Are you a Food Lover or a Couch Champion?

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness February 02, 2012
Food ChoicesWe are one month into 2012 and once again, weight loss has topped the list of popular resolutions. Before you take the same old approach and search for a quick fix to drop unwanted pounds, you may want to take a close look at how your Lifestyle Patterns may be causing you to gain weight. Northwestern Medicine® researchers have found that there are six cluster behaviors people identify with which influence weight management. Are you a food lover or couch champion? Knowing the answer can be the key to accomplishing your weight loss goals.

“Once you are aware of the behavior patterns that influence your food choices, you can take steps to manage your weight successfully,” said Robert Kushner, MD, medical director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Kushner, who led the research, says people generally fall into one or more of the following categories.
  • Accidental Diner – someone who doesn’t plan their meals and ends up eating whatever is most convenient and readily available
  • Fast Pacer – someone who has other priorities and distractions making it difficult to eat healthier or exercise
  • Food Lover – someone who eats out of emotion, eats whenever food is around regardless of hunger level or eats large portions of food because they don’t sense a stop signal
  • Couch Champion – someone who leads a relatively sedentary lifestyle and may be inactive because they do not like to exercise, don’t know how to exercise or have a health condition that limits their ability to exercise
  • Self Critic – someone who treats self poorly and tends to be shy and unwilling to participate in things because they are so self conscious of their body shape/image
  • All-or-Nothing-Dieter – someone who is either on and off when it comes to losing weight and can’t find a happy medium

Can you identify with any of these patterns? Kushner says recognizing which behaviors you embody is an important piece of the puzzle. “I often see patients who know there is a connection between diet, exercise, emotions and weight loss, but do not recognize how the behaviors they repeat stand in the way of their success," said Kushner.

To help advance Kushner’s research, take the Lifestyle Patterns Survey.

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