Intuitive Eating: What Kind of Eater Are You?

Since becoming a certified intuitive eating professional, the amount of conversations I have had with friends and colleagues around eating has increased considerably. Last weekend, I had another friend say to me that they are going home to finish off some food as they are going on a “cleanse”. I didn’t say too much after they told me, as I have clear boundaries around my professional and social life. However, that friend inspired this post and today I wanted to share the different types of eating personalities, so you can identify what kind of eater you are. Knowing this information, can support you reawaken your intuitive eater.


What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach to nutrition and wellness that helps people start to trust their body wisdom and its signals, break the cycle of dieting and change your relationship with food (and maybe their life). According to Tribole and Resch, the authors of Intuitive Eating, an intuitive eater is defined as a person who –

“makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”

Before sharing the different types of eating personalities, it is important to note we are born intuitive eaters. However, throughout the adventure of life, different life experiences occur and many of us lose touch with our intuitive eater. We can reconnect with the intuitive eater and that is some of the work I support clients do.


What Kind of Eater Are You?

There are 7 different types of eating personalities and following are a brief description for each personality. You can have more than eating personality, however there does tend to be a dominant one. It is important to note, different life events, can also influence or shift your eating personality.

1. The Unconscious Eater –

The unconscious eater could also be known as the mindless eater. This is the eating personality most of my clients identify with. Unconscious eaters are often multitasking (i.e. watching TV, driving or sitting at the computer working) whilst they are eating and are unaware of why or what they are eating. There are a four different types of unconscious eaters.

i. The Chaotic Unconscious Eater:

Do you have a busy, possibly over-scheduled life and feel like you eat whatever and whenever possible? If so, you might be a chaotic unconscious eater. This could mean that you are not aware of your hunger signals until you are very hungry, so you eat whatever is available.

ii. The Refuse-Not Unconscious Eater:

If you are vulnerable to the food available at meetings or saying “no” to food even when you are not hungry. you will identify with the refuse-not unconscious eater. For example – do you say yes to the food on a plane, even when you are not hungry? Refuse-not unconscious eaters are often unaware how much or that they are eating.

iii. The Waste-Not Unconscious Eater.

Do you worry about throwing food away because you have a “clean your plate” mentality or think it’s wasteful to throw food away? Or maybe you go out to dinner and have to finish all of the food you purchased? The waste-not unconscious eater is very aware of the value of food.

iiii. The Emotional Unconscious Eater:

This is a very common eating personality (and is definitely one I am personally familiar with 🙂 ). Emotional eaters use food to cope with stress or overwhelm. however it can also be for joyful reasons. If you find you are eating when you are not hungry you could be eating for emotional reasons.

2. The Careful Eater

The careful eater appears to be the perfect eater. However, anguishes over each morsel of food and its effect on the body. They also read and quite of scrutinise food labels. On the surface, this person seems to be health and fitness oriented.However, there is a fine line between healthy eating and eating for body image.

3. The Professional Dieter

The professional dieter is continually dieting – often trying the latest commercial diet or diet book. They know a lot of “dieting tricks” and uses weight loss as a guide. Has quite a number of “forbidden foods”.

4. The Intuitive Eater

As identified above, the intuitive eater –

“makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”


Are You Interested in Learning More About Intuitive Eating?

I hope this post has given you some insight in to intuitive eating and what kind of eater you might be? If you have any questions, please feel free to write them below. Also – you are invited to download the free 10-minute mindful eating exercise here. You can learn more about our intuitive eating nutrition coaching programs to see how you can discover peace with food and develop your habits for wellbeing, no diets required.


Reference –

Tribole, E., & Resch, E. (2012). Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Program that Works. New York, USA: St. Martin’s Griffin.

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