This is addendum to the article posted on Ask the Cognitive Behavior Therapist.com/ on Automatic Thinking..Reactive Behavior.

Applying the principle points that automatic thoughts are the thoughts and images that involuntarily pop into our conscious or semi conscious mind to food situations, we can begin to see how emotional eating is related to automatic thinking.

Habitual Emotional Eating
So for example when we are emotional about something, our semi-conscious automatic thought might be “I need sugar. So eating a cupcake will make me feel better”. This is an example of a thought is likely linked to a habit. As a result the person automatically craves sweets when they become emotional.

Also since the thought of the cupcake making one feel better is tucked away from our consciousness, when we are eating the cupcake we most likely don’t recognize “the cupcake does not solve my problem nor does it make me really feel better”. Therefore its unlikely we will stop eating the cupcake because its ineffective.

So what to do:
Create a food diary that includes what you ate, how much and a simple note about your mood while you are eating.
(This exercise itself will help you to create awareness between when your moods and eating patterns.)

-Then create a daily meal intention plan.

– As you approach each day, decide when, where and what you will eat. Consider what you will be doing and what will be available to you.
-Try to be as specific as possible including breaking down protein, carb and fat goals.
-If there is a particular food that you are avoiding like red meat or french fries mark them down as red light foods.

Red light foods are stay away foods because they are either really bad for you healthwise or triggers for bad eating.

-If you are having trouble coming up with a food agenda then think about what you imagine a healthy meal plan should consist of for that day.
-Consider portions in your goals.

– As you maintain both the food diary and continue setting daily meal plan intentional goals, make note of the times when there were discrepancies (times when you failed to maintain your dietary goals). Most likely there was some emotional component to your decision to change your behavior or habitual influence.

If you are having a hard time losing or maintaining weight loss, although you are “staying within your daily calorie intake allotment” perhaps you need to rethink eating commercially prepared food. Since while some retailers or manufacturers are working on solutions to develop lower calorie foods others are just under reporting.


ADA Report on The Accuracy of Stated Energy Contents of Reduced-Energy, Commercially Prepared Foods…

A recent study released by the American Dietary Association (Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 116-123, January 2010) which evaluated the stated energy contents of reduced-energy restaurant foods and frozen meals purchased from supermarkets revealed that differences substantially exceeded laboratory measurement error.

In fact measured energy values of 29 quick-serve and sit-down restaurant foods averaged 18% more than stated values, and measured energy values of 10 frozen meals purchased from supermarkets averaged 8% more than originally stated.


Further some individual restaurant items contained up to 200% of stated values while, free side dishes increased provided energy to an average of 245% of stated values for the entrees they accompanied.

As pointed out in this report, this phenomenon could not only hinder efforts to self-monitor calories intake to control weight, but could also impact the recent policy initiatives to disseminate information on food energy content at the point of purchase.

Health Epidemic?

December 18, 2009

The US’s growing health epidemic, specifically the growing proportion of children and adults considered overweight or medically obese is no secret. But if you are like me, in that you like to look at the data you might find this report which describes the findings from the 2005-2006 survey of the Health Behavior of School-Age Children (HBSC) project. This was a cross-national study of adolescent health, health behaviors, with the family, school, and social-environmental contexts for these health behaviors. The World Health Organization sponsored the study. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/HBSC-2005_2006-Final.pdf