Intuitive Eating – Part 7

Posted: May 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Ever since Thursday night at the food festival, intuitive eating has been on my mind and I realized it has been awhile since my last post in the Intuitive Eating series. So I figured this is perfect timing to get things rolling again. If you missed any previous Intuitive Eating posts, or if you are new to my site, click the links below to catch up.

Intuitive Eating - Introduction

Intuitive Eating - Reject Diet Mentality

Intuitive Eating - Honor Your Hunger

Intuitive Eating – Make Peace with Food

Intuitive Eating – Fight the Food Police

Intuitive Eating – Feeling Your Hunger

Today’s topic is Discovering your Satisfaction Factor. When are you satisfied with a meal? How can you take steps to ensure you will be satisfied after a meal?

How often do we overlook the pleasure of eating? For some every experience is enjoyable, but for many we encounter food situations that can stress us or leave us overanalyzing things too much. Tribole & Resch, the authors of Intuitive Eating, state that almost every eating experience should be satisfying and enjoyable. Why? Delighting in your dining can help you naturally achieve a balance for your body’s personal needs and bring a more positive relationship to the foods you eat. Some signs you are not yet in tune with your satisfaction factor can be found in situations like the following:

  • You eat something because you “should” only to end the meal unsatisfied and eat what you really wanted on top of what you already ate.
  • Meal times are battlegrounds where you tell yourself you “can’t” have something. You deny any cravings (or even the chance to take a closer look at what you are craving to find another satisfying substitute) because you must eat what was planned or “safe”.
  • You may list excuses for why you don’t “deserve” to eat a certain food. It may be in the form of not working out enough that day, it not being a special occasion/the weekend, or you already had one treat this week.

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I certainly noticed some of those qualities in myself in past years. As I discussed Friday morning, characteristics like these jumped out to me while I was reading my travel journal. I have been there. Eating was stressful for me. It was something I had to do in order to have energy for workouts and that was the only thing that mattered about it. That whole mindset of we should “view food as fuel” can be a bad thing in my mind. Certainly we need to make choices we enjoy that will adequately fuel our bodies, but there is more pleasure to food and eating than filling up our cars with gas.

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We can’t ignore the pleasure a delicious meal (healthy meals included) can bring. After all, who wants to go through life unhappy with a regular daily activity? That would drain the energy and joy right out of me. And it did for years.

Now that we have discussed ways to recognize faltering satisfaction in meals and the importance of turning it around, let’s look at three ways we can become more satisfied and revel in our eating.

  1. When you prepare a meal, think about what you really want. Eat it. Don’t have a veggie + chicken wrap for lunch just because it’s your lunch that you eat every day. If you come to a day where you are craving some pasta instead, that’s okay. Wouldn’t you rather eat the pasta than force the chicken + veggies and end up raiding your cabinets for the carb fix you were craving earlier?
  2. Focus on the food. When eating, don’t worry yourself with thoughts similar to “I’ll need to run longer tomorrow to make up for this” or “I’ll need to have a big hunk of chicken for dinner since there isn’t much protein in this meal”. Pay attention to the tastes, textures, and aromas of the food you are experiencing. Savor each bite.
  3. Check-in with your satisfaction. While taking the time to savor each bite, consider how much you are enjoying the food. Does it taste as good as you expected? Is it as delicious as the first bite? If something isn’t bringing you the same satisfaction as you anticipated, don’t force it. Opt for another item on your plate you really want or pick something else to eat if possible.

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Discovering your satisfaction factor basically all boils down to one concept. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it….and if you love it, savor it. Eat with joy. Choose foods you love. Take pleasure in the moment. End satisfied.

  • What ways does food satisfy you or stress you?
  • What do you think of the statement “food is fuel”?
  • What do you think is the most difficult part of recognizing satisfaction with eating?

