Although most psychology courses do not include the topic of eating, we believe it can be rewarding to teach because much of the conventional wisdom about eating is wrong. Teachers can use scientific evidence to clarify incorrect, but long-held, beliefs that many students have about eating, including the extent to which weight is under individual control, whether diets are effective in the long term, whether obesity is deadly, and whether comfort food is comforting. Teaching about psychological theories of self-regulation works well in the context of eating because eating is the prototypical self-control task and because most students are aware of the difficulty of controlling eating. In this article, we discuss misconceptions surrounding the psychology of eating and theories of self-control, and we provide easy classroom activities that make the topic of eating fun to teach.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Traci Mann is a professor of psychology at the Univer- sity of Minnesota. She has been studying the self- control of eating for over 25 years. Her research has been funded by the National Institudes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United States Depart- ment of Agriculture. She has published her work in doz ens of academic journals in psychology and medicine, and she is the author of Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again (HarperCollins, 2015).
© 2018, The Author(s) 2018.
- eating regulation
- weight loss