“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
– Brillat Savarin
I firmly believe that you must identify why you eat before you can control what you eat. Therefore, let’s look at different eating patterns most can identify with. There are four of them.
Do you graze throughout the day… snacking here… snacking there… at your desk… near the kitchen… in front of the television…wherever else? Grazing is an eating pattern, never hungry or full but love to snack! We were told to eat six small meals per day, right?
Or, are you on the opposite end of the spectrum? Calories in must be less than calories out, so why not restrict and eat less? Restricting is an eating pattern, whether that is skipping meals or not allowing yourself a certain type of food. An ice cream cone sounds delicious right now, but nah, I’ll go for the handful of walnuts. Walnuts do not equal ice cream.
Or, do you ride the struggle bus when trying to maintain portion control? Meat the size of your arm, or a pasta dinner, as in a 12-inch platter of starchy goodness. How did either of those sit in your stomach? Have you ever felt like you need to be lifted out of your chair at the supper table and rot on the couch for the next four hours to recover from an eating experience? Overeating is the eating pattern in which your portions are large.and.in.charge.
Or, do you feel like you have things pretty well under control and normalized? This eating pattern would be starting to eat when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. To most, this is not realistic due to something called LIFE. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in control, all (or at least most) of the time?
Grazing. Restricting. Overeating. These are all disordered eating patterns. Listen to your stomach to start eating normally.
Source for four eating patterns: Craighead, L. W. (2006). The appetite awareness workbook: How to listen to your body & overcome bingeing, overeating & obsession with food.