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What’s Your Eating Personality?

Have you given any thought to who you are as an eater? And if so, how can you use this information to improve your relationship with food and support your wellbeing?

In this article, I’m sharing common “categories” of eaters I regularly come across in my work as a nutritionist. I’ve personally been each one of these at different stages of my journey with food and at times, more than 1 or 2 of these! It’s quite normal.

As you read on, please do so from a place of curiosity and kindness. And make sure to read until the end for my tips to help you apply this information to your specific circumstances.

5 Common Eating Personalities I encounter time and again:

· The vigilant eater: this kind of eater is very careful about what they eat, when and how much. Often limiting and/or completely eliminating specific foods or food groups. They may not be following a specific diet per se but food is definitely at the center stage of this person’s life. If left unmanaged, thoughts about food (and often, their bodies) can become obsessive and all consuming.

· The professional dieter: this kind of eater gets both excited as well as dreads the thought of starting a new diet. Likely this person has tried more diets than they can remember. They often swing between restriction and excess. Researching about diets and/or discussing them with other people and exchanging tips and tricks about what worked for them is something they spend lots of time and energy on. Usually the main motive that drives this person is the desire for weight loss.

· The chaotic eater: the day goes by and this person likely can’t recall what, when or how much they ate. Maybe they eat on the go, often while answering emails, doing chores around the house and driving around the city. They often skip meals and then find themselves ravenous and pulling on the drive thru or going on mini-binges on sweets, chips, pizza, cookies, etc. Very often, this kind of eater is dealing with health conditions that would improve by slowing down, reducing stress and making changes to their eating habits. However, they feel they’re too busy to make changes and/or simply don’t know where to start.

· The emotional eater: this person often knows a lot about food; they’re definitely not lacking in nutritional knowledge or information. They also tend to be pretty health conscious. Is not that this person doesn’t know they’re resourcing to food to calm, entertain, numb, occupy or soothe themselves. There’s different reasons why emotional eaters haven’t yet broken the cycle. Often because the perceived benefits of overcoming emotional eating do not yet outweigh the challenges, discomforts and work involved in carrying out self-exploration and the labor (and sometimes pain) involved in developing personal strategies and developing emotional mastering. Sweets and/or fatty, salty foods are their go-tos in times of need.

· The mindful eater: these eaters are pretty open and flexible with food but they’re also aware of how food makes them feel. Whatever changes and modifications in their eating they make, usually comes from a place where the person seeks nourishment and true wellbeing. Mindful eaters give food the space it deserves in their life, often taking a moment to check in and think about what and how much they’re going to eat, however not in an obsessive way. They take time to enjoy treats and are also able to move on if they didn’t make a stellar choice with food. Overall, eating is a positive experience.

How Knowing This Can Help You?

Understanding your eating patterns can help you identify what’s working and what’s not and then use this information to make shifts that support your health and relationship with food.

Here’s some tips to help use this information to support your goals and wellbeing:

1. Based on the classification above, which 1 or 2 eating personalities you identify with the most?

2. Ask yourself: am I satisfied with the way I show up to food or do I wish to make changes?

3. If you answered “I’m satisfied” then I hope you enjoyed reading this article but if you answered “no”, then I invite you to choose who you want to be as an eater.

4. Knowing that now, identify a change you can make starting now (no need to wait).

Here’s some ideas if you need some help:

a. “next time I’m tempted to go on social media and see what others are eating in a day, or talk about food, diets and workout regimens with friends, coworkers or family members, I’m not going to participate or I will withdraw from the conversation because I realize how triggering this is to me” – this is a great way to start removing triggers and influences that keep you in a cycle with food that doesn’t support you.

b. Ask yourself what are the main reasons why I want to eat every night after dinner? Am I doing this out of habit? Is it because I’m bored? Am I not eating enough during the day and I want more now? It may seem like a simple question but learning about your unique drivers to emotionally eat can help initiate change. Many emotional eaters do so on autopilot, stopping and asking yourself why you want the food is often the starting point for then questioning whether you actually want to eat the treats or whether there’s something else you really need.

c. Plan to take a break at some point during the day (could be mid-morning or mid-afternoon) to check in with yourself and see what you need. Would a snack at this point prevent a min-binge after work? are you running yourself ragged again?!? Remind yourself that is ok to slow down, take a break and eat a little something if you need. I promise your to-do list will still be there after you’re done, but you will be in better condition to tackle it!

5. Give it time. I’m sure you already know change takes time, consistency and lots of practice. As someone who’s been there and who’s seen other people’s transformation, I assure you change is possible but yes, it does take some time & intention!

If you found this helpful and you know of someone who would benefit from this article, would you please share it?

Thank you so much!!


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