I hope you all are having wonderful weekends. I will be back tomorrow with a weekend recap. It's been a good one so far. :)

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20 Comments to “Intuitive Eating – Part 7”
  1. Holly says:

    Great post!! I really liked it- I understand what you mean at viewing food as ONLY fuel..and not truly enjoying it. I know I can use this advice…sometimes it is nice to just ENJOY your meal, and eat would you really want to eat!

  2. Another great post. I think I just sometimes forget to stop and taste the food, really enjoy it. I do use food as fuel in terms of making sure that I try to get proper nutrition for workouts and to be healthy. I do want my food to be appealing though.

  3. Great post! For me, the biggest part of truly savoring my food is refusing to multi-task when I’m eating. I used to (and sometimes still do) have a bad habit of reading magazines or blogs while I’m eating, which really decreases my ability to tune into my meal and fully enjoy it.

  4. Sarah says:

    You have great timing. I’ve been waging a mental battle with myself and with food. Today, I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself to have foods I truly wanted (homemade sweets!) because I declared them “bad.” Actually, I only ate them during emotional binges. Hm.

    I’m so thankful for your posts on Intuitive Eating. One of the many steps toward a healthy mind and a health relationship with food, for me. Thank you!

  5. congrats on the new site!!!!!!!! it looks great!!!!!!! i know how much work the tech side of blogging can be…ugh. Great job Tina!

    xoxo

  6. ellie says:

    I have loved this series of posts so much- thank you for writing them!

    “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it….and if you love it, savor it. Eat with joy. Choose foods you love. Take pleasure in the moment. End satisfied.” <- I love this. So often I eat stuf just out of habit, or because it "fits in" with my daily intake…and half-way through, I realise that I am not enjoying it.

    What ways does food satisfy you or stress you? I feel satisfied when I spend time preparing exactly what I want to eat. It stresses me out when my brain is focused more on calories/protein/whatever rather than anything else- especially when I am hungry and craving something in particular (ie, a baked falafel wrap) but am too caught up in numbers to deviate from my grilled chicken and rice meal.

    What do you think of the statement “food is fuel”? I don't like that as a motto to live by- sure, food is fuel and you need it to live. But it's got the potential to be so much more. Thinking of it as just fuel ignores the fact that we are human and have emotional needs too as well as physical. if it was just fuel, why not just eat perfectly balanced meal replacement bars each day?

    What do you think is the most difficult part of recognizing satisfaction with eating? It's hard for me because I am so caught up in the "should's" and "shouldn't" that i am not in tune with myself. Working on it!

  7. Food IS fuel and I definitely eat foods that fuel me, especially during the work week when I work out a lot or teach group fitness classes. I can’t really eat a lot of junk and then go teach..hah, that would be very uncomfortable!

    However, I DO eat for pleasure and the healthy food I eat as fuel I enjoy it! I never eat something because I have to, I eat because I enjoy it.

    I also enjoy the not-so-healthy foods just as much. I try and balance it out as best as I can and make sure to listen to what it is I am really craving.

    I think one of the most difficult things is recognizing when you have had enough…sometimes food can be so good you want to keep eating it, but your body is full.

  8. homecookedem says:

    Soooooooo true. Every word!! I think recently I’ve been the most intuitive eater I’ve been in YEARS. I’ve been really listening to my body and have thrown out all of my food rules. I eat when I feel like it and pick what I truly want. Like last night, I went to chik fil a and got the FRIED chik fil a sandwich. I used to always get the chargrilled b/c I didn’t think I deserved the real deal. Well I got it AND the waffle fries and it was worth every single bite!! Soooooo delicious and no guilt at all!! :)

  9. Great post…as usual! I am guilty of eating the same lunch almost everyday simply because I am used to it. Even when I am craving something different I usually just end up eating the same thing because it is easy and doesn’t take a lot of thought for me to prepare. Usually lunch is the meal that I want to put the least amount of effort into. I find lunch to be a necessary inconvience…haha. It usually interrupts the flow of my day and I never feel like putting a lot of time into it. So I always just end up going for the same thing…I guess I am lazy.

