We all know that the food we eat is critical to our health. It provides our bodies with the energy (in the form of calories) it needs to function and the nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. But sometimes, even when we make all the right choices, our eating habits can get out of control. If you find yourself snacking mindlessly, grabbing something from the fridge without hunger cues or skipping meals, it might be time to take a closer look at your eating habits.
Eating is a complex process that’s driven by many factors. From childhood experiences, encouragement to eat certain foods, family customs and rituals, advertising, personal values and culture, we develop unique likes and dislikes about the foods we choose to eat.
The NHS recommends aiming for five portions of a variety of different fruits and vegetables a day and having balanced meals consisting of protein, carbohydrates and fat. These guidelines can be a good place to start if you’re struggling with an unbalanced diet and want to change your eating habits for the better. However, it’s important to understand that fad diets and cleanses aren’t the answer and will most likely lead to more short-term weight loss than long-term sustainable healthy eating changes.
According to a new study by the nutrition app Noom, there are four types of eating habit that people tend to fall into. Fuel eaters are those who eat only the foods that provide their body with energy and increase health. This group may be considered the healthiest of all, but some research shows that they can still struggle with other eating patterns.
Snackers are those who eat on impulse and out of boredom. This is a common type of eating that can be hard to break. The best way to manage this is to focus on mindful eating at meals. This means putting down your phone and sitting down to eat, taking time to chew and enjoy each bite, and eliminating distractions such as watching tv or scrolling social media.
Sensual eaters are those who appreciate delicious, high-quality food and seek out foods that are unique or exotic. They also tend to have a high metabolism and can often eat large amounts of food before feeling full.
Fog eaters are those who eat on autopilot and out of habit. This can include things such as having a quick lunch in the car, picking at leftovers from dinner the night before or reaching for the snacks at work or home. Fog eating can be a sign of stress or being bored and should be avoided as much as possible.
All of these types of eating can cause problems in the long term if you don’t manage them well. It’s important to understand each of these types so that you can work on changing the negative habits, while embracing the positive ones. Keeping a food diary can be helpful in getting to the root cause of your eating habits, and making small daily habits that will help you achieve sustainable healthy eating.