For centuries psychologists and sociologists have been trying to explain exactly why we do what we do.
How can one person become a billionaire, while another can’t even hold down a job? The theories abound, and they quote nature and nurture and everything in between.
It would be great if we all fit into nice little boxes, but at the end of the day no school of thought can agree on the ‘right answer’. Maybe that’s because humans are a little too complex for boxes and we have been using the wrong parameters for understanding behaviour?
What if Maslow, Freud, Jung, the Tripartite Theory, the Trait Approach, Eysenck’s Theory, Cattell's 16PF, Allport or the Authoritarian Personality theory were wrong because they were looking for a one stop shop?
Isn’t it more feasible that we act like a type A personality at work, a D type with our mates, a C type with our partner and maybe a type B with our kids? We don’t even care what those personalities types mean, the point is we will run out of letters before we accurately predict human behaviour in all settings.
We act differently given different circumstances, different roles and different reasons. I know highly successful CEO’s running international companies with more than 2000 staff who are terrified of social gatherings.
At Beyond you Belly, we understand that your eating personality has nothing to do with who you are as a person, it just means you will act a certain way in relation to food. WHY you act that way is where it gets really interesting. It is not because your mother didn’t love, or at least not ALL about that, it is actually more about hormones than any predisposed decision you make.
Knowing that, we can accurately predict what your triggers and downfalls will be around food and how to beat them. You have to love science right?
At Beyond your Belly we have identified six different eating personalities and we will cover how they make you act, why and what to look out for.
Let’s see if you can relate to any of these, it will help you manage your weight and your health!
1) Meet Starving Marvin. This guy is a compulsive over-eater who is always thinking about food, even when he has just finished eating!
His favourite lines are: I’m starving, what are we doing about dinner, have you guys eaten, and I could eat a horse.
Possible causes: There is an all too common and often undiagnosed issue known as leaky gut, when the lining of your small intestine is damaged (often because of too many antibiotics, aspirin or certain types of foods) and undigested food particles, toxic waste and bacteria “leak” through the intestines into the blood stream.
That leads to inflammation and allergic reactions like migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more. It also means you are not absorbing nutrients properly so you never really feel satisfied, and you have to eat, eat eat.
So, if you feel hungry all the time and have experienced any of these symptoms, you are a most likely a Starving Marvin personality type.
Tips: You have to heal your leaky gut so you don’t live in a constant state of starvation anymore and watch your health skyrocket.
2) Say hello to Gorging Gordon, he is one of those guys who has no control when it comes to food and will eat an entire banquet if it is put in front of him.
If you are impulsive over-eater, you’re a Gorging Gordon.
This guy can’t stop at one biscuit, or chip and an entire bag of lollies disappears in one breath. He may not even feel hungry until he starts eating and then keep your fingers away from his mouth!
Now this type of hunger is not normal, it feels like whatever is in front of you if it has four legs and is not a table, you’re going to eat it!
Possible causes: If this sounds like you, It’s highly likely you’re insulin resistant. That happens when the cells in your body don’t respond properly to insulin, and your body starts producing too much of it.
Some signs that you may be insulin resistant include feeling tired all the time, a tough time concentrating, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and belly fat. Another symptom can be feeling shaky after you eat.
If you are a Gorging Gordon eating type, here is what you need to do, and you really need to do it because insulin resistance is on the path to type 2 diabetes and things get worse from there.
Tips: Slow down your eating, just try and take a few breathes in between bites and stick to the portion sizes. Find a way of eating that helps reduce insulin spikes and it won’t be long before you don’t feel like eating the entire world every time you have a fork in hand.
3) And now let us introduce Ravenous Richard. This poor guy is in a LOT of trouble because not only is he a Gorging Gordon, he is also a Starving Marvin all rolled into one unstoppable, constantly ravenous eating machine!
This compulsive-impulsive over-eater is always hungry, always thinking about food and once he starts there is never enough. He plans his life around his next eating frenzy and don’t stand too close or he might gnaw your arm off accidentally.
Possible causes: It will come as no surprise to find out that Ravenous Richard probably has leaky gut, insulin resistance and a serious food addiction. So, he would have all or some of the symptoms above meaning he needs food like cocaine.
