People have many different eating habits. These include when they eat, what they eat, and how much they eat. They also include how they obtain, store, use and discard food. Eating habits are influenced by cultural, social, economic and environmental factors. All of these influences lead to different types of eating habit.
The type of food habit that someone has can impact their health. Eating unhealthy food can lead to obesity, heart disease and other health problems. On the other hand, healthy eating can help prevent and treat a number of health conditions.
Some people eat for fun, fuel or comfort. Fuel eaters choose foods that are nutrient rich and provide energy. They may enjoy snacking on a piece of fruit or sipping a glass of water with a meal. These are all good habits that can help people maintain a healthy weight and live longer.
Munchers eat when they are not hungry and tend to eat mindless, high-calorie foods. They can easily gain weight from this type of eating habit and often do not realize how many calories they are consuming per day.
Comfort Eaters eat to feel better. They rely on certain comfort foods, such as a bowl of soup or a big plate of pasta, to soothe emotions such as sadness, loneliness, anxiety or boredom. While comfort eating is not necessarily bad, it can lead to overeating and over-indulging which can then cause weight gain over time.
The critic can be very knowledgeable about nutrition and health but have an all or nothing approach to diets and meal planning. They are critical of their own food choices and will often have self-imposed rules that they will not break. This can be an effective way to improve one’s eating habits but can also be counter-productive. It is important to balance the food critic with healthy habits and to find ways to eat more mindfully.
Emotional eaters eat for emotional reasons and will eat even when they are not hungry. This can be a sign of depression, anxiety or boredom. They will eat to feel a sense of control and will often binge if they do not feel able to cope with their emotions in another way. Emotional eaters can develop a variety of health issues including depression, anorexia, bulimia and heart disease.
Understanding the different types of eating habit can help you identify which ones you want to work on improving. Start by identifying all of the healthy eating habits you have and be sure to celebrate them. Then look at the unhealthy habits and ask yourself why you do these things and how you could replace them with healthier alternatives. Be patient and remember that it takes time to form new behaviors. Try to make one change at a time and stick with it for the long haul. You might need to seek support from a dietitian or health coach to help you make the changes.