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> back to eNewsletter Past Issue List
This issue will take about 3 minutes to read. Issue #27
Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Dinner MORE!
Savor Your Food
Your Appetite Can Be an Asset

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Dinner MORE!

Often people who have issues with eating and body size will have mixed feelings about the holiday season and the feasting that is included. I would like to share an exercise and a concept that may help you to enjoy your holidays more. You may have seen this exercise before. However, at Thanksgiving it is very good to remind ourselves of this wonderful tool for enjoying a feast.

This exercise has three goals.

  1. to enjoy your holiday feast MORE
  2. to feel BETTER after you finish your holiday feast (both physically and emotionally)
  3. to improve your nutrition during the holiday season

An Unusual Exercise

It is always so fun to watch the reactions of the people who have been dieting all their lives when I give this first "exercise" in my "Healthy Eating with Bliss" classes and on-line groups. After years of thinking of food as "bad" and appetite as the enemy, this exercise is quite shocking. It is harder to do than you might think, but it is fun.

This is a tough exercise. At first it will seem simple. Usually it will be enjoyable. But it will still be tough. You will be surprised at your reaction when you try this. You may discover things about yourself and your feelings that you did not know. Your first eating exercise is:

Enjoy the aroma. Appreciate how delicious it looks.
Really taste it.
Swirl it around all your taste buds.
Experience it!

As you try this, you may find that you are more satisfied when you eat. You may be more satisfied with less food because you are really experiencing what you are eating. Most compulsive behaviors are about tuning something out. Often people eat to numb or distract themselves. This exercise is the opposite of compulsive eating. You are not tuning out. YOU ARE TUNING IN! This time, food is not an escape; it is a tool for self-discovery.

Now, when this bite is not as delicious as the last bite, you may be approaching satiety. NOTICE HOW YOU FEEL. If this bite is not as delicious as the last bite, then your enjoyment is decreasing. Why eat that next bite if you are not enjoying it as much?

At this point I must remind you of two important words ... plastic wrap.

You can always wrap up and save anything that you would like to enjoy later. Thanksgiving may only come once a year, but you can enjoy these foods anytime you want. (It is the diet/deprivation mentality that will cause you to eat 'till you are stuffed IF you feel like this is your last unrestricted meal.) You can eat anytime you are hungry. You can stop eating anytime you are full. You don't need to eat to the point of discomfort because this is NOT your last meal.

Enjoy the aroma. Appreciate how delicious it looks.
Really taste it.
Swirl it around all your taste buds.
Experience it!
... and STOP when you are satisfied or not enjoying your food as much!


Note: It is important NOT to turn this exercise into a way to restrict food intake. A side-effect of the exercise is that you are likely to eat less food as you really taste and enjoy your meal. However, eating less is NOT the goal of the exercise ... it is just a side-effect. If you were to focus on restricting your food intake, then you would be dieting. (We all know that dieting is the first step to bingeing.) Instead, with this exercise, you focus on enjoyment and meeting your needs. Then you are NURTURING yourself, not restricting or dieting, even though you may eat less food.


Your Appetite Can be an ASSET
(In this excerpt from Don't Weight I talk about vacations,
which are much like holidays with the abundance of food and the "permission" to eat.)

I used to travel with my husband on business trips. I functioned as the hostess for wives who were also on the trip. We called these trips "vacations". Indeed we traveled to Hawaii, Spain, and resorts all over the country. I had the unique experience of traveling both when I was a compulsive eater and when I had made peace with food.

Traveling as a compulsive eater was an interesting experience. There was food everywhere. And there was permission to eat. After all, this was vacation. At breakfast there was a display of pastries, and I could have all that I wanted. I wanted a lot. Midmorning we were stopping at a little shop for candies. And it was perfectly acceptable to have candy on vacation. After all, I would go back to dieting when I returned. This went on all day and all night, eating every two or three hours. The first day I really enjoyed myself. The second day, the food had lost its wonder. By the third day, I felt kind of sick. But I was on vacation. How could I turn down these delicious treats that I would never have again? The vacation became a roller coaster ride of eating and nausea. I still enjoyed the eating, briefly. I spent most of the vacation waiting for that sick feeling to go away ? so I could eat again.

Traveling only a few years later, when I had made peace with food, was a completely different experience. I wanted to enjoy what I ate and how I felt after I ate. I learned from experience that a good breakfast helped me feel better all day. It was easy to choose a lower fat breakfast and fresh fruits. I also enjoyed some pastry. This time, when the next bite did not taste as delicious as the last, I choose to stop eating so that I could enjoy myself more. I was seeking that delightful balance between eating for pleasure and feeling comfortable afterward. Midmorning, when we were at the shops full of candies or treats, I had two questions to ask myself: Do I want to be hungry for lunch so that I can enjoy lunch more? Or do I want to enjoy some of this food now? I could answer yes to either question. I could answer yes to both questions. What I would not do was to eat until I felt sick. I was on vacation. I deserved to enjoy myself. I would not spoil my vacation by overeating to discomfort. I remembered a saying I had learned:

"Hunger is the best seasoning."

When I was in the middle of compulsive eating and bulimia, I had not experienced hunger for years. When I recovered from my eating disorders, I paid attention to eating, enjoyment, and satisfaction. I learned that hunger was truly the best seasoning. Everything tasted better when I was hungry. So, when I was on vacation, getting hungry was a good thing. It meant that I would enjoy my next meal even more. I would eat healthy food at meals and enjoy tastes of desert. I would have bits of delicious snacks between meals so that I would not spoil my appetite. My appetite became something that I cultivated. I wanted to be hungry when it was time to eat. I paced my eating for maximum enjoyment. After all, I was on vacation.

This is a complete change from the familiar idea of "controlling your appetite". This is really different from the idea that your appetite is "the problem", or the feeling of being "at war with your appetite". Your appetite can be an asset to healthy eating, not an enemy!

When your appetite is an asset that enhances enjoyment in eating, you have no need for control. You will eat comfortable amounts of food, because it is more pleasurable. You will find yourself saying "No, thank you" to snacks because you are looking forward to your next meal and you want to feel your appetite for the next meal.

The only effort you need is the effort to keep your focus on truly enjoying yourself both now and later.
The only willpower you need is the willpower to keep looking at the broader picture
so that you can enjoy yourself both now and later. What a difference!

Take Care,
Kelly Bliss
Toll Free 877-KellyBliss (877-535-5925)
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