What Type of Eater Are You?

The Emotional Eater is one who eats when she feels strong emotions – either negative or positive.  When she feels upset she may think, “I deserve to eat now because I’m very upset,” or “The only way I can calm down is to eat.”   Through these sabotaging thoughts and others, the emotional eater convinces herself that it is okay to eat when she is feeling heightened emotions and that eating is a reasonable way to calm down and feel comforted.  In reality, people do deserve to calm down and receive comfort when they are upset, but they do not need to do this by turning to food, because that will likely just make them feel worse in the end. 

Tips for ending emotional eating:

  1. Emotional eaters need a list of distracting activities that they can immediately start doing when they feel aroused emotionally, which will help them calm down without turning to food.
  2. Emotional eaters should remind themselves that people who have never had a weight problem don’t eat when they are upset. Instead they usually they try to solve the problem, answer back their negative thinking, take deep breaths, go for a walk, call a friend, or get back to a task.
  3. Even if it is a scheduled time to eat or drink, if someone is upset, it is best that she wait until she has calmed down to eat so that she proves to herself that she is able to calm down without eating.

The Deprived Eater is one who tries to eat as little as possible and often attempts to eliminate all foods that he considers “bad.”  The deprived eater may think, “It’s important that I eat as little as possible and never touch sweets or carbs so that I can lose weight as quickly as possible.”  Through these sabotaging thoughts and others, the deprived eater enters a cycle of deprivation and overeating, because eating too little leads his body to eventually rebel and then he goes on to consume way too many calories. In reality, it is important for the deprived eater to eat in a healthy and scheduled way, and not try to cut anything out of his diet permanently, so that he will be able to find a system of eating that works for him that he will be able to keep up for the long term.

Tips for ending the Deprivation/Binge Cycle:

  1. Deprived eaters need to get rid of the idea, “ I should eat as little as I can,” by reminding themselves that eating like that in the past has only caused them to eventually overeat and gain back any weight they may have lost during their period of deprivation.
  2. Deprived eaters need not to eliminate any food from their diet now that they would eventually like to start eating again. Instead, they should learn how to work their favorite foods into a healthy lifestyle from the beginning. Otherwise, they are likely to gain weight back when they try to reintroduce these foods.
  3. Deprived eaters need to treat most days the same and not deprive themselves some days and overeat on other days, so that they can build up their skills and abilities to maintain healthy eating no matter what day it is.

The Stressed Eater is one who does not feel entitled to take the time to sit down and enjoy her meals and instead will often grab something while sitting at the computer or doing other tasks.  The stressed and distracted eater often will end up eating much more than she had planned to later on because she will not notice how much she is eating and will  then feel unsatisfied.   Stressed eaters need to build up their sense of entitlement to take care of themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle by taking the time to prepare meals and enjoy eating them.

Tips for ending distracted and stressed eating:

  1. Stressed eaters might need to initially do some problem-solving to figure out when and how they will take the time to get and prepare healthy foods and sit down to enjoy them, distraction-free.
  2. Stressed eaters especially need to make sure that they are noticing every bite of what they are eating it and enjoy it, so that they feel satisfied and do not end up overeating later.
  3. Stressed eaters need to remind themselves that they are entitled to take time for themselves and develop a healthy lifestyle, and they will function better once they start doing this on a regular basis.

The Social Eater often will overeat in the presence of family or friends, telling themselves a number of sabotaging thoughts, including “it’s okay to eat this because…everyone else is doing it/it’s a special occasion/I’ll stand out if I don’t eat it/I don’t want to have to eat differently from other people.”  Social eaters need to remind themselves that they can’t have it both ways: they can’t eat everything they want, when they want, and also lose weight and keep it off.  Social eaters have to work toward accepting the fact that they may not be able to eat the same foods or the same portions of food as everyone around them, but they will be able to feel great about being able to lose weight and keep it off.

Tips for ending social eating:

  1. Social Eaters can often eat what people around them are eating, but in smaller quantities.  However, they may be better off eating larger portions of more healthful foods so that they feel more satisfied.
  2. Social Eaters need to remind themselves that just because everyone around them is eating something does not mean it’s okay for them to eat it, because calories other people take in has nothing to do with calories they take in.
  3. Social eaters should remind themselves that while they may be giving up eating as much as everyone around them is eating, they will also get to lose weight and feel good about themselves, which is more important than any momentary pleasure from food.

So we ask:  What type of eater are you?

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6 comments

  1. I am definitely the “deprived eater”! I had never thought about it like this…I tend to deprive myself throughout the week and end up splurging too much on weekends. This morning’s Facebook tip about how our bodies see every day as the same really helped me…will not overdo it this weekend 🙂

  2. yeah, i realise that i show the signs of all four too… though i would put myself as a predominant deprived eater. is this a bad thing – being all four at once?

  3. Many dieters (in fact all of the ones I’ve worked with) have traits in most of these categories. But the good news is that once dieters figure out the nature of any specific sabotaging thought, they can come up with a very strong response to it.

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