Four Eating Types

Let’s face it, eating can be an anxiety provoking experience for some of us, especially those who have disordered eating or emotional eating tendencies.

Last week, I wrote about how to feel your big, scary emotions without eating through them. Over eating especially due to emotions leads to all sorts of problems, but the reality is that we need to eat to stay alive, which means generally eating multiple times a day. So how do we switch from emotional, uncontrolled eating to intuitive eating?

My clients and I do this by getting to know our hunger and eating habits better. We do this by using the hunger meter, but also by understanding that there are different types of eating experiences. If you are new to this blog, I suggest that you go here to understand the hunger meter.

Let’s now explore the four different types of eating.

1) Nourishment Eating
2) Enjoyment Eating
3) Unconscious Eating
4) Binge Eating

First is Nourishment Eating. This is where the intuitive eater comes to the table with a plate of food that is jam-packed with nutrients. The intuitive eater will sit down at the table and be fully conscious of the food they are putting into their bodies. By taking small breaks in-between bites, they will be able to stop when they are satisfied.

The Second type of eating is Enjoyment Eating. This type of eating is deliberate and decided a head of time. The intuitive eater is not eating for the purpose of bodily nourishment, but they are eating for pure pleasure (think birthday cakes, and ice-cream on a hot summer day). To fully experience enjoyment eating, it is important to be conscious and enjoy every morsel eaten. The key is that when you notice yourself not enjoying the food anymore, you stop eating. Once you give yourself permission you stop riding the emotional rollercoaster. You don’t feel guilt or deprivation, you just simply  enjoy.

Unconscious Eating is the third type of eating. This is where the emotional eater is eating to dull an emotion or using food as comfort. This normally occurs when the emotional eater is eating while doing another activity, such as reading or watching TV. There is no thought about the hunger meter, eating happens at any point on the scale. The emotional eater might not even recognize that they are eating until the food is gone.

The final eating type is Binge Eating. This is where an uncontrollable eating frenzy takes place. The emotional eater has a desperate feeling and eating  to numb themselves. This is when they reach 10 on the hunger meter, where they are painfully full. Purging might follow the binge.

As intuitive eaters, we strive to have eating experiences that are for nourishment or enjoyment, but it does not always happen. These categories are not meant to be a tool to beat yourself up, but rather a way to name and understand your tendencies better.

By way of naming your eating, it allows you to get back to your conscious self and understand and learn from your eating experiences, whatever they maybe.

As you are meeting the different types of eating with compassion, remember, there is no wagon to fall off of, there is only you and your body.

Much Love,

Megan P^2

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