Karen's Blogs

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When Food Isn’t Satisfying

Dissatisfaction with food may happen for any number of reasons. Understanding the your feelings when this happens can lead you to choosing a healthy response.. You don’t have to be satisfied with food, but you can be satisfied with your actions around it.

It’s not unusual for disregulated eaters to feel dissatisfied with a meal and later binge on food they enjoy. Or even binge on the food you’re not enjoying! This behavior sounds bizarre, but makes lots of sense when you realize that for many disregulated eaters eating is the way they deal with uncomfortable feelings. So, say, you’re out to dinner and order some dish you think you’ll like but it doesn’t hit the spot, or you are a dinner guest and have to eat what you’re served which is about the last thing you like to eat. How does that lead to a binge? What happens is that in either scenario you’re feeling unhappy, disappointed, maybe deprived and that life is unfair, which makes you feel entitled to ingest food that you enjoy or consume excess quantities of food that say, If I can’t feel satisfied with how a food taste, I’ll feel satisfied with how much I can eat.

The truth is we all feel dissatisfaction most days. We hoped to get a phone call we never receive, don’t like how the office was redecorated without having a say in it, go to a movie we thought was going to be awesome and it turns out to be awful. But do we feel entitled to eat because of it. Generally not. We probably don’t even think of eating with these kinds of dissatisfactions. Why, then, does it make us so angry when food fails to ring our chimes? Could it be because eating is so important to us? If it’s the place where you get most of your pleasure, not liking what you’re eating is going to be a real bummer. The solution here is to put food into perspective: it’s to nourish and help you survive and it’s great if it tastes good as well.

“Normal” eaters face dissatisfaction with meals all the time. They say, “Oh, well, maybe next time,” “Guess, I’ll never order that again,” “Think I’ll cross this restaurant off my list,” or “After this meal, I’m going to make myself a dinner I really enjoy.” They wouldn’t even thinking of going out and eating more food which will make themselves feel unhealthy and down on themselves. Even foodies expect to be disappointed with food once in a while and take it in stride. After all, food enjoyment is not an entitlement.

Next time you feel dissatisfied after eating, acknowledge it without anger or feeling entitled or deprived. So, you’re dissatisfied; so what? Then go out and do something you love or just shrug off the experience and hope for a better experience in the future.

Dealing with Fat Phobia
Practice, Changing the Brain, and Better Eating

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