There are three important skills that can help you make your eating healthier and more enjoyable. These are Permission, Pleasure, and Presence.
By giving yourself permission to eat some of what you want you avoid feelings of deprivation. When you feel deprived your desire escalates. This is why it’s satisfying to eat one cookie when you want it but it takes a whole bag of cookies to get to satisfaction once a craving has developed.
Presence is the skill that keeps you in the moment. Presence allows you to slow down and ask yourself if you really want what you are eating. It allows you to fully experience eating – to smell, taste, and chew your food. Staying present also allows you to know when you’re becoming full, and to then make the right eating choices for yourself.
Pleasure is perhaps the most misunderstood of these three skills. We’ve come to equate healthy eating with pleasure-less eating. But this is false. Pleasure in eating is a necessity for health.
When you feel pleasure you want to stay present and you get the full value of giving yourself permission. You naturally slow down to enjoy the experience fully. Pleasure allows your body to relax and take a break from stress. And it’s only in the relaxed state that you can optimally digest and metabolize the nutrients eaten.
Additionally, you’re only going to stick with a way of eating if it’s giving you pleasure. Luckily modern nutritional science now includes fat, as well as protein and carbohydrate, within a healthy diet. Even carbohydrates such as white potatoes, pasta, and rice are now known to have benefits that were previously discounted. The bottom line is that delicious and healthy are not longer mutually exclusive.
These three skills work together to get you to the point of satisfaction. This is important because it’s only when you’ve gotten to the point of satisfaction that you will naturally stop eating. Over the long term you will learn that more won’t be better and thus you’ll know when you’ve had enough without the need for calorie counting or portion control. Cravings will decrease, overeating will become rare, and binges can become a thing of the past.
So, add the skills of Permission, Pleasure, and Presence to your eating. As this article states in conclusion, “Giving yourself permission to eat some pie now can go a long way toward avoiding future overeating and binging. The healthiest thing can be to allow yourself to drop the guilt, step away from the battle, and eat what you want.”
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