By Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD
I once read that you can ask yourself up to 100 questions a day about food and eating. It seemed like a lot and yet we do eat multiple times a day. But what would all those questions be?
Hilary and I recently gave a free talk and a question came up about Krispy Kreme donuts (since we were at a location next door to one): “Part of me wants to eat it and the other part of me doesn’t. So what do I do?”
Here’s what I said:
The first thing I’d be curious about is this: Would you even be thinking about eating a Krispy Kreme donut if you didn’t just drive by the place? Do you like donuts?
If you like donuts, whose donuts do you want? Is it Krispy Kreme or is there another place in town that you would enjoy even more? (Blue Star Donuts in PDX, PEOPLE!)
If you decide to go to the Krispy Kreme, take a moment to look at all the donuts they have to offer. Which donuts look really good? Which ones, not so much? How many do you want to get? Decide on what you really want and then think about how you want to eat it. Do you want to eat it with a cup of coffee, a glass of milk? Would you like to sit down and eat it in the restaurant or do you want to take it home to eat later? Do you want to eat it in the car on your way home? What would give you the greatest satisfaction?
When you start to eat it, do you like it? Does it taste good? Is it as good as you thought it was going to be? Or was the expectation of the donut the best part? If you keep eating it, when does it stop tasting good?
If you say no to the donut, does it inflate your ego? Does it make you feel more worthy? Self-righteous? Eating the donut (or not eating it) has nothing to do with your value as a person. It is a Krispy Kreme donut.
If you pass on the donut, are you thinking about it hours later or do totally forget about it? Does it even cross your mind again?
These are just some of the kinds of questions a person can ask themselves when they are eating intuitively. That’s 21 questions for ONE eating opportunity, in ONE day of your life. There are so many nuances to eating intuitively, more than you might expect. So to believe that we’re going to do it perfectly every time we sit down to eat, or have an opportunity to eat, isn’t realistic. But when we do pay attention, there is so very much to learn.
And as we practice, there will come a time when not doing it (intuitive eating) is harder than doing it. That is what a practice is all about.
Dana Sturtevant is a registered dietitian, certified yoga teacher, and self-proclaimed foodie. She especially enjoys blogging about mindfulness, yoga, Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size®, and the Slow Food Movement.