Rate your eating style - Restrictor or Permitter? - Eat Great Feel Great


22 Feb 2019

Rate your eating style – Restrictor or Permitter?

Are you a “restrictor” or a “permitter” when it comes to food?

If you’ve been struggling with your weight for a long time, there is a good chance your eating falls into one of these two distinct categories.  Which of the following describes your eating most of the time?

Restrictor/Careful eaters

  • Restricting your food intake make you feel “in control.”
  • You are health conscious almost to the point of being militant about it.  You friends and family may comment on this
  • You wait until you are hungry to eat, but then often refuse to let yourself have what you really want.
  • You regularly eat less food than what your body wants and needs
  • You know the calorie content, carb content and fat content of every food you eat
  • You like rules and meal plans
  • Your decisions around food tend to focus mostly on how they will affect your weight (vs how they make you feel or how they affect your health)
  • You regularly feel guilty if you eat something that doesn’t meet your strict criteria
  • You spend a lot of time planning and worrying about what you are going to eat.

Permitter/Unconscious eaters

  • You often eat because the food is there, because you want it or because you feel you need to take what you can while you have the chance.  Decisions to eat often have very little to do with being physically hungry.
  • You use food to numb yourself or to cope with unpleasant emotions.
  • You rebel against rules and meal plans and believe life is short so you should eat whatever you want.
  • You are often unaware of what and how much you are eating – you grab a bite here, a handful there and usually eat while doing something else.  You may gain weight and have no idea how it happened. 


Being aware of your usual tendencies is the first step towards making any change.  It also helpful to know that you can learn another way to eat…a way that involves a lot less stress. 

You likely know of someone who is naturally slim and never seems to worry about their weight.  You may have marvelled at how they manage to leave 2 bites of chocolate cake on their plate or wondered how they manage to eat dessert and never feel guilty about it.  These people are naturally intuitive eaters.   Intuitive Eaters use internal cues of hunger and fullness to decide when, what and how much to eat.  This is different to restrictors and permitters who let their food choices be dictated by the environment, emotions and external factors. 

We are all born as naturally intuitive eaters, but often well-meaning parents, teachers and peers tell us to stop listening to our body’s internal wisdom and start listening to them instead.  Traditional weight loss diets also blatantly teach you to ignore these signals which is why so many people struggle to know how to eat without them – often fluctuating wildly between following the “diet” and eating with reckless abandon. 

Fortunately, intuitive eating can be taught.  You’ve done it once in your life and you can learn how to do it again with a bit of coaching and support.  If this style of eating appeals to you, please get in touch at info@eatgreatfeelgreat.co.uk or sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/dxu6rT.

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