4 Types of Eating

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On Sunday, Drew brought home a party sized bag of candy left behind from a church event. He stuck it in our freezer. It was already open, so I don’t know exactly how many of the 93 pieces of Peanut Butter Cups, KIT KAT Bars and REESE’S PIECES Candy were in the bag, but I do know that it was mostly full. Today is Wednesday and the bag is empty. I did not tell my housemates about this bag of candy. I did not tell them they could or couldn’t eat it. 


In less than 3 days 70+ pieces of candy disappeared. There are 6 of us living in the house (along with a frequent bonus guest kid who doesn’t sleep here). 


We don’t usually keep candy in the house and as each person discovered the bag it seemed to set off a type of eating commonly referred to as STORM EATING.


There are 4 common kinds of eating habits


STORM EATING – Storm eating is when you eat and feel like you can’t stop – even if you are not hungry. This often happens when you get your hands on food you consider off limits. The candy in my freezer caused a storm of eating in my house. It can also happen when you eat food that doesn’t satisfy the need your body has. You’re hungry so you grab fistfuls of Cheez-Its, but what you really need is some protein and some water. The saltiness sends you back into the box until it’s empty. Or maybe you are feeling uncomfortable at a social event and so you return again and again to the charcuterie board as a way of pacifying the discomfort. Storm eating is also binge eating. 


FOG EATING – Fog eating happens when you don’t even realize you are eating. The food is there and you consume it mindlessly. Think about popcorn at the movies, chips and salsa at the restaurant, the bread basket, the handfuls of whatever as you pass through the kitchen while working from home. Fog eating doesn’t remember that you already had multiple servings.


FUN EATING – Fun eating is when you eat for pleasure: delicious and comforting foods – gelato, samosas, cheese enchiladas; as well as healthier foods prepared in ways that make your tastebuds happy. Fun eating lives to eat.


FUEL EATING – Fuel eating gives your body what it needs for the day – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats. Fuel eaters eat to live, rather than live to eat.


We all engage in these eating patterns, but which is yours most of the time?


STORM EATING will happen. It can be helpful to embrace the mindset that foods aren’t bad or good. You can have whatever you want in moderation! STORM EATING will decrease when you focus on eating a mix of FUEL and FUN. Also recognizing that your environment has a huge impact on STORM eating, make smart choices! – it’s hard to eat 70 pieces of candy if you don’t have 70 pieces of candy in the house. 


FOG eating can be a tough one to overcome because often fog eating is unaware. Mindful eating is one strategy that can help you make better decisions – eat sitting down without other distractions (no technology!)


If FUN decides most of your food choices, be mindful of the balance of protein, carbs and fat. FUN foods can be an important part of balanced eating. But lots of fun foods need to be consumed in moderation (icecream!). There is always room for fun eating. But also we want to learn how to enjoy fuel eating.


If you mostly FUEL – choose foods that help your body function best. But don’t forget to incorporate fun foods into your diet – this helps you be healthy for life!


If you want to have a conversation about how to change some of your patterns, schedule a sit down with one of our nutrition coaches and let us help you think through some strategies!



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