Episode 76: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
In this episode learn that it's not just lists of food, calories or macros. Feeling full and content with what you eat has a lot to do with the satisfaction factor in what you are eating.
To sum it up: “The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide if you’ve had enough.”
Learn what you can do to increase the satisfaction factor of your food!
Episode #: 76. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #76, Discover the Satisfaction Factor.
Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl!
Be sure to go to miriamhatoum.com/resources to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.
Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!
I am going to start the episode with a direct quote from the workbook because there is absolutely no way I could say this better myself:
“The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide if you’ve had enough.”
Have any of you ever been part of a conversation – or even diet movement – that declared that food is only fuel? I never subscribed to that. As a matter of fact, I remember an episode from the original Star Trek when people talk like that. On that episode there was great confusion on the part of the Kelvans, the captors of the Enterprise, as to why the people of the Enterprise would take the trouble to consume “bulk” materials to sustain themselves instead of just taking the food pills which they consumed. Whenever I would be in the company of someone whose latest diet was of the “Food is only Fuel” ilk, I would cringe and think of that episode of Star Trek.
How many times have I eaten something and say, “Oh this is so sinful or this is so decadent.” I have also said, “This is too delicious – it must be 1000 calories” or “This is so heavenly,” or any such phrases that indicate that I am eating something that either I don’t deserve to have because of my weight or diet status, or that it’s so wicked I will pay for it one way or another.
As wonderful as some of the diet recipes are – decadent, yummy or otherwise – we are all left with the feeling that REAL – not diet – food is beyond our reach, or we don’t deserve it or will pay for it on the scale. Recently I took out some of my mother’s recipes and my husband asked for one of them three times in a row, he had missed it so much. If anyone is entitled to all the wonderful food available and which he loves, it’s my husband. Yet I had denied him as well all these years.
I am learning to introduce these foods back into my repertoire. Through all the work I have been doing – not just with Intuitive Eating, but other things as well, I have come to the realization that no one food is what made me fat. It was sneaking food at night after my parents had gone to bed, or sneaking leftovers when my mother was out of the house, or gorging on potatoes, desserts and leftovers in my own house when no one was looking, that has caused my problems – both weight and insulin resistance.
I am learning that foods are not good or bad. Because of my insulin resistance, foods will either raise my blood sugar or not, but those are consequences for me to deal with. If I want my blood sugar to remain in a normal range and I want to escape any remaining shackles of insulin resistance, I can choose not to have certain foods, but without assigning a moral label to them. The foods are not good or bad, and I am not good or bad for my choices. I might be healthy or sick, but I am not good or bad.
I think this is hard for us dieters to realize that we have been demoralized with the beat ups by eating foods that are not on our diets. We are plagued with feelings of guilt and wrongdoing when we eat those – what we call - decadent or sinful foods. It’s time to acknowledge that satisfaction and pleasure are so important if we are to live a full food life. Voltaire: said, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” Think of those food pills. Is that really all you want out of food – fuel? I think not!
Okay, now, I am going to tell you something that, as a dieter, you have heard hundreds of times: If you don’t eat what you wanted in the first place, you will eat 100s – or maybe even 1000s – of calories around it and probably go and also eat what you wanted in the first place. No amount of carrot sticks, sugar free cookies or fudge pops, low fat chips or popcorn is going to take away the fact that all you wanted in the first place was a slice of your own birthday cake, or pizza at lunch. You continue to search for the satisfaction you would have found in the food you wanted.
Ask yourself what you really want to eat.
Respect your taste buds’ preferences. In asking yourself this you also have to realize that your taste buds have probably changed over time. You may also have been a food rebel and refused to eat certain things, but you might be pleasantly surprised that you actually do like them. I’m sorry guys, but let me say here that I will never go for liver and onions and that could be the rebel in me but I’m stickin’ to it. I remember when liver was required on Weight Watchers, two friends and I would go out once a week to a diner and order liver and onions. Never again!
Regarding this, don’t settle. If you don’t love something, don’t eat it. Of course, sometimes honoring your hunger is the best you can do. For instance, if you are very hungry and having dinner at a friend’s house and the food is not what you like, you can eat it – not to be a people pleaser, but because you are hungry and you really must eat something. But, if you have been looking forward to a restaurant meal, let’s say, and you absolutely don’t like it, politely send it back to the kitchen and order something else. The same thing if you have made your own meal at home and it has not turned out to be something you like. I am sure you can find something else. Not every food or every meal has to be a 5-star meal that you love so much that you want it again, but have some respect for your taste buds.
When you think about what sounds appealing consider the qualities of savory, sweet, salty, buttery, rich, bitter, tart, smoky, hot and spicy, bland, or mild? Consider textures and temperatures. Do you want crunchy or smooth? Do you want room temperature or hot? Do you want to chew or just easily swallow? Hot or cold? What aromas are appealing? Do you love the smell of roasted garlic and onions? Does the smell of bacon make your mouth water or your stomach turn?
