Remember when I told you last week we were white-knuckling the heck out of summer? Well, that came with a healthy dose of the never-exercises and the eat-like-a-hogs.
I don’t know how else to do vacations. I sure as heck am not going to diet and pound it at the gym when I could be sitting on a beach eating funnel cakes and getting the world’s best farmer’s tan instead.
I assure you, the following phrases all came out of my mouth during the course of our vacationing.
“Yes. Please deep fry that bacon.”
“Let’s go to somewhere right next to the beach so we don’t have to walk. Walking sucks.”
“Either my pants shrunk or I… yeah, pass me a maple bar.”
“Why does it feel like I’m sharing my shirt with a walrus right now?”
Yes. That has been the daily language of the past six to eight weeks.
Eat. Don’t exercise. Whine about how good I’m going to be after the next trip is over. Eat some more. Don’t exercise some more. Whine some more, only this time with a more fatty rasp to my voice.
Anyway, while at Chocolate Word in Hershey a few weeks ago, we took a chocolate taste testing course. In that course, they placed all sorts of little chocolate bars in front of us and taught us how to taste the differences in the different types and qualities of chocolates.
It was all very educational and eye-opening as chocolates go, but the chocolate guru who was teaching the course said something that kind of hit me. He said (as we all let a piece of their high end chocolate melt on our tongues), “there. Now you’re tasting chocolate instead of eating it.”
I’ve bought fancy chocolates and cheap chocolates. Milk chocolates and dark chocolates. And never before had I ever taken the time to do anything but shove the chocolate into my mouth and hope I don’t choke because I was so eager to swallow that I never chewed at all.
Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But seriously. I always ate chocolate hand over fist. Fast, speedy, and done.
But as I sat in that class, and I let a piece of $6 chocolate melt on my tongue ever so slowly, I suddenly tasted things I had never tasted. I could taste the hint of banana and the hint of rain forest (if I were to imagine what rain forest tastes like). The melting chocolate created an aroma that filled my nostrils and left me really loving every moment. After the class, I vowed that I would never eat chocolate the same way again. I would only taste chocolate from there on out. And I have kept that promise.
And here’s what I’ve learned. Some chocolates are assertive, others empty, others sweet, others velvety. Some have a floral taste to them, others earthy, others nutty, others milky, and others roasted.
All this chocolate I’ve been eating all these years had all these tastes, and I never appreciated or even knew about any of it.
And the more I have eaten chocolate since Hershey, the more I have realized something.
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Can someone tell why numerous comments were deleted (including mine)? This was the first post I commented on....is this common? Thanks for any help :)
I have come to this conclusion too. After struggling with my weight my whole life, I have decided also to not eat stuff that I really don't like... you know, you eat it just because somebody brought it to work to share or the whole family is eating it so, why not? If it is not something I absolutely like or want at that moment, then I pass. It might seem like common sense to most people but it has been a major change for me!
Great idea, thanks! I will also try to be more aware of how my food tastes vs just eating it. You will also eat/taste more slowly if you put your fork down between bites. That also helps control how much you consume, resulting in less calorie intake and, ultimately, less weight gained.
I am right there with you Dan. Have come to this conclusion after many years of eating fast trying to get it "out of the way" so to speak. I never "tasted" anything either. I have lost 6 lbs in just the past couple of weeks by "tasting" my food, taking time to enjoy it, look at it, smell it, savor it and I even chew it!! (that didn't always happen and it is not healthy for our innards). Good luck and keep on Tasting!!
I agree with you. People are always asking why the French can eat the way they do and stay thin and healthy, why they take so much TIME to eat!!! Now you know why. It does a body good to eat slowly. Bravo and good luck! I'm on board with you!
Its amazing how little we actually taste of our food. I learned this through working a part time job at a local Northern Virginia winery. The winemaker would ask me, "What's there? What do you get?". My general answer was it tastes like wine. I was told to close my eyes, breathe in the smells, take a sip and roll it around in my mouth noting where the 'feeling' was most intense - not prompting me, but letting me vocalize what I 'felt' and pulling more and more information from me that previously I didn't understand was there. He's a great teacher that way!
It has taken me almost 5 years, but I'm able to get nuances like different varieties of cherries, lilacs, bananas, lemongrass and so forth, but the biggest change has come in my home life. Meals are prepared more carefully - less salt and more fresh spices (love the window spice garden). My kids have noticed the difference in my cooking and have joined me in slowing down and enjoying our dinner, and a couple of them have taken flight with their own cooking styles. Meals made well don't always have to be eaten in a rush, because they will get icky or greasy if allowed to cool...it's been an eye-opener to us all to close our eyes once in a while and savor.
