What Type of Eater Are You?

by karen on July 26, 2019

Ever wonder why you have the eating habits you do? Why you can recognize something you do on a daily basis that is getting in the way of attaining your goals, yet find it impossible to change? Or why your best friend can seemingly eat and drink anything and get away with it? We all have our own personal style, including how and why we make our food choices, and why we eat can be more important than what we eat when it comes to being healthy.

Insight into the type of eater you are can be very helpful in getting a handle on the habits you would like to have in terms of the foods you put into your body each day. Read on to learn about six different eating styles, and learn a bit of savvy to tweak you style to suit you better, too. You might identify with two of the six styles, with one being your primary style and the other your rising style. If you’re still unsure by the end, you can also take a quiz to see where you land.

Emotional Eater

Like the name implies, you fall into this category if you find yourself eating for any reason; because you’re happy, sad, stressed, bored, or sulky. The common theme here is that emotions impact eating, and it’s an in-the-moment decision. It can be very hard for emotional eaters to pack a lunch for work or put foods on a grocery list—how can you say what you’ll want to eat in the near future? You won’t know until you get there and know how you feel.

Tip: Keep a journal to include what you eat and how you are feeling at the time. You can gain an understanding of your emotions in order to be on the look-out for what can derail your eating goals, as well as to sort out feelings you need to deal with directly instead of glazing over with food.

Habitual Eater

Liking routine and structure, habitual eaters know how to eat well and exercise regularly, which is a good place to be. Until time constraints and too many responsibilities get in the way, and one stray from the plan causes a derailment that lasts the whole day or longer. Habitual eaters often indulge in food not on their plan under the ‘just this once’ guise, which soon becomes part of the daily routine.

Tip: Give pre-measured portions and preset mealtimes a try.

External Eater

If this eating style is the category where you fall, you eat when you see food, or smell it, or hear someone else eating it. Seeing a food commercial on TV, spotting your coworker bringing in donuts, or smelling someone’s microwave popcorn from down the hall are all reasons enough for you to seek out food. It doesn’t matter if you have just eaten, aren’t hungry, or have sworn off donuts. You are very vulnerable to the external cues that constantly bombard us.

Tip: Create a distraction to interrupt yourself from acting on these external triggers without thinking. The distraction will allow time for you to think your choice through. And keep tempting foods out of your home and work environment; you won’t be triggered by something you don’t see.

Critical Eater

If you feel an obsessive component to following a diet, with an ‘all or nothing” mentality, that has you either on point or in the gutter with your plan, you’re a critical eater. When on track, you’re being “good” and when not, you’re definitely “bad”. You can easily vacillate between eating an entire box of cookies one day to following a crash diet the next.

Tip: Lessen up on the rules. Healthy eating always allows for give and take. And ditch the “good” and “bad’ labels, they only set us up for failure. Instead just try to focus on getting plenty of healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Sensual Eater

You appreciate food fully and enjoy every last bite when you’re a sensual eater. You’ll try anything once and find more pleasure in the act of eating than in responsible, food-related decision making. You take your time at mealtime and don’t have many, if any, food restrictions. Your lack of “bad” foods is commendable, but portions and food density can be problematic.

Tip: Be mindful of your portions, especially of heavier calorie-dense options, and remember it takes 20 minutes for your brain to be signaled that your stomach is full after you’ve eaten enough.

Energy Eater

If you look for quick energy fixes in food, this is your category. Energy eaters do well focusing on healthy, on-the-go snacks but often consume too many of them. While carbs do give our body fuel and thereby energy, large portions that may not be paired with protein do not give lasting energy, and can produce more insulin, which can cause more hunger.

Tip: Rather than waiting until you feel you need energy from food, get on a plan where you eat three meals daily, with small snacks of fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers, or low-fat dairy if hungry between meals.

Not sure where you fall? Here’s the quiz: What Type of Eater Are You Quiz.

Karen Fisher, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website atwww.NutritionConnectionNV.com

To find a nutrition expert in your area, go to the academy website – Find an Expert https://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert

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