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You Are What You Eat: Types of Eating Habits

Health Tips
Last Updated Jun 23, 2023

You Are What You Eat: Types of Eating Habits

Our eating habits refer to our relationship with food. They affect our eating behaviours and choices, as well as the state of our mental and physical health. Eating habits can be either healthy or unhealthy, depending on whether or not they include eating a balanced diet composed of mostly vegetables and fruits, eating the proper amount of calories every day, practising an active lifestyle full of exercise, drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating small meals frequently rather than three large meals per day. Learn about your eating habits with this guide.

Mindful Eating: Exploring the Benefits and Techniques

Bringing awareness and attention to the present moment during meals is the cornerstone of mindful eating. It encourages individuals to slow down, savour each bite and pay attention to their body's hunger and fullness cues. By cultivating mindfulness while eating, people can develop a healthier relationship with food and enhance their overall wellbeing.

One of the key benefits of mindful eating is improved digestion. When we eat mindfully, we tend to chew our food more thoroughly, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption. Additionally, practising mindfulness during meals can help prevent overeating by allowing us to recognise when we are truly satisfied, reducing the chances of mindless snacking or indulging in unhealthy food choices.

To incorporate mindful eating into your routine, it's crucial to create a calm and distraction-free eating environment. Turn off electronic devices and focus solely on your meal. Pay attention to the flavours, textures and smells of the food. Chew slowly and savour each bite, allowing yourself to fully experience the pleasure of eating. Tune in to your body's signals of hunger and fullness, and honor them by stopping when you feel satisfied.

By adopting mindful eating practices, you can develop a healthier relationship with food, increase your enjoyment of meals and support your overall well-being.

What is Your Eating Habit?

As a necessary task for survival, eating offers numerous health benefits and can be a fun and rewarding experience if done right. But what is the best way to eat? The answer differs from person to person because everyone has different eating habits. To find out what your eating habits are like, you first need to define eating habits.

There are two types of eating habits: good eating habits and bad eating habits. The first is necessary for optimal health, while the second may lead to obesity, coronary heart disease and other medical conditions, as well as increasing mortality rate. Figure out what type of eater you are as we go through the list of different eating habits below.

What are the Different Types of Eating Habits?

Are you a healthy eater? Do you have a strong addiction to green vegetables and similar healthful food, or do you live off junk food because you're too busy to cook? Everyone has different eating habits and they're all just a part of life. It's important to remember that there are benefits and costs to whatever eating habits you have, but that doesn't mean they aren't still true for you.

Developing healthy eating habits can do great things in improving your health by potentially reducing stress, keeping your weight stable, or even helping treat eating disorders. And best of all, eating healthy can help you feel better about yourself! So, what are some of the eating habits that best describe how you eat?

The Picky Eater

Do you only eat a few select foods? Do you get overwhelmed when there is a lot of food in front of you? Do you have anxiety about eating new foods or being around people who are eating different types of foods from what you usually eat? If any of these things sound familiar, then it's likely that this is true for you.

The Impulsive Eater

Do most people say that they're constantly hungry because they never feel full enough after eating one meal, let alone their entire lunch or dinner? Do you often experience episodes of binge eating because it provides an escape from other feelings that are troubling you, such as boredom? Oftentimes, eating can become a way of coping with stressors in your life without thinking about the consequences. If these things are true for you then it's likely that this is what describes your eating habits best.

Eat Till I'm Full Eater

Most people eat until they feel full and stop eating at some point before feeling exceptionally stuffed. If eating until feeling full is your definition of fuel eating, it's high time you assessed how you actually feel after eating a large meal. If it makes you feel more sluggish than energised, perhaps this eating habit isn't working for you.

The Enthusiastic Eater

Do you generally enjoy eating, but aren't conscious of your eating habits? Do your eating habits depend on the situation and what's available to eat in different places (for example, eating healthy when you're at home and another way when you go out)? Most people fall within this category; we typically do whatever we can get by with, whether it is eating a lot or eating little. If this describes your eating habits best then it's likely that this overall style also reflects how well your diet is balanced.

