Do You Know Your Food Personality?

Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show Aired November 02, 2016

America’s number one food holiday -- Thanksgiving -- is right around the corner, and it’s no secret that many of us fall off our diet bandwagons during this time. So how do you stay on track? Dr. Ian Smith says that figuring out your food personality (which Dr. Ian calls your “Eating IQ”) can help you figure out how your brain relates to food.

Everyone falls into one of three categories: emotional, uncontrolled, and restrained, according to Dr. Ian. Click here to find out which type of eater you are, then keep reading (and watch the videos) to get his top tips for enjoying the holiday season without packing on pounds, based on your individual food personality.

Emotional Eater

Emotional eaters celebrate with food when they’re happy. They also use food as a crutch when they’re upset. In the video above, find out what triggers an emotional eater to start eating, and what you can do to short circuit these patterns.

How to Break the Cycle:
-- Make a list of “non-food” ways to treat yourself to celebrate or elevate your mood (think getting a manicure, a phone call with a friend, or a walk).
-- If you find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator about to eat something, move over to the couch or go into another room.
-- If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s all about accountability. Get a diet-buddy, or join a program that offers group support.

Uncontrolled Eater

This type of eater is a food lover and happy eater! They struggle with portion control and prefer a large variety of healthy foods. They’re aware they’re eating more than they should, but it’s hard to stop. They also tend to overeat due to external cues, and even in social situations like parties (think taking more than one slice of birthday cake at an office party or reacting to commercials for savory foods).

The good news is, there are foods you can eat in large quantities that won’t sabotage your diet. Dr. Ian shows what they are in the video above. (Just make sure not to eat too much!)

How to Break the Cycle:
-- Shake off the “I see, therefore I feed” mentality. Being aware of these external cues will help you stop and think “do I really want to eat this?” before overindulging.
-- When it comes to picking foods, quantity is important to you, so look for foods with volume (meaning lots of water and air) in the foods you choose.

Restrained Eater

This category includes picky eaters! They avoid certain foods, entire food categories, and specific ingredients (think sugar or carbs). These eaters aren’t necessarily counting calories; it’s about avoiding certain foods for a variety of reasons. A restrained eater could live with very few food choices they deem acceptable, yet still overeat those foods.

How to Break the Cycle:
-- Practice savoring your food. When you’re in restraint mode, you minimize variety and hurry through a meal because it isn’t enjoyable or relaxing. Eat one item at a time as if you’re in a restaurant. For example, have your salad first, then the entree, and then dessert.
-- Instead of making one item or category entirely off limits, think of it in terms of swapping. Say you love having wine with dinner, but wine is normally “off limits” for you, and rice is “off limits” too. Have one or the other instead of both. This is a way to fit in foods you feel are “indulgent” without going overboard.
-- It’s often about texture with picky eaters, so start with smoothies. Hiding nutrient-packed foods you don’t love in smoothies can be a great way to transition (think Kale blended in a chocolate smoothie -- see how he did it in the video above).

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