What's your eating style

By Drum Digital
01 December 2010

IF THERE’S one thing doctors agree on, it’s that piling on the kilos will send you to an early grave. Countless studies have shown how dangerous excess weight is, with clear links to death from diabetes and heart disease.

There are plenty of diets you can try, but experts aren’t convinced they offer a solution. What happens when you stop the diet? If you go back to your old eating habits, you’ll be back at square one sooner or later.

It’s better to make small but permanent changes to our eating habits, experts say. It’s these habits that got us to where we are, so it makes sense to change the source of the problem.

Nutritionists believe many people are overweight or obese not because they binge on fatty meals but because they constantly “graze” throughout the day. This pattern is called automatic eating – we eat without thinking about it – and that’s why we end up with extra padding around our middles.

So if you want to shed excess weight, it may be as simple as thinking about what you put in your mouth.

These days we have a snacking culture, with plenty of options to choose from – and many of them are not healthy. Chips, chocolates, biscuits and pastries are all loaded with fat, salt or sugar.

Eating a mid-morning and afternoon snack is a good idea as it will help balance your blood sugar, but you have to choose the right kind of food.

Read on to see what kind of eater you are and what you can do to make your diet healthier.

THE AUTO-EATER

You eat whether you feel hungry or not and without actually thinking about whether you need food. Experts believe thousands of people may be obese or overweight simply because they eat like this. This kind of constant grazing means you underestimate your kilojoule intake. Solution Eat a filling breakfast, such as a bowl of oats, and when you feel the need to reach for a snack ask yourself how hungry you really are. Try drinking water instead.

THE CHAOTIC EATER

Highly-stressed career types often fall into this category. They have no eating routine, often skip meals and frequently eat on the run. Many are unaware of their unhealthy eating habits. Solution If you think you do this, keep a diary of what you eat for a week and calculate more or less what your kilojoule intake is. The results could shock you into taking control of your diet.

THE EMOTIONAL EATER

You use food as a crutch or as a distraction to stop you from confronting your feelings. It’s possible for you to eat an entire packet of biscuits or a big slab of chocolate without realising it. Solution Recognise that you’re an emotional eater and prepare for when you know the need is likely to strike. It tends to come on suddenly – but at predictable times – and usually involves a desire for one particular type of comfort food. Have a strategy to deal with it: keep healthy snacks handy, for example.

THE WASTE-NOT EATER

You may have been taught never to waste food and so don’t like to see food left on your plate – which means you’ll eat what’s there whether you want it or not. Solution Eat slowly and let your brain judge when you are full.

Read the full article in DRUM of 9 December 2010

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