There’s no denying that our eating habits and behaviors are shaped as we grow up. An array of factors—-culture, media, taste preferences, allergies, past experiences, mood—-influence both the food choices we make and how we eat. Just being in the presence of a young toddler proves that a baby isn’t born with a diet mentality nor does she (or he) possess a negative bias towards her body.
My husband is someone I truly admire. I admire him for his laid-back nature, his unwavering positivity and his uncharacteristically-male ability to talk about his feelings. But, I also admire his love of vegetables. I mean, while I’m over here devouring a block of chocolate after dinner, he’s sitting in front of the TV munching on a carrot. When I’m packing snacks for the movies, I throw in a bag of M&Ms and he’s all, “can you pack me some cherry tomatoes?” I mean, this guy loves his veggies!
His love of greens goes way back to childhood. He got his first lesson in theft at the early age of four! Conveniently, my husband grew up next door to an elderly lady who grew her own veggie patch. One day while cleaning the house, my mother-in-law found a head of cabbage behind the living room couch. Curious as to how it got there, she asked her son (my hubby). Turns out, the sneaky tot was ‘stealing’ from the old lady’s garden. Hey, at least he was honest!
In a world where many people are addicted to sugar, processed junk and carbs, my husband is a rarity. A slew of us are on and off the diet bandwagon for years on end. On top of this, it’s common for people to misuse food to deal with their emotions. It’s quite evident that eating isn’t as simple as it was in earlier generations.
The tricky thing is many of us have become desensitized to disordered eating patterns because mainstream media makes it appear healthy or permissible. Lately, Clean Eating is all the rage. I see some merit in this style of eating as it avoids processed junk and focuses on whole, nutrient-rich foods. Yes to real food!
Yet it saddens me to see so many people take Clean Eating to the extreme. They avoid certain foods at all costs, they label foods as either “good” or “bad” or they feel immense guilt when a “sinful” food passes their lips. (Which isn’t really warranted as you can only white knuckle it for so long before you give into totally normal, totally human cravings!)
This emotional investment in eating manifests itself as a few common eating styles. If you don’t feel at peace with food or your body, let me ask you:
WHAT KIND OF EATER ARE YOU?
- The Careful Eater—These types of eaters tend to be very meticulous about every morsel that passes their lips. They appear to have amazing willpower towards the dessert table and only eat ‘healthy’ foods. They are commonly physically fit and love their exercise. Careful Eaters read food labels and want to know every ingredient in their food. They spend excess time planning their meals and often worry about what they’ll eat next. Many Careful Eaters under eat or eat rigidly during weekdays only to splurge on weekends or special occasions. This eating style creates an unhealthy relationship with food and compromises their health.
- The Professional Dieter—These eaters are constantly on a diet. They bounce from one fad diet to the next, oftentimes succumbing to extreme diet tricks. Professional Dieters have weight loss as their main goal over health. They usually begin their day on track with food choices but slip up, then binge on their “Last Supper” meal before vowing that the next day they’ll be “good” again. The cycle of diet-binge-diet-binge is all too familiar to the Professional Dieters. Yo-yo dieting wreaks havoc on their metabolisms and makes it even harder to lose weight.
- The Unconscious Eater—Unconscious Eaters often eat while doing something else, such as driving, watching TV or working. Some Unconscious Eaters are fast-paced business women who grab food on the go and can’t find time to eat in a relaxed state. Others have a hard time refusing food; if it’s there, they habitually eat whether or not they are hungry. Have you ever needed a snack while watching a movie, not because you’re hungry but because “HEY, I’M WATCHING A MOVIE!”? Some Unconscious Eaters use food to cope with emotions, such as stress, anger or sadness. They might use a sweet treat to cheer them up after a break-up or calm them down after a long, hard workday. The problem begins when unconscious eating leads to overeating and unnecessary weight gain.
Do any of these eating styles ring a bell with you? Maybe more than one is all too comfy. It’s common that people swing between a few patterns. The good news is there is hope of transforming your eating style!
Coming up on the blog I’ll share more of my story and how INTUITIVE EATING has literally changed my life by healing my relationship with food and getting me in tune with my body. I’ll also share my top tips to OVERCOMING BINGE EATING.
Keep your eyes peeled!
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