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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Tags: intuitive eating