It’s no secret that the way you eat affects both your weight and your health. It also affects your mood. Food is meant to be pleasure, but the weight management process can take all the pleasure out of eating.
There are two ways to eat to support both weight management and good health, but one is far more pleasurable than the other. Since we are hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, one of these eating styles is far more sustainable than the other.
Take this quiz to see what kind of eater you are!
Choose the answer that best applies to you.
1) When shopping for food, what’s not in a food product is the most important thing to you (i.e. no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no GMO, no gluten)
b. It depends.
c. I look for what is in it more than what isn’t.
d. Who reads packages?
b. It depends on what it is and whether there is really an advantage in eating it rather than the same food that’s not “organic.”
c. It doesn’t matter.
d. I’m not wasting money on “organic.”
3) I will not eat processed or cured meats such as bacon or luncheon meats.
a. They’re poison!
b. Occasionally, a few times in a year.
c. I avoid luncheon meats, but what’s life without bacon?
d. I ain’t afraid of no cured and/or luncheon meats.
4) Cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and candy aren’t good for me so…
a. …I never eat them.
b. …I fit small servings into my food plan a couple of times a week.
c. …I eat the low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free versions of these kinds of foods.
d. …I eat them all the time because I don’t care.
a. Agree with this 100%.
b. Eating is one of the great pleasures in life.
c. 50% of the time, I agree.
d. I live to eat and watch TV.
6) I often eat something I don’t like because of its healthful properties.
a. Yes, it’s worth eating unpleasant food to get the nutritional benefits!
b. There is always another food just as good for me and I like it too!
c. If it’s really good for me I might eat it if I have something good for a “chaser.”
d. I don’t eat stuff I don’t like and I don’t care about being good for me – that’s what vitamin supplements are for!
7) I never use artificial sweeteners.
a. No artificial anything for me and! don’t even like to eat any refined sugars if I can avoid it.
b. I prefer a little sugar to artificial sweeteners.
c. If it tastes good and cuts calories, I’m comfortable using artificial sweeteners.
d. I always go for the artificial sweeteners so I can have bigger servings without the guilt.
8) I try not to eat any saturated fat.
a. I agree, saturated fat is bad for you and I avoid it as much as possible.
b. I like full-fat versions of cheese, butter, and sour cream, but I am careful not to eat a lot.
c. I probably eat a little too much saturated fat.
d. Fat makes food taste good. More fat means more flavor!
9) I eat a wide variety of vegetables.
a. I usually get at least 5 servings of vegetables every day.
b. I do pretty well eating enough vegetables most days.
c. I eat some vegetables, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
d. If French fries and catsup count as vegetables, I’m a vegetable-eating machine!
10) MIchael Pollan is my hero!
a. 100% agree.
b. I trust a RD (registered dietician) more than I trust Michael Pollan.
c. I think some of his theories are “half-baked.”
d. Never heard of him
Five yourself for every:
a. = 10 points
b. = 7 points
c. = 6 points
d. = 2 points
Add up your score. If your score is:
100 – 85 You are a Healthy Eater!
Before you congratulate yourself, you should know that being a Healthy Eater may not be exactly a great thing. If you are more concerned with perfect eating than eating pleasure you are unnecessarily punishing yourself in the name of optimal health. The problem is there is still too much we don’t know about eating for optimal health. Indeed, there are so many things that affect health, many experts agree that you simply cannot achieve optimal health without having the right genes, the right environment, and the right luck.
Food should be one of the more enjoyable things in life. If you’re consistently making the “healthy choices” without considering how palatable or satisfying the items on your plate may be, you should know that dissatisfaction with food is a barrier to sustained weight management. Few people can stick to a food plan that doesn’t taste good. If you are not getting regular physical activity, your healthy eating choices may possibly not be able to overcome the metabolic diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle. You can be healthy and happy by adjusting your food choices to become a Smart Eater!
84 – 65 You are a Smart Eater!
Being a Smart Eater does call for congratulating yourself! You have managed to balance pleasure with health. You pay attention to dietary guidelines while keeping your food choices in context with balance and moderation.
You’re eating in a sustainable way that can result in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and reducing risk of metabolic disease when combined with regular physical activity. Stay Smart!
64 – 48 You are neither a Healthy Eater nor a Smart Eater!
Being neither a Healthy Eater Nor a Smart Eater isn’t the worst thing you could do for your health. It does make you nutritionally challenged and perhaps increase your risk of being overweight or obese. There is certainly room for improvement and you can make little changes to bump you into the smart eater category. If you combine your eating habits with a sedentary lifestyle you can expect weight to be an issue, if not now, then certainly later in life.
47 – 20 You are an Eater in Need of Significant Improvement!
Your score indicates a nutritionally poor and unbalanced diet that puts you at risk of obesity and related disease. You might be a victim of “all or nothing” thinking. Listening to Healthy Eaters preach about what they will eat and what they won’t eat could be more than you can stand. You realistically know that’s no way to live and you don’t want any part of it.
Unfortunately, you think it’s necessary to be a Healthy Eater to control your weight and keep you free of disease, but you’re willing to take your chances and hope your health won’t suffer too much for it. You know you’ll never be able to stick to Healthy Eating. Instead you think, “oh well, that ain’t going to happen, so I’ll just keep eating my delicious highly-processed stuff with added fats, sugars and sodium and hope for the best.” That’s classic “all-or-nothing” kind of thinking that traps so many people. If you live an active lifestyle, the consequences of your eating will be reduced. If you are mostly sedentary you could be reducing your enjoyment out of life and maybe your life span too! The good news is it’s easier and tastier than you might think to improve your eating habits to become a Smart Eater!