• Hannah Peterman, Undergraduate Dietetic Intern

Practice Intuitive Eating: Discover Satisfaction


A food scientist friend of mine was once asked by a popcorn company to develop a sugar-free caramel popcorn recipe. After presenting them with the product formula, they contacted him again saying, "Will you make it fat-free, too?" Indignantly, he replied, "You already have that product. It's called cardboard!"

He has a point, doesn't he! Our culture is obsessed with consuming foods that are free of "fattening" ingredients such as carbs, refined sugars, or fat. From cabbage soup connoisseurs to keto diet enthusiasts, we see evidence all around of people who are trying to purge "bad" foods from their refrigerators and their lives.

The problem? Many foods that are free of perceived "bad" ingredients are also entirely free of enjoyment and satisfaction!

Most people think that if their stomachs are full, they naturally won't want to eat any more. However, they aren't aware that being satiated, or full, is very different from being satisfied. Feeling satiated means that you are no longer hungry, while being satisfied means that you no longer feel the desire to eat more food because your meal was both filling AND pleasurable. It involves eating foods that "hit the spot," rather than just choosing foods that will take up the most stomach volume with the least calories.

Countless dieters are familiar with certain "safe" or "free" foods that they can eat unlimited amounts of to achieve satiety without consuming excess calories. It's not uncommon for dieters to consume large amounts of fibrous vegetables, rice cakes, popcorn, low-calorie beverages, and other filler-foods for this reason. However, even with the physical symptoms of fullness that result from eating these foods, numerous dieters find themselves wanting more food! Why? In short, they were not satisfied by their food! Humans aren't robots. Since food was designed to be both a source of nutrients and a source of pleasure, achieving only one of these aspects from food will result in cravings for more food, even when our stomachs feel full. Ready to feel satisfied after a meal? Here are some tips to feeling more satisfied with your food.

Stop Telling Yourself What You SHOULD Eat

If you're like many of our clients, you have read all the research on the best foods for weight loss and you have plenty of them on hand. But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself what you enjoy eating? It's common for people to gulp down large quantities of "forbidden" food after consuming their so-called "healthy" dinner. Some clients have no idea what foods they actually like, despite the fact that they think about food all the time! They make valiant attempts at quelling their cravings with diet foods, and then despair when they find themselves eating far beyond fullness because the diet foods didn't satisfy.

Don't Buy the Lie That Satisfaction Opposes Health

For some clients, choosing satisfying foods is a huge step of faith! It's not uncommon for clients to fear that if they listen to their cravings, they will live off of chocolate cake, meat lovers pizza, and Twinkies for the rest of their days. Yet, time after time, clients express surprise that when they choose to eat the foods they enjoy, they eat lower quantities of food AND they crave a variety of foods--including fruits and vegetables! Numerous people report that when they pay attention to what sounds good to them, some days they actually CRAVE foods like salad! Some days, they crave chips or ice cream, too. But, when they are paying attention to what sounds good, their urge to overeat begins to dissipate. Best yet, they are finally enjoying food for the good gift that it is.

For more tips on how to discover the satisfaction factor, click below to subscribe to our Practice Intuitive Eating email series! We'll get down to the nitty gritty of intuitive eating as you begin your journey!

#intuitiveeating #health #nutrition

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