93: thank you, my meal was a pleasure
Eating and experiencing food in general must be pleasant - if we want the whole ingestion and digestion activity to be efficient. Whether you like it or not, this is how the real process works. Please pay extra attention to the further facts if you recognize yourself as one who usually "grabs a bite", never eats but snacks, uses immense force of willpower to eat broccoli (at the same time admitting that there is no worse taste than this, but we need to eat broccoli because it is healthy). Please also pay extra attention if you are parents of children who are not allowed to leave the table until all of the soup is finished (even when they are shaking with disgust and poking a milk film on the soup with the tip of the spoon - I am sorry about the image, but I know that this is not only my personal demon).
The more people limit themselves (in the specific contexts of eating) - the lower is their self-clarity, the less they are satisfied with their life and the more neurotic symptoms they experience. Eating pleasure is an important factor to such people. If such person limits himself or herself while eating a lot, but gave high score for eating pleasure, then his or her self-clarity results were poor, and neurotic symptoms - abundant. If eating pleasure is high and level of limiting is low - self-clarity was high and neurotic symptoms were few (1).
Eating pleasure may be two-fold: pleasure to feel decreasing level of hunger, or pleasure when a learned response to "it-is-work-day-lunch-time" leads you to the meal (surprisingly, this instinct remains very quiet during the weekends). Second type - watching and consuming a beautifully served and very tasty food in a company of interesting people (which researchers call an epicurean pleasure). People who tend to experience epicurean pleasure, also tend to choose smaller portions, are in general healthier and have a more balanced body mass index (2). Good news - this is not an innate trait, it can be trained and developed, but you need to remember to intentionally notice that pleasure.
We usually eat for two reasons - because we want food and because we like food (taste, texture, look is appreciated positively). The fact that we like food (or, to be more precise, the fact that we remember that we tasted it before and that we liked it) is only one of the reasons why we seek food - not the only one, not the main one. Feelings of wanting and liking are ruled by two different regions in the brain. This is why we sometimes eat the food that we don't like, but are conditioned to want (yes, just like Pavlov's dogs, this mechanism works perfectly in our brain as well). We are caught in this situation every time we smell warm cinnamon rolls - we did not plan on eating, we were just after the breakfast, but we still WANT that roll, because brain follows the same path: smell --> eating the roll --> getting some dopamine as reward. I'm sorry, I know that you really want them rolls right now. Exactly this type of eating - when you want it but not when you like it - usually leads to overeating and eating unhealthy food. Now, when so many nudges towards eating surround us - advertising, snacking culture, very available and plentiful food - the reflex to eat is also awakened very often. Besides, not so rare stress also increases urge to eat (3). So clearing your immediate surroundings from food cues might be a very good step forward.
In summary - eat only the healthy food that you like (if I'd say "only the food you like", you would act on your impulse to eat only sweets). Clear your environment from food cues, do not keep your food visible, keep clear from the food advertising, do entertain yourself with trips to the food stores. Definitely - eat only when hungry, not when it is time to eat. Eat with pleasures, in the widest sense - with pleasant company and ambience, giving time and attention to the food. Also, do not forget you notice why this food is pleasant for you.
My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
Photo: Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #eating #pleasure
1. The relationship between restrained eating, pleasure associated with eating, and well-being re-visited: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471015308000986
2. Pleasure as an ally of healthy eating? Contrasting visceral and Epicurean eating pleasure and their association with portion size preferences and wellbeing: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666315300143
3. The tempted brain eats: Pleasure and desire circuits in obesity and eating disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913163/
No comments yet
Be the first to comment
MORE INSIGHTS YOU MIGHT LIKELearn more by discovering other insights
4: So where's psychology in eating?
Short answer is - everywhere. Habits. Choices. "Must have" wishes. Holidays. Gifts. Punishments. Non-verbal feeling expressions. Image (vegans, also). Happiness and serotonin. What tastes good and what is healthy, also what is trendy. Science of nutrition, I suspect, is much more about psychology than about physiology.
What we eat is most often NOT what body requires at the moment (even though we very often state that we have some kind of "energy boost", and this is why we crave for something sweet. "It's what the brain wants!"). Usually it is what we are used to eat. And habits is truly a meadow of psychology. Why do we have habits like we do is shaped by the culture, family traditions, significant events in our lives, significance that we assign to food and eating (compared to other activities), usual environment in which we eat - and the company of people, and a whole lot of other factors. By the way, we do not usually think about the reasons why we eat the way we do.
