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Mindful Emotional Eating: Mindfulness Skills To Control Cravings, Eat in Moderation and Optimize Coping

Help your clients achieve exactly what they want when it comes to emotional eating …

  • you can eat to cope
  • you can learn to use food on occasion to feel better
  • you can feel in control (and have a treat)
  • you don’t have to feel bad or guilty about emotional eating
  • you don’t need to completely eliminate emotional eating to be healthy

In his new book, Mindful Emotional Eating, psychologist Pavel Somov has given a “cultural permission” to eat emotionally -- with mindfulness-based tools to do so in moderation and without self-judgment and self-loathing. Somov proposes that emotional eating is a legitimate form of self-care and teaches clients and clinicians how to “leverage more coping per calorie.”  Numerous original exercises and meditative techniques will guide a more conscious alliance with food during moments of emotional distress.


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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.
Publication Date:
Jan 01, 2015
PESI Publishing
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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.'s Profile

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Licensed Psychologist and Self-Help author

Private Practice

Pavel Somov, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice with over 20 years of clinical experience working with anger management, shame, guilt, self-criticism, eating issues, and perfectionism. He has worked in a variety of clinical settings including running a drug and alcohol treatment program in a county jail.

Dr. Somov is on the advisory board for The Mindfulness Project (London, UK) and has conducted a variety of trainings for mental health professionals both domestically and internationally on applying mindfulness-based interventions to a variety of psychological issues.

His work has been discussed in a number of radio interviews and in print publications including Martha Stewart's Body + Soul Magazine and Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine. Dr. Somov is the author of Anger Management Jumpstart: A 4-Session Mindfulness Path to Compassion and Change (PESI Publishing, 2013) as well as a number of self-help books on perfectionism, overeating, and addiction.



Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Pavel Somov maintains a private practice. He receives royalties as an author for New Harbinger Publishing and PESI Publishing & Media. Dr. Somov receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Pavel Somov is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Greater Pittsburgh Psychological Association.


“In his usual straight-shooting, paradigm shifting, make a change oriented style, Pavel Somov's Mindful Emotional Eating gives anyone struggling with emotional eating, a handy and concise how-to roadmap to change.”

-Donald Altman, M.A., LPC, author The Mindfulness Toolbox, One-Minute Mindfulness, and Art of the Inner Meal

"Don’t be fooled by the seeming contradiction in the title of Mindful Emotional Eating. The book makes the case to troubled eaters and their ‘treaters’ that if we’re going to turn to food when we re stressed or distressed, we best do it not with guilt, shame, self-hatred, or detachment from our bodies and their cravings, but with a keen mindfulness that will satisfy our appetites and foster emotional well-being."

-Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. , psychotherapist, eating coach, and author of Outsmarting Overeating

"This wonderfully creative book teaches us that we don't need willpower to overcome our unruly eating habits, but mindfulness skill power. It shows that freedom doesn't come from stopping emotional eating, but when we learn how to eat emotionally in moderation, more effectively and without self-judgment or self-loafing. Pavel Somov has put together a fun mindfulness toolbox for not only healthcare professionals, but anyone who struggles with emotional eating ." 

-Alexa Frey, Co-Founder , The Mindfulness Project, (London, UK)

"Pavel's Mindful Emotional Eating is a gem of a toolkit that will be invaluable both to individuals seeking a mindful eating self-help option and to practitioners looking to infuse more mindfulness into their work..." 

-foreword by Linda Craighead, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Director of Clinical training, Emory University, author of The Appetite Awareness Workbook

"Dr. Pavel Somov’s newest book, Mindful Emotional Eating Jumpstart, offers individuals struggling with eating concerns a revolutionary guidebook for developing a satisfying, enjoyable relationship to food. The book challenges prevailing notions by de-pathologizing emotional eating and affirms that emotional eating is one among many ways that we can care for ourselves. His “humanistic harm reduction” approach helps people shift from demonizing emotional eating to affirming that we all eat for emotional reasons. The positive change we seek is from mindless to mindful moderate emotional eating. His mindful emotional eating (MEE) process is the antidote to the shame, blame, self-attacks and rebellious over-eating that characterize mindless emotional eating. MEE empathizes with people’s need to self-soothe and empowers people to choose how they want to do it. His Jumpstart is filled with inspiring ideas and practical strategies for developing moderate emotional eating. Ultimately this book helps us become aware, self-compassionate and empowered with the confidence and skills to choose how to best care for ourselves in each moment. Quite a lot to get from one small book! I highly recommend it to practitioners and people with eating concerns." 

