Hunger Games & Food Strategies

Trying to eat better? Struggling with food addiction, making better food choices and hunger games? Heres a different solution: Know your eating style!

Below are six (6) different eating styles which also explains eating behaviors and motivations. Why is it crucial to identify your eating style? Because knowing your eating style may just open the door to understanding your behavior while also winning the battle of the bulge. To find your style and new strategy, read on.

  1. Style: Energy Eater – Because you’re always working out, you think you can eat all the time but inaccurately calculate the quantity of food (fuel) you need to recover and motor through the day. Daily caloric consumption and caloric threshold are very important, and although the additional meals/snacks are likely healthy, daily calories consumed vs calories burned is part of the equation to staying mean & lean. Remember protein bars and power bars may be convenient, but be sure to check sugar grams as it all adds up! As does the extra gnashing here and there. Strategy: Make sure you are making an effort to eat more protein. Protein keeps you satiated and will hinder your overconsumption of Carbohydrates. Yes carbs are very important especially for muscle recovery post workout and the busier part of your day, but they are also very quickly digested in comparison to protein, which can lead to hunger games throughout the day if not consuming enough protein. Glycogen is restored within the liver and muscles post-workout via complex carbs, but remember over consumption of carbs throughout the day will also lead to fat storage. Try journaling your food each day to get a clear picture of just how much food you are eating. You”ll see the where & when you are making mistakes which can help with the what you should start cutting down on at certain points of the day. Hint: night time is not a great time to over indulge on heavy carbs. Protein and a little fiber is best!
  2. Style: Sensual Eater – You say ooh and ahh while relishing every bite of something decadent, sweet and exotic – even if it means putting on the pounds. Mostly consisting of deserts and foods that are loaded with simple sugars for taste, sensual eaters might blurt out, “this is better than sex” while eating these tasty morsels. Yet over time end up hating themselves for it. Strategy: Stick to the “two small forks rule”, of decadence which will allow you to try something while keeping things under control. Also, if you have enough room for “two small forks full” after dinner or lunch, it may be possible you are not consuming a healthy balance of calories during each meal meaning good protein, carbs and fats. There is a big difference between good and bad proteins, carbs & fats and your knowledge of them can also help curb your wanting desserts. #choices
  3. Style: Habitual Eater – You can enjoy and woof down a bag of junk food at any moment, only to realize what you have done when your hand hits the bottom of the bag. You may also justify it with, “just this once” because you had a bad/hard day or, closed on a business deal. Problem is you wake the next day feeling like the blob! Habitual eaters munch on chips, dips, bread sticks & pretzels while watching TV after work, might pour that extra glass of wine late at night or, may find themselves in the refrigerator late at night. Strategy:  Journaling what you eat start to finish each day allows you to see your “habits” in black & white. Seeing it with your own eyes will help you better understand bad habits and where it is  you are going wrong. This will allow you to cut back on unnecessary calories at certain points of the day. All in all acquiring better habits can help make a brand new start!
  4. Style: Emotional Eater – Be it a promotion or tragedy, you eat to satisfy your emotions rather than taking on natural hunger cues. This is serious because you may lack the ability to distinguish between food as fuel AND food as a coping mechanism. Strategy: Make a non-food list of creative ways to elevate your mood such as enjoying a spa treatment, going to the golf range, scheduling a massage, take a walk a long the water front or even watch funny videos on youtube. Turning to food is a temporary fix, and identifying your way of coping with say your job, boss, spouse, bills and friendships with food must be put in check.
  5. Style: External Eater – Typically you fall victim to food that is in front of you. Like bagels at the office, candy in the glass jar on top of an office desk, finger sandwiches at a meeting, hotdogs & chips at a BBQ or the finger food served at a cocktail party. You see it and think you need to eat it! Strategy: Stop & think, “do I really want to eat this” and shake off the, “I see it and therefor need to feed”. Best strategy, always be best prepared to deal with any and all situations before actually walking in to them. Feeding before attending an event, office lunch meetings, dinner party and function will not only allow you to have control, it will assist in your saying no to temptation and peer pressure while keeping you on track. Going to an event on an empty stomach is always a No-No, so take charge of what you put in your mouth before hand.
  6. Style: Critical Eater – You have vast knowledge about health and nutrition but an all or nothing way of going about things. Also known as “yo-yo eating”,  you are all in for five days and all off the next two. You might consume all real foods during days 1-5, only to find yourself woofing down boxes of snacks and processed foods the next two days while subsisting on juices to counteract it. Critical eaters tend to like a challenge, sometimes purposely sabotaging themselves from time to time because they need a challenge. Strategy:  The simplest of them all, “Ease up on food rules and try being more realistic 7-days a week”. The whole day doesn’t have to go down the drain just because you made one bad choice. Refrain from continuing and think less about how self-destructive you feel after a bad meal and more on how your next meal choice will be a good one.  The 80/20 rule is still way better than 20/80.

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Ray Dente

Fitness Coach/NYC

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