everything discussed in this blog series is derived from Intuitive Eating and the Intuitive Eating Workbook. As you read these posts, I strongly encourage you to purchase and read both as this series will not be as thorough and informative as the books. Each month we will focus on one principle at a time. Allow yourself the space to simply look at that one principle. My desire for you, dear reader, is that these posts will 1) allow you to dig deep into understanding your relationship with food, 2) that kindness and compassion for yourself will grow, and 3) that you will experience real flourishing as you develop trust with your body.
This morning my toddler miraculously slept an hour and a half past her normal wake time. Feeling like I had won the lottery of time, I hurriedly tried to accomplish as much as I could. Sometime amidst washing windows, mopping floors, and folding laundry I started to notice my hunger for breakfast. To be honest with you I was kind of annoyed at my hunger. My life these days is split into two categories: things I can do with my daughter and things that must be done when she is sleeping. I can eat breakfast with my daughter but I can’t bleach my bathroom with her. Needless to say I wanted to keep moving. Yet, I also wanted to honor my hunger. I knew if I didn’t stop to eat I would soon be ravenous.
So I made myself a bowl of yogurt and granola but grabbed my computer before sitting down. Because I didn’t want to lose momentum in my productivity, I decided I would write this blog post (already a week overdue) while eating.
I hardly had the title written before I realized the irony (or perhaps hypocrisy) of the situation. Here I was trying to write a blogpost on enjoying food as I was distractedly eating breakfast without hardly tasting it. In that moment of clarity I decided to shut my computer and be present with myself as I was eating.
I directed my attention towards my taste buds and noticed the way the cold, creamy yogurt cooled me down after a frenzy of cleaning. Each crunch of the granola and the way each bite tasted different depending on what nuts and seeds were on my spoon. I noticed the blueberries I added to my bowl and the way their tartness complemented the yogurt.
I also noticed how easy it was for my attention to wander away from the present moment. My thoughts would drift from granola to wondering if rain would ruin my afternoon plans or if an ensuing cold was causing my daughter to sleep later. When those thoughts crept in I noticed them too but let them go so I could re-focus on my breakfast.
When I was finished I was also satisfied. On top of that, after breakfast I decided to put my to-do list on hold and continue to participate in activities that nourished my body and soul because taking time for myself in this way felt good.
Perhaps every time you sit down to eat you enjoy every bite without distraction. Or, perhaps you are so entrenched in diet culture you believe it’s far more important to eat what you “should” eat as opposed to what you actually crave.
The sixth principle in Intuitive Eating, Discover the Satisfaction Principle, is a charge to make food choices based on what your body desires to eat and then eating that food without distraction or shame.
Depending on your current circumstances and history with food, this may be a challenging task. It’s also unreasonable to expect that eating will be enjoyable and satisfying 100% of the time. Yet, every eating experience is an opportunity to learn about yourself and your food preferences.
Sometime over the next 24 hours, I encourage you to choose one meal in which you make the satisfaction factor your main priority. Ask yourself what you would enjoy eating. Consider the temperature of the food as well as the texture. Consider not only taste but what would optimize your eating experience. As you eat, savor each bite. Linger with this meal you’ve chosen and notice how your body feels before, during, and after you’ve eaten.
Again, it is not likely you will be able to eat in this manner all of the time. You will probably have to eat in a hurry from time to time or eat while multitasking. As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, Intuitive Eating is not about perfection. There’s no such thing as doing a “good job” or a “bad job” at this. All we can do is continue to learn about what our bodies need and grow our trust with our bodies and food.