Have you ever stopped yourself while eating and asked – why am I eating? Are you really hungry? Or are you bored? Upset? Identifying your eating triggers can help you understand your habits and in turn, change them.
Below we list a number of eating personalities and solutions to help you reconnect with your body’s appetite signals.
This type of eater can feel totally content and not hungry at all, but when food presents itself they indulge freely. This means when they’re near the biscuit tin at work or by chocolate bars at the checkout they’ll happily grab a handful. This reaction stems from the way our ancestors ate, but it today’s world there is an abundance of food and this reaction can be unhealthy.
- Remove temptation by emptying your cupboards of junk food and replacing them with healthier snacks.
- Write a list of scenarios when you could be tempted by food on show and plan ways to limit temptation (for example eat a healthy snack at work before pillaging the biscuit tin).
- Store any unhealthy treats in opaque containers at the back of your cupboards to reduce the chance of temptation.
During the week social eaters have their eating habits under control, but when a social event pops up – all rules go out the window. This is fine every now and then, but if you are attending nights out, breakfast meetings and dinners a lot, this could start to affect your waistline.
- If you have several social events coming up, try to space the dates out so you are not overindulging.
- If you regularly meet friends or coworkers for coffee and pastries, suggest going for a walk instead.
- Stick to regular mealtimes and never skip breakfast – staying full of nutritious food will help you avoid temptation when socialising.
If you find you reach for food when you are upset or happy, you are probably an emotional eater. This type of eater will seek comfort in food when they are down or may reward themselves with food when they’ve achieved something. If you are comforting yourself with unhealthy foods, this can lead to weight gain over time.
- Pinpoint your particular emotional triggers by keeping a food journal – be sure to write how you’re feeling as well as what you’re eating.
- Come up with some non-food related rewards, these could be a massage, a long bath or even a night in with your favourite movie. Next time you want to reward yourself, opt for one of these instead of food.
- Find a support network. Rather than turning to food when you feel low, turn to a friend or a professional and talk about your worries.