Today we are back with week six of our 10-week intuitive eating series. We will be talking about pleasure and satisfaction. Now if you are just joining us in this series we would recommend going back and reviewing the first five talks. You can find the links to the series below. Each talk flows into the next, covering all the different principles and follows the structure of the Intuitive Eating book. If you know anybody who would benefit from this series please share this with them as well.
In the last talk we spoke about fullness. Recognizing fullness and honoring fullness and using that as a guide to determine when you want to be finished with your meal. At the end of that talk we spoke of a couple scenarios that might leave you feeling like you want to eat more when you are not actually hungry anymore. One of those scenarios was not feeling satisfied. When we don’t receive the actual pleasure and nourishment that a meal has to offer we end up feeling unsatisfied and then finding ourselves wanting to eat more even though we’re not really hungry.
Intuitive Eating Video – Week 6
In Japan they actually have the wisdom to include pleasure in their healthy eating guidelines where in other countries we are all in such a hurry to get healthy and thin that we totally overlook the pleasure principle. We miss out on one of the most basic gifts and that is allowing ourselves to feel satisfied and nourished from a meal. Many of us have come to see the eating experience as the enemy so that we are often pushing against it. We miss out on what is designed by nature to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. We think that if we actually enjoy our food we are going to trigger overeating, but remember it is restriction and deprivation that triggers overeating. It’s literally the exact opposite.
When you give yourself permission to eat food and enjoy your food what kicks in are your natural self limiting behaviors. This is the opposite of what most of us think. It is certainly the opposite of what we are constantly being told. When we settle for less with food we end up hungry, wanting, craving and overeating.
When you take the time to eat something you really want to be in an inviting atmosphere. Pleasure will be a very powerful force in helping you feel content and satisfied with your meal. Satisfaction in your meal now equals wanting less later. When you take the time to eat what you want and enjoy it, you reduce that desire to keep wanting to go back for more. You may also find that it takes less food to become satisfied, because not only are you being satisfied and nourished by the food, you are being nourished by the entire eating experience. This is straight from the Intuitive Eating Book.
The American psychologist, Abraham Maslow has taught us that we are driven by our unmet needs. We want what we can’t have and we will do whatever it takes to calm down the sense of deprivation that inevitably arises when those needs are not satisfied. Whether it is food or relationship or a career, if we are not satisfied we are not happy. So when it comes to eating we really have to give ourselves unconditional permission to eat what we want. We should tune in and ask ourselves what are we wanting in this very moment and then eat that food with an awareness and in an inviting environment. Really taste the food and chew the food and savor the food and be present so you can have true satisfaction from your meal.
As humans we are designed to move towards satisfaction and pleasure and to avoid pain. Being satisfied with a meal is really a very powerful experience. If you find yourself constantly eating around what you really want or eating on the go or not paying attention to your food you are going to feel unsatisfied and your going to find yourself wanting more, even if you’re not hungry. When we’re not present with a meal we don’t receive that nourishment in that satisfaction as the brain registers hunger.
So how can we begin to work more pleasure and satisfaction into our meals? The very first thing is to check in with yourself before you eat. So you are giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want. By tuning in you can ask yourself, what do you actually want? What would you love right now? What sounds good? What would you enjoy? What would give you a pleasurable eating experience? Notice if you are actually tuning into this moment or is your mind somewhere in the past or somewhere in the future. Our thoughts are on what we ate yesterday, what we should eat tomorrow, have we we had enough protein, are we having enough fats and carbs. Our minds are so busy that we literally miss the whole experience that’s happening right now.
By tuning into the moment you can consider these points. What kind of flavor do you want …. do you want something sweet, salty, bitter or sour? What texture do you want …. do you want something creamy, crunchy, smooth or chewy? Do you want something that is hot or something that is cold? Do you want something that’s room-temperature? Really explore all the sensual aspects of food and tap into what you are truly wanting in that moment. Don’t get caught up with that dieters mentality of trying to eat around the foods that you really want. How many of us have been in a situation when we want a cookie and instead we’re trying to eat rice cakes with fat free jelly on top. What ends up happening is you eat one, then you eat another and then another. And not becoming satisfied you might go for something else that is supposed to be a healthy food. Before you know it you have eaten more than you would have ever eaten.
We cannot out trick the natural desires of the body. Studies show that artificial sweeteners trigger the body to eat more sugar and to ingest more calories. So trying to trick ourselves is not the name of the game. Tuning into our desires and honoring ourselves is a much more pleasurable path and one that will really make eating feel much more effortless.
Another thing we want to do is eat slowly, eat with awareness and really taste your food. Ways to help you chew your food, especially if you are a fast eater by nature is to chew each bite 20 to 25 times or to put your fork down in between bites. Another tip is to try to be the last one to finish at the table. These are just little external cues to help you tune in and practice slowing down with your meal.
Another thing that will reduce the pleasure of a meal is getting too hungry or getting too full. When you get super hungry and you sit down to eat we tend to eat fast. Or we trigger that feast or famine mode and no longer enjoying the meal. If you start to get too full you will notice that food does not taste as good when you’re not actually hungry. Another tip is to eat in a pleasant environment. This can be achieved by putting some music on or lighting some candles. You could use your favorite dish or your favorite china. Make it feel like a special occasion. Know that you don’t have to do this at every meal but start to play with it when and where you can.
Another tip is having a meal in that social environment where you eat with someone else. This can completely enhance the eating experience. When having your meals with friends and family you want to avoid tension at the table. Don’t argue or get into a heavy heated conversation when you’re eating as this is going to reduce the pleasure of the meal. Save these types of conversations for another time of the day.
Another tip would be to eat a variety of foods. Keep your kitchen stocked with foods you enjoy. This is the polar opposite of what people tell us. Their advise to us generally is if you like ice cream don’t buy it and keep it in your house, they are saying don’t do that. You are going to do the opposite and buy and keep on hand foods that you truly enjoy. Ice cream is not going to be the only food you may enjoy. There is tons of beautiful fresh produce and so many ingredients that we enjoy. You can keep a variety on hand so that when you tap into what you’re wanting you have some options for yourself.
One good point to follow is if you don’t love it don’t eat it. If you find yourself eating something and it’s just not hitting the spot, you’re not enjoying it, it’s okay to stop and reassess what would I rather have and enjoy right now. This is really a practice of honoring yourself and honoring your desires. It is kicking up the game of self-care and that is not to be overlooked.
Finally as you are eating check in with yourself. Ask yourself, does this still taste good, am I still enjoying this. As mentioned before when we start to fill up and when we start to have enough food the food actually starts to taste less enjoyable. It is just a practice of noticing this and the way we notice is simply by being aware and checking in with ourselves. It is an ongoing practice.
Knowing what you like and believing that you have the right to enjoy food are both key factors in sustainable health and weight loss. Do not overlook this. Make it a fun practice in finding ways to add more pleasure to your eating experience. It is not to be underestimated as it is very powerful.
We hope you find this topic about pleasure and fun and satisfaction with food as enlightening as we did. They are such key components to our health and our wellness and our weight loss journey. We are always so driven by what we need to do when the push and the deprivation and what we need to take away. By recognizing that flipping that switch to what we can add in and how we can slow down and what we can enjoy is a lot more of an effective and powerful approach.
We are looking forward to next week which is another really juicy topic which is honoring your feelings without using food.
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