There is something to be said about always opting for what is the “better” option versus the “satisfying” option when it comes to food choices.
In a world of diets, we are constantly giving up or swapping the foods we really want for an alternative option to essentially help the number on the scale go down.
The question is not, “Will I be satisfied?” or “Is this what I really want to eat?” Rather, the question is, “What can I eat instead of x, y, or z?”—x,y, or z being the food you really desire.
Often the reason for skipping out on the food we crave is due to something of its make up that has deemed it forbidden. (Ahem, we all know what happens when it comes to forbidden fruit, right?)
The more you deny something, the more you crave it.
Let’s say you eat the piece of dark chocolate and almonds instead of the ice cream at lunch that you really wanted. You are proud of your “smart snacking” and curbing your craving for ice cream. However, there is still something about that craving that just doesn’t go away.
Ironically, the same day you skip the ice cream for lunch, your sweetie brings a brand-new pint of ice cream home.
What do you do now?
- Dig in! It’s your favorite flavor.
- Swear it off completely. You will NOT ruin this day of “healthy eating.”
If you choose option one, let’s hope it goes like this:
You get a scoop and sit down to snuggle in front of the TV. Yum, this is so good. Great choice having this ice cream; it really hit the spot. You move on.
Then there is option two:
Your sweetie scoops a bit of ice cream into a bowl and sits down. You scurry through the pantry for a little something sweet that will help you avoid giving in to the ice cream. A few apples dipped in peanut butter, some graham crackers, a handful of pretzels, some yogurt covered raisins, a fudgesicle and five Hershey kisses later, you find yourself feeling a bit full but also wishing you had just let yourself have the ice cream in the first place.
After all of that, you still aren’t even remotely satisfied.
Why can’t we just opt for satisfaction?
Diet culture and the constant desire to be smaller has wired us to opt for the lower calorie, the lower sugar, the “healthier” choice. We are out of tune with the concept of giving our body what it wants because we are often so focused on making our bodies shrink.
I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times that I swore off the ice cream only to go on the hunt for a swap that never satisfied.
But if we would just allow ourselves to eat what we crave, then we wouldn’t end days feeling defeated for not having will power to stay away from a food we really want. After all, in the end it is not about will power, it is about satisfaction.
Once upon a time, I loved a smooth, rich and creamy Frappuccino. Like, LOVED. I mean, I could live on them if I had the money to do so.
I remember my gasp when I was able to sneak a peek at the nutritional info that Starbucks so graciously supplied. (Another thing that drives me crazy, but I will not get into that today.) That day I swore them off completely.
I ventured on to create my own knock off version that would essentially represent a Frappuccino but would also be void of the calories, sugar and all the other things I deemed evil. And I did it. Or so I thought. I mastered the creation of my own iced coffee drink.
And guess what? It was not even remotely as satisfying as the amazing sips of the real deal from the coffee shop.
There is power in satisfaction, friends.
When you stop and really ask yourself, “What do I really want?” and then you honor that craving, you have so much more space for other things in your life than fretting over food.
When you go to order your coffee and you get the full fat, chocolate filled drink versus the unsweetened coffee with a splash of skim, you can enjoy a warm smile as you sip. You can take a deep breath and appreciate the aroma and the perfection this cup is in this moment. You can acknowledge that this was exactly what you needed right now, and you can move on with your day.
Perhaps what keeps us from eating what we really want is fear.
The fear in honoring our cravings is always that our cravings will be only sugar, cake, cookies, donuts, mocha Frappuccino’s, all day every day. I hear you; I have been there.
If you take the time to wake up and listen to your senses, your bodily cues, you will be surprised. In fact, you will be amazed to find that your body even asks for a salad sometimes. A good hearty salad with all the delicious and nourishing toppings–it will ask you for it. And what a beautiful thing it will be to listen, to eat, to enjoy, and then to move on with your day.
And THAT is the satisfaction factor. To eat, to enjoy, and to go on with your life.
About that Frappuccino…
Craving a Frappuccino now that I talked about the recipe I created? I took the recipe back to the drawing board and created a very satisfying Mocha Frappuccino that I was happy to sip on. It can be yours as well!
Pro-Tip for when you make it: a splash of heavy whipping cream is always a great idea. Always!
Read more about satisfaction and intuitive eating here!
Lorie Yarro spent most of her teenage years and her twenties in a constant battle with her body. Her life was consumed by the need to have the “perfect” body and no matter how thin or lean she became, it was never good enough. Then the day came when she realized that this way of living was not living at all. She now lives by one rule and one rule only, "“I CAN EAT WHATEVER I WANT.” lemons+zest is Lorie's blog where she documents her own story with both intuitive eating and her fertility struggles, recipes, positive body image messages, and adorable pictures of her son Sam.