When we go on a diet or start to restrict ourselves in food, trying to lose weight, we forget to ask ourselves: what do I want? And this, according to the authors of the book "Intuitive Nutrition", is the main issue that accompanies a harmonious life (and weight loss in the long term). What questions do you still need to learn to ask yourself in order to enjoy food again?
Many of our customers are initially afraid that if they let the pleasure of food into their lives, then they will be manic in their search for something to eat. However, if you allow yourself to enjoy food, then in fact it will ultimately lead to self-restraint, and not uncontrolled gluttony.
We asked our customers to compare a full four-course dinner with just “biting” and chewing on the go. If they spent time preparing food that pleased their sense of smell, touch, eyesight, and so on, then they inevitably talked about satisfying and reducing the need to eat that very evening.
Those who, having arrived home, fell on a sofa in front of the TV with a box of crackers and soda, found that they were jumping on every advertisement for another snack. They had a feeling that they had never really eaten, and they could not get enough. The evening ended in heaviness in the stomach and disappointment.
Many losing weight have lost the pleasure of food and do not know how to return it. Here are the steps to help our customers enjoy and enjoy their meals.
Step 1. What I really want to eat
Satisfaction comes when you have time to think about what you really want to eat, give yourself unconditional permission to eat, and then eat in a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere. In contrast, the basic principle of any diet is that they tell you what you need to eat.
As a child, Jennifer was put on a diet by doctors and mother. When she first came to my office, she belligerently declared that she did not want to hear about any diets. I told her that I do not believe in diets and just want to know what she likes to eat. Amazement froze on her face. A determined 40-year-old woman was literally speechless. And having coped with amazement, she admitted that no one in her whole life had ever asked her what she would like to eat.
Jennifer thought deeply, and then said that she had no idea what she liked. In fact, this sickly plump woman was not even sure that she even liked food. At the end of the appointment, Jennifer was invited to experiment with food the whole next week in order to learn more about her own taste preferences.
In a week, Jennifer managed to identify only ten products that she really liked, but without everything else, it turns out she could do perfectly! The task for the next week was to eat only these ten foods and establish the actual amount of food consumed.
And again, the results surprised the client. When she ate what she liked, it turned out that she was missing a much smaller portion, and the total food consumption for the week came out less than in previous years.
If it’s also hard for you to figure out what kind of food you really like, the next step will help clarify the situation.
Step 2. Which shelf in the supermarket do I need?
Our customers are focused on all aspects of food intake, except for the "here and now." They complain about the past and worry about the future (what I will eat, how I will lose these calories), but very rarely pay attention to the real experience of eating food. And therefore, they do not feel the taste - they do not chew or relish the food.
To find out what foods you really love and to enhance the pleasure you get from food, study the sensory properties of foods. Arrange a sensation attraction for your taste buds and palate. Before you start your meal, evaluate the following options.
Taste. Put a specific product in your mouth to understand what taste sensations it stimulates. Roll the product in your tongue to understand what it is mainly - sweet, salty, sour or bitter. Is this taste pleasant, neutral, or maybe even offensive?
Carry out this experiment at different times of the day to check what time it tastes best. Some are drawn to the sweet for breakfast, they want waffles or pancakes. Something sharp, like eggs with salsa, may seem disgusting in the morning. Others cannot think of sweets until the middle of the day.
Texture. Rolling food on the tongue and starting to chew it, feel the different textures of the product. How do you feel crispy? Does crispy food scratch when cracked, or is it, on the contrary, nice? What is your reaction to soft or creamy foods? Does it remind you of baby food, is it pleasant or annoying? Some products need to be chewed, this requires intensive work of the teeth and tongue. How do you perceive this? Some texture products may be pleasant at different times of the day or even on different days.
The aroma. Sometimes the aroma of food has a greater effect on the desire to eat it than taste or texture. Enjoy the different flavors made by the products. If the aroma of food does not appeal to you, then most likely you will not receive optimal satisfaction from it. If you like the smell while the food is being cooked and served, this is likely to enhance your satisfaction.
View. Take a look at the food you are going to eat. Does it attract the eye? Does it look fresh? Are you interested in its color?