And let’s not forget appearance. My husband serves a plate worthy of a magazine cover. Anyone who has ever eaten at my house can attest to this. We used to own a restaurant that was consistently in the top-10 in NY by the Daily News, and we even had a review in Gourmet Magazine. This boy knows how to put together a plate. And I’m not talking just for company. Now that it is the two of us, every meal is as beautiful as if it were being served at a restaurant. I’m telling you this to make the point that a meal must be savored with the eyes as much as your other senses.
It's not just what he is serving. The color combinations and textures alone make your mouth water. Imagine, though, poached chicken breast, boiled potato, cauliflower, and a piece of bread. Seriously, it all might be delicious and just want you ordered, but if you can’t savor that look, then it is doubtful you will savor the food. It’s all important.
In the two recent episodes on finding your fullness, I talked about creating an optimal eating environment. You don’t need the candlelight, silver and music, but do your best to eat a meal that is pleasing to the eye in an environment that is pleasing to the eye. When the sense of sight is brought into the picture, it enhances the other senses of taste and smell. I don’t know under which sense texture falls but remember that is also part of the sensory experience.
The other quality of the food to consider is volume. This can relate whether something is heavy and hearty or light and fluffy. That is another consideration when you are considering what it is you want to eat.
So, what do you want to eat? Next time you hear yourself saying, “Anything” or “It doesn’t matter,” dig a little deeper into that. Not every meal has to be a well thought out epicurean masterpiece, but if you are so hungry that a piece of cardboard will do, try next time not to let yourself get so hungry. If you are so angry or upset that all you want to do is stuff something – anything – into your mouth, take a moment, breathe, count to 10, do a few jumping jacks if you can or remove yourself from the situation with a walk. Then assess the situation again. If you are so tired that you think eating something – anything – will give you some energy, see if you can get some fresh air and again, as with the anger or stress, re-evaluate the situation – better yet, rest.
Paying attention to your senses while you are eating
You want to respect your senses with the right food for you at the moment. Or, you want to plan your food in a way that will respect your senses when it is time to eat. If you neglect to do this time and again, you will never find satisfaction in what you are eating, even if you have already gotten to the point where you are no longer eating prescribed diet foods that you never wanted in the first place.
Here are some senses that you can pay attention to at your meal. You might not get them all at every meal, but if you slow down and pay attention, you will be surprised at the experience.
· Sight: Notice how the food looks. Engage your eyes and think about how you would describe what you are seeing. And remember, it’s not just the food itself, but the environment of the food. Have you used a dish? Do you have a napkin and silverware?
· Smell: Inhale and take in the aroma. Does it smell spicy or sweet or savory? Is your mouth watering?
· Touch: If this is a hand-held food what does it feel like? If it is a food not to be picked up by hand, can you sense the texture by looking at it?
· Taste: How does the food taste? Bitter, spicy, salty, sweet, bland? Are there flavors you didn’t expect?
The workbook has two others which are sound and mouthfeel. There are also very detailed guided practices as well as a worksheets.
Three reflection questions you can ask yourself are:
1. How did this experience compare with your usual process of eating?
2. What would you need to do in order to eat in this manner with most of your meals?
3. How did paying attention to sensory aspects contribute to your satisfaction in eating?
A mentor of mine introduced me to the term hedonics. I had heard it before of course. Well actually I hadn’t. I had heard the word hedonistic which means engaged in the pursuit of pleasure and being sensually self-indulgent. But I had never heard of the study of hedonics in terms of eating behavior. Hedonics is the study of pleasure but when paired with the study of eating behavior it is about the concept of pleasantness in influencing food choices.
When used in a positive way, as intended by Intuitive Eating, it ultimately determines the amount of food consumed. This is because if we eat what we truly want to eat, and we savor it with as many senses as possible, our eating is slowed down, and our distractions are minimal because we are paying attention to the food itself.
I am not talking about when we are driven to eat things like ding dongs and bags of chips – which we might like. But, when we are driven, we don’t have the full experience of enjoying the food. In a case like that, it is not the pleasure of the food we are seeking, it is what the food is doing for us that we are seeking, such as stuffing down feelings or calming anxiety.
This brought me to the next exercise in the book which is about detecting sensory specific satiety, SSS. Studies in this field have shown that Sensory Specific Satiety occurs within two minutes after consumption, with little opportunity for digestion and absorption. At the moment of sensory specific satiety, your taste buds get desensitized to the taste, and the pleasantness of the food decreases. Beyond that you are eating for nourishment and sustenance – maybe this is where you would take the Kelvin food pill, but you need to fill your belly too! In this week’s actionable coaching advice I will give you the workbook exercise for detecting your SSS point.
