There’s no denying that how we feel (sad, mad, or glad for example) may be tied to what we choose to eat and how we eat it. One of my personal favorite episodes this past year or so has been the topic of emotional eating. I had Melanie Smith, the Training Director of the Renfrew Center specializing in eating disorders, on the podcast to discuss the importance of teaching emotional regulation in children and how it relates to food and eating.
Melanie said, “Emotional regulation is the ability to understand the whole range of emotions that you’re having and to be willing to experience the ones that might be more difficult, but in a way that is proportionate to the situation.”
For example, when your child gets mad, she has a healthy way to express and deal with that emotion, rather than shut down and refuse to eat. Or if she feels sad that she seeks human comfort rather than comforting herself with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. (Not that Ben & Jerry’s isn’t comforting but a habit of seeking comfort from their delicious products may not be a healthy, effective approach).
One of the things I reflected on after this interview – and became more sensitive to – was noticing how my own children navigated and regulated their feelings and emotions. I hope listening to this episode again (or for the first time) will bring that sensitivity to you as well.