At the end of a meal, are you satisfied? By that, I mean, do you come away from the table feeling moderately full, refreshed, and nourished? Do you feel better for having eaten, or worse?
In the days when I dieted (to lose weight,) the puny amounts of food I got at mealtimes never filled me up. Nor did I take great delight in how the food felt in my mouth. For one thing, I was famished, especially after the first couple of days. So I tended to either gobble my food or to ration it at periodic intervals, which meant that I focused on making the food last for the duration of the meal rather than on enjoying it.
Between diets, I always went for non-diet foods, i.e. treats high in sugar, salt, fat, without regard to their mouth-feel, my fullness level, or how they made me feel afterwards. I now see that those eating experiences were unsatisfying in nearly every way. You might think that when I was totally free to eat what I wanted, I would choose the most tasty, wholesome food to be found on the planet. But I often ate on impulse, in the car, out of cardboard containers, or mindlessly in front of the TV. I felt obligated to eat everything that wasn’t on the last diet I had been on. Obligated to eat? Is that a valid reason?
When I gave up dieting in 2009, it took a while to realize that I wasn’t between diets anymore and that I didn’t have to eat the fun stuff (sugar, etc) while I had the chance, for nothing is off limits now. As I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, I’m discovering new combinations of ingredients, new herbs and spices. Last week I made Eggplant and Zucchini Ratatouille because it called for Herbs de Provence, which I’d never before used, and because the dish was colorful and attractive. Wish I’d snapped a photo.
My new goal is to savor every bite and to feel better for having eaten instead of stuffed. Who knew that could be so satisfying?