Tips: Ravenous Richard is a bit of an addictive personality type who can hyper-focus and you want to use that skill to focus on sticking to a structured eating routine 100% of the time in addition to slowing down your eating.
These three eating personality types above are hormonally driven and the ‘fix’ is more physiological than psychological. These next three types are a combination of both, so the ‘fix’ can be a little more challenging.
4) With that said here is Emotional Edward. Yes fella’s, it’s not just the ladies who eat when they are feeling sad, guys do it too and Emotional Edward grabs a knife and fork when he feels a bit down.
Possible causes: This is more a symptom of our modern age than a physical ailment - there are a lot of sad people out there and they use a variety of destructive ways to compensate for that like alcohol, or in this case food. The way to break this cycle is to use something else instead of food when you feel bad, something that won’t affect your health long term. The best way to gauge if you are Emotional Edward is if you notice a pattern of feeling bad, eating food you know is bad for you, and then feeling remorse.
Emotional Edwards can feel unsatisfied with their job, partner, income, body, health or life and they may also suffer from leaky gut, insulin resistance or both, so they are fighting mind and body when it comes to food.
Tips: For now, all you need to do is replace food with something better (watching a comedy, or catching up with a mate for example) when you feel sad. In the long term it is best to fix whatever is making you sad, like find a new job, or partner, but for now, let’s just help you manage the inevitable weight gain that comes from emotional eating, get an injection of self-esteem and then make that other stuff happen later.
5) Now if you don’t recognise yourself yet, Anxious Andrew should introduce himself. Anxious Andrew and Emotional Edward are not so different, but instead of eating when he feels sad, Anxious Andrew is triggered to eat whenever he feels tense, nervous or fearful. He uses food to soothe and comfort.
Possible causes: Again, this is an all too common feeling in people today because we live high stress lives. Fear of being eaten by a saber-tooth tiger has now been replaced by fear of being swallowed up by debt, but physiological we still react the same. This fight or flight mode where cortisol and adrenaline flood our system makes us crave a quick energy source to fuel that response. That usually means carbohydrates or sugar.
So, while this is a psychological trigger, it is a hormonal response and we are contending with a mental need for comfort and a physical need for bad food.
Tips: Do things that help keep you calm, try going for a walk when you feel stressed or get a massage or do something nice for someone and you might be amazed at how much better you feel. Find an eating program that is anti-inflammatory, so it helps calm your body and improve mood, so stick with it and soon you may be less prone to fight or flight.
6) And finally say a big howdy to Bored Bob. This guy is basically completely bored with life and eating provides some variety, some adventure, some comfort, it is basically anesthesia to the human condition.
That is very dangerous of course, because you don’t reach for a salad when you are bored, that won’t fill the gap, you are looking for a sugar hit, the stuff that is bad for you because then you feel regret and at least that means you ‘feel something' right? You know this pattern well if you are a Bored Bob.
Possible causes: Low self esteem so you don’t feel driven enough to change your life and escape the boredom. You are stuck in a rut, overweight, taking a lot of sick days, watching a lot of Netflix and avoiding facing whatever issues could help drag you out of it. Food has become your girlfriend, best mate, medicine and drug of choice.
Tips: This is getting into the psychological realm we were trying to avoid, but this is predominately a psychological issue and an all too common one for men who don’t know their role in society anymore, they lack purpose. The best way to get purpose is to do something for someone else. Yep that’s right, help out at a local charity, shelter, sign up for Movember, anything to break the cycle.
So, there you have it, our six eating personalities that do not define you as a person, they just define your relationship with food and to some degree with your self-worth.
The most important factor to help you break the destructive patterns that these eating personalities drag you into is to fix your diet. Diet affects health, mood, esteem, all of it. Do not discount how much your food is affecting your view of life.
We know that at Beyond your Belly which is why we created a 3-week weight loss program for blokes with all the decisions, guess work and BS taken out. We tell you exactly what to do. If you know you need some help, just DO IT and in 3 weeks you'll be around 8kgs lighter and ready to adopt a much healthy eating personality!