So many compulsive eaters today struggle with overcoming food trigger challenges, mistakenly believing that it’s simply a matter of willpower. That’s not always the case as psychologist Rhona Epstein details in her new book, Food Triggers. After writing a review for Worthy Press, I was honored when Dr. Epstein agreed to my request for this interview.
Ellie: Congratulations on a very well-written book. Not only is it insightful and practical, but it shows a personal side not usually expressed by psychologists. How did the idea come about and what made you decide to write it?
Rhona: Thank you! Thoughts of writing this book started many years ago. Friends have suggested the idea numerous times as they found my personal testimony an inspiration. So many struggle with overeating. I have been given the gift of a way out and believe God stirred me towards sharing the message of hope so others can find freedom.
E: My favorite passage in the entire book is from page 54, in which you state, “What you need and want most is not in the refrigerator or the cupboard, from a grocery shelf, or on a menu. What you need and want most are often the things that haven’t come to you easily or at all: love, belonging, security, success, fulfilling relationships, meaning.” You go on to discuss how food can never fill your soul or what you are truly longing for. Can you expound upon that truism for our readers?
R: This passage is the heart of food triggers. People turn to food without realizing they are feeding the wrong kind of hunger. It’s like putting olive oil in the gas tank. It’s just not what the car needs. God has many wonderful ways of feeding our hungry hearts if we only would turn to Him and the provisions He has for us to meet our true needs.
E: You are a very accomplished woman and yet even you struggled with food addiction. You’re also very open and honest in the book about that challenge and the steps you took to confront it. I’m sure your story encouraged many. Did you have any second thoughts about revealing your personal history?
R: Yes, as a professional we are trained to minimize self-disclosure unless it would help the client. For many years I tried to put on a professional hat and minimize my story but there is no question that in my office every day my story helps people feel less ashamed of what they’re going through and more and more encouraged that it is possible to recover. When I am real it helps others be real. Addictions counselors tend to be more like this than other mental health professional. If it works to save lives it’s worth the vulnerability.
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11
Dr. Epstein is truly an advocate of God’s Wisdom and Power to overcome personal challenges.
Part Two of my interview will be posted tomorrow in which we will delve into the psychological aspects of food triggers.