The Emotional Eater

Emotional eating refers to the tendency to use food as a means to cope with emotions, such as stress, sadness, boredom or anxiety. It's a common behaviour that can lead to unhealthy eating patterns and difficulties in managing weight and overall health. Food becomes a way to temporarily numb or soothe emotional distress. However, it doesn't address the underlying issues and can create a cycle of guilt, shame and further emotional eating.

The Conscious Eater

Do other people describe eating for you as something similar to a hobby or even an obsession that rules over everything else in life? Do you feel guilty eating certain types of food, even if it's just every once in a while? If sticking to a healthy diet plan is something that you take great interest in and care about very much then this is the best eating habit for you to have.

Often, where you eat also pretty much describes whether or not your eating habits are good. Do you spend more money eating out than eating at home? Eating out can get expensive! Also, many restaurants give portions that are too big for one person. So, do you find yourself throwing away leftovers often? This can end up leading to unnecessary waste of food which is unfortunate because 1 in 5 Australians live with food insecurity.

Do you agree that it might be more efficient to buy groceries and cook your own food instead? This can be healthier as well as cheaper, so if eating at home is a way of eating that you prefer then this is the best eating habit for you.

Clinical Trials and Studies Shed Light on Eating Habits

Clinical trials and studies play a vital role in understanding the various types of eating habits and their impact on health and well-being. These research efforts provide valuable insights into the benefits, challenges and potential interventions related to different eating behaviours. Let's explore some noteworthy findings from clinical trials and studies conducted in this field.

1. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact of mindful eating on overall health. A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Obesity found that individuals who practised mindful eating experienced significant improvements in weight management and reduced binge eating behaviors compared to a control group. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted the potential of mindful eating in reducing emotional eating and improving psychological wellbeing.

2. Clinical trials and studies have shown a strong association between emotional eating and mental health. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that emotional eaters were more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety. Additionally, a study published in Appetite found that interventions targeting emotional regulation techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, could effectively reduce emotional eating behaviours.

3. Studies exploring intuitive eating have indicated several benefits associated with this approach. A systematic review published in Nutrients revealed that intuitive eating was linked to improved body image, reduced disordered eating behaviours and increased self-esteem. Moreover, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that intuitive eating was associated with a lower risk of emotional and binge eating.

4. Many clinical trials and studies have provided crucial insights into the understanding and treatment of disordered eating patterns. Research published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that early intervention and multidisciplinary approaches, including nutritional counselling, therapy and medical monitoring, were effective in improving outcomes for individuals with eating disorders. Long-term studies have emphasised the importance of ongoing support and relapse prevention strategies in maintaining recovery.

Recognising and Addressing Unhealthy Eating Patterns

Disordered eating refers to a range of irregular eating behaviours that may not meet the diagnostic criteria for a specific eating disorder but still have a significant impact on an individual's physical and mental health. It's important to recognise the signs and symptoms of disordered eating and seek appropriate help and support for recovery.

Common types of disordered eating include:

  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • binge eating disorder
  • orthorexia

These disorders are characterised by extreme behaviours and attitudes towards food, weight and body image. They can have serious consequences on both physical and psychological wellbeing.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling with disordered eating, it's crucial to seek professional help. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a tailored treatment plan. Treatment options may include therapy, nutrition counselling, medical monitoring and support groups.

It's also important to remember that recovery from disordered eating is possible. With the right support and treatment, individuals can develop a healthier relationship with food, rebuild body confidence and regain overall wellbeing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating, reach out to a healthcare professional or helpline for guidance and support.

What Constitutes Healthy Eating Habits?

