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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Do You Know What to Eat?

How Do You Know What To Eat?

In my experience, there are two broad categories of “eaters”. People in the first group know exactly what they really want when they are hungry. If you are one of these people, do you eat what you really want most of the time? If not, what keeps you from eating the foods you really want?

Many people tell me they want to “eat healthy” and the foods they really like aren’t healthy. My professional and personal experience is that many of these people would choose “healthy” foods if they really ate what they prefer most of the time.

So, what is “healthy” food? Many of my clients say, “I had a good day, I ate ‘healthy’ all day”. What does that really mean? For many it means low fat, small portions, lots of fruits and vegetables. As your dietitian, I’d say that’s just fine, but is it what you really wanted? The “best food” is not diet food, it’s what you really want and what food is in your very best interest in terms of health and your satisfaction with what you are eating. I find that cravings for foods we love just get larger when we try to control them!

People in the second category of “eaters” really have no idea what they want to eat most of the time. They may not have thought much about it or have been dieting for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to eat the foods they really enjoy.

Dieting tells you that what you want is wrong (otherwise you wouldn’t have a weight problem!). So, many chronic dieters become so distant from their physical urges to eat the foods they love that they don’t know what they want. For many chronic dieters, the foods they love have become binge foods, or at least a major treat. In either case, they tend to overeat and lose control when eating the foods they love.

One way to begin to explore the idea of knowing what you really want to eat is to think of these four characteristics of food. The food you choose should be as close to perfect as possible in flavor, texture, color and temperature. H


p4ktani said...

is good articel thx

Lori said...

I particularly like your comment about food being as close to possible in flavor, texture, color, and temperature. Excellent point.

However, I do believe in the importance of encouraging people to give new recipes and sometimes new foods a try. There are all too many people who DO eat what they want and it's a far cry from healthy!

It would be nice if everyone could achieve a happy balance between allowing themselves to eat what they want in moderation and making sure there are enough healthy foods in the mix.

Lori Pirog, M.S.

Ellen Glovsky said...

Very good point, Lori! As a nutrition therapist, I find that people usually naturally gravitate towards healthier food. Certainly they may need encouragement from we nutrition professionals.

Hannah Miller said...

I recently watched a webinar on attuned eating that included this idea of identifying exactly what it is you want to eat in order to achieve maximum satisfaction. I love the idea of satisfying oneself by the quality of matching one's cravings instead of the quantity of food.