Have you ever wanted something to eat but told yourself you couldn’t have it? A scoop of ice cream, for example. And so, you reach for an apple instead. You finish the fruit, but 15 minutes later you find yourself hanging around the kitchen, snacking on everything but what you really want – until you finally “give in” and reach for the ice cream you wanted all along.
Sounds familiar? Many of us have experienced this in one way or another. The root of the problem? Denying yourself of what you really want and the dissatisfaction that comes along with it. Let’s face it: if you’re not satisfied with what you’re eating – you’re more likely to eat more, regardless of how hungry you feel. On the other hand, when you feel truly satisfied with what you’re eating, you will find that often you eat less food.
So how do you gain true satisfaction from a meal or snack?
Step 1: Ask yourself what you really want to eat
Take the time to figure out what you really want to eat. How hungry are you? Do you want a full meal or are you hankering for a snack? What kind of food do you want to eat? Something light and fresh or perhaps something more stick-to-your-ribs. Give yourself permission to eat. This step is key to achieving real satisfaction.
Step 2: Focus on the characteristics of food
Pretend you’re a food critic. When eating a food, take the time to really explore and experience it. What does it look like? Is it colorful, appealing, and appetizing? Take a moment to smell your food. Take a bite of the food. How does it taste? Is it sweet, salty, bitter, sour or somewhere in between? Think about how the food feels in your mouth – its temperature and texture. Is it smooth and creamy, hard or crunchy, or have a different texture all together?
Step 3: Make your eating experience more enjoyable
Make time to appreciate your food – and eat it with as little distractions as possible. This will help you focus on the food and taste each bite of food that you put in your mouth. To keep your mind on your meal, try eating with your other hand, turning off the TV, or putting down your phone.
Step 4: Check in: Does it still taste good?
Food always tastes best when you’re hungry. While eating, check in with yourself to see if the food tastes as good as when you started. If it doesn’t, listen to your hunger and consider stopping. Remember, you can always go back for more later.
Next time you go to reach for a bite to eat: try this technique. Try it for one meal a day until it becomes second nature. You’ll be on your way to a more satisfying eating experience.