Why I Focus On Pleasure When It Comes To Eating
Good-morning all! I hope your day is off to a good start! It’s 7:30 am here as I write this post. Marco and I just finished up at the gym, I popped next door to Scout coffee with the urge to write this post (thankfully I’d packed my laptop!).
Last night I spent my down time reading blog posts. It’s interesting, since I started blogging in 2011 the amount of time that I spend READING other blogs has decreased dramatically. This is sad to say because I do LOVE reading blogs!
As I was enjoying revisiting some of my old favorite blogs last night, what I noticed most for MYSELF was that I loved posts that left me feeling inspired. Whether it was seeing someone’s routine, something that works for them (that might work for me too!), whether they were directly trying to provide value (with a how-to, or something like this), I loved every post that left me feeling inspired, connected, or uplifted. Even the posts that didn’t necessarily give me something to-do or to improve but just helped me to feel a little more normal (oh, you experience these feelings too!? Good, I am not alone!) were my favorite to read.
This got me reflecting on the things that I’d really love to share with all of you. The things that I would hope that you’d walk away with as you read my posts. I think about this often anyway, but putting myself in the shoes of someone who is READING really got my wheels turning.
This morning I began thinking about how much I’ve gained in my own relationship with food since I started focusing on PLEASURE in eating (as you guys can tell from my last post where I talked about my weekend with Kayla and all of the meals we ate together, and the post before where I talked about good food, good coffee, and soaking in GOODNESS, I mean it when I say I focus on pleasure in eating).
So I decided to blog about this because focusing on pleasure with food is definitely something I’d hope you could feel inspired around after visiting my blog!
You may also know how important pleasure in eating is to me if you’ve participated mine and Simi’s 28-Day Pleasure Plan. We created the 28-Day Pleasure Plan to help women jumpstart or restart their journey with intuitive eating while focusing ON PLEASURE because we believe that pleasure is THAT impactful.
It’s FUN, and once we’ve experienced how good that can feel it’s hard(er) to want to resort back to diets and deprivation. Pleasure allows us to be more rooted in listening to our bodies and eating intuitively.
Diets focus on less pleasure. More restriction. More holding back. More will power. More saying NO to delicious foods that you “shouldn’t” eat/want/crave.
I don’t know about you… but if I were to even think for a second about starting a diet today I would feel deprived and resentful just thinking about it!
That said, I remember the old me that got excited when I thought of a diet. BUT, and heres the distinction, it wasn’t the diet I was excited about. Now, looking back, I can see this. It was having something to control, having a mission to move something forward, and the hope of feeling some form of “better” that got me excited.
I’ve since learned that diets don’t bring me these better feelings of joy and happiness. It was always the anticipation of starting the diet where I’d feel those feelings. Once the realization and reality set in of actually BEING deprived and on the diet it felt like I was ripped of. THIS is what the diet feels like? Someone feed me! *Feelings of grouch all around, especially when someone around me was eating something good and enjoying it without a care.*
TODAY, when I need a little tune-in toward listening to my body more intentionally I re-shift my focus to PLEASURE. AND DANG. THAT is impactful. That is exciting. THAT stays exciting.
Focusing on pleasure with food looks like asking myself: What sounds good? What would leave you really satisfied? What meals do you love? How can you increase pleasure in cooking? Going out to eat? Snack time? Movement?
When I answer these questions here’s what comes up for me:
What sounds good? What would leave you really satisfied? Well, right now I’m having a cappuccino that is totally hitting the spot. When I get home, I’ll make breakfast, and what sounds REALLY good is a piece of sourdough toast with butter, eggs, and some crunchy butter lettuce in between! A breakfast sandwich.
What meals do you love? Right now, I am loving grilled and melty foods. I’m not digging many cold foods. I love foods that are comforting and soothing and really carry me over. Things like breakfast sandwiches, grilled cheese, soup, chicken burgers, and that Jook that I made the other night – THAT was great!
