Help! I Can't Stop Eating!

The importance of satisfaction

A plate with a piece of toast and an egg

I can’t stop eating.

That was one of the sentences I repeated most in my life.

And that was literally the way I felt, especially after a few weeks restricting my food intake, when I finally would give in and eat something “forbidden”. As an old saying goes, when the first ox passed the gate, it was certain that the herd was going to pass too. Just like with my food intake, the first bite was going to cause everything to be cleared off the table.

A tray of brownies cut up

It was only when I delved into the study of intuitive eating that I learned that these food excesses could easily be avoided if I included the satisfaction factor in my eating — which meant, eating what I really liked.

To touch upon it, satiety is the sensation you have when your stomach is full and warm, satisfaction is the pleasure in eating.

Satisfaction does NOT equal food excess.

The vast majority of people believe that eating too much has something to do with satisfaction because it is pleasurable.

“It feels so good!”

“I don’t want to stop eating.”

“I could have stopped eating, but I didn’t want to feel deprived.”

We have learned that eating a lot means having pleasure, satisfying a desire, or rewarding ourselves with something we really want to eat.

But in reality, that happens as a result of the fact that we eat a lot of food that doesn’t bring us any satisfaction. **_This is because we eat a lot of food that we should “eat” rather than those we really “want to eat.”

A bowl of cucumbers and spinach as a salad

_**The satisfaction you feel is directly related to how much you like what you are eating. Do you find yourself on those days when you spend all day “eating healthy” just to get home and eating a packet of cookies? Or when you don’t want to give in to the craving of chocolate and end up eating a banana, few nuts, a yogurt, last night’s slice of pizza, some crackers… and then chocolate?

In both cases, you have probably neglected your desire. Then, with no real satisfaction, your brain continues to encourage you to seek food.

Are you satisfied?

Think about the last time you overindulged and ate so much beyond your satiety point.

Think of these and ask yourself:

a) On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did I love eating what I ate?

b) If what I ate was 100% of enjoyment, taste, cherish, lived with the experience, then where does this food rate?

c) Was the last two bites really as tasty as the first two? When did the pleasure diminish?

d) Did I eat with attention? Was I in an inviting environment?

It’s possible you really enjoyed the full plate. Maybe not.

It is possible that you have eaten something that you thought you loved, but in reality, it was not so fabulous.

It’s also likely, no matter how wonderful the food was, you did not taste it nor enjoy every bite.

How the satisfaction factor can help you eat just enough

I usually ask people how much they would eat if they stopped eating the moment they stopped tasting — REALLY enjoying — what they’re eating.

And many times I hear, “I never paid attention to that.”

Again, we eat a lot of food where we don’t even notice the taste!

Avocado toast with eggs and tomatoes on a plate

If the more satisfied you are with your food, the less likely you are to overdo the amount of it you eat. Prioritize satisfaction by choosing foods that you really enjoy in order to eat just enough.

Never be afraid or ashamed to feel pleasure when you eat. It is a regulating agent of your hunger and satiety system.

I am a Brazilian girl (living in Sao Paulo with my fiancé — and another 20 million people). I love coffee, books, and good food. I also really enjoy studying and learning new things that allow me to further develop myself both professionally and personally. I have a degree in Food Science and hold a Ph.D. in Agri-food Marketing. In addition, I am a Certified Nutrition Coach and an enthusiastic Nutrition student.__

There is a power that comes alive when women free themselves from the food prison in which they have learned to live, when they realize that they are capable and deserving of feeling fantastic in their own bodies, and that confidence is a state of mind — not a body lotion which you get the right to use when you reach a weight-loss goal.

My work is dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sharing this message.

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