I help clients achieve healthier body weight based on a psychological tenet known as The Pleasure Principle. Humans seek to do what is pleasurable. Their behaviors consciously and unconsciously tend towards pleasure-seeking.
And avoiding displeasure, pain, guilt, shame, and anxiety.
So, I seek to help clients find pleasure in healthy eating and cooking.
It may be easier to find pleasure in eating healthy foods than overcoming the anxiety, guilt and shame in avoiding healthy eating. Guilt and shame and anxiety(!) are the great enemy to healthy eating.
So, the idea is to minimize guilt, shame and anxiety and to maximize the pleasure of healthy eating.
1) Eat more of the healthy foods you love. Find healthy foods that taste great. Get accustomed to eating various veggies and such; eliminate your knee-jerk distaste for various flavors, such as the minor bitterness of greens.
2) Learn to relax while eating, so that you can really enjoy eating. Lessen anxiety, guilt and shame; pleasure-based eating results in eating slower and less, rather than rushed eating (from anxiety) or eating without tasting (as you focus on guilt and shame). If you don’t enjoy your food, you may feel unsatisfied, and if you feel unsatisfied, you may “need” to eat more.
If you eat with anxiety, you will eat more, mindlessly.
Tiny tip: Take deep breaths before you eat. And perhaps also between mouthfuls.
3) Telling yourself that you can only eat so much, while you are eating, can cause anxiety, shame and guilt. Instead, I will help you change other habits — habits that will help you limit your intake without depending on guilting yourself to stop during your meal. For instance, eat out of a small Chinese rice bowl; eat as much as you want, but only so much at a time.
Or eat as much of your snack as you want. But after you take some nuts out of the can, put it two steps away from you. Stop eating unconsciously. There is little pleasure in it.
This is a new methodology that I am largely developing on my own, based on my many years of experience facilitating Cognitive-Behavioral programs for local governments and also for private clients. Let’s eat pleasurably!