You really should have watched "Ratatouille". And if you have watched it, you should have paid attention.
It sounds to me, as though you may have found Mindful Eating. Doing anything mindfully can be very soothing, calming, softening. Try brushing your teeth with the same attitude, see if you can be aware of everything you are sensing, and nothing else.
I think you are absolutely correct and I think you will find great success with it. I have a disease that is destroying my ability to taste. I can no longer taste the hamburger fresh off the grill the ketchup, the mustard, the cheese. It all tastes like...well nothing really. It's one of those little things in life we take for granted every day...until it's no longer there. Look forward to future blogs on your success. Enjoy! Ohh..and Hi Dan
I love this approach. But as I was reading this, the scene in What About Bob where Bill Murray is eating dinner with his therapist's "fam" and going "mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, ohhhhhh" after each bite popped into my mind and it was much more entertaining to read.....Not that it wasn't already entertaining, but it put your writing at a completely different level with the sound affects in my head. :-)
I read a book called "The Butt Stops Here". In it the author gives you an assignment to sit down and eat a sandwich, much the way you are talking about here. Take each bite and really taste it. Enjoy it. Go slowly. It's a good lesson for us all. I'm going to join you in trying this new approach. If nothing else, I can say that I will have enjoyed my food instead of just wolfing it down, right?
I do a tasting exercise with my therapy clients when teaching them about mindfulness. It's totally the reason I don't eat Papa John's pizza anymore. Once I mindfully ate it,, I realized I can't stand the taste.
I taste, rather than eat, whenever I cook, which is the vast majority of when we eat. I've found that I eat way less when I do, because I seem to feel full sooner. Of course, I'm also a pretty good cook, so that helps :)
That's one of the main tips my mom gave me for weight loss, not just for the reasons you described. A lot of things we eat out of habit. We loved it when we were kids and we just kept eating it. Well guess what. I used to love Cookie Crisp cereal, even ate it at age 19. I got a box last year for fun (I'm now 23), actually tasted it, and it tastes like cardboard. Burger King fries suck, but I used to get them anyway cause they came with my meal, etc. Once we start tasting everything, we realize that half of what we eat is only eaten out of habit, we don't really like it anymore. If you have to, make a list of the foods you've decided aren't good anymore so you don't forget and eat it again. Once the habit is broken it will be so much easier! And the opposite can be true too! You may have hated cucumbers as a kid, but I bet if you keep an open mind and just taste one, you may realize you just naturally "didn't like it" because you were told it was a vegetable, not because you ever actually tasted it and didn't like it :)
This is something that I still struggle with, primarily because of basic training. "Eat it now, taste it later" was the motto during boot camp, and even after graduating and going to permanent party where I had plenty of time for my meals, I still scarfed down everything. Subsequently, I've had issues with my weight for my entire adult life. I've now been out of the military altogether for over a decade and I still can't get out of scarfing mode. This week I will make another attempt to be more mindful about my meals.
This is exactly what we've been doing for months and we're so much happier, healthier and down 60+lb as a couple!!!
This is so true and scientifically proven that if you Taste and chew your food well you will eat less and feel more satisfied ... I went to a candy store in Santa Cruz this summer and to my fascination they actually were selling chocolate covered bacon and yes at 16.95$ a lb .. Yes that's right and I couldn't believe I was going to do it I mean really who pays that much for fatty bacon covered in chocolate I hadn't even heard of it .. Ok so I had to be a coneseur and give it a try I bought half a lb and I thought this is so expensive I will eat it very slowly and really enjoy and taste every bit of it and it was soooooooooooo delicious omg This was awesome and I to had always just gobbled up these kind of goodies and never truly tasted but after that I have never eaten chocolate the same way ...
Makes perfect sense! I, too have tried this from time to time, but haven't disciplined myself to make it consistent! Thanks for renewing my desire to do just that, taste and savor the food!
