Pain or Pleasure? Always Your Choice!


I deal with so many people who really don’t/can’t/won’t enjoy their food!They feel guilty when they have a creamy dessert. They feel judged when they eat ice cream. They feel hungry; they eat fast; and they eat too much—then they feel ashamed. Where the heck is the joy and pleasure? Why is there so much pain around food? Why do we have so many rules? Rules get broken or ignored and finally cause us the feelings of guilt, shame, nervousness and panic. And then we expect punishment!

Ultimately, we eat for pleasure and to avoid the pain of hunger, anxiety, and depression. We eat to cement strong relationships with lovers, family and friends. We eat to create a healthy body and a good mood. We eat for pleasure! We are wired for it on more ways than you might realize.

Get this…

…..The very act of eating creates endorphin that raise your mood and give you feel-good feelings—the same molecules that are known to create the “runner’s high….therefore eating really does create pleasure. When something is pleasurable we want to repeat the action, right?

…..There is a synergy between pleasure and nutrient absorption. When we eat a meal or item that we consider pleasurable, we absorb more nutrients from that food. When we eat a meal or food that we consider non-pleasurable, we absorb less of the nutrients in that food.

…..Eating initiates the relaxation response. This is why we may not be hungry during our stressful working hours but when we get home…we eat to calm ourselves.

…..Stress and anxiety produce cortisol, the fight or flight hormone which desensitizes us to pleasure. It is a built-in protection—we can’t be thinking about enjoying a meal when we have a cheetah wanting us as their meal! So if you eat while anxious, depressed or stressed out you will have to eat more food to experience the pleasurable effect of food.

…..We have a natural appetite stopping point that is created by the release of a hormone (CCK) when we eat protein or fat in a meal that stimulates the digestion process. This release of CCK eventually sends a signal to stop eating and also stimulates the sensation of pleasure.

So what is the point of all this? Our metabolism and pleasure are intertwined. We all really know what we should be eating. In fact, many of you could write the Nutrition Book for Dummies. But this pleasure thing we have backwards—we think the more pleasure we are having the more our body is stimulated to eat more. It just isn’t true. What we have done is actually created pain! How?

Think about this: Real pleasure is lasting, nourishing, uplifting, memorable.

  •  If you have to hide when you are eating…that is not pleasure
  • If you have to “stuff it down quick”…that is not pleasure
  • If you have to deny it…that is not pleasure
  • If you eat something because you have to…that is not pleasure
  • If you eat when you are worried…that is not pleasure
  • If you eat mindlessly…that is not pleasure
  • If you can’t remember what you ate…that is not pleasure
  • If you eat while driving…that is not pleasure

So, what I am suggesting is GET MORE PLEASURE from your food.

Enjoy whatever you are eating by setting the environment for relaxation. If you have a take-out meal, go to a park and take time to eat it. If you are at home, set the table with a place mat, some eye appeal (like a small branch from the plum tree that is in bloom), and no TV.  Be mindful of what you are eating. ENJOY!

  1. Think BLISS….lots of flavors, mouth “feels”, and colors. Take your time and enjoy your food to initiate the relaxation response.
  2. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you have had enough. Practice JUST RIGHT EATING. When you are finished eating, you will feel relaxed—not like you need to be punished and reprimanded.

If you have been struggling with your relationship with food, please call me. I can help guide you to a more balanced, relaxed way of eating with more joy and pleasure!

I look forward to supporting you in your healthy path to pleasurable food, movement, and appreciation of your uniqueness!

Remember good wholesome food, fun, and exercise are vitally important for you to have abundant energy and a happy mood!