Eating healthy means maintaining a balanced diet. This means eating the right amount of healthy food in order to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall health. A person's weight affects their health - being skinny does not necessarily mean they are healthy! Being overweight can lead to a host of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc., whereas being underweight can also cause just as many problems. A balanced diet includes all food groups, but most importantly, contains mostly fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrate intake.

Ensuring a healthy diet packed with a wide variety of healthy foods not only prevents unexplained weight gain or drops in body weight, but it will also boost your energy levels throughout the day. 

Tips for Healthy Eating

How do you know what to eat? Firstly, stick to foods that have not been processed as much. Many packaged or pre-packaged foods can be high in sugar or sodium which leads to health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Second, cook food at home if possible so you know exactly what goes into it, whereas eating out can lead to eating unhealthy foods that are difficult to avoid eating. And last but not least, make sure that your diet contains the four major food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein and grains.

Here below are some helpful tips on how to eat a healthy meal:

  • Eat breakfast every day to regulate weight, lower stress levels, increase concentration and prevent impulsive eating
  • Get 25g protein with every meal. Choose lean proteins, which you can get from fish, chicken and eggs, over fatty foods like cheese or bacon
  • Buy healthy snacks such as dried fruits and nuts
  • Cut out the salt where possible
  • Cook with spices instead of eating pre-packaged sauce or eating out
  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates
  • Drink water in place of soft drinks or other sugary drinks

Whether eating one meal at home or eating a few meals away from home, maintaining a healthful diet is an achievable goal that can lead to great benefits if accomplished! What's more, it helps prevent eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa, and leads to proper development of the mind and body. Remember, eating should be fun and rewarding, not stressful or depriving. Don't get tricked by advertisements for unhealthy foods because eating healthy won't break the bank!

Find out which diet is best suited to your body and lifestyle by speaking with a health professional in your local area, who specialises in healthy eating, such as a nutritionist or dietitian.


Originally published on Oct 12, 2021

FAQs About Different Types of Eating Habits

Why is eating while watching TV bad?

Nutrition experts do not recommend watching television while eating since it can lead to binge eating and improper chewing. Eating your meals while seated at the dining table aids proper digestion. Plus, weight gain and indigestion are often caused by poor posture, which we are prone to developing when stuck in front of the TV.

Why do I feel so good after eating?

Eating causes the release of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, which is why it is a pleasurable activity. You are more likely to become more satiated if the food you eat appeals to your palate.

Why does my stomach get upset every time I eat?

An upset stomach after eating could be a sign of an allergic reaction to a certain food. Often, this happens when you drink too much alcohol, consume too much caffeine or eat too much fat.

How can I break free from unhealthy snacking habits?

Breaking unhealthy snacking habits can be challenging but not impossible. Start by identifying the triggers that lead to excessive snacking, such as boredom or stress. Find alternative activities to distract yourself, like going for a walk, engaging in a hobby or drinking a glass of water. Keep healthy snacks readily available and remove tempting, unhealthy options from your environment.

Is it necessary to follow a specific diet to have healthy eating habits?

No, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. It's more about making balanced choices and finding what works best for you. Focus on consuming a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues and practise portion control.

How can I incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my daily eating habits?

There are several ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Try adding them to smoothies, salads or stir-fries. Keep a variety of fresh produce on hand and make them the focus of your meals. Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of processed snacks and experiment with new recipes that incorporate these nutritious foods.

What is the importance of developing healthy eating habits?

Developing healthy eating habits is essential for maintaining overall health and wellbeing. It provides the body with the necessary nutrients, supports optimal physical and mental functioning, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Are there any strategies to overcome emotional eating?

Overcoming emotional eating requires a multifaceted approach. Start by becoming aware of your emotional triggers and finding alternative coping mechanisms, such as practising mindfulness, engaging in physical activity or seeking support from a trusted friend or professional. Building a strong support network and addressing underlying emotional issues through therapy can also be beneficial in managing emotional eating habits.

Related Topics

Dieting,  Nutrition,  Binge Eating,  Anorexia

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