Food Wants and Aversions

I grew up either on a diet (and craving what was denied by the diet) or off a diet (and eating everything the diet denied).   No in between.

Now I can and do eat what I want.  And I find my wants vary.  Some days I really, really want, really crave … a banana. Or something meaty.  Or something fresh and crunchy, like a crunchy salad or apple slices.  Some times I want a burger.  Sometimes I just have no interest in them — or am somewhat repelled by them.

I’ve also begun to notice how this is affected by other things.  If I get busy at work and don’t eat, I want more energy-dense food later on.   If I have a salad for lunch I often want something more substantial for dinner, and vice versa.

The weird thing is that I can remember being in a state where passing up food meant deprivation.  Now it usually means I’m not hungry, or I don’t care for whatever-it-is.  Sometimes this puzzles or disappoints people who want me to provide their “cover” (“They only don’t have calories if I make them for you”).   Sometimes this leads to a brief discussion of HAES, sometimes it’s just there.  But that’s OK too.

5 thoughts on “Food Wants and Aversions

  1. That matches my experience exactly! And some days I’m ravenously hungry but other days I want much less, and I don’t let it bother me any more because I know my weight is stable anyway.

    I remember, in the decades of yoyo dieting, being told to “eat like a thin person” (but obviously not like my skinny husband who shovels down food like there’s no tomorrow).
    Now I see that this *is* how naturally thin people eat. Eating this way hasn’t made me thin, but it has stopped the endless weight gain and I feel so much better on every level! I really wish someone had told me this 30 years ago! The obesity!crisis!hysteria means we have to work even harder to get the message across to young people, who face still more pressure to diet than we did when we were their age.

  2. Funny how when they aren’t covered in guilt sauce, things just aren’t always as shiny anymore.

    Sure, I love cake and pie and ice cream, but not all the time. I also find that when they aren’t loaded down with a flaming sack of ‘eat only this or DIIIIIIEEEEEEE’ sauce, salads and crunchy vegetables taste a whole lot better.

    And hey, I was the kid who always asked for spinach and fish for her big birthday bash dinner, and I STILL got fat!

    Big whoop. I still love fish and I still love spinach. I eat them when I can.

    Oh, and I never eat dessert unless it’s going to be at least as good as one I could make… which really cuts down the number of disappointing desserts I eat, too. I’ve eaten too many bland, oversweet, pointless desserts in the service of forgetting the diet. Never again. From now on, it’s something I made or something at least as good as I can make it, and I am damn good at dessert.

    I’ll eat what I like, and what I like includes ice cream and it includes carrots. It includes pie and it includes fresh raw pears. It includes layer cake and it includes romaine lettuce. It includes brioche, and it includes Brussels sprouts. Chocolate and Chicken breasts? Love ‘em both.

    And that means I can listen to what my body actually wants and needs, as well as what my tongue desires. Guess what? Pretty often, they go hand in hand.

    • Sure, I love cake and pie and ice cream, but not all the time. I also find that when they aren’t loaded down with a flaming sack of ‘eat only this or DIIIIIIEEEEEEE’ sauce, salads and crunchy vegetables taste a whole lot better.

      True. Of course I’m also less hungry when I’ve been eating regularly and not trying to restrict food. ;)

  3. I like this blog, and I’m not critical of weight one way or another, as I myself am obese (my son is also). But, in terms of what I eat: I am 5feet 6 inches and weigh 220, which means I am consuming about 2,100 calories per day to maintain this weight ( I only engage in light activity, and I am 50 years old). So what I am saying is I am eating the wrong types of foods, and in the wrong amounts, to consume that many calories. I admit it. So many websites and people who write about fat acceptance, seem to assert they only eat salads and chicken breasts. Why is it no one admits to eating how I often do? For example today for breakfast I did not have oatmeal; I had four pancakes with peanut butter and syrup. Gasp! And yes I do eat fast food and junk food, but I did have a salad for supper today. I don’t think the fat acceptance movement is going to go very far, when people who are large assert they eat only low calorie, healthy foods. I do not, therefore I am obese. Why I eat the way I do is another story in itself, including having emotional issues. I have been thin, slightly overweight and obese. I was happiest being in the middle. But when I was thin, I ate far less and I was far more active. That was why I was thin.

    • Hi Sue!
      Personally I don’t get the impression that all HAES people are living on steamed chicken breasts and salad. I think the real point is that since most of us have tried that route and found it to be unhealthy and unsuccessful in the long term, and that eating what our appetites suggest to us doesn’t make us gain loads of weight after we’ve broken out of the “good food, bad food” mindset, (there’s nothing like a diet of chicken and salad to make you crave pancakes) … well, my personal view is that since counting calories doesn’t make me thin, and eating what I want doesn’t make me fatter, and eating what I want is far more enjoyable and better for my mental health than stressing over every mouthful … I have learned to live by the old adage “a little of what you fancy does you good”. And what I fancy nowadays is hardly ever a fat and sugar laden binge, because now I’m not dieting, my body isn’t in starvation mode. I dare say I do eat more than a thinner person, but that’s because my larger body requires more calories than a thinner body would to maintain my active lifestyle. And hunger is no longer my enemy – it just tells me I need to refuel! :)

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