One evening I was eating frozen yogurt with sprinkles and nuts, and noticed something interesting. I had unconsciously pushed the toppings to the side and allowed them to sit there as if I held them off for someone else.
With every spoonful of yogurt I took, I would add just a few pieces of the sprinkles and nuts. And that was it.
Halfway through the cup the fullness pangs start happening. By then it was too late.
I saw that what I truly wanted – which was to have a hefty amount of sprinkles and nuts on top of the yogurt – was not going to be enjoyed. I had saved the best for last and it wasn’t going to be what I wanted it to be.
Then it hit me: why am I not eating my favorite parts of the food, first?
I realized if I deprive myself right from the beginning of what I truly want to eat, I am going to screw myself in the end when I am full and the best saved last cannot be even enjoyed.
I found that this particular behavior of saving the best food for last came from my childhood.
I would observe how a family member would respond upon receiving a box of chocolates as a gift. They would start eating the chocolate pieces they didn’t like first and save the best for last.
It influenced me to believe (and act upon) the idea that indulging in good food should be done towards the end of the eating process. Because for some reason, pleasure should be last or withheld as much as possible.
However, research shows avoiding foods that bring you pleasure can do more harm than good. It can increase your chances of bingeing or overeating and prevent you from creating a healthy relationship with food in general.
The French especially, are known for their eating is pleasure philosophy. They believe that no food is off limits and welcome champagne for lunch. Books such as French Women Don’t Get Fat (which I adore) highlight the relaxed attitude of eating foods you love, by balancing exercising (like walking), without depriving yourself.
So, upon seeing this best for the last eating-phenomena I lived in myself, I made a decision to try out a new way of eating: Start eating the best foods/food pieces I love first put the least desired last.
And let me tell you – it has been quite extraordinary when I did this.
By allowing myself to eat what I truly want to eat first, it allowed a new form of self-love to emerge.
I was honoring my own pleasure, and I was putting me first.
Simply turning the tables with what and how I want to eat fueled more enjoyment towards the act of eating itself.
Now I buy chocolate I REALLY like instead of the cheap ones at the store.
For breakfast, I sometimes include a croissant with marmalade for an indulgent touch.
In the afternoons when I read, I drink black tea with milk and honey.
Keep in mind that indulging in foods that bring pleasure does not mean we can run like chickens with our heads cut off eating whatever we want. With everything in life, moderation and balance are key.
We need to make sure we are not disguising eating for pleasure to feed an addiction, or as a reason to ignore signs from our body about certain foods not working for us.
From all of this, I implore you to look at how you can make eating food much more pleasurable for you. We tend to sabotage ourselves of this basic necessity because of fears and conflictual information on the internet.
So let’s instead redefine our relationship with food and pleasure, and start to enjoy life more.
This post was originally created on May 22, 2018.