When Emotional Eating Helps: Snowstorms, Valentines & Good Food


There’s a huge snowstorm here today, school is cancelled, and it’s Valentine’s, too.  The combination just makes me want to snuggle down to a nice day inside, cooking some great food to keep us warm and feeling cozy and comforted. 

Some might say that’s a definition of emotional eating, and I guess it is.  But emotional eating is part of normal eating.  Take the famous definition of normal eating by Ellyn Satter, pioneer in the area: "Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, bored, or just because it feels good."

The black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking that says we shouldn’t ever eat emotionally can set us up for overdoing it.  And indeed, when we begin to overdo emotional eating, that’s when it begins to hurt.  And when we need to start using other ways to take care of ourselves.

But if you’re like me, caught inside on a cold, cold day in the midst of a blizzard, and a good meal seems just the way to end this Valentine’s Day, go for it.  We need to eat, and making our meal a celebration of our emotional connections is perfect! 

If you’re in some other part of the world where it’s sunny and warm, and a good meal seems just the way to end your Valentine’s Day, ditto.  Valentine’s Day is about love, and what better way to love than to provide our loved ones, including ourselves, with a nourishing, good-tasting meal that hits the spot.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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