  10. Hallie says:

    I could talk about this topic forever, since I’m still trying to figure it all out and it’s SUCH a freakin process, but I’m just going to say congrats on the new blog!!

  11. Hayley says:

    Tina this couldn’t have come at a better time for me! First of all I wanted to say thank you so much for the comment you left on my blog. I always try and respond to them, but just in case you didn’t see it I’m very grateful for your words and they came at exactly the right moment. After I read your post before this one I realized that intuitive eating really works and I’m so motivated and encouraged by what you wrote – that you can eat at events like fairs or food festivals and partake in foods that you really like but not feel stuffed afterwards. I know it’s true, because I’ve been there before and i can get there again!

    I’m going back to re-read this post and go through my Intuitive Eating and Normal Eating book. Thank you so much for putting such a wonderful blog out there, and for being such a supportive and loving friend.

    xoxo

  12. Hayley says:

    I forgot to ask – do you eat without distractions? I find it really hard doing this…I can’t seem to eat without working on a crossword puzzle!! As nerdy as that sounds. :)

  13. Katie says:

    Oh my gosh…I didn’t read this one yet! I gotta get to reading :)

  14. Again your posts always hit a chord! Sometimes I ignore my craving to opt for the “healthier” meal but then I always end up unsatisfied. I need to work on satisfying those cravings because I always eat more when I don’t!!

  15. Jennifer says:

    I have really enjoyed these posts about intuitive eating. I definitely can be the type to force myself to eat something healthier that I totally dislike, then later eat something I really want on top of that. I used to wake up in the morning and have an idea of some healthy breakfast that I needed to make immediately. But then I realized how dumb that was because I wasn’t truly eating because I was hungry. I was just doing it because I thought that’s what I should do. Now when I wake up I don’t think about food at all. I wait until my stomach tells me it’s ready for breakfast and I make something that will be good and filling. Oh and I plan to email you back soon. Sorry it’s been a hectic week since my purse was stolen and we had to redo all of our finances.

  16. I love this post, and all of yours on the subject. I am going to try to print them all off and keep them in my house to look at when I am getting down about eating or falling into the very UNintuitive eating that I often do! You are really inspiring, Tina, and I love all of your posts! Thanks!

    Food is such a sensitive issue (obviously) and I think its funny that the same thing that fully satisfies us can be the thing that stresses us out. I have gained a couple pounds in the last few weeks due to stress eating and then the fact that I gained weight stressed me out MORE and the cycle just got worse… so last night, I put away my food and exercise journal and decided that for now, I am not writing down what I am eating. I know in most cases (and in the past for me), food journaling is a great way to stay accountable. But I realized that it was causing me more stress feeling like a “failure” so I am just going to try to listen to my body and eat THAT way for a while. We will see how it goes!

  17. [...] to mention that Tina has written some really great posts on Intuitive Eating including her latest, Intuitive Eating – Part 7.  If you’re interested I truly think you should take a [...]

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  19. Chuck says:

    Food is absolutely fuel- on days without workouts as well! “Eat to train, don’t train to eat”

    Awesome blog!

  20. Milanimiss says:

    Сегодня я остаюсь одна.

    После всех долгих кофейных ночей, когда стены сжимались вокруг.
    После всех предательств и злостных шептаний за спиной. Да, твоих.
    Я сходила с ума оттого, что все так сложно, понимая при этом, что по-другому быть и не может.

    И вдруг вчера одним щелчком выбило из меня всю дурь.
    После всего, что мы сделали друг для друга и друг без друга вдруг в последний раз всплыло в памяти и теперь уже навсегда пошло ко дну.

    Сердце уже никогда не екнет при упоминании твоего имени.
    И, встретив твое лицо в толпе других, я пройду мимо. Потому что ты теперь тоже другой.
    И все же я пишу эту последнюю дань памяти тебе, понимая, что тебя больше не существует в моей жизни.

    Карта

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