"It makes me satisfied...I believe I have a certain darkness within me, that nobody can see. It's always in there, far out of reach...by "darkness" I didn't mean "sin" or "evil" - I only meant that there was a place within my imagination so fathomlessly deep that the light of the real world could never touch it. Nothing but sex had ever been able to reach it. This place within me was prehuman, almost. Certainly, it was precivilization. It was a place beyond language. Friendship could not reach it...creative endeavors could not reach it...awe and joy could not reach it...And I've come to learn that this kind of satisfaction is something I need, or else I will become unhappy. I'm at peace with it." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, City of Girls
It's tremendously difficult to describe what satisfaction feels like. This comes up in my sessions with clients often. Diet culture steals so much from our lives - including the ability to feel satisfaction.
When I read the above passage out of City of Girls, it literally stopped me in my tracks...going back to re-read it a couple more times. It's the first time I've seen a true, raw definition of satisfaction - at least from the character Vivian's point of view.
Whether it's sex, chocolate, sunsets or watching your kids play...as
primal beings, we need satisfaction in our lives to be happy and fulfilled. For this reason, satisfaction is the hub of Intuitive Eating - the grounding center from which all other principles of Intuitive Eating radiate out.
Learning to find and feel satisfaction with food or life in general asks you to challenge societal constructs around pleasure. What's the "right" way to feel pleasure? What role does morality play?
When it comes to foods and pleasure, the language we use to describe pleasurable eating experiences is often twisted by morality. "This chocolate cake is sinfully decadent." "I'm being so bad by having a second serving of lasagna."
These are examples of how diet culture influences our view of highly pleasurable foods. This food morality also shows up in advertising - using words such as indulgent, decadent, sinful, devil-ish, etc. to sell products.
The problem is, when you eat something described in this way, how does that make you feel about yourself? How does it leave you feeling about having pleasurable, satisfying food experiences - or any other experiences for that matter? The cultural construct of morality around feeling pleasure can lead to feelings of guilt and shame with food choices and human desire.
So, how is all this tied to your ability to re-connect with your intuition around food? If you're not able (willing to, ashamed to) find pleasure and satisfaction with eating, it will be more challenging to honor your fullness. Simple as that.
For many of my clients it's much easier for them to honor their hunger. But they do so with foods that are "allowed," "healthy," or "clean" to eat. The trouble with this is, yes, you will feel fullness in your stomach after the meal, but you're likely to keep nibbling - searching for something to satisfy the hunger you really wanted to fill - be that a certain taste, texture, or something other than food entirely.
Remember we were all born knowing how to feed ourselves. We were also born with knowing how to seek pleasure and satisfaction.
If dieting and the diet mentality has stolen your ability to find pleasure and satisfaction with food and your life in general, I invite you to download this FREE Guide, 7 Simple Strategies To Stop Feeling Crazy Around Food.
And if you're in need of a tale-end-of summer read...I highly recommend picking up a copy of City of Girls. It may just help you reclaim your ability to find pleasure and satisfaction with life in general.