Food is more than fuel and it is more than nutrients. Yes, we have to eat in order to support our every day activities and to ensure survival, but we eat for many other reasons as well. We eat because food tastes good and provides us with pleasure- it has to be enjoyable because if it wasn’t we probably wouldn’t spend all of the time required to find, prepare and eat it. Food is also very cultural. We eat with friends and family in social situations, we eat to celebrate and we eat because we are stressed or sad or angry or happy. It is OK to eat for any or all of these reasons.
The problem we run into is that we are constantly being bombarded with messages about dieting, clean eating and the next super food. These messages cause us to classify foods as “good” vs “bad” and once we have placed a food in the “bad” category we don’t stop eating it (in fact, we probably end up eating more of it) but we do stop enjoying it and we feel guilty and ashamed and we spend far more time fretting over how we are going to make up for that piece of chocolate cake we indulged in than we spent enjoying the taste and the texture and the satisfaction we got from eating it.
The first step to bringing joy back into eating is to give yourself permission to eat what you want, when you want in whatever quantity is going to be satisfying. Choose foods that are really enjoyable and eat them mindfully and enjoy every bite!