November 21, 2019

The 5 Eating Behaviors (& What They Say About Us). {Partner}

This article is written in partnership with Noom—they’re dedicated to making healthy living easier for us all, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.


Any weight-loss app that mentions zombies and death eaters is my kind of weight-loss app.

I first downloaded Noom in July but, despite the zombies and Harry Potter references, it mostly wasn’t fun for starters. Being mindful about what we eat when we’re used to being mindless and habitual isn’t exactly a party. 

For the first time in my 34 years, Noom brought me face to face with my disordered thinking and behavior when it comes to food.

That’s because Noom isn’t really a weight-loss app, it’s more of a psychology and science-based tool to help us develop a healthier relationship to food, and to our bodies. 

We can diet ‘til the cows come home, but we’re never really going to transform our health habits (and therefore any weight issues we may have) unless we start by becoming aware of what our zombie-like brains are doing, and begin the work of rewiring that sh*t. Until we do, we’re just operating on auto-pilot.

For example, if you’d take a minute to listen to yourself think, you may be wondering: What type of eating habits do I have? Why do I eat the way I do? Why do I have two eyes if I only see one thing? Did ants invent the first social network? What does Noom even stand for? 

Well, wonder no more!  Soon all your questions will be answered (except for that last one).

As I learned on my mindful weight-loss journey, there are five different types of eating habits. And before we can find our own healthy balance, we need to figure out which we engage in:

Eating Type #1: Fuel Eating

Fuel eating gives your body what you need to do all the wonderful things you do. Examples of fuel foods include veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins—you know, the good stuff! Fuel eaters eat to live (rather than live to eat).

Eating Type #2: Fun Eating

Fun eating is when you eat foods that give you pleasure. Examples of fun foods include home-cooked meals, indulgent desserts, and stuff mom made. Fun eaters are the opposite of fuel eaters—they live to eat.

Eating Type #3: Fog (or Zombie) Eating

When you’re fog eating, you don’t realize what you’re doing—you eat mindlessly, like the undead. Think popcorn at the movies; pretzels while you work; drinks at a party. (Friends don’t let friends become zombie fog eaters.)

Eating Type #4: Storm Eating

Storm eating is when you eat even if you’re not hungry, but you feel like you can’t stop. This often happens when you get your hands on foods you think of as off limits, like stumbling across an open box of donuts in the breakroom when no one is around.

Eating Type #5: Death Eating

Death eating takes place in the novels by J.K. Rowling and it’s usually done by Death Eaters, the sworn enemy of Harry Potter and his friends. 

They follow Lord Voldemort and are radical pure wizard blood supremacists, practicing the Dark Arts with reckless abandon and without regard of wizarding law. Examples of death food include cauldron cakes, cockroach clusters, and Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans.

Whether or not you understand Harry Potter jokes, supremacism is just not cool, so let’s all agree to avoid this one.


Build a healthier relationship to food, get Noom for a 2-week trial >>


Jokes aside, which of these do you relate to?

Everyone engages in different types of eating at one time or another…but what type describes you most of the time? Next, check out what your eating style says about you:

  1. Fuel: Congrats! A balanced approach to eating should be centered around fuel eating—eating foods that help your body work and feel its best. Remember: incorporating a moderate amount of fun foods into your diet can help you get into a healthy routine that you can stick to for life.
  2. Fun: Good work! Eating fun foods is an important part of a balanced approach to eating. But, since fun foods are usually yellow or red, they should be eaten in moderation. Over time, we’ll work toward helping you center your day around “fuel eating” so your body works and feels its best, with a mix of fun foods to satisfy your heart.
  3. Fog/Zombie: This can be difficult to overcome, but that’s why psychologists invented #PsychTricks. As you change what you eat, Noom works together with you to change how you eat. Mindful eating is a trick that even zombies can learn to help us eat smarter.
  4. Storm: Another difficult one to overcome, let’s reach into that bag of #PsychTricks again…When you begin to focus on eating a mix of fuel and fun foods, storm eating tends to decrease and ultimately disappears. Try to avoid labeling foods as “good” and “bad.” Instead, think of them as “foods to eat more of” (green foods) and “foods to eat in moderation” (yellow and red foods). Eventually, the storm will pass and the sky will clear (though we can’t promise any rainbows).
  5. Death: What’s Harry Potter ever done to you anyway? Come on, don’t be a hater. What would Dumbledore say? “Try and stick to just one glass of butterbeer,” probably.

Zombie eater, that’s me. When I am not mindful and get caught up in old habits, I am also known to Storm eat (Hey, holidays! I see you. Bottomless creamed corn, grean bean casserole, and mashed potatoes, I’m coming at ya!) These are realizations I’d never had before downloading Noom Coach. And #PsychTricks? These have been gold for me. Gold!

I’ve known for a long time that I battle with a distorted relationship to food. While I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder, I’ve tried many diets. Instead of being like all the others and telling me what I couldn’t eat, the Noom app continued to expand my food options. It was different than almost anything I’d heard of.

The app focuses on caloric density, which is basically a fancy way of saying to eat foods that have more water and thus weigh more per each calorie that the food offers: unlimited green foods like fruits and veggies with low caloric density, a moderate amount of yellow foods like animal proteins with moderate caloric density, and a small amount of red foods like creams and oils that are high in caloric density.

Nothing is restricted! As alarming as this might sound if you also have weird baggage when it comes to food, I have actually lost 8 pounds in just under a month…while eating actual chocolate, gravy, and even the occasional biscuit and breakfast burrito. 

As a recovering chocoholic—well, kinda—that is huge! I can eat a square of dear, sweet, dark chocolate every day and still lose weight. And it actually feels like the treat it’s meant to be. I savor it.

If you want a healthy, mindful, sustainable way to lose weight, try Noom’s trial for 2 weeks >>


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