Temperature. A steaming bowl of soup may just be the dish of the day if it is wet and cold outside. But cool yogurt usually does not cause desire if you tremble under an umbrella. Ask yourself what is the best food temperature for you. Do you like hot dishes with heat or moderate temperature? Do you like soft drinks with a lot of ice or is it better just a little bit? Or are you just right at room temperature for everything?
Volume or filling capacity. Some products are light and airy, while others are heavy and filling. On other days, you can be satisfied only with a plate of pasta that will fill your stomach, while at other times you want more light salad. Even if something is great in the tongue and in the mouth, but later you are troubled or you feel heaviness in the stomach, satisfaction is sharply reduced.
Respect your taste buds. Your preferences may be lifelong or may change from time to time. Try to keep track of what seems appetizing to you, and choose what gives you the most satisfaction. If you generally know your taste preferences, this will lead you to the right line in the menu or to the right shelf in the supermarket.
The next most important key to gaining food satisfaction is to time out when you have already eaten a few slices. Does the taste and texture match your desire? Is the food satisfactory enough to eat? If you continue to eat only because the food is in front of you, although it has already lost all temptation, then in the end you will simply remain unsatisfied and continue to fumble in searches for edibles that can satisfy you.
Step 3. As if in a restaurant
To learn how to relish food and get more satisfaction from meals, try the following.
- Take time to rate your meal. Give yourself a clear cut of time. Fifteen minutes is better than nothing.
- Sit down at table. Standing by the refrigerator or pacing will reduce your attention and satisfaction.
- Before you start eating, take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing helps calm down, pack up and stop rushing.
- Try to eat as slowly as possible. Remember the taste buds in your tongue, not in your stomach. Swallowing food deprives you of a chance to taste it properly.
- From time to time, put down your fork during meals. This will help slow down.
- Feel the taste of each piece that you put in your mouth. Experience the different taste and texture sensations of food.
- Take a break in the middle of the meal to assess the level of satiety. The food will not be so tasty and will not bring such satisfaction when you reach the threshold of the last bite.
Step 4. Don't Like - Don't Eat
You do not have to eat food simply because you have bitten off a piece. However, how often have you tried the most tempting dessert, discovered that it is so-so, and still continue to eat? One of the main charms of intuitive nutrition is the ability to discard foods that you don't like.
The main thing, accept the motto: "Do not like it - do not eat, but like it - savor it." Order another dish, find another bowl in the refrigerator, or eat only those parts that you like, and leave the rest.
For example, Barbara talked about a banquet, where she was served on the same plate salad, chicken, vegetables and pasta. She ate only a spoonful of salad and left the rest, because lettuce was drowning in a sea of dressing, and she did not like it. The chicken and pasta were delicious, so she ate most of them. The vegetables were too oily, and she left them on a plate.
In the old days of dieting, she would only eat salad and vegetables for reasons of "diet" and would remain unsatisfied, and when she got home, she would fumble in search of food.
Let's start with genetics. Variations in the TAS2R38 gene, which is responsible for taste, determine how intense you feel bitter foods, such as coffee or celery. And if broccoli, for example, seems bitter to you, you refuse it in principle.
So your pickiness could get you from your ancestors, which, in general, is not so bad: evolution thus tries to save your life with the help of your taste buds. “There is a theory that connects skepticism about products with the prevention of poisoning,” says Pelchat. “This is especially important for children, and that is why they are so selective in eating between the ages of two and three.”
In addition to the biological reason, there is one more: it is possible that your parents just raised you in certain tastes. In other words, they fed you only what they used to eat themselves, or indulged in your childhood cravings.
Although picky eating is unlikely to bother you much, a variety of diets can still be more profitable. Firstly, restrictions are much more likely to lead to excess on your sides. Most finicky eat all sorts of nonsense, rich in fats and sugar, which means they absorb too many calories. In addition, if you have enough fingers in your hands to count all the foods that you eat, it means that you do not get all the necessary variety of vitamins and minerals.
