• Emma Green

3 types of eaters

If you look at the research literature on food behaviour, you’ll come across 3 types of eaters. Here are the 3 types and how they relate to food: ⠀ 1. Rigid restrained eaters: These people have an all-or-nothing approach. This involves strict rules about what, when and how much to eat. When these aren’t met for whatever reason, a ‘what the hell’ effect occurs where all the rules are thrown out the window and eating large amounts of ‘bad’ foods occurs. This is where most people on meal plans or specific diets sit. 2. Flexible restrained eaters: These people have a graded approach to food where certain foods or amounts are restricted. When these principles are broken, compensation occurs by either restricting at future meals or engaging in extra exercise. This is where most ‘macro trackers’ sit. 3. Intuitive eaters: These people have no rules about types, amounts or timing of food. They use their own internal cues to make decisions about eating and do not compensate if they eat large amounts of food sometimes. Until relatively recently, most researchers thought that flexible dietary restraint was the way to go but that’s starting to change. Both rigid and flexible dietary restraint have been found to be associated with increased levels of disordered eating, poorer body image and exercising for weight-control reasons. Both of these types of eating have also been strongly correlated with each other, suggesting that restraint in any form is restrictive and potentially problematic. . There’s also been more research showing that intuitive eating is linked with a range of positive health outcomes, including: lower levels of disordered eating, more positive body image and better emotional wellbeing. If you think that intuitive eating is ‘woo’ or ‘bullshit’, I’m sure this post alone won’t change your mind. You don’t have to take my word for it. Look at the research and decide for yourself.

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