Are you never really left feeling satisfied with your food when you're following a diet or meal plan?
Intuitive Eating Series Principle #6 - Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Did you know it’s ok to experience pleasure and satisfaction when you eat?! My friend, I want to tell you one thing … DON’T BE AFRAID TO ENJOY YOUR FOOD. And today, we’re talking all about how you can do that.
Did you know that satisfaction is at the center of everything intuitive eating? If we're not satisfied with what we eat, we'll never truly be happy with our relationship with food. You see, food is meant to be enjoyed. Remember what I said earlier? Don't be afraid to enjoy your food. All kinds of food. Without guilt.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
Let me share a great example from the book Intuitive Eating:
Fran wanted a piece of cornbread, badly. But you know, corn bread was fattening or off limits or somehow it had entered into her mind that it was a "bad" food for her. So, she denied the craving for cornbread and instead went for a boxed low-calorie snack from weight watchers. But, she wasn't satisfied, so she ate another boxed low-calorie snack. By the evening, she had eaten SIX of the little snacks and realized that she had already consumed more calories with all of the "low calorie, low fat" options than she would have if she would have just eaten the corn bread. Fran was trying to fill the void of an "off limits" food with other foods she had been taught were "on limits".
Have you ever had a situation like Fran's? You want something really badly, but decide it's off-limits for you for whatever reason and then you just end up grabbing a bunch of other foods to try to satisfy that craving?
Let's think about it logically. It makes sense that our bodies might want certain nutrients or even our brains might want a certain food experience. Denying ourselves that experience does two things, it first causes us to obsess over food, and second, pulls us further out of tune with our bodies.
So, my question for you today is, have you lost sight of what it feels like to have a pleasureable, guilt-free experience with food? Today is all about helping you regain that experience with 5 steps to help you get it back!
But, before I move on, I know there's one question on your mind. "What if I crave "junk" all the time? Or what if I never crave fruits and vegetables? Is that bad? Or... what if I crave something so much I way overeat it?"
All of these questions and emotions are totally normal as you start out on your intuitive eating journey. I know it might be hard to see it now, but I just want to tell you to trust the journey.
Trust that you will normalize over time and feel more in balance. It's totally normal to have moments of feeling out of control of cravings that seem excessive - you're teaching your body something you've probably never really paid attention to (at least since you were a little kid and then talk of diets, and good vs bad foods, and phrases like "don't waste food" and "finish your plate" came into your life). Trust that you will find the balance you're looking for with being satisfied and happy with your experience with food.
5 STEPS TO REGAIN PLEASURE WITH EATING
First, Ask yourself what you really want. Have you ever really thought about what you REALLY want? Remember, we're throwing out the "good food" "bad food" labels (don't let those food police creep back in!). Sit down and think about what sounds good to you the next time you feel hunger. Then listen to it. Remember the last time you went on vacation and all you wanted was a home-cooked, fresh meal when you got home? It's like that! Start to get more in tune with your body by asking yourself what you really want.
Second, discover the pleasure of your senses while eating. Sit down for an entire meal. Notice the smell, the texture, the feeling of the food. It might sound a little silly, but just do it. Does it satisfy in all of the ways you want it to? In fact, think about what kind of food you might want to experience in the moment? Do you want something warm because it's a cold day outside, or is your house 80 degrees and a fruit salad sounds like heaven? Do you want crunchy? Is the food appealing to your eyes and makes you want to eat it? Do you want something light, heavy, filling, or in-between? Ask yourself these questions. They will be different each time depending on a lot of different variables in your life.
Third, Make your eating experience more enjoyable. When was the last time you scarfed your lunch down on the way to your next meeting or soccer practice or whatever else you have going on? Try to provide at least a few mindful and pleasurable eating experiences each week by eliminating distractions, setting up a calm environment to eat, and appreciate the time to yourself for a minute. Remember to eat when you're gently hungry and not over hungry - because then we lose all sense of how we feel - we just want food at that point! As you practice this, provide yourself with variety. A variety of foods, a variety of experiences. You might be surprised at what you discover as you do this!
Fourth, don't settle. Just remember the quote, "If you don't love it, don't eat it, and if you love it, savor it". That's all I'm going to say about that one. It's as simple as that! I promise that over time you will find enjoyment in a large variety of foods.
And lastly, check in with yourself. Ask yourself if the food still tastes good and then stop when you're satisfied. It takes practice to stop when you're satisfied, but it does come!
As you follow these 5 steps, you will ultimately learn the things you truly enjoy eating. You might even find your taste buds become more adventurous! Just remember to trust in the process and that your body will tell you what you need.
So, here's your homework for the week - purposefully provide an eating experience where you sit down and enjoy your food for at least 3 different meals this week. Pay attention to the satisfaction factor. That's it. Just pay attention. Go through the 5 steps and see where it takes you!
And if you want more practice with all of the steps of intuitive eating, download my intuitive eating checklist. Click the button below!
I truly hope you begin to find more joy and satisfaction with eating.