Maybe you’re reading this title and thinking… why would you write about enjoying the food experience? That’s obvious. I obviously pick foods I like. I enjoy eating. Well, if you’re already doing that – that’s good!
My point here is to address how people might eat foods they don’t truly enjoy eating. I want to address this because I work with patients who eat only selective foods and have off-limit foods. They said they love that certain food item but can’t enjoy it because they’re “not as healthy” or “bad”.
Here are some examples:
1. Eating certain foods because they see other people eat it.
2. “Feeling bad” eating a regular food item, so they only pick “low calorie” or “low fat” cookies.
3. Refusing making anything made with oil/butter so they constantly search for “oil-free” or “butter-free” recipes.
4. Always replacing all-purpose flour, butter, sugar + eggs with whole wheat flour, applesauce, stevia and egg whites.
4. Eat mainly gluten-free items because they think it’s better for you.
5. Not eating something because you always had “enough unhealthy foods”.
This is just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong here. You should try your best to eat healthy foods but don’t let that prevent you from picking foods you ACTUALLY like eating.
If you want to truly enjoy the food you eat, here are some tips I have!
1. Discover your satisfaction factor.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about intuitive eating is to discover what you truly crave and know how much you need to be satisfied. I have a HUGE sweet tooth, I like ending my meals with something sweet. This can either be fruit or even a real dessert item. Sometimes, it can be just a bite of a cookie or a small scoop of ice cream. Other times, it might be some fruit and that’s it! Intuitive eating is understanding what TRULY satisfies you rather than picking your foods because they’re “healthier”. Discover what satisfies you through your cravings. Don’t restrict because you will trigger a drive to overeat. Your body wants what it wants!!
2. Savor each bite.
We choose what we want to eat based on the flavors and tastes we like. For example, I don’t like artichokes, olives or dates. You might like them, or not. We ALL have preferences. Choose foods you like and SAVOR IT. Get in touch with your senses. Touch it, smell it and truly taste it.Don’t make yourself eat something JUST because it’s good for you. If you really don’t like it, pick something else you enjoy! Don’t decide not to like certain foods because they’re “unhealthy” to you. You will be MUCH more satisfied if you like it, trust! I love donuts but I’m not going to say “I don’t like donuts” when I know I truly LOVE them. I mean.. donuts. DONUTS!! Haha, but again we all have different likes and dislikes! Know what your flavor profile is!
3. Make a list of foods you tend to limit but actually enjoy eating.
I say make this list because these might be foods you don’t have at every meal or even every day. They might be a “treat” to you only if you feel like you ate well recently. My point of this is to learn how to incorporate it as part of your regular food choices more often instead of feeling like you need to “earn it”.
Here’s a brief list of my main ones:
Savory: french fries, fried chicken, burgers, steak.
Sweet: ice cream, cronuts, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies.
I don’t eat these everyday but I don’t ever feel like I need to “earn them”. I don’t feel like I need to work out or eat well for several days before having any of these foods. If my mom comes home with a box of donuts, you BET I will be having some. If I go out to eat with friends and I have an opportunity to order fries, I might order them! I might not have that whole donut or all the fries, but I will be intuitive and eat until I’m satisfied (this is part of discovering your satisfaction factor).
4. What sounds good? Get it.
I was in Santa Barbara recently for Christmas with my family. We went to a breakfast/brunch restaurant. I was looking through the menu and saw eggs benedict – grilled buttermilk biscuit, mashed avocado, smoked salmon, poached eggs & smoked tomato hollandaise. Sounds good, but not the healthiest right? BUT IT SOUNDS YUMMY. The old Winnie would’ve gotten the “veggie scramble with toast and fresh fruit”. There’s nothing wrong with getting the scramble but at that time, a benedict sounded so much better. There are times when a scramble sounds better, but this wasn’t the case. I ordered the benedict and ate intuitively. Next time you go to a restaurant and read through the menu, what sounds good to you? GET IT. Don’t try to pick the healthiest item unless you REALLY are craving it. Also, when you’re on vacation and going out to eat – it’s all about trying foods you don’t usually get to try! Be open!
Overall, there’s nothing wrong with picking those healthier choices. There is nothing wrong with having zoodles instead of spaghetti noodles. There’s nothing wrong with making a recipe that calls for butter but experimenting with other replacements. There’s nothing wrong with having sweet potato toast instead of regular toast. We don’t need to add protein to everything. We don’t need to always add collagen to our coffee.
We should enjoy all the different types of foods out there. Of course, we have our preferences so I’m not talking down about any food here. We need to respect each others food preferences! My point is to learn about yourself and your body. Understand your cravings, your satisfaction factor, food preferences and your hunger cues.
We need to focus more on making food choices that SATISFY US. Pick healthy nutritious choices but also more choices that satisfy our cravings. We need to listen to our bodies. We need to honor our hunger and make peace with food! Stop labeling food as good or bad. Intuitive eating, moderation and balance is KEY! Stop restricting. Stop telling yourself you “don’t like” a certain food because you have anxiety over it. Stop telling yourself you “don’t like” a flavor or food because it “tastes unhealthy”. Sometimes we crave a bunch of vegetables and healthy food, other times we crave a cookie. Honor that and incorporate it into your diet. It’s freakin worth it. Food is meant for you to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the pleasure of enjoying food you eat by limiting yourself!
This is just a short post to address a topic that’s been on my mind recently. Hope it helped give some insight!
Love you all! Happy Intuitive Eating!