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5 Steps to Food Satisfaction – by a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

When was the last time you were able to identify what foods you actually like to eat? Some of you might not even know. Maybe your work on Intuitive Eating Principle 3: Making Peace with Food was the first time that you really considered what foods might bring you pleasure.

Pleasure and satisfaction are two very important parts of the Intuitive Eating process. Many people who meet with a holistic nutritionist or certified Intuitive Eating Counselor find some confusion within this fact. For dieters, food is a source of stress, not satisfaction.

Principle #5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Intuitive Eating creators Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (2020) remind us that eating is actually meant to be a pleasurable experience. How often are we willing to admit when we are dissatisfied in other areas of our lives, but pretend that we are perfectly content with our relationship to food? Tribole and Resch state “Whether it is food or relationships or career-if we’re not satisfied, we’re not happy (Tribole, E. and Resch, E., 2020, p.150).”

Satisfaction with food typically occurs when:

  • You are eating foods you enjoy

  • You are eating foods you are hungry for-not what you think (or the Food Police thinks) you “should” be eating

  • You’re moderately hungry. If you’re not very hungry, your capacity for satisfaction isn’t high. If you’re too hungry, you’re more concerned about replenishing your fuel.

Settling for food you don’t actually want will increase cravings.

Settling can look like consuming more of the undesired and less satisfying food in an effort to avoid eating what you actually wanted.

There are a lot of fears associated with leaving behind diet mentality and letting yourself enjoy both food and the process of eating. In fact, changing relationship with food can be terrifying and overwhelming, even if the change is healthy. A holistic nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor like myself can partner with you to help you navigate the fears that stand in the way of food satisfaction.

Intuitive Eating recognizes that this process can be easier said than done. Tribole and Resch outline five steps to learning how to find satisfaction in your food choices (Tribole, E. and Resch, E., 2020, p. 154-163):

  1. What do you really want to eat? This may look like relearning what you actually enjoy. Principle 3, Making Peace with Food, can help you rediscover what is pleasurable. The Intuitive Eating process helps you drop negative feelings about different types of foods, trading guilt/shame for satisfaction and satiety.

  2. Discover how to experience pleasure from your food. Engage your senses. Take a bite of food and notice how it feels on different areas of your tongue. What is the texture like? Does it look appealing? Does it taste as good as it looks? Is the aroma of the food engaging? Does the aroma or sight of the food begin activating an anticipatory response? How is the temperature? You can use these questions to help you decide what you actually think of the food. Check in after a few bites and ask yourself if it is still enjoyable.

  3. Set the stage. Sometimes it takes effort to increase the enjoyment of the eating experience. It may engage the effort of sitting with your food without distraction. Slow down your eating process. Pay attention to your sensory experience. Check in with your Satiety cues. Remember the 3 S’s: Eat Slowly; Eat Sensually; Savor every bite (Tribole, E. and Resch, E., 2020, p. 160) Further, eat when you’re moderately hungry, in a pleasant environment when possible, and with variety.

  4. Don’t settle. “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it (Tribole, E. and Resch, E., 2020, p. 161).”

  5. Check In: Does it still taste good?