How can you increase pleasure in cooking? I can increase pleasure in cooking by turning on music, opening up the windows, getting into comfy clothing, and pouring a glass or wine or making tea, depending on how I’m feeling. Sometimes sparkling La Croix on ice and in a wine glass does the trick, too!
…going out to eat? Really thinking through what environment matches how I want to feel, first. Then thinking of the food they offer and getting excited about trying something new or getting an old favorite. Whatever I’m in the mood for!
…snack time? Actually taking a break from work! Also, deciding whether I’m in need of a small meal (like, avocado toast) or a snack (like, a bar or piece of fruit).
…movement? Doing the things that make me feel like a kid, or the things that make me feel empowered. For example, I love lifting weights, but I love this most when I have a routine that feels good (otherwise I walk around not knowing what to do with myself) and when I can do that routine in 30-minutes or less. I also love when I can JUST lift weights. I don’t enjoy (at least right now) doing BOTH cardio and weight lifting. I enjoy leaving my cardio for the stuff I enjoy doing outside, like: riding bikes, walking, hiking, or… if I had one (my friends tease me about this) riding a SCOOTER. Man, I wish I had a scooter!
So, that’s an example of what it sounds like to have a conversation with myself about what sounds good. This is how I tune in to what’s pleasurable. I looooove tuning in to what’s pleasurable.
If you want a jumpstart or a restart tuning in to what is pleasurable for you, check out mine and Simi’s 28-Day Pleasure Plan, which I mentioned in the beginning of this post. You won’t be sorry. In fact, in the spirit of finding so much joy in focusing on pleasure right now, I’m going to revisit the weekly worksheets myself for some extra OOMPH around pleasure!
Next, I thought it would be helpful to talk about what I gain (and what you can gain!) from focusing on pleasure in food, rather than deprivation and trying to “be good.”
Side note: I’m reading a book right now on the long term negative affects of dieting and trying to “be good” with food – this book emphasizes the importance of feeding yourself ENOUGH (or more than enough!) food, and not restricting ANY food groups, but listening to your body. I’ll share the book once I’ve finished and am sure I would recommend the whole thing to you guys.
Okay, so here are the wonderful things that I experience when I’m focused on finding PLEASURE with food:
- I am so much more satisfied
- I have more fun with food – it becomes a positive rather than a negative
- Food becomes something that I get EXCITED about – it’s added joy in my life
- I do not rely on food emotionally, but am more inclined to really tune in to my emotions and find entirely different ways to feel my feelings (I don’t stuff my feelings with foods I don’t even like – something I used to do)
- I am more inclined to say YES to going out to eat with friends because I don’t fear food at all
- I am better about saying YES to what I do want and NO to what I don’t want
- I crave muchhhh less sugar – I am so satisfied and filled up by FOOD first, that I don’t have wild sugar cravings that feel out of control (I used to!)
- I have soooo much more energy because I am properly fed and satisfied
- I am sick less often, I have more peace in my life, and am all around MUCH happier
- My PMS and mood swings improve tremendously
- Writing out my grocery list, trying new recipes, and grocery shopping all become things that are EXCITING rather than a chore
- I feel more like my childhood self with food (I’m literally watching a little girl right in front of me eat a croissant at the coffee shop where I’m working. She’s got so much joy – THIS IS WHAT I MEAN by feeling more like my childhood self, like a toddler who just finds JOY in her food and forgets about it when she’s done. She’s probably taken two big bites and has been running around, laughing, and talking the rest of the time. She’s so UNCONCERNED about whether or not she should be eating the croissant, like so many of us would be thinking about, therefore causing us to devour the whole thing without even enjoying it – right?!)
There may even be more benefits than these… but this is what I can think of off the top of my mind.
Ah, I hope SO much that this post inspires you gals to focus on finding more pleasure around food today. Like I said, if you’re looking for more guidance, I recommend jumping into mine and Sim’s 28-Pleasure Plan. We’d love to have you and I know it’ll be a positive, encouraging, and inspiring experience for you, which as I shared in the beginning of this post, is everything I could hope for, for you!
I hope you gals have a BEAUTIFUL day.