Eliminate detrimental eating habit by being aware. That's right, the most effective means of changing eating habit is to be aware. Typical awareness techniques are:
1. Counting calories.
2. Using food equivalents.
3. Behavioral modification techniques such as:
a. using a smaller plate.
b. putting the fork down between bites.
c. eating very slowly.
4. Daily weigh in.
5. Stop thinking (cognitions).
6. Diets.

And these techniques do work for those who eat out of habit. Let's define "eating out of habit". "Eating out of habit" is stopping by Dunkin Doughnuts every morning on the way to work, or coming home in the afternoon, walking through the living room, into the kitchen and raiding the refrigerator. It's basically the habit of being at a certain place and time where there is food.

And yes, if all eating were from habit, then a lot more people would be successful with any of awareness techniques mentioned above.

Even though habitual eating may be a large part of the problem, it is not the entire problem. There are other issues:
1. Eating Emotional Stress
2. Poor self image.

And when we look at eating emotional stress, there are actually two types of emotional stress.
1. Emotional eating associated with basic emotions such as frustration, boredom, happiness, excitement, depression...
2. Emotional eating out of fear of being successful--fear of being thin because of all the additional expectations placed upon the individual by others and self--mostly self.

At any given time the overeater may be 50% of the time eating habit. Weight from overeating then could be 50% from eating emotional stress.

Another day, the percentages could change--20% habit, 50% basic emotion, 20% fear. A week later, the percentages could change again to 25% habit, 25% emotional, 50% fear.
Attempting to use only awareness techniques (which are successful with the habit aspect of overeating) is overall like trying to put a round peg in a square hole. The overweight person gets on the diet or into the program and is avidly counting calories, involved with exchange equivalents, or whatever and with the initial burst of excitement, begins losing weight.

Later when the burst of excitement has quieted and there's an emotional stress, the program is momentarily abandoned, there's quick self incrimination (calling oneself stupid and so on), doubts of ever being able to succeed, and the program is lost, weight gained back, and gluttony wins.

In the above model, the emotions which started the downfall are never dealt with. To conquer emotional eating, totally different techniques are required. They are:
1. To acknowledge the emotional feelings. This in itself is often a challenge because most of our training from child hood has been to ignore emotions or pretend we're not feeling them.
2. Embrace the emotion. By embracing the emotion the need to dilute it with food is diminished.
3. Profit from the emotion. This is the challenge of managing stressful emotions vs. having the emotions manage us. Specific preference statements make it possible for the brain to move beyond the emotion and discover a creative outlet or experience of the emotion.

Remember, not all eating is from eating habit. Weight gain is a combination of habitual and emotional eating. Using habitual eating techniques will not eliminate all detrimental eating. Eliminate habit is only one part of the equation. To lose weight effectively it's important to learn to conquer emotional eating by acknowledging and handling the emotions effectively.

A progressive approach to eliminate detrimental eating habit involves asking important questions "What is missing here? Why are you not getting the results you've been promised?" It is clearly insane to keep dieting and using techniques to deal with change eating habit when the results are so poor. It's more important to gain a grasp on how to stop emotional eating--eating emotional stress than it is to read the scale. Besides focusing on the scale doesn't empower you to be a better more enlightened person, whereas learning how to overcome emotional eating empowers you in all aspects of your life. If you're a sales person, you'll be a better sales person. If you're an assembly line worker, you'll be a better assembly line worker; a mother, a better mother... Overall, you'll build self worth and find that what you really want to eat is far more nutritious and less in quantity than you ever before imagined possible.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., NGH certified, a prominent figure in the field of hypnosis with his best selling hypnosis and stress management cds at www.DStressDoc.com and www.PanicBusters.com. His aim is to make it possible for anyone to manage emotional binge eating. For more information please visit www.dstressdoc.com/BingeEatingEbook.htm