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November 9th, 2009 by Dr. Frank Lawlis

Emotional Eating

The following post is from someone I’ve known for a long time, whom I admire and have great respect for. Dr. Frank Lawlis was my major professor while I was earning my PhD, and he and I have worked together for almost 25 years. He is currently the chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board and is also an expert on ADD and ADHD. Dr. Lawlis is the co-founder of the Lawlis Peavey PsychoNeuroPlasticity (PNP) Center, and the author of the best-selling books The ADD Answer and The IQ Answer.

eating1Why do people gorge on food when they become stressed, anxious or depressed? This phenomenon is known as emotional eating, and it’s always been one of my major interests as a psychologist. Part of the answer can be found in the cultures in which people are raised. I remember my father telling me to eat something that “sticks to your ribs” when I was challenged to perform a test that required a lot of concentration and energy. But I was always confused about how food stuck to my ribs. I later learned that he wanted me to eat foods high in protein and carbohydrates. Other families had spaghetti as their comfort food when they experienced grief or sadness. And I suppose 90 percent of Americans have chocolate cake for the emotional celebrations of the time.

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