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What Kind of Eater Are You?

Know your type and gain control over your eating habits

With my 60th birthday approaching, I looked back with regret at four decades of repeated failures to lose weight and get fit. But in a flash of insight born of desperation, I changed my mind: I saw my former efforts not as failures but as necessary steps in a long-term learning process.

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As a by-product, I lost enough weight to trim down five dress sizes.

One key to my transformation was learning what type of eater I am. If you are ready to make changes, this is your first assignment, too. Here are the major types of eaters:

  • The Stress Eater eats to relieve or avoid uncomfortable feelings. Food functions as a self-medication to avoid unpleasant feelings and to lift the mood.
Woman reaching for donuts

Identify triggers that lead to unhealthy eating habits. — Ken Reid/Getty Images

  • The Emotional Eater eats whenever she or he experiences strong emotions of any kind — happiness, sadness, anger or frustration.
  • The Designated Eater is the family member to whom others pass their leftovers.
  • The Grazer eats throughout the day. It’s easy to underestimate the total calories consumed because each portion is small, and the grazer may feel as if she or he hasn’t eaten.
  • The Unconscious Eater eats while watching television or reading and is unaware of what and how much he or she consumes — whether the food is healthy and whether he or she is full.

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