Impact of Hunger and Fullness
Here is a direct quote from the workbook as it asks the question and makes the point perfectly:
“Have you ever eaten very little during the day when you know that you’ll be goig out to a lovely dinner later in the evening? People do this all the time, saving up for a meal without considering the consequences. It’s common to ignore the fact that going into a meal feeling ravenous is a sure route to gorging on as much food as you can to satisfy yourself. Once you’re in a state of primal hunger all possibility of true satisfaction from your meal is removed by the drive to get the food in quickly. Likewise, it is just as hard to be satisfied from a meal if you sit down to eat when you have no noticeable hunger at al. You will get more pleasure out of a meal that’s begun when you’re moderately hungry.” (end quote)
There is a worksheet with the columns, Time, Hunger Rating, Food Eaten, Fullness Rating, Satisfaction Rating, and Comments. The reflections ask you what trends you might have noticed with hunger, fullness, satisfaction. Then, going back to last week’s actionable coaching advice, it asks if you noticed the last bite threshold. Even if you do not own the workbook and will not be doing this exercise, take the time to think about it a bit at some of your meals.
It is very eye opening to pair your hunger level with the level of your satisfaction. But, it is equally interesting to note the affect of your level of fullness on your satisfaction level. Honestly I wish I could remember where I heard this – and if you know who said this, please let me know. The saying is, “Hunger is the best seasoning.” This means if you are not hungry the food will not taste as good as when you are hungry. If you are ravenous the food will not taste as good as when you are comfortably hungry. Find the sweet spot with your hunger, pay attention to what’s coming through to your senses, and you will not only enjoy what you are eating but you will not overeat it because you will be attuned to that last bite threshold.
Your Emotional Connection to Eating
This topic is a little different from what I will be talking about in next week’s episode, which is coping with your feelings without using food. Resch and Tribole ask the following questions:
1. How often is there chaos in your house when you begin to eat a meal?
2. Is the room (at home, at work, or at school) filled with tension?
3. Are people arguing during mealtime?
4. Is there plenty of food available?
5. Are people criticizing what or how much you eat?
Even though this overlaps with what I talked about in earlier episodes about setting boundaries and creating a pleasant environment, it further makes the point that when tension, chaos and other negative vibes are happening while you are eating, you are distracted from paying attention to your meal. This, in turn, leads to faster eating, eating more than your body needs for fullness and nourishment, and general dissatisfaction with your meal.
Going further into making your environment and meal as pleasant as possible, ask yourself the following questions. They are best answered in a list, so you can think about these as are you are listening, but if you have the time, take out your journal and give these questions some thought:
1. What are your favorite foods?
2. Who are your favorite eating companions?
3. Do you like to eat at home, in restaurants, in friends’ homes, at parties, at large events, or in some other settings?
Take some time to remember the answers to these questions and implement the answers when you can. Each one adds a different color to your satisfaction rainbow.
Resch and Tribole say that, “Discovering the satisfaction factor of eating is a full mind-body experience. It allows you the freedom to pick just the right food for your taste buds… Evaluate what you really want to eat, as well as other factors geared toward getting the most satisfaction possible from your meals” such as what you might have written in the lists above, such as dining companions, where you like to eat, and also have a nice environment when you eat.
Practice staying present in the moment. Remember Vitamins SD and BE: Slow Down and Breathe!
THIS WEEK’S ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
For this week’s actionable coaching advice, I want to go back to the Sensory Specific Satiety concept. Most of this exercise I am taking from the workbook, so you are welcome to do it directly there, or in your journal. Don’t forget, this is all written out in the transcript for this show so you can have it all in front of you:
For this exercise, first check your hunger to see if you’re moderately hungry. If you have been doing your work on the hunger scale I have given you, this would be about a 3 or 4. Pick one food that appeals to you. Make sure you try this with only one food. Note the time when you start. As you continue eating, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Has the flavor diminished?
2. Does it still smell as good?
3. Is the texture and appearance still as appealing?
When you notice that the “pleasantness” of the food has lessened, not the time to see how many minutes have passed. How long did it take for Sensory Specific Satiety to set in?
Repeat this exercise, but this time, serve yourself a meal with a variety of foods. Does it take longer for the pleasantness of the meal to diminish when there is a variety of foods? How many minutes?
Well folks, I think maybe this is the secret to the mystery of why some people can say that they can have just a few bites of a favorite food and be satisfied. Can you imagine 2 or 3 bites of a birthday cake or 3 or 4 chips, or one piece of chocolate?
I’m with you, friends. I am going to do this exercise all this week!
Next week’s episode
Before sharing the workbook with you next week, I am going to draw upon my own writing to set the stage for the exercises and reflections that are in there. Even if you have begun your Keto and Low Carb Journey which tends to reduce cravings, you may still have a tendency to want to turn to foods that you have decided not to eat, or you may overeat your Keto and Low Carb foods. Next week I will explore triggers for Head and Heart Hunger, and the week after that I will dig into cravings and urges.
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