You can learn a lot about someone's health by watching her eat.
The next time you dine in a restaurant (or at your own dinner
table) ask someone to watch you eat. Then ask them to explain
what they observed.
After observing myself and my clients, I've identified three
different kind of Eaters:
1. The 'Inhaler': this person eats a four-course meal in under 10
minutes. Once she's done, she has a hard time remembering what
the food tasted like.
Have you ever driven to work, and realized that you didn't pay
attention to a single second of your commute? That's what meals
are like for Inhalers. They shove food in their mouths so quickly
that they hardly even notice the taste or texture of the food.
You know you're an Inhaler by these tell-tale signs:
You crave food constantly. Even after finishing a meal, you
You eat frequently throughout the day. You are always on the
lookout for food.
You feel bloated and heavy after most meals.
You have no problem cleaning your plate (if licking your plate
was sociably acceptable, you'd probably try it out!).
You finish anything that is put in front of you (even if you
don't love it, and even if you're not hungry).
You swallow your final bite when everyone else is still on
their appetizer course.
You weigh more than you'd like, and you often experience
2. The 'Multi-Tasker': this person has mastered the art of eating
on the go. She likes to eat, but she's simply too busy to sit
down and focus on the meal. Somehow she has figured out how to
eat while typing, talking on the phone, driving to work, getting
dressed, and changing a diaper.
You know you're a Multi-Tasker if these things sound familiar:
You can't answer questions during work meetings because your
mouth is full of food.
You eat straight out of a pot on the stove or a leftover
container in the fridge (because that means you won't even
have to wash a dish after the meal!).
Your plates can usually be found strewn about the house - on
the dresser, the coffee table, or your desk.
You often eat standing up at the kitchen counter.
Your napkins and placemats never need washing.
You rarely sit at the table to eat (if you do, you've got a
magazine or book on hand to keep you busy).
You may experience indigestion and you have more abdominal fat
than you'd like.
You sometimes forget to eat because you're so busy.
3. The 'Picker': this is the person who snacks constantly
throughout the day. She doesn't eat big meals - instead, she eats
lots of little meals. She is notorious for picking off her
friends' plates at restaurants (that way, she can sample dessert
without ordering it, and feeling the inevitable guilt).
Sometimes, she is so tired and hungry when she gets home from
work that she just picks her way through her pantry. Halfway
through the evening, she notices she's not hungry for dinner
You'll know you're a Picker if you notice the following trends:
You have convinced yourself that the foods on your kidsí
plates donít have any calories in them if you eat them.
You can't list what you've eaten throughout the day, because
you haven't actually eaten a regular meal.
Most of your meals are 'cold' - you don't have warm meals
Your dinner often consists of microwave popcorn, a few
crackers, and a spoonful of peanut butter.
You eat constantly (sometimes you're hungry, and sometimes
Do you recognize yourself in any of those Eater Profiles?
I see myself in all three of them. I was an Inhaler growing up as
a girl. I turned into a Picker when I worked in a corporate
consulting job, and I morphed into a Multi-Tasker when I started
my own business.
These days, I'm trying to turn myself into a fourth kind of
eater, which I call the 'Conscious Eater.' This is no easy feat.
It's like trying to reprogram years and years of subconscious
You'll recognize a Conscious Eater because she:
Eats at least one meal each day at the table with just herself
and the food (no books, TV, or work).
Creates a pleasant eating environment.
Gives thanks for the food before she begins eating.
Eats slowly, chewing her food until it's completely broken
down (at least 30 chews per bite).
TASTES and EXPERIENCES each bite.
Only eats food that really appeals to her and leaves the rest
for another time.
Is still sitting at the table enjoying dinner after her whole
family has left.
Usually leaves food on her plate.
Experiences little gas or indigestion.
Can easily identify her cravings and true hunger level.
Is close to or at her ideal body weight.
How does that sound? Appealing? Totally unrealistic? Notice
your reaction to the list above. Are you already practicing
Conscious Eating... or is it a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream for
you at this point? Wherever you're at, it's OK.
I'd like to encourage you to redefine your relationship with
eating by becoming more of a Conscious Eater.
Here are some experiments that will help you do just that:
One night, eat on the floor, picnic-style.
Create a pleasant eating environment - now is the time to
bring out relaxing music, candles, beautiful placemats, and
real cloth napkins.
Use your best dishes and silverware (even if you're dining
Arrange your food so that it's visually appealing on the
plate - don't just glop it on there without giving it your
best artistic eye!
Eat with your eyes closed... have someone else feed you. Try
to guess what you're eating!
Eat with chopsticks.
Eat with your non-dominant hand. If you're right-handed, try
eating a meal with your left hand... and you'll really have
to concentrate on it!
Have your dinner for breakfast, to mix things up and keep
your taste buds guessing.
Which of the experiments listed above sounds the most appealing
to you? Pick just one experiment to try this month. Practice
it, try it, adjust it... and see what a difference it makes for
About the Author:
Christi Lehner, H.H.C., AADP Certified Holistic Health Counselor
http://www.bostonhealthcoach.com ; 617.492.6450
Based in Boston, but inspiring people everywhere to fall in love
with healthy eating, juicy living, and guilt-free self-care!
Author of the forthcoming book "You Don't Have to Be
Superwoman To Be Healthy: 50 Ways to Reclaim Your Health"
Do you sabotage your health? Take this quiz to find out:
While there are many reasons for teaching kids to cook -- less expensive than eating out, preserves family heritage, etc, the most important
reason is that by teaching your child to cook, you're giving him a better chance to be a healthy grown-up. Enabling your child with the ability
to appreciate freshness and to transform ingredients into tasty foods opens their eyes to making wiser choices about what to eat...