What Your Eating Style Says About You and What to do About it

Knowing HOW you eat can open up a huge opportunity to heal your relationship with food


Today we are talking all about HOW you eat. Have you ever actually thought about it... HOW you eat?

Today we're going to explore what kind of eater you are by discovering some eating styles that might be applicable to you!

In fact, you may find that you resonate with a particular eating style all the time and you may also find that some eating styles are very situational. So, let's get to it!

The 7 Eating Styles

There are 7 different eating styles that you are likely to associate with and we will go through each one individually.  You may fit into one, a few, or even all of these categories throughout your life. They are: The careful eater, the professional dieter, the unconscious eater, the chaotic unconscious eater, the refuse-not eater, the waste not eater, and the emotional eater.

Ok, now that I've probably confused you, let's dive in! As I explain each eating style, think about your relationship with food and what categories might resonate with you most. The first step in taking action and working on it is to understand where you're at right now. 


The careful eater

A careful eater is all about making sure things are perfect. They obsess over every bite. Others might label them as a “health nut”, but under the surface they suffer. They are constantly trying to get their nutrition perfect, but they don’t really have a balance when it comes to health and wellness.
In fact, if you find yourself a perfect eater, you might also find yourself an all-or-nothing eater. Either you are perfect and eat perfectly, or the second you slip up you throw it all out the window, because what’s the point? You are so careful and meticulous with what you think you should put in your body that your relationship with food is out of balance.


The professional dieter

 Are you a victim of shiny object syndrome? The next diet or meal plan just came out and you have to try it! It’s guaranteed to help you lose those last few pounds, or give you more energy, or get you back on track.
You see, the nutrition industry is reeeealllly good at making you feel like you need their products to be successful. You’re triggered by feeling fat or even feeling like you don’t know how to eat healthy so someone else can tell you exactly how.

Professional dieters are inundated with specific food rules. You can’t eat this or that. You create rules around food and start to label foods as “bad” or “good”. This creates a long-term dysfunctional relationship with food because you have a long list of things you should and should not eat.


the unconscious eater

The unconscious eater is triggered by eating while doing something else. Do you find yourself eating lunch at your desk more often than not? Or eating while reading a book? Or struggling when you do actually have to sit down and experience your food? You might engage in some unconscious eating and wonder where that food you just ate went! You don’t even remember eating it!



The chaotic unconscious eater

Similar to the unconscious eater, the chaotic unconscious eater is triggered by being too busy. You’re always eating on the run and grabbing whatever food is available at the moment. In this scenario, you are also unaware of what you just put in your mouth - you have other, more important things to be worried about to stop and eat.


The refuse-not eater

The refuse-not eater is someone that is tempted by the presence of food. Potlucks, parties, and other events tend to trigger overeating or eating foods that you don’t necessarily need. You may have just eaten a big lunch, but those snacks in the break room are too appealing.
If you are a refuse-not eater, you rarely say no when someone offers you something. But, you often feel guilty afterward because you feel like you have no self-control or can’t say no to something you know you don’t really need even though it looks appealing.


The waste-not eater

The waste-not eater is similar to the refuse-not eater in that they are triggered by the presence of food, but especially free food. Buffets, break rooms, events. All of this brings out the lack of self-control.

If you find yourself a waste-not eater, you likely get a little stressed about upcoming events or places you know there will be free food because you’re certain you’ll have no self-control over it.


The emotional eater

I'd be willing to bet we all fit into this category at some time or another! he emotional eater is triggered to eat by whatever emotion they are currently experiencing.

Most people see emotional eating as being curled up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and some potato chips (because when you’re having a bad day, of course those two things go together!).

But emotional eating is much more than that.

Emotional eating is eating when experiencing any sort of emotion. You could be excited and feel like you should celebrate with food, or angry and frustrated and need something crunchy, or sad and need something sweet. Emotional eaters use food to deal with their emotions most of the time. This means they turn to food when they experience anything that is uncomfortable or extreme.

Ok, now that we’ve explored the 7 different eating styles, which one or ones resonates with you most? Do you find yourself agreeing with one or several of them? This can give you a good snapshot of what your relationship with food looks like at the current moment and the things you might want to start working on.

The key to managing these eating styles is to figure out your trigger (such as eating chaotically because you are busy) and then either change it or reframe it. For example, if you are too busy to sit down and eat, then try to make sure you have some good, healthy food options around you at all times so you can grab and go on the run. Try your best to mindfully eat those foods as you drive or whatever else, but at least you know you’re getting better nutrition than stopping at the next fast food place.

I've included the link to a handout outlining the 7 eating styles along with an area for you to create a plan for yourself. It also has recommendations for strategies to use to help you eat more mindfully no matter what eating style you relate to. Or, come up with your own strategies that work for you!

Understanding how you eat is the first step in making any changes. You can do this!