Clara Nosek MS, RDN
Clara Nosek MS, RDN, is a non-diet, weight-inclusive “registered dietary nutritionalist” based in Modesto, CA. Always a fun, unapologetic and thoughtful creator of meaningful content on social media as @YourDietitianBFF (Instagram and TikTok), she’s been a contributor to Outside magazine, Weight-Inclusive Nutrition and Dietetics (WIND), Shape Magazine, Diversify Dietetics, and Healthline.com. Check out her work and learn more here.
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Educating Your Children about Emotional Eating with the Feelings Chart
Modern diet culture can be a terrible influence on people. It’s full of all kinds of unhealthy, even dangerous, ideas about body size, body image, and losing weight. And, thanks to social media, movies, and television, the ideas of modern diet culture are everywhere. While this is harmful to anyone, it is particularly harmful to young children and teens, who are just starting to form opinions about things like body image and eating habits.
Fortunately, you can teach your kids better, healthier ideas and habits by teaching them about emotional eating.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is a very normal coping mechanism that helps people deal with strong emotions. Eating can lift your mood when you’re feeling down. It can calm you down when you’re feeling anxious or stressed out. It can promote a feeling of bonding between people eating together and make a special occasion feel even more special. In other words, emotional eating can be eating that is done to change, escape, or enhance a particular mood.
There are some biological reasons for emotional eating. When you’re feeling stress, for example, your brain responds by dumping hormones into your blood that make you crave fatty, sugary food. It does this because it tends to associate stress with danger or hardship, and it’s trying to make sure you have the fuel reserves you need to cope with those things. And then there’s the fact that eating also makes the brain produce other hormones that actually make you feel good.