If we choose from several alternatives (choice, again, is the field of psychology), the final decision is shaped by the opinions and attitudes, environment (fast food stand on the street or Italian white tablecloth restaurant?), time e dedicate for eating ("quick bite"?), your prediction about opinion of other people about your choice (including whether you care at all), knowledge about digestion and nutrition ("if I avoid gluten, my skin will be fabulous"...), automatic thoughts ("I will be very weak if I don't eat right now"), time we spend choosing... Decision not to choose or choose the same thing every time is also a decision!
Food may be an important symbol and sign of well-being (Christmas roast, Sunday pancakes, coffee with friends or birthday cake). It also may be a lifelong punishment (like a crust on warm milk... "you are not going anywhere until you are finished with this!"), or a way to show special attention or enforce image (anything from mom's meatballs to Valentine's chocolates or desserts with diamonds). Childhood food leaves especially strong memories, and it consciously or unconsciously becomes our comfort (or punishment) food during times of distress (1). Even where physiology should rule, psychology still peeks from around the corner. After we eat fatty and sweet food (think ice cream), the brain rewards us with a dose of neuromediator serotonin (2, 3). At the same time we think - we are happy. And this happens every time, automatically, as if a button was pushed. And not really because we actually were short for something fat and sweet.
So... think before you put anything in your mouth. And why. It's all in your head!
My name is Monika, I am health and nutrition psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, teach and provide psychological counselling. Book my talk to hear load more about psychology in nutrition!
Photo: Devanath from Pixabay
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #eating #food
1. If you are good you can have a cookie: How memories of childhood food rules link to adult eating behaviors: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rebecca_Puhl/publication/8679359_If_you_are_good_you_can_have_a_cookie_How_memories_of_childhood_food_rules_link_to_adult_eating_behaviors/links/0c96052f38db04e424000000.pdf
2.Serotonin, Eating Behavior, and Fat Intake: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1550-8528.1995.tb00214.x/pdf
3. You Are What You Eat: How Food Affects Your Mood: http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2011/02/you-are-what-you-eat-how-food-affects-your-mood/#.WJoLPPl969I
We choose food most often (statistically speaking) based on taste. There is also another, a wider concept - food reward, which is composed of food taste, decreasing of hunger, created pleasure (liking of food) and perceived motivation to eat (wanting). Food reward is a driver of amount o food we eat and commonly thought to be related to obesity. But perhaps food liking and wanting are interacting with weight in different ways?
People on a diet during this study had decreased food liking across all food categories, in one year after the study without any interventions - body weight was regained, appetit control weakened and food liking returned to initial level.
Overweight women (when compared to normal weight women) did not want high fat/sweet food more, but they wanted low fat/sweet food less.
Wanting low fat food was associated with improved appetite control and less fat mass, and wanting high fat food was associated with decreased appetite control and more fat mass.
👆 so, diets bring temporary results (we knew that, right?). If you want your eating method to be helpful in reaching your weight goal - make sure you choose the nicest words and definitions for your food (thus increasing your motivation), low-fat food in this case. Do not eve use anything that related to struggle, limitations, deprivation or similar. This is the expression of your utmost care and love for your body!
My name is Monika, I am health and nutrition psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, teach and provide psychological counselling. Book my talk to know more about psychology and food entanglement!
Photo: Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #food #eating #reward #wanting #motivation #pleasure
Well, I read this one with one eyebrow raised and kept thinking about the children who demand that their foods do not touch in the plate. But the research is not about them. After reading at least three times and thinking about it for a bit longer, it does make some sense.
So, the research compares how people make assessments about the food that is served "separated" (all products in groups and not touching one another) or "mixed" (like in a salad or stew).
- participants believe that "separated" food is less caloric, even if it obviously is (for example, fried snacks)
- when eating "separated" food, participants eat more mindfully, they also believe that such food affects body weight more
- when eating "separated" food participants also control the amount of the consumed food more - even though here I keep thinking of parties and rivers of snacks flowing freely across the tables and plates; it is possible to eat more of the snacks than to have more salad that you need a spoon or fork to eat... then again, research was done in the lab, not at the party.
My conclusions are these. Whenever you can, eat with your hands (this is not part of this research, but you can control the amount of food you eat better, besides, you will get more pleasure out of eating). If possible - try eating food that is "separated" - not salads and stews, think poke bowls of buddha bowls direction. During parties (not fancy dinners, but talking and snacking parties) drink water, and if this does not sound like a plan - get yourself a plate for your portion of snacks, so you don't go foraging across the big platters.
And, bon appetit!
My name is Monika, I am health and nutrition psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, teach and provide psychological counselling. Book my talk to ask more!
Photo: Miu Sua on Unsplash
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #food #eating #perception #calories