Redefining Food Pleasure
Eating is pleasurable. It satiates hunger, releases endorphins and tastes good. If eating wasn’t fun, the country wouldn’t be facing an obesity epidemic and I wouldn’t be so large.
Diets are associated with sacrifice – giving up those pleasurable foods that make us feel good such as macaroni and cheese, pizza and most importantly chocolate.
Healthy eating is equated with “rabbit food” and “health food.” Going into the lifestyle change that I’m embarking on, I dreaded giving up so much and was convinced I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. How could I live without CHEESE and SUGAR and GRAINS? No more mashed potatoes? No more hamburgers? No more fast food or desserts? If you had asked me two months ago if I’d ever follow a Paleo Diet I would have laughed.
Yet I did take the leap and I find it’s working for me. I think the secret is redefining the pleasure that I find in foods. There are foods on my food plan that I love and crave and are absolutely guilt free. For me, a medium-rare ribeye with a side of roasted asparagus is delicious! A fresh salad with sweet peppers, shredded chicken, cucumbers and a dash of balsamic is very satisfying. I have recently discovered the enjoyment of fresh apple slices dipped in almond butter and almonds with olive oil and garlic. These foods are pleasurable and I don’t have to “give them up.”
And when I’ve binged or cheated I’ve discovered that I don’t feel well after eating the wrong foods and those foods aren’t nearly as satisfying as they used to be. It’s getting easier to say no to the carb-loaded foods of my past and say yes to fruits, vegetables and proteins. The longer down this road that I journey, the better healthy eating tastes and the better I feel.
It’s not about giving up foods that I love, it’s about replacing the foods that drove up my weight and blood sugar with foods that fuel and re-energize my body. Food is still pleasurable. In fact, I still have the whole new pleasure of researching new recipes and trying new things. I’m enjoying food more, not less.
And not every plan is right for everybody. My mother, sister and I are all on this journey but we’ve all chosen different paths. I’m following the Paleo concept, my sis is following the Mediterranean Diet and my dear old mum believes in Atkins. They all have similarities and slight differences and we all claim that our way is the best way to go. What’s important is what we do works for us and we can tailor our approaches to meet our individual and unique needs.