TORONTO - Eating healthier foods and breaking a sweat are key tools in battling the bulge, but Gillian McKeith says addressing weight issues doesn't just mean targeting your waistline - it starts in your head.
The renowned Scottish-born nutritionist says when it comes to weight, most issues are emotional and must be addressed first before dealing with food.
"Emotional eating is a huge problem - massive," she says in an interview at a downtown hotel.
"A lot of the emotional eating triggers can be so different and from different times of your life, and some of them will be even from childhood ... whereas other things can be from somebody dumping you, a bad relationship, any number of things."
"You've got to identify that trigger," she adds. "You've got to be able to strip it all bare and get back down to what really started this and who are you really."
McKeith brings her holistic approach to weight loss and wellness to her new series, "Eat Yourself Sexy," which premieres Wednesday on W Network.
The no-nonsense McKeith dispenses advice with her signature tough love and humour familiar to viewers of the hit TV series "You Are What You Eat" as she helps overweight women who are looking to shed pounds.
McKeith customizes an eight-week plan that incorporates exercise as well as the addition of wholesome, natural foods into their diet. She also helps women break bad habits in an effort to steer them toward a healthier lifestyle.
While all the women featured in the series want to lose weight, the process involves working through both an overall goal and mini-goals, she says.
"It might be that you want to look at yourself in the mirror and not hate yourself," McKeith says. "At the end of it, in terms of this particular show, I'd say they want to feel sexier and they want to feel happier and they want to feel good about themselves and content in their own bodies."
"It's very inspiring to the viewer because they see this dowdy, miserable person at the beginning transform herself into one hot girl."
McKeith also makes a concerted effort for the woman's partner or husband to be involved "to buy in to the lifestyle."
Ultimately, McKeith says it's important to see the bigger picture of slimming down beyond tracking calories and eyeballing the numbers on the scale.
"It's not about cutting out or counting. It's about getting on to a lifestyle ... a new path. There's no failing," she says. "You begin to breathe and live it and each day you feel something new and you think, `Oh, my God, I don't want to go back the other way; it's not worth it."'
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