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Lifestyle Assessment: Eating Pattern

Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.


A patient’s eating patterns provide important clues about possible contributors to obesity and will help you design an appropriate treatment plan. Eating behaviour is highly variable. Some behaviours meet the stringent criteria of an eating disorder as defined by DSM-IV criteria (e.g., binge-eating disorder or bulimia). Other abnormal eating behaviours can be considered maladaptive rather than formally diagnosable. These include meal skipping, snack skipping, emotional eating, stress eating, boredom eating and night eating syndrome. Such behaviours are often not accompanied by feelings of guilt or distress.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Members of the Canadian Obesity Network can download Best Weight for free.

Best Weight is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles (part of the proceeds from all sales go to support the Canadian Obesity Network)

If you have already read Best Weight, please take a few minutes to leave a review on the Amazon or Barnes & Nobles website.


  1. Hang on… “snack skipping”? It’s “abnormal” to skip *snacks*? How about those of us raised to eat three meals a day and not snack? Snacks, quite frankly, are only for 2 or 3 year olds that simply can’t eat enough in one go to get from breakfast to lunch to dinner without them. The rest of us don’t need them. Anyway, it’s bad for your teeth to snack between meals.

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  2. @Kirsten – Not only that – it’s bad for your waistline. LOL.

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  3. Snacks can be part of a healthy diet – even more so when watching calories. I’ve lost 45# (working with a dietitian) and my meal pattern has been 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. I eat, on average, every 3.5 hours, which keeps me from getting “over hungry” which is the biggest thing that kills weight loss efforts for me. I’ve pretty much lost all I’m going to now that I’m maintaining at 1500 calories a day and will just carry on with the same meal pattern.

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  4. Being ravenous when I eat sets me up to over-eat–so eating more often, ie, eating a planned snack as part of my food planned for my day is sensible and proactive. I can see how it may seem strange to someone raised not to eat snacks, though!

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  5. I think that some people can function well with no snacks, and others experience annoying and productivity-destroying blood sugar dips between meals, especially if the meals aren’t that large. Snacking isn’t the same thing as grazing, though.

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  6. Normally you provide good information. Today’s note is a blatant sales promotions—what’s next a weight loss supplement. Even if CON (Canadian Obesity Network) profits, it’s a CON job and COI (conflict of interest).

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