Ever notice how many diet books there are? That’s because DIEts don’t commonly work. Think about it. How many people do you know who have DIEted and actually maintained their weight loss? Only 3% to 5% of DIEters who lose weight maintain significant weight loss.

Doesn’t sound too good to me, especially with what DIEting can do to, not for, your health.

DIEting can lead to binge eating, overeating, chaotic eating patterns, and can teach you to ignore internal signals of hunger and lead you to be out of touch with your body’s natural hunger and satiations signals.

Do you know what kind of an eater you are? Here are seven types:

1. Unconscious eater who eats while doing something else
2. Chaotic eater who leads an over-scheduled life and who eats on an “eat-n-go- when-time-is-available” pattern
3. Refuse not/Waste not eater who eats whenever food is available, and often cleans her plate, regardless of actually feeling full
4. Emotional eaters are triggered by uncomfortable emotions rather than hunger—more about this one in a moment
5. Careful eaters tend to be vigilant about what foods they put into their bodies and are extremely nutrition conscious
6. Professional DIEters who are perpetually DIEting, who eat not to promote their health but to lose weight
7. Intuitive eaters make food choices without experiencing guilt, eat when hungry, respect their sense of fullness, and enjoy the pleasure of eating

It’s fairly easy to determine which of these eating styles you’ve learned and maintained over the course of your life. The most common and often the more challenging to overcome is #4, the emotional eater.

If you show signs of these behaviors, it’s time to develop some rational responses to the thoughts that lead to these unhealthy feelings and actions:

• Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. One minute you're not even thinking about food, the next minute you're starving. You hunger goes from 0-80 within moments. You may not have any stomach rumblings and may have eating just a short while ago.
• Your cravings are for one certain type of food, such as pizza, ice cream, or chocolate. With emotional eating, you feel that you need to eat that particular food and that no substitute will do! Real hunger can be satisfied with almost any food, even with a glass of water.
• It’s all “above your neck." An emotionally based craving begins in your mouth and in your mind. Your mouth wants to taste the pizza, chocolate, or ice cream. You have strong pictures in your mind of that cupcake calling your name. It isn’t.
• It’s extraordinarily urgent. Emotional hunger urges you to eat NOW! There is a demand to instantly ease emotional discomfort with food.
• It’s always paired with an upsetting emotion. Your husband yelled at you. Your child is in trouble at school. Your boss won’t let up. Emotional hunger occurs in conjunction with an upsetting or distressing situation.
• It’s often connected to automatic or absent-minded eating. Emotional eating can feel as if someone else's hand is scooping up the candy and putting it into your mouth. You may not notice that you've just eaten a whole bag of chocolate almond kisses.
• Emotional eating does not stop in response to feeling full.
• After you eat from your head, you feel guilty about eating. The paradox of emotional overeating is that you eat to feel better, and then end up angry or disappointed with yourself. Next, you promise to atone ("I'll exercise, skip a meal,” etc.)

Here are five things to do if you are eating from your head, not from your empty stomach.

1. Ask Yourself
• Am I biologically hungry?
• What am I feeling?
• What do I need?
• How can I meet this need?
• Research indicates that individuals who respond to a negative situation with both positive thoughts and constructive action are able to avoid emotion-based eating 85% of the time.
2. Stop
3. Breathe deeply—imbalanced, exhale twice the amount you inhaled
4. Reflect on
• “What do I want to achieve by eating right now?”
• “What is there about this food?”
• “Is this what I really need?”
5. Choose the healthy behavior

Author's Bio: 

Michael R. Mantell earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. at Hahnemann Medical College, where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. His career includes serving as the Chief Psychologist for Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and as the founding Chief Psychologist for the San Diego Police Department. He also served on the faculty of UCSD’s School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry.
After retiring two years ago from practicing clinical psychology for 40 years, he has become a highly sought after transformational behavior and leadership coach and accomplishment mentor for senior executive business leaders, professional and elite amateur athletes, and everyday folks seeking personal well-being, optimal health and professional empowerment. He has worked in the media for nearly 40 years, appearing on every major talk and news show, and has been interviewed in, and written for, every major health and fitness magazine/website.
Michael is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Science for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, and served as the Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise.
Michael is an Organizational Advisor to Fitwall, Rock My Run, amSTATZ, Outburst Mobile, and speaks regularly for Rancho La Puerta and the Asia Fitness Conference in Bangkok, in addition to numerous other fitness-health organizations throughout the nation. He has been a keynote speaker for the University of California’s system wide “FitCon” and for UCLA’s “Stress Less Week” as well as for the Transformational Leadership Council.
He is a best-selling author of three books including the 25th Anniversary updated edition of his 1988 original “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, P.S. It’s All Small Stuff,” and his 1996, “Ticking Bombs: Defusing Violence in the Workplace.” He is listed in greatist.com’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” His fourth book, “It is ALL in Your Head” is his current project.