-Andrew Tatarsky , leading mind on Harm Reduction psychology.

“Let’s be honest. We all eat with emotions involved in the process. We eat for survival, for comfort, for energy, for relief and for pleasure - and all those motivations include an emotional component. The path to health is not to deny the role of emotion in eating. Rather, the task is to make intentional decisions about our eating patterns. In this accessible and compassionate book, Pavel Somov shows you a path to breaking unhealthy eating patterns. He offers clear insights, skills and practices you need to be a more mindful eater. By following his guidance, you will not only make eating decisions that better support your health; you will also feel better about yourself and your relationship to food. As an added bonus, you will develop mindfulness skills that will be so helpful in many other areas of your life.”

-Terry Fralich , LCPC, JD, author of Cultivating Lasting Happiness, 2nd Edition & The Five Core Skills of Mindfulness

“Pavel G. Somov provides an ingenious, non-judgmental, mindful approach to emotional eating (this includes ALL eating) that is based on “skill power”, not will power. In this guide for clinicians, he gives specific step-by-step instructions for how to eat mindfully that fully empowers clients to feel good about eating and changes the paradigm from deprivation and guilt to self-acceptance and self-control. He breaks down this process into tasks, language, narratives and homework to use in each clinical session with clients. This book gives you everything you need to help clients change their mindset about eating and to apply effective mindfulness skills to the realm of cravings, over eating, binge eating, nighttime eating, weight management and eating driven by specific emotions. This might be the last book on helping with emotional eating that you need to buy.

-Debra Burdick, LCSWR, BCN , #1 best-selling author of Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients. 111 Tools, Techniques, Activities & Worksheets and Mindfulness Skills for Kids & Teens: A Workbook for Clinicians and Clients with 154 Tools, Techniques, Activities and Worksheets.

"Mindful Emotional Eating, Mindfulness Skills to Control Cravings, Eat in Moderation and Optimize Coping by Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is one of the the new Mindful Eating books in 2015. Many may be familiar with Dr. Somov’s previous books - Eating The Moment, or Reinventing the Meal. So why write another book about mindful eating? As Somov explains at the beginning of his book:

“Let me be crystal clear: The goal of this program is nothing less than to learn to leverage more coping per calorie, to help you and/or your clients to learn to become effective, mindful emotional eaters, and to finally re-integrate emotional eating back into our inevitably emotional lives - with unconditional self-acceptance instead of that toxic heartburn of shame and guilt that has been eating at us for years whenever we would turn to food for some self-directed TLC.”

Who can't fall in love with the book already! As a registered dietitian, I agree that the world need less of the “toxic heartburn of shame and guilt...” Somov continues to offer the reader a very compassionate voice that mindful eating can be an effective tool to use when eating to cope. Dr. Somov explains what I think most emotional eaters have known forever - that emotional eating is just another way of coping.

As I read the book I found myself chuckling as I tried some of his suggestions, like a tongue lock or 10 relaxation combos or “mmmm” before I took a bite. Sure, I looked silly but I found my curiosity piqued - would this work? How? Why? And once the question was out of my brain, sure enough Dr. Somov explained why it worked using research and clinical experience.

Yet many of my clients need some “Rules” to follow. To them, the whole idea of mindful eating feels a little bit too “woo-woo”. If a lack of structure is a concern for you--don’t worry, there are ten MEE Rules of Engagement to follow. Number 10 stood out for me, “After eating to cope, regardless of the quantitative or qualitative outcome, accept emotional eating as a legitimate coping choice, not as a coping failure and congratulate yourself on yet another courageously attempted precedent of harm reduction self-care.” What a wonderful counter to the many critical voices that have gathered from the endless restrictive food fads and body shaming programs as The Biggest Loser. 

I am however, guilty of binge-reading Mindful Emotional Eating, Mindfulness Skills to Control Cravings, Eat in Moderation and Optimize Coping and like an empty bag of chips; I was disappointed that I had reached the final chapter. I confess there are simply too many ideas and suggestions for self-compassion for me to digest in one reading. I would encourage any reader to grab a highlighter and a few post-it notes to flag the ideas and suggestions that resonate within you. This third addition to Dr. Pavel Somov’s growing list of mindful eating books is sure to be a classic for anyone seeking a more compassionate way of understanding emotional eating." 

-Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD, CDE 
Co-founder and 2013-2015 President of The Center for Mindful Eating, and author of Discover Mindful Eating for Kids, Co-author of Discover Mindful Eating, and Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes

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