A new survey of psychologists has found that dealing with emotions connected to eating may just be as important as healthy eating and exercising.

The study was conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center. More than 1,300 licensed psychologists were asked about their strategies to help their clients lose weight. About 44 percent said that "understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management" was important in helping their client lose weight; about 43 percent felt emotional eating being responsible for their clients' weight gain followed by "maintaining a regular exercise schedule" which was cited as an obstacle in weight loss program, according to a statement from American Psychological Association.

Among the surveyed psychologists, 92 percent of the 306 who provide weight loss treatment said that they helped their client to "address underlying emotional issues related to weight gain."

Other strategies like cognitive therapy, problem-solving and mindfulness were considered as good aid in weight loss by more than 70 percent of the psychologists. In cognitive therapy, people are taught to identify and replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive emotions, the idea being that people who think negative emotions are more likely to have unhealthy food-habits.

Mindfulness lets people not think about emotions and allows them to be aware of a particular moment.

"Anyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds and keep them off knows that doing so isn't easy. The good news is that research and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose weight," said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association, in a statement.

The study results will be published in Consumer Reports Magazine® and online at Consumer Reports.