Your Food Character - Moderator, Avoider or Maximizer?

Our individual biochemistry gives us each an intricate and unique metabolic profile. And yet, our habits and patterns with food are often quite similar to those of others -- and might be thought of as our "Food Character" types.

In my observations, encounters and work with individuals and their varied food/eating habits and struggles, I've come to identify three main "Food Character" types: the Moderator, the Avoider, and the Maximizer

I thought I'd formally write these out so we might reflect on which "Food Character" we most resemble in relation to the different foods in the our diets -- particularly if there are foods or eating habits we struggle with and that might be preventing or sabotaging our efforts at health and well-being.

Understanding our Food Character helps us identify certain tendencies we have so that we may better understand the struggles associated with our food character, and employ successful tactics in overcoming them.

Many people find they align generally with one overarching Food Character Type, but switch character types for certain foods or groups of foods. 

Here's a synopsis of the 3 "food character" types:

 

THE AVOIDER

Our Food Character might be an AVOIDER if many of the following are true of our habits with a food/eating. An Avoider may:

  • find him/herself skipping, fasting, undereating, picking at or otherwise avoiding food or eating... perhaps a bit more than is helpful to his/her health

  • have foods s/he never or rarely allows him/herself to indulge in out of fear or anxiety, particularly of a physical effect s/he is afraid of that is not an imminent reality (not including a dire or immediate medical consequence) 

  • feel like many or most food/eating is an indulgence (to be avoided) 

  • feel a sense of fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, loss of control or the need to work off or "make up for" food or eating

  • be unable to properly identify "hungry" or "full" sensations or not have a working hunger "start" button when it comes to food or eating (possibly due to brain chemistry imbalances and/or inadequate hunger/full signal hormone release of ghrelin or leptin) 

  • have episodes of binging or overeating due to intense, true hunger based in physical need

  • attempt to control or compensate for food/eating with diets, exercise, pills, or purgative methods

  • find negative effects are physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually present from avoiding food and/or are experienced after indulging or "permitting" necessary amounts of food (e.g., inappropriate guilt for eating)

 

THE MAXIMIZER

Our Food Character type might be a MAXIMZER if many of the following are true of our habits with a food/eating. A Maximizer may:

  • find him/herself eating, snacking, feasting, indulging, celebrating, rewarding and soothing his/herself with food... perhaps a bit more than is helpful to his/her health 

  • have a ravenous appetite and rarely feels "full" (for long)

  • experience an abnormal phenomenon where eating certain foods actually increases hunger or the desire to eat (rather than curbs their appetite, as expected) 

  • not be able to properly identify "hungry" or "full" sensations or not have a working "stop" button when it comes to food or eating (possibly due to brain chemistry imbalances and/or inadequate hunger/full signal hormone release of ghrelin or leptin) 

  • have difficulty stopping eating once s/he has indulged in a treat, non-nutritional food or episode of overeating and the indulgence is followed by a persistent desire or craving for more, despite having eaten a reasonable or large amount already (esp if "reasonable" is difficult to determine) 

  • find that indulging leads to an increase in volume or frequency of overindulging (i.e., overindulging starts to occur most/every day, regularly or habitually) or leads to "sneak" eating or food binges

  • attempt to control or compensate for food/eating with diets, exercise, pills, or purgative methods

  • swear off the indulging or (over)eating but find s/he always "caves"

  • find negative effects are physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually present after eating or indulging

 

THE MODERATOR

Our Food Character type might be a MODERATOR if many of the following are true of our habits with a food/eating. A Moderator may:

  • indulge in treats, non-nutritional foods and/or episodes of over/undereating infrequently and in a way that results in reasonable period of satisfaction

  • have a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude of everyday pleasure + gratitude around food

  • identify "hungry" or "full" sensations and have a working start/stop button when it comes to food or eating

  • find no negative effects are physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually present after eating or indulging

 

Stay tuned for my next articles on Food Character Types, which will explore character sketch stories on each food character type and suggest how each Food Character might successfully implement strategies that combat the challenges they face in light of his/her Food Character Type.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and reactions on the Food Character types. Do you find one you mesh with?