Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life

Food is a part of life that is meant to be enjoyed and savored! You will not be satisfied with a salad if you wanted a cheeseburger. That salad may fill you up, but it won’t provide that extra satisfaction. As humans, we like to be satisfied and being satisfied makes us happy. Whether this is with food, your career, or your relationships, we all want satisfaction.

Many times, people will have a craving for food and will try to replace that craving with any number of foods but nothing quite satisfies like that original food. Say a craving for cornbread is replaced with rice cakes in hopes that eating anything but the cornbread will help, but 5 rice cakes later, you’re still searching for that satisfaction you’d get from corn bread. So you eat an apple. It’s sweet and cornbread is sweet, so maybe that will help, but it doesn’t. You want that soft, cake-like texture and apples just don’t give you that. So you move on to something else. You find some fiber brownies in your pantry. They have fiber, so they must be healthy (ha) and they’re soft and cake like just like the cornbread you want. But 2,3,4 of those later, that chocolate just didn’t fill the satisfaction that cornbread would have, so you “give up” and have the cornbread.

 Not only have you eaten more than what you would have if you just ate the cornbread, but none of those other foods brought you any satisfaction compared to the cornbread. Chasing that food you want, but replacing it with other alternatives isn’t the same as allowing yourself to have the food in the first place. Remember, in order to make peace with food, you can’t allow cornbread to make you think you’ve done something morally wrong by eating it.

You are allowed to find pleasure in food. For many, this can also be scary. To help yourself along the way and become more comfortable with enjoying your food, start by asking yourself what do you REALLY want to eat. What sounds good in this moment? Rather than a focus on what you “should” eat, what do you feel like eating. Do you really just want ice cream, but would normally eat a full dinner that you weren’t hungry for in order to eat the ice cream? Just eat the ice cream. When you eat foods that are satisfying, you don’t need as much to be satisfied and you won’t be chasing that one food with replacements.

Next, focus on your palate. What does your food taste like? What textures are you getting? What does your food smell like? What does it look like? Is it hot, cold, room temp? And how filling is it? Is it summer time, and you really don’t want chili because it’s hot and very filling, or is it cold out and chili sounds perfect and comforting?

Enjoy your eating experience: don’t wait until you are ravenous to eat, don’t let tensions come to the dinner table, set yourself up in an aesthetically pleasing environment.

And don’t settle. If the food doesn’t taste good, is it really worth eating? Or maybe it started off tasting great and towards the end of your meal, its just ok. This happens because we’ve been satisfied with our food and aren’t getting the same pleasure because we are getting fuller, and have been eating this food for the past 20 minutes.

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