Intuitive Eating Principle #6: Discover the satisfaction factor
In the last post, we talked about learning to feel your fullness. That’s a great skill to have, but we also must remember that fullness and satisfaction are not necessarily the same thing. You can be physically full but not be satisfied for a variety of reasons — you didn’t eat what you were craving, your meal was missing a key component (carbs, fat, or protein), etc.
The satisfaction factor is one of the most powerful regulators of our eating. Ironically, it is the main thing we miss out on when we restrict/diet! Maslow tells us that we are driven by unmet needs. When we deny ourselves what we want, we end up eating more and enjoying less — fighting against our bodies instead of trusting them. This is one of the main reasons the diet mentality just doesn’t work.
When we eat what we truly want and we eat enough to be full, we start to believe we can trust our bodies to lead us to the right foods and the right amounts. As this trust grows, we begin to find that our bodies do an awesome job of self-regulating both amount and type of food we crave. We don’t need to count calories, eliminate food groups, or make other rules. Our bodies just do it for us…and we also get the added benefit of actually enjoying the things we eat. Imagine that!
Here’s a couple steps to help you regain satisfaction in eating…
- Ask yourself what you really want to eat. If you’ve lived with food rules for a long time, you may not actually know what you like to eat anymore! Take the time to rediscover your unique preferences. Be willing to try new things. No foods are off limits! (check out this post for more on making peace with food)
- Discover the pleasure of the palate. Taste, texture, aroma, appearance, temperature, and filling-capacity are all components of food that we can experience and enjoy.
- Make your eating experience more enjoyable. Sitting down for a meal with a family member/friend will be much better than standing in front of the fridge…trust me.
- Check in throughout the meal to see if the food still tastes good. The more bites you take, the less appealing it will taste as you approach satiety. You will enjoy food more if you listen to your hunger and fullness cues!
You might find that it takes less food to make you feel satisfied as you discover what foods taste good and feel good. You also might find on some days that it takes more food for no apparent reason. Both of these are okay! Be nonjudgmental as you build trust with your body, and believe that you were created to be satisfied with what you eat.