When you're upset, do you get sudden urges to raid your fridge, with the vague hope of finding solace at the bottom of a pint of Haagen-Dazs? You may be at the mercy of emotional eating, which psychiatrist Roger Gould claims is the reason 95 percent of diets fail. In his book, Shrink Yourself, he argues that without understanding the mental triggers that flip on your hunger switch, exercise and diet won't be enough to help you keep off extra pounds.
For most of us, food equals comfort—and the association can go back as far as breastfeeding. "Food is more than nutrition," Gould says. "Kids get treats when they're good. Or they scrape their knee and they're given a piece of cake. It's an expression of nurturance." So if you're the kind of person who reaches for a doughnut when you feel bored or angry or tense, Gould says, "Ask yourself the question: What am I really hungry for? Because it's not food."