacation. 

Englander focuses on your relationship with food as well as on the relationship food has to the rest of your life. Her goal is for you to put food into a healthy perspective by using the tools she provides to grow your life and decrease your dependence on emotional overeating. She uses mnemonic devices to help you remember to stay aware, reinforce goals, and steer you away from self-destructive eating. 

Although I don’t agree with all of her rules and wish there were fewer that sounded like restrictive rather than intuitive eating, this is a book to savor, just as you want to do with food. It’s full of insight and practical wisdom and will help you eat with pleasure and become the person who you want to be. Learn more about Arlene Englander at www.arleneenglander.com.

Best,

Karen