Eat to Feel Better

Most of us eat to feel better – to alleviate the gnawing in our stomachs, to enjoy having food in our mouths, and to renew our energy. But I recently came to the end of an eating session feeling worse instead of better. What was my problem?

Sneaky Diet Mentality
Without realizing what was going on in my psyche, I went into impending-deprivation mode and headed straight for candy. Yes, the chewy sweetness of the taffy and two kinds of fudge hit the spot – at first. But going overboard didn’t make me feel better. I’d forgotten that it wouldn’t, and I ended up feeling sluggish and jittery. Bummer!

Chewy Sweetness
Chewy Sweetness

Old Voices
Now that I’m not dieting to lose weight anymore, I have the freedom to eat what, when, and how much I want from whatever’s available. Every day. But when I dined with friends last Thursday I didn’t quite believe it. Could I really have clam chowder, French dip, a few onion rings?

Onion Crispies
Onion Crispies

What would Atkins say?

No potatoes or bread for you!

What would my low-cal diet book say?

No cream, no marbled beef, no deep fried anything!

See what we diet addicts are up against? Although I’ve thrown away the diet books, their messages keep running through my head. I ignored them last Thursday with difficulty.

Cue of Taste
Even when I get past the old input, it’s tough to eat to feel better at every meal of every day. You might think that after six years of not dieting, I’d have trained myself to check my hunger signals before eating. But my mind usually goes straight to taste. If the food looks or smells yummy, I reach for it, and if it’s delicious, I reach for more.

A Moment of Planning
On a recent Sunday morning, however, I ate a bowl of Raisin Bran, which felt good. Then I remembered that our Sunday school class would be serving snacks, so I waited to have a hot drink until I got to church.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are Best
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls are Best

On a table in the classroom lay an assortment of fruit and pastries, including cinnamon rolls – my favorite. They looked fantastic.

English Breakfast Tea
English Breakfast Tea

Yet I wanted to be hungry for lunch and was already satisfied. To eat or not to eat? Without a trace of angst, I chose to skip the rolls. Curious. The ease of the decision mystifies me still. But a cup of tea left me feeling just right.

And that’s a great feeling!

Posted on September 22, 2015

4 thoughts on “Eat to Feel Better

  1. I think this is a terrific blog post! I really agree with this approach of eating what we want and being choosy since we can’t eat everything every time! I find myself reevaluating certain foods, too. As I grow older my tastes change and the item I would automatically reach for in a buffet or at home is not necessarily the same one I enjoy now. Thanks for posting your thought processes!

    1. Thanks, Doug, for reminding me of the verse that says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good.” Amen to that! Laurie, I related to what you said about how our tastes change because I can point to foods I once relished but don’t now (cotton candy and divinity) and foods I once hated but now enjoy (avocados and mangoes.) Thanks!

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