What Type of “Eater” Are You?
The Need for a Customized Weight Loss Solution
I had long suspected that there were different types of problem eaters, but last year at the Second Annual Conference on Food Addiction, my suspicions were confirmed. Phil Werdell, co-author of “Food Junkies: The Truth About Food Addiction,” and an expert in the field of eating disorders, put up a slide that made perfect sense to me.
Phil categorizes “problem” eaters in to 3 categories:
1. “Normal” eaters who are overweight/obese
2. “Emotional” eaters who may or may not be overweight/obese; and
3. “Food Addicts” who may or may not be overweight/obese
I agree with these categories, and believe that a person needs to be screened to determine what type he or she is before any “diet” or “eating plan” is prescribed.
I’m a weight loss and nutrition coach in Mississauga, Ontario. I write food plans, do personal training and write periodized exercise programs for clients both local and international. I also have an online weight loss course I offer that I am currently turning in to a book. The book will be titled “Where Winners Lose & Losers Win: PERMANENT Weight Loss Made Simple.”
I use Phil’s categories at the beginning of the book, because I believe that if we haven’t diagnosed the problem correctly, the solution we offer will not work.
What Type of Problem Eater Are You?
If you’ve tried diet after diet and have found no success, I’m wondering if the problem isn’t that you’ve been misdiagnosed, or – more likely – not even diagnosed at all?
Most people, when they approach someone for help with weight loss, are treated merely as a “Physical” being. The problem is relegated to the realm of the body, meaning that only a food plan and exercise are prescribed. If you’ve read anything I’ve published online, you know that I believe that the “Physical,” the “Mental,” the “Emotional,” and the “Spiritual” parts of ourselves must be considered in any effective weight loss program. To not do so is to risk failure.
Which type of problem eater you are will greatly affect which emphasis should be put on each of the four “parts” of self in your weight loss program.
The “Normal” Eater Who is Overweight/Obese
Let’s take the example of the “normal” eater who has a weight problem. Their problem is generally physical: they are overweight, and the reason is usually that they simply don’t have the knowledge of what they should and shouldn’t eat.
They also need to have the “mental” component of themselves addressed in the sense that their beliefs and ideas about healthy versus unhealthy eating need to be changed.
They generally don’t have any significant emotional issues that need to be dealt with, nor does their sense of spirituality have to be addressed. Give them the right exercise and food plan, and instruct them in healthy versus unhealthy eating, and they’re good to go.
They’ll lose their weight, and keep it off. Simple
The “Emotional” Eater
This type of eater is trickier to manage. They usually suffer from periodic or regular emotional upheavals in the form of anxiety and/or depression, sometimes severe. It may or may not be exacerbated by (severe?) childhood trauma. Regardless, without the right tools to manage their emotions, they are doomed to continue eating for comfort.
Psychotherapy, medication, other forms of medical intervention, group therapy and other modalities may be necessary to aid the emotional eater in recovery.
Once the emotional eater learns the tools that they need in order to manage their emotions, their problem eating should stop, AS LONG AS they are using the tools.
The “Food Addict”
I blogged about the food addict last week. The food addict often presents an awful lot like an emotional eater, with one small exception: they have a biophysical condition that dooms them to overeat when they consume addictive foods.
All of the therapy in the world – nor any medication yet invented – can stop the overeating once the food addict consumes a trigger food. The problem is purely physical at this point, and they are subject to a craving over which they have no control
Diagnosis is the Key
I have the tools to diagnose which type of eater you may be. Nothing is definitive, but the tools I use are tried and tested, and are fairly accurate.
You need to know which type you are if you’re going to be successful. Which type you are will dictate how your solution is approached. The solution for the food addict is very different than the solution for the normal eater!
If you’d like to know which type you might be, feel free to give me a call/text at 647-677-6025 and we can set up a consultation. I’d be happy to take you through the screening tools to help determine which type you might be. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer.
Either way, no matter which type you are, I have a solution that fits. Give me a call!