How do you choose what to eat?

by | July 5, 2011 | nutrition, nutritional therapy

I really like the Beyond Chocolate Principle ‘Eat Whatever you Want’ because it can be very liberating to choose whatever takes your fancy, and not be shackled to a particular eating plan or diet. It allows us to be responsible for what we put into our bodies, rather than relying on what someone else tells us to eat. But it can be quite terrifying for some people, who worry that if they only ate whatever they wanted, they’d live on a diet of chocolate, chips, crisps and cakes and balloon to the size of a house, with cholesterol levels going through the roof

In reality, this doesn’t really happen because you probably wouldn’t feel that great if you didn’t eat anything green or crunchy at all, and would be hankering for a salad or some steamed vegetables after a while.

But it can be difficult to decipher exactly what it is that your body wants to eat at any given time.  It can take practise to tune in to find out what would feel most nourishing, satisfying and tasty.

In a recent newsletter from Geneen Roth, she talks about how sometimes we can get confused about what we really want to eat, and describes food as falling into two classes; food can either be a ‘beckoner’ or a ‘hummer’. Hummer foods are foods that hum to you as you are driving home from work, or as you are thinking about what to cook for dinner during the day. They are foods that you might have been thinking about for a while, foods that you really fancy eating. Foods that you plan to eat because that’s what you really want.

Beckoners, however, are foods that hadn’t even crossed your mind until you saw them.  They can pounce on you. For example, the cakes that someone brings into the office that all of a sudden seem very attractive, even if you’ve just eaten lunch and hadn’t been thinking about cake at all.Beckoners can strike at any time, and can be quite powerful.And their influence can over-ride even a very powerful desire for a hummer food.

What’s the magic solution to stop succumbing to the lure of beckoners? There’s never magic involved, and there’s rarely a quick fix. The first thing to do, as with any aspect of your relationship with food, is to notice what’s happening. Can you tell the difference between a beckoner and a hummer? How often do the beckoners strike? Does a beckoner food take the place of a hummer food that you’d been planning to eat? How do you feel after you’ve eaten the beckoner food?

Once you start to explore your relationship with these foods, you will probably learn a lot more about what it is that your body really wants to eat, and how powerful outside influences can be in deciding what to eat.

Take it slowly, and listen to your body.

For more on this, you can read Geneen’s full article here.