It takes 20 minutes for your body to figure out that you are full. So if you gobble everything down in 10 minutes, you are eating way more than you need. Another hint that goes with this is never eat unless you are sitting down , not doing anything other than tasting the food, no TV, computer, driving, etc
I hv a saying I always tell my kids. Eat your drink Drink your food It means not to just gulp everything down. To chew your food and really taste it. Your body starts digesting before you even swallow therefore u get more nutrition in the long run. To swish water around a bit in your mouth before you swallow. You will notice your mouth is more hydrated and it doesn't take as much water to hydrate your body. Will also crave sweet foods almost never
My poor roommate has.been fed nothing but organic food for months. Whenever someone makes her eat something else she pouts since I've spoiled her on the yummyness
very good distinction between tasting and eating . . . definitely food for thought (cue groans at the terrible pun)
This is something I've had to learn to do, and I still have my days when it's shovel-it-in and not taste or savor my food. Thanks for the reminder to do this every day!
Congratulations! You've discovered your sense of taste. Next step is to play with other people's recipes until you find one you like better. Then you can find out which herbs and spices you should use to keep yourself healthier in the long run! Lol.
I have done this for years...people think I'm odd for loving food. My mother doesn't eat because she wants to...she eats once a day or two days because she HAS to...and the foods she eats are horrid. She doesn't understand that I LOVE food. If truly good food were available to me all the time I would be ginormous. I appreciate food. I appreciate what it tastes like, feels like, and does to my body. And on the RARE occasion that I flake out and eat 3 chicken McNuggets from McD's I am horribly ill for 24 hours. I know that the only way to eat properly is to truly enjoy ever single bit that touches your teeth and lips an tongue. Love it or despise it...but appreciate every single flavour.
hah I read the snippet for this and right under it is the benefits of eating breakfast snippet from another blog I read.
That is so true!! It's also hard to accomplish while eating with young children, but that's what SpongeBob is for. :)
Hey, it's so true! I don't know that I could have worded it nearly as articulately as you did, but a few years ago, I made the same decision--to taste things, and just really enjoy them. Within 12 months, I'd lost 35 pounds without even trying...just by enjoying my food more. Who knew?! You'll love it!
Welcome to one of life's great pleasures - the enjoyment of taste and flavour! It does make such a difference. Just think you can have pleasurable experiences throughout the whole day now, what a buzz that is! (I know it sounds like I don't take much to get a thrill, but hey if we can take pleasure in ordinary stuff, what a life!). Go Dan!
I love your blog and love your post on this! Mindful eating really is amazing, but can be difficult for some people. One thing I wanted to ask though; you've been writing a lot lately on your weight and being unhappy about it etc. As someone who has dealt with/is dealing with an eating disorder, I can understand your struggles, but they can be disturbing to some. Would it maybe be possible to put a "warning note" that the post could be a trigger to some? Just a thought....good luck and thanks for all you do!
My 18 y/o son (very overweight for about 8 years now and on high blood pressure medication) decided on his own to start doing this. If it didn't taste delicious and wasn't thoroughly enjoyable he just passed on it. (He called himself a 'food snob.') He lost 35 lbs. in about 2-1/2 mos. Close to being off his bp medication. I couldn't be prouder and he did it himself!!
I've become better at mindful eating since I started enjoying preparing & cooking meals. I still fall into the not tasting anything trap on occasion. I've even managed to get my meat & potatoes loving husband to enjoy my tasty & colorful stir fry meals.
I always said it has to be worth the calories! Taste and diversity and small portions is the way to do it.
I have had this very same experience. And it's true that when I finally tasted my food, I enjoyed most of it so much more. But I also realized some food I thought I liked, I really didn't once I actually tasted it. Food is meant to be enjoyed...neither restricted nor shoved down my throat in a mad hurry. That's what healthy eating really is :) Enjoy!
Hi there! I've been following your facebook and have found myself reading your blog. I'm not much of a blog-reader (or a reader all together, ha,) but I have found myself enjoying reading YOUR blog. Love your perspective. Love your transparency. Love how I feel sometime that my perspective has been challenged. Thank you for sharing. After reading this post, I'm thrilled to share with you what I do. I make health food chocolate. Chocolates are made from three vitamin-packed super foods that have been proven to boost your immune system, metabolism and mood as well as reduce the risk of disease. They are sweetened with honey instead of sugar making them truly guiltless. I know it sounds too good to be true, but this fat kid at heart was determined to make a delicious, healthy version of chocolate. Find me on facebook at Radiantlyrawkitchen, and I will be sure to send you a little bit of healthy goodness once I have refrigerated shipping set up in the next month or so. Much love to you and your son - always praying for the two of you!
Right there with you Lynne! I don't mind cooking, but I LOVE eating and I LOVE good food, and a lot of that has turned to cooking it myself (with the help of some fabulous recipes). The end result is a very happy mouth and tummy for a lot less.