A couple of days ago I was listening to a great episode from one of my favorite podcasts called RadioLab. In this particular episode the researchers were talking about “bliss” and they invited a variety of scientists to finish the sentence “bliss is…” And so I thought it would be fun for each of us to think about our own “Bliss List.” Before you read any further, close your eyes and think about what things in life represent the meaning of the word “bliss” to you.
I have a lot of things on my “Bliss List” and will share five of them here with you.
1. Uncontrollable laughter
2. Climbing into bed with newly cleaned sheets
3. My favorite perfume
4. Getting a massage
5. A freshly baked chocolate chip cookie (or put more accurately, a couple of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a cool class of milk)
After I made my list I noticed that it contained areas of “bliss” from all of the different senses including sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and feel. And I didn’t even realize that when I made the list. Take a look at your bliss list. Do you notice any themes in terms of the kinds of “bliss” you listed?
I love this concept of knowing and living from our “Bliss List” because this actually supports our health. It’s easy to get into ruts and routines in life. But if our daily routines do not consistently include items from our “Bliss List” this actually may be a risk factor for overeating, eating in a compulsive way, or binge eating. When we are not feeling satisfied in life, it becomes easier to overly rely on food as a way to feel good. Without regular doses from our “Bliss List” we are at risk of higher levels of anxiety and greater rates of depression.
So as the days get colder, take a look at your list and see what you can do to find a little extra bliss today. What’s on your list? I’d love to hear about it!
How do you know you're hungry? I know it sounds like an odd question but I'm always amazed at the answers I get to this seemingly simple question. Think about it a moment. Imagine I just asked you "how do you know you're hungry?" What would you say?
I talk about hunger a fair amount. Certainly more than the average person since I happen to be a nutrition therapist for a living. :) And perhaps more than other dietitians because I use an intuitive eating approach to my work. That means I work with my clients to help them connect to the process of eating when hungry, stopping when full, and learning to manage their emotions without using food. Perhaps it sounds simple but it can be a surprisingly complex process!
There are many things in life that can derail us from eating in response to a physical cue for hunger: not being able to identify hunger, eating based on the time of day, habits, chaotic schedules, emotions, and even dieting. I'm sure you could add to the list.
In an ideal world, we'd eat in response to a hunger cue the majority of the time. Note: not 100% of the time. Sometimes we eat for fun and social reasons. But hopefully most of our eating is done because our bodies and brains need more fuel. So my purpose in writing this blog post is to help you become more aware of your personal cues of hunger. Believe it or not, your hunger cues are just as individual as you are! And learning your own personal cues for hunger is the first step to eating intuitively.
So, here is your homework assignment. Get out a sheet of paper and write the following:Starving:
Now, I want you to write down as many PHYSICAL descriptors as you can for each category. I'll give you some examples.
Starving: stomach pain, headache, terrible mood, no energy
Over-hungry: growling/empty stomach, shaky, can't think of anything but eating
Meal hungry: grumbly stomach, lack of concentration, low energy, mouth watering at the thought of food
Snack hungry: distracted thinking, energy dip, little grumbles in stomach
Ok, the next step is to keep this paper around for a week or so. Throughout the week pay attention to moments that you think you might be in one of these categories and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I hungry?
2. How hungry am I?
3. How do I know? This "how do I know" part is your cue to write down any physical descriptor you have that fits your particular level of hunger.
The last step is extremely important because you are creating an individualized list of how your body speaks to you. Try to pay attention for a week or so and see what data you gather. You might notice that you need to make changes to your list as you go along.
What are your greatest obstacles to eating in response to hunger? I'd love to hear your feedback!
Your nutritionist in Cambridge,