Don’t overlook the most important weight loss factor

Even if you meticulously note the calories and nutrients in every meal you eat, a study of the factors influencing how much you weigh shows you are probably ignoring one of the most important elements affecting your waistline.

Research coordinated among Florida International University, Ohio State and the University of Kentucky shows that when it comes to making food choices, emotions trump nutritional knowledge. How you feel about a piece of cake is more powerful than what you think about it.

According to the researchers, if you can learn to control your emotions that are linked to food, you have a better chance of controlling your weight.

“Consumers are often mindless,” note the scientists. “We not only demonstrate that emotional ability is trainable and that food choices can be enhanced, but also that emotional ability training improves food choices beyond a nutrition knowledge training program.”

The people in the study were trained to identify the emotions in themselves that were associated with a range of various foods and packaging. They also were educated in recognizing what others were feeling in response to those foods. After being trained, they were observed making food choices and those choices were compared to choices made by untrained people.

The researchers found that training helped people make healthier food choices.

In addition, people trained to be more in touch with their food-emotions generally lost weight in the three months after training. The people being followed who were untrained gained weight.

The researchers conclude: “With a better understanding of how they feel and how to use emotions to make better decisions, people will not only eat better, they will also likely be happier and healthier because they relate better to others and are more concerned with their overall well-being.”

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.