For some people, pickiness may not be a property of character, but a mental illness. In 2013, Avoidance and Restriction Eating Disorder (ARFID) was listed as a mental illness in the United States. But this diagnosis implies that you are ready for almost anything to avoid certain products because of their color, smell, texture, temperature or taste. And this leads to dystrophy, lack of nutrients, change in behavior in society.
You are most likely healthy. You're just a quibbler. So what do you do? You can try adding foods you don’t like to your favorite dishes. Or mask the taste with sauces and gravy. But this will not help if you do not like not just the taste, but also other properties of the food.
In this case, you do not have many options. There is only one plan left: start by compiling an objective and detailed list of the qualities of the food that you like. Then make a list of foods that you don’t eat, but which have similar qualities. Well, finally, set yourself the task of trying something from the second list every day. Record your sensations of taste, texture, appearance and smell of new food. Your task is to try and not make a judgment about whether you like it or not. In the latter case, by the way, try again in a couple of weeks. Your taste buds may take up to 20 attempts to get used to the new taste.
It turns out that our innate taste preferences play an insignificant role in the choice of dishes. From birth, we are programmed to crave sweets and to refuse sour and bitter.
Taste addictions can be explained in terms of evolution. Sweet food is a good source of nutrients, so we tend to choose it. For example, ripe fruits are most often safe and rich in vitamins. While poisonous plants are almost always bitter, so at the genetic level we refuse such a taste. This partly explains why some people do not like vegetables so much.
From the first days, babies show an attitude to sweet and bitter, and their reaction to salty develops a bit later.
Phillips believes that our craving for sodium chloride is also easy to explain by adaptation. The water of salt lakes contains many trace elements necessary for the body.
We also love fatty foods: it gives a significant amount of calories. Therefore, people love the combination of fatty and sweet (ice cream) or fatty and salty (fried potatoes).
Congenital factors correct eating behavior, but learned preferences have a major influence. They are formed before our birth.
We get the first lessons about taste while in the womb. The child absorbs knowledge from the mother through the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid. Scientists have proven Human foetuses learn odours from their pregnant mother’s diet that children express a less negative reaction to the smells of anise and garlic if pregnant women consume these foods. The same goes for carrots. Babies liked its taste if their mother drank carrot juice while carrying and breastfeeding.
You already know that taste preferences are formed within two years. First you eat everything that adults give, and then you become a neophobe. Now you do not like new food. So, if your mother did not like garlic, onions or liver, the chances of enjoying them tend to zero.
Here, many parents make the biggest mistake. They believe that the child simply does not like such food. But children don’t like new food at all. If you abandon attempts to feed offspring with these products, they will hate some already in adulthood. Parents simply do not know that if you continue to treat your child with boiled vegetables, over time he will like them.
The solution to the problem is to make this food familiar. Try again and again. This may take 10 to 15 attempts. So, if you do not like the dish, often include it in the menu.
We do not just eat foods because we love them. On the contrary. We love them because we constantly eat.
But switching to a new diet is not as easy as it sounds. This should be done within 2–4 months. If you are used to drinking fatty milk, 10 glasses of skim will obviously not be enough to generate warm feelings. Your body needs time to rebuild taste buds.
How to accustom yourself to unloved products
It would seem that since most of our preferences have been learned, it’s enough to adjust our diet and just make ourselves addicted to new food. But in the psychology of taste, there are many interesting nuances that are worth knowing.
For example, there are people with hypersensitivity to bitterness, which is why they try to avoid green vegetables.
Also, do not forget that the senses play an important role in taste preferences. The smell of food greatly affects us, but we evaluate the dish in appearance. If you change it, the taste will be perceived differently.
Remember how long you can’t even look at what you have poisoned recently. Everything is in the head: a kind of program is developed in order to protect us from poisonous food.
Remember: if you want to change your attitude to certain products, you need to prepare psychologically and accustom yourself to the new gradually.
If you have children, try to diversify their menu as much as possible. They should try new. And even if they don’t like something, perhaps for the twentieth time they will say that now this is their favorite dish.
Developing taste buds and getting used to different foods is not only good for the body. It will come in handy when traveling. For example, Asian cuisine is characterized by unusual European tastes, colors, smells. It is more interesting to try something new than frantically looking for the nearest McDonald's.