Many people treat themselves with their favourite chocolate bars, or ice cream after returning home from a hard day at work, completely ignoring the fact that they are on a diet.
The long-term success of their efforts is therefore sabotaged by their own hand, and very few weight-loss programs address this problem.
A new study shows that the key issue is providing people who usually eat to calm their emotions with other means of calming themselves, and getting a grip on how they feel, other than food.
Given that most of those who are on a diet don't even know they have this problem, coping with emotions is done automatically when the need arises, through indulging in foods that are forbidden during diet.
Researchers at the Temple University Center for Obesity Research are currently trying to find the answers to these problems. They believe that progress in this area could allow for more people to succeed in losing unwanted weight.
The new treatment incorporates skills that directly address the emotional eating, and essentially adds those skills to a state-of-the art behavioural weight loss treatment.
"The problem that we're trying to address is that the success rates for long-term weight loss are not as good as we would like them to be," said Edie Goldbacher, a postdoctoral fellow at CORE.
"Emotional eating may be one reason why people don't do as well in behavioral weight loss groups, because these groups don't address emotional eating or any of its contributing factors," Goldbacher added.