When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, some experts say it's not so much what you eat as how you eat it that counts. The evidence stacks up: In a large Japanese study recently published in the British Medical Journal, participants who usually ate fast and didn't stop until they were full nearly tripled their risk of obesity.
Whether you're a gulping gourmet or a moody muncher, it ould be time to fine-tune your eating style. Take our quiz to see how you stand, then check our tips for healthier habits.
Choose the statement that best describes you:
1. After a tough day at work, you like to:
a. Grab your sneakers and go for a long walk
b. Head straight for the freezer. Hello, Ben and Jerry's!
c. Gobble your dinner fast so you can finish that report.
2. You're out to eat with your sweetie at an expensive restaurant. When the waiter brings the main course, your first thought is:
a. This looks and smells delicious.
b. I should have stuck with a salad–this must have a million calories.
c. How much is this going to cost?
3. It's lunchtime, but there's no way you can tear yourself away from your computer. You:
a. Clear a small space on your desk and eat.
b. Click with one hand, snack with the other.
c. Skip the meal and keep working.
4. At home, you often eat:
a. Sitting down with friends or family
b. Standing up, usually in front of the fridge
c. Walking around while you do chores
5. You love your morning lattes, but lately you've noticed that:
a. They're getting pricey, so you decide to cut back
b. You sometimes drink them so fast you hardly taste them
c. You have them a lot–in fact, anytime you need a pick-me-up
6. It's late, you're beat, and the kids are hungry. You:
a. Whip up some whole-grain waffles.
b. Order pizza–again.
c. Pull out the chips and dip. It's snack night.
7. When you cook, you like to:
a. Take in all the smells, textures, and colors.
b. Get the food on the table and the dishes done as quickly as possible.
c. How do you turn on the stove?
8. It's your co-worker's birthday, and it's time for the office cake break. You:
a. Enjoy a slice with the gang.
b. Have a piece but feel guilty for breaking your diet.
c. Pretend you forgot and don't go.
9. Your kitchen or dining room is:
a. Pretty and inviting
b. Cramped and crowded
c. Homework central
10. When eating out with friends, you often:
a. Talk and linger long after the bill is paid
b. Get into heated debates
c. Have a glass of wine and leave early
Count your numbers of a's, b's and c's. If you had more than 4 b's and c's, you may want to adjust some habits. Using food as an emotional reward, eating in a stressful setting, and multitasking through meals are just some of the eating styles that help pack on the pounds, says Deborah Kesten, MPH, nutritional researcher and author of The Healing Secrets of Food. See Improve Your Eating Style for specific strategies to improve your score.
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