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Is Your Diet Missing the Satisfaction Factor?

Did you know that in Japan “Make all activities pertaining to food and eating pleasurable ones” is one of their dietary guidelines for health promotion? A far, far cry from what is found in the U.S., wouldn’t you say? We’re so focused on healthy eating and weight loss, we never even stop to consider that food should also be satisfying, or that we should strive to eat it in a way that’s really enjoyable (such as sitting down in a calm environment, rather than cramming it in while driving on the highway and talking on the phone).

See if this sounds familiar: Since you’ve decided to make some healthy changes to your diet, you find that one day you can easily live on lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, but the next day you find that you really want a cookie. You don’t feel you’re allowed to have the cookie, so you end up eating way more of something else you don’t really want, let’s say extra rice cakes followed by a couple of bananas, followed by a sugar-free ice cream bar. Now you’ve eaten many more calories than you would have if you’d just sat down and enjoyed the cookie, not to mention your craving for the cookie still hasn’t been satisfied.

See how making sure the satisfaction factor is part of your diet may benefit you? You will enjoy food more, be able to eat less, get really in tune with what you truly want to eat, and feel comfortable around a variety of foods.

Here are some ideas for beginning to add the satisfaction factor to your diet:

  • Pay attention to what it is you truly want to eat, and eat it! You’re going to have to be discerning here and start checking in to find out if you’re truly hungry or if you’re just looking for a distraction from work or other life stresses, but when you are really hungry, see what would be the most satisfying. Believe it or not, when you tune in, you’ll find that you often crave fruit or veggies or something else healthy, but only when you’ve given yourself permission to eat what you truly want all of the time.
  • Eat when you’re hungry, food tastes better that way. You’ll also notice that food loses its impact and strong flavors after you’ve had a few bites. It may only take a few bites to satisfy that craving you’re after, as long as you stay present while you eat.
  • Eat before you get too hungry. You know how when you’re absolutely starving you just start eating everything you can get your hands on, without even noticing how it tastes? Try not to do that, because you’re definitely missing out on the satisfaction factor when you eat this way.
  • As much as possible, eat when you can be present and are feeling calm. Imagine eating lunch after finding out you’ve been laid off, or in the middle of a huge fight with your partner or spouse—you probably don’t even taste the food! Make an effort to relax before and during your meals and snacks.
  • Eat without putting your body down. You deserve to eat, regardless of your size, weight, shape, or current health. If you spend the meal thinking you shouldn’t be eating something, it’s going to detract from satisfaction in a big way.
  • Let go of guilt. You’re allowed to enjoy your food. Remember that incorporating more satisfaction into your meals will help you to eat less!
  • Take the time to prepare meals that delight all of your senses. Choose beautiful fresh vegetables, or place a bouquet of flowers on your dinner table. Take the time to smell your food, put on soft music, place the food on your plate in an appealing way—all of these factors go into adding satisfaction to a meal.

Remember that deprivation equals rebound eating. Satisfaction is a key way to combat that. When you sit down and enjoy your meal, you’ll eat less.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.