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    Talking to the mirror: "How can I be so fat? This isn't my body! This isn't me." But it was me, feeling miserable about my fat, distorted body through more than five decades of helplessness against the power of my food cravings and emotional eating.

    I've eaten my way to a size 24 or more, and then lost 50 or more pounds, at least six times over those many years. Each time, after a (very) brief honeymoon with my slender and attractive self, my overwhelming food cravings pulled me in again. I gained the weight back, and more besides. Why? I didn't know, and try as I might, I couldn't figure it out. I was an intelligent and capable woman, but food cravings and being fat -- to say nothing of losing the weight and keeping it off -- seemed permanently beyond my understanding.

    I was even unhappy a lot of the time during the periods when I "got thin" -- although you wouldn't necessarily have known it. Fat or thin, I wore a cheerful mask that fooled pretty much everybody but me. I couldn't fool myself, though: Even thin, I knew the cravings were still there, strong as ever. And I was their prisoner. It was as if my "fat fate" were sealed, and nothing I did could change it for long.

    Then, after the decades of yo-yo dieting with no lasting result for my body or my life, something happened that did change my fate. And my fat. I decided to work, not on my body again -- at least not right away -- but on my heart. On my feelings (the "emotion" in "emotional eating"). And I lost 60 pounds without the torment of food cravings and backsliding.

    WebMD has asked me to tell you my story of how, with professional help, I was able at last to escape the trap of emotional eating and an overweight body. I'm excited about telling it, and a little nervous, too. But because what I did may carry a message of hope for others, here goes!

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