How to Pleasure Yourself

Eating for pleasure

Hey You!

Now that I’ve perked your interest, you can get your mind up out of the gutter -- this blog won’t be THAT exciting ;)

But I do want to talk about prioritizing pleasure… 

As dietitians, Megan and I find ourselves primarily talking about food in terms of nutrition. I won’t deny, I love dorking out on all the ways food can make your body & mind more vibrant and energized. The health benefits are lovely, but there is SO MUCH more to food than that. Food is how we celebrate. Food is how we comfort ourselves and how we express our love.

The best part, hands down, is the pleasure food brings.

Food is one of the few things in life that can bring you pure, unadulterated pleasure.

What’s more joyous than that first lick of an ice cream cone?!?

This is one of the many reasons why Eat With Zest veers away from counting calories or reducing food to its grams of fat and carbs (Why Calories Don’t Count). Focusing on these numbers robs you of the opportunity to focus on what truly makes YOU feel good.

Imagine thinking of food not in terms of “good” or “bad”; “allowed” or “not-allowed”, but instead in terms of an opportunity for more joy.

You have 100% unconditional permission to eat whenever you want, just for the joy of it. 

We live in a world that places so much value on discipline. We think of ourselves as lazy if we stay cozy in our warm bed rather than hitting the gym at 5 a.m. We think we lack self-control because we can’t say ‘no’ to a second cookie.

But, is all that emphasis on self-discipline serving you? Does it bring you closer to your authentic self, the place inside of you that is bold, bright and joyful?

I'll be the first to admit my lifelong struggles with finding the balance between discipline and pleasure, especially when it comes to my food choices. Too often, I have let discipline win.

Most recently, I have faced some GI issues (read more), and was told to follow an extremely austere diet…. No sugar, no dairy, no grains, no beans…. No fun!

Despite all the "shoulds" flooding my brain, I couldn't bring myself to make these changes.

When I dug deep, I found that it came down to pleasure; to wanting more joy in my life. Food is one of my greatest joys.

Even as a health professional, who knows the pivotal role GI health plays for every other system in my body, I decided this harsh diet wasn’t worth it. The pleasure I gain from eating with friends, from cooking with my husband.... the freedom to eat what I love… that was all too much to give up.

I’m prioritizing pleasure.

Obviously, this decision is super personal. For someone else, they may decide that embarrassing dashes to the bathroom are not worth a measly piece of cheese, and that cutting out dairy is what helps them live a more joyful life. To that I say, "You do you, with your head held high!" 

The beauty is that we each get to discover the pleasure for ourselves. Food is such an incredible opportunity for self-discovery, to learn what truly makes you feel energized and engaged from the inside out. 

With this decision, I challenged myself to reap the pleasure out of each bite. I remind myself, I’m not eating for any goal of weight loss or even for a solid bowel movement ;) I’m eating to see how good I can feel. Pure and simple.

Now, I challenge you: how much pleasure can you take in from your food? 

Pleasure yourself ladies! No one can do it quite like you can ;)

Love & Zest, 

Anna 

PS Spring Bootcamp started this week! If you want in on our best spring recipes, it's not too late for you to join! Check it out!