I really do love all things chocolate. As embarrassing as this is, if you gave me the choice between blueberries and chocolate cake, I would really want to choose the cake.
Don’t worry – this post isn’t just about the wonders and benefits of chocolate, but about really learning to savor and enjoy the foods you love.
Have you ever eagerly looked forward to eating a certain food? Maybe it’s not chocolate that does it for you, but some other confection or savory food that you always look forward to eating.
What happens to you when you think about having that particular food? Can you almost taste it or smell it even before you even pick it up? If you are at a restaurant or the mall, do the smells of Asian food, cinnamon buns, or pizza figuratively call your name?
One thing I learned about myself as I was losing my weight, was that I did not have to completely give up the foods that I really liked. I learned that I could still enjoy some chocolate without eating an entire brownie pan, a whole pack of chocolate cookies, or even a large bag of M&M’s.
How? I learned to anticipate the taste, savor the experience, and really taste the food.
In my fat days, I don’t think I really tasted much of the food I ate. I was so busy shoveling it in, that I didn’t appreciate the textures, the sensations or the flavors of the foods I was eating. Even though I was primarily the person who cooked in my family, and I took quite a bit of time making tasty (although often fattening) dinners, I ate so fast that even I couldn’t have described the flavor of the chicken and dumplings or spaghetti in detail if you had asked me.
And if I couldn’t describe the meal because I ate it so fast, I certainly couldn’t describe the taste of the 15th cookie I had just consumed. As I lost weight, I knew that I didn’t want to cut chocolate, or some of my other favorite foods out of my life. So instead of getting rid of them completely, I determined to savor them.
For me this involved slowing everything down a little bit and changing the way I purchased foods. Instead of grabbing a handful of chocolate and shoving it in my mouth and then reaching my hand in the bag for more before I had even swallowed the first mouthful, I took one at a time.
I still remember sitting in my kitchen during my weight loss year holding a single piece of chocolate in my hand and putting it in my mouth. I took my time and really tasted the chocolate. I enjoyed that piece so much more when I savored it. I mentally compared how I felt when I ate slowly to when I inhaled my food. The best part? The taste stayed with me longer.
There is a book out called French Women Don’t Get Fat, which gives similar advice. The book recommends that we all need to savor our food, and enjoy it to its fullest. As I tried this, I was surprised how quickly I was satisfied, not only from a physical hunger point of view, but from an emotional standpoint as well.
The truth is, food is wrapped up in emotions for many of us, myself included. I didn’t eat too many pieces of chocolate candy, and dozens of chocolate cookies because I was physically hungry – but rather because of an emotional need. By slowing down, and really taking the time to taste my food, both treats and not, I was able to soothe the emotional hunger, while at the same time satisfying the physical hunger.
If you haven’t ever tried this technique, I’d encourage you to try it next time you eat. Especially if you are eating a high calorie food or a food that is an indulgence for you.
A special note about indulgence foods: If you are going to eat it, tell yourself, “Okay, I can have this planned indulgence, but I’m going to eat it slowly and savor it.” Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can’t eat twelve Oreos slowly and say to me, “But Diane, I enjoyed every slow bite!” Try it the right way and with foods that are good for you, and see if it helps you satisfy both the emotional and the physical hunger.
Have you ever tried this technique? Diane