Montel Williams was quite candid on The Dr. Oz Show recently when speaking about his struggles with emotional eating. He has a lot going for him: Emmy Award-winning talk-show host, a decorated former naval intelligence officer, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist, yet something was tearing him apart. His depression has been talked about and his multiple sclerosis diagnosis has been documented but he still felt like a fraud. He could no longer promote a healthy lifestyle (Montel is also the author of New York Times’ bestselling wellness books) and be an emotional eater when no one was looking.
That’s right, when Montel gets anxious, sad, nervous or depressed, he turns to food. He even admitted to eating a box and a half of Girl Scout cookies before his last appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. Oh, do I know that feeling all too well. Sticking the Thin Mints in the freezer didn’t make me forget about them…it made them tastier and I wanted more and more and more and more.
A lot of people turn to food for solace; of course, that’s why it’s called comfort food. Montel made the point that once he started down this road, trouble wasn’t far behind. And then, as his life started to revolve around what he thought he looked like, it was a full-blown problem. Emotional eating took over. It’s ironic that for some of us who have a negative body image, we turn to food to dull the pain and suffering going on in our mind. What was it about those Swedish fish that I thought was going to give me the power to get to bed earlier, go to the gym in the morning and make me smarter?
Dr. Oz asked Montel about his negative body image. What was at the root of the bad feelings? Montel broke down as he told the story of being a 19-year-old marine; 6 feet tall weighing 142 pounds. People around him would joke that he needed to put on weight to be considered powerful so be began weightlifting. One day he worked out so hard that he tore a pectoral muscle and his chest swelled about two inches. He was taken to the hospital where doctors immediately thought he had breast cancer (this was nearly 40 years ago) and woke up eight hours later having had a double mastectomy, including removal of several glands and lymph nodes. Two weeks later he found out there was no cancer. He was so traumatized by this that he didn’t take his shirt off in public for the next ten years.
“If I walk by a mirror feeling a little down, my brain goes back to my 19-year-old self,” Montel told Dr. Oz. Montel has been able to gain control over his emotional eating and build his self-esteem by changing his diet, taking his medication at the exact time every day and working out daily. He no longer eats white flours and announced the next phase of his healthy eating plan was removing sugar from his food intake.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Montel Williams. I didn’t watch his TV show nor have I read his books. However, hearing another human being’s story of low self-esteem and a battle with food is heartbreaking for me.
Next week, I will write more about emotional eating and steps you can take to ensure that food is your friend and not your enemy.
- How would you rate your self-esteem?
- Think about whether or not you turn to food for comfort.
- Notice if you feel guilty after eating certain foods.
- Write at least 20 attributes you like about yourself.
These steps will help you feel more confident and understand more about your relationship to food. If you are concerned about your diet or if your lifestyle is not supporting your health and well-being, Contact me or call 413-282-7286. At Bravo! Wellness, I work with my clients to create manageable lifestyle changes so they are able to achieve their greatest potential in life, health and business.