Post by Guest Blogger Alex Sherman
There are certain types of food we are told to eat or avoid if we want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. However, something that is very important to think about is our eating style ; the way we eat, when we eat, and why we eat. Here are a few styles of eating that could help or potentially hinder your weight management goals:
Intuitive eaters consider how hungry they are and if they really need food at that moment. This also spans to how much food to eat. Being in touch with your internal satiety signals is very important for mindful eating, and can take some practice. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the stomach and brain to signal fullness. Eating slowly and mindfully is a fantastic approach to eating for your body’s needs, not what it wants or expects.
External factors, such as the size of the food container, food labelling, the presences of food in the room, who you are eating with, your level of stress etc, can influence our food choices and eating behaviours. External motivators can also be known as emotional eaters. While it is okay to occasionally treat yourself to something tasty, it is also important to acknowledge the feelings behind the food choices we make, and why.
Late nights, busy days at work and having a family to look after can lead to poor food choices if there is no time to prepare. Rule-setting can be beneficial when it comes to food preparation, portion sizes and restaurant choices. However, if these rules become too restrictive it can be an issue. Restrictive eating may not take into account internal hunger cues, changes in energy output and can promote the “good food bad food” approach to eating. Having set rules and guidelines to lose weight is important to stay on track, but if it becomes too strict, it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with eating.
Some people jump from one type of eating behaviour to another, depending on the mood of the day. We all have our own food rules and eating behaviours, but these can change depending on where we are, what food we are eating, and who we are with. If you surround yourself with restrictive eaters, you may lean towards being a bit more rigid with your food choices. If everyone at a buffet is piling their plates, that might signal to eat a little more than you might need.
A combination of a few styles could actually be the way to go, taking into account your daily activity, any health issues and general wellbeing. Personalising the approach to eating is important because the way one person manages their weight can be very different to the next. Making an appointment with an accredited practicing dietitian is a fantastic way to reflect and think about your own eating style, and if it is helping or hindering your weight loss goals.