Teaching the Self-Regulation of Eating

Erin C. Standen, Celina R. Furman, Traci Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-290
Number of pages7
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • dieting
  • eating
  • eating regulation
  • obesity
  • weight loss

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