Why Eat Like Goldilocks?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Why Eat Like Goldilocks?Searching for food that’s “just right.”
Molière told us we should eat to live, but most of us live to eat—grabbing unhealthy foods on the run, munching mindlessly when we’re stressed out, overeating at mealtime and in between. Food, as the source of energy and nutrition for our bodies, is what allows us to get off the couch, run a 5K, and chase after our kids all day. It’s also, as we know, a source of pleasure. As much as we might try to dissociate food and emotions, the two are inextricably linked. How do you strike a balance so that you can celebrate and enjoy food without overdoing it or obsessing about it? The trick is the right food in the right proportions, prepared to taste great and satisfy you on every level. Each bite you take should bring you joy, without any feeling of guilt or remorse. Food should also satisfy us, body and mind. It should provide real pleasure and nutrients that keep us fueled and prevent us from that incessant sense of never getting enough to eat. Food is so very fundamental to our lives, loving the food you eat without feeling deprived is the only way to live.
We suspected that anyone stuck in a diet rut wasn’t eating food they loved. So we asked SparkPeople members: have you ever eaten foods you don’t like in an effort to lose weight or improve your health? The answers poured in by the thousands, and the consensus was a resounding “Yes”: 68 percent have eaten foods they don’t like to try to shed pounds or get healthy.
Comeka, a SparkPeople member from Texas, was among them.
“When I believed in ‘dieting,’ I ate all kinds of foods I didn’t like because I thought that was the only way to lose weight—cottage cheese, plain tuna, grapefruit, and that nasty cabbage soup come to mind in particular,” she said. “Luckily, I now know that there are many, many tasty foods that I love that will work well in my healthy-eating plan. No more forcing myself to eat stuff I don’t love!” Breaking the cycle of yo-yo dieting, trusting your taste buds, and starting to take pleasure in healthy eating is possible. To understand how, let’s examine the basics behind the science of satisfaction, starting with the science of hunger.
The Science of Hunger
Hunger describes the escalating, physiological sensations you experience when your body actually needs food: beginning with rumbling, unpleasant stomach contractions (hunger pangs), mild lightheadedness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and finally faintness, and headaches. For most people who regularly eat a balanced diet with adequate calories, hunger will set in about four hours after the last meal and will escalate after about five hours.
Feelings of fullness or satiety will occur when your stomach reaches a certain level of fullness (about 75 percent of its maximum capacity). These sensations also escalate from mild fullness, to “stuffed,” to bloated and uncomfortable.
Ignoring all other emotional and environmental signals, your brain will tell you when you’ve had enough to eat, though it takes about 20 minutes for the message to travel from your stomach.
That’s what happens in a perfect world.
In reality, we don’t eat because we’re hungry, and we don’t eat foods as Mother Nature intended. We eat away from home, out of boxes, cans and pouches, in front of the TV and in the car. We eat on the run, and we snack instead of eating meals. Our food is oversalted, underspiced, overspiced, watered-down, condensed, dehydrated, rehydrated, hydrogenated, crusted, filled, and stuffed—and so are we.
There’s no balance, and society’s bad eating habits have made “Goldilocks eaters” out of all of us. At restaurants, we’re served oversize portions that are often brimming with salt, sugar, and fat. Food makers tempt us with snacks, desserts, and “diet” foods that fill our bodies with empty calories without filling us up. Between our busy lives and the convenience of these creations, we fall prey to the drive-thru and processed foods.
We leave the table wanting more, never satisfied. Like our flaxen-haired fairy-tale heroine, we’re constantly on the hunt for that proverbial perfect bowl of porridge, for that food that’s “just right.”
It boils down to the fact that we’ve lost our sense of taste, and we’ve forgotten how truly good good food is. Food should nourish and satisfy, comfort and nurture. All hope isn’t lost, and there’s a movement afoot to reclaim food’s rightful place at the center of the family. Food unites us, it excites us, it gives a reason to gather together. SparkPeople members, who have a love for food, who eat at home or as a family whenever possible, who value homemade over processed, are at the center of a healthy-eating revolution.