How Emotional Intelligence Can Help Us Lose Weight: An Interview with Dr. Susan Albers

It’s no secret that millions and millions of people around the world struggle with their relationship to food. Today I’m excited to bring to you my friend and colleague Dr. Susan Albers, author of her newest book Eat Q: Unlock the Weight-Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence that can be a support to many of us especially with the upcoming holidays. Susan works at the internationally renowned Cleveland Clinic and you may also recognize her from the Dr. Oz TV show, read about her in Shape or Fitness Magazine or have one of her previous books.

Today she talks to us about why emotional intelligence can help us with our eating habits (she cleverly calls this EatQ), how it can help us lose weight and a tip we can start implementing today.

Elisha: Why is EatQ important to you?

Susan: I see clients in my office at the Cleveland Clinic every day that struggle with eating healthier and losing/managing weight. I know that the process is HARD and at times incredibly frustrating. Yet, it is critical.  Wrestling with your eating robs people of so many opportunities to enjoy life to its fullest from being uncomfortable in your clothing to doctor bills for medication.  You can’t put off taking care of yourself any longer.  The good news is that I’ve seen people make successful changes—and you can do it too!

I’ve learned that deciding what to eat is much more complex than it appears on the surface.  For example, I knew from an early age that my parents had very different food cultures from each other.  On my mother’s side of the family, there are many old black and white photos of family get-togethers with tables heaping full of pastas, bread and cheese.  Every event was all about eating good food.  In contrast, my father grew up on a farm with a utilitarian relationship to food.  They used every single thing they had from the apples on their apple tree to the side of beef from their own cattle.  Food was fuel.  Food decisions were based on what they had to eat—period.  After forty-six years of marriage, you can still see remnants of their upbringings.  My mother asks, “What do you feel like having for dinner.”  My father asks, “What do we have for dinner.”

I understand that we all grow up with a very unique food culture. It shapes, for better or worse, how you think about and interact with food.  In EatQ, I tackle five topics including social eating, stress eating, pleasure eating, dieting and distress. There are also find 25 new needle moving strategies for eating better and lose weight.

Elisha: What is an Emotionally Intelligent Eater Like?

Susan: I often think of how Giada De Laurentiis, chef from the Food Network, relates to food on TV (I don’t know her personally).  Have you ever seen her eat?  On her show, she takes one bite of an amazing dish, and makes it last.  She savors each mouthful and intricately describes how it tastes—and then she stops.  She makes tasting a bite or two of luscious food look easy.  However, we all know it isn’t!  Again, avoiding overeating is not about having a vast knowledge of nutrition facts.  EatQ contains quick and easy psychological tricks that make choosing healthier foods easier.  As one of my clients said, “It’s like Jedi Knight mind food tricks.”

Elisha: How does boosting your EatQ help you lose weight?

Susan: EatQ is an easy, 3-step program to help you stop overeating for good and lose/manage your weight.  I created this concept because many of my clients are whiz kids when it comes to nutrition knowledge.  In fact, many of my readers could rattle off the fat grams and sugar content of every food you could imagine.  But what they don’t know is how to talk themselves into making the healthy choice.

Elisha: Give us an EatQ tip.

Susan: Here is an example of how easy some of the tips are: Use your non-dominant hand to eat.  A recent study showed that this strategy can reduce your eating by 30%.  This action breaks up the automatic hand to mouth flow.  You have to think about each bite similar to writing with your opposite hand.  Try it today!

Elisha: Thank you so much Susan!

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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