Student Web Activity

Chapter 10 Lesson 1: Mood and Food

Introduction

Emotions can have a big impact on what and how you eat. It is quite common for people to eat when they are feeling sad, stressed, or bored. Unfortunately eating more than your body needs for fuel can be very unhealthy. On the Web site below, you will learn about the connection between emotions, and food and how to prevent and cope with emotional eating.

Link to explore: Mayo Clinic:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/MH00025

Directions

  • Start at the Mayo Clinic Web site.
  • Read through the page on emotions and food.
  • Take notes as you read.
  • When you are done reading, answer the questions below.
  • Finally, using the information from the links, create a cartoon strip in which an emotional eater learns how to cope with his or her feelings without using food. The cartoon should tell a brief story and have a message at the end.

Questions

  1. Why do some people eat when they are feeling stressed, angry, boredom or lonely?
  1. Why do scientists think that some people use food to comfort themselves?
  1. How can overeating temporarily relieve stress?
  1. Why is it a bad idea to eat to relieve stress?
  1. What are four of the eight ways to avoid emotional eating?

Answers

  1. Some people use food as a way to comfort themselves—as a way to suppress or sooth negative emotions.
  1. Research shows that some foods cause the body to release mood elevating chemicals.
  1. Eating can relieve stress because it is a distraction, and takes a person’s mind off his or her problems.
  1. It is not a good idea to eat to relieve stress because eating too much can cause weight gain and more stress because a person feels guilty for eating.
  1. The eight ways to avoid emotional eating are:
    1. Learning to recognize true hunger.
    2. Learning to recognize your triggers.
    3. Looking elsewhere for comfort.
    4. Choosing not to keep unhealthy foods around.
    5. Snacking healthy.
    6. Eating a balanced diet.
    7. Exercising regularly.
    8. Preventing relapse.
Additional Resources for Teachers

Below are some additional resources on emotional eating. As you will see, most sites link this kind of eating to eating disorders, so you might want to discuss how using food to suppress emotions can lead to serious eating disorders.

  1. Counseling Center for Emotional Eating:
    http://www.fattitudes.com
  2. About – Emotional Eating Triggers:
    http://weightloss.about.com/od/emotionaleating/tp/blemotional.htm
  3. About – Emotional Eating Cues:
    http://weightloss.about.com/cs/emotionaleating/l/bleecues.htm
  4. Ohio State University:
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/ed-fact/1005.html

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