What do you do when food doesn't taste good?
I can tell you what I do when food didn't taste good. I eat more food; food guaranteed to taste good. Food such as grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets, french fries, ice cream, cookies etc. Basically, in order to be satisfied, my taste buds must also be satisfied.
This wasn't odd. I thought it was perfectly reasonable to think that food must taste good. Food is always described in reference to its taste. Food manufacturers wouldn't sell their "product" if their marketing campaign said that "buy this lasagna, it tastes...OK."
Before eating, there is a sense that a certain meal isn't going to cut it. A tell-tale sign of an upcoming disappointing meal is that it is made up of food that I don't like such as scalloped potatoes or pork chops.
On those occasions I consume the meh meal trying to ignore the feeling that the food is doing absolutely nothing for me. Anxiety begins to rise from the lack of taste and triggers hunger. After dinner, I wait for the hunger to subside, but it doesn't as I continue to obsess over the lack of taste satisfaction.
Like my cat in the morning, impatiently waiting for breakfast, I pace, swiftly moving between the fridge and pantry hunting for my quarry. The one food that will satisfy the need; once found, I devour the food. Satisfaction, finally. The discomfort from the anxiety eases.
Of course, my therapist discovered this when I explained why I was unable to stick to the pre-planned menu. Then she told me something that I had not previously considered. She said:
Food isn't always going to taste good.
That is OK.Huh? Food isn't always going to taste great and that's OK? Unlike the sentiment of virtually every food commercial, great tasting food isn't owed to me?
Wow. I had never thought of food that way before. I used food to pander to my taste buds.
That is when I realized that the purpose of food is meant to provide nutrition, rather than to satisfy the needs of my taste buds. So when food doesn't taste good, that isn't a reason to eat more food. This must be what Geneen Roth refers to eating what your mind wants rather than what your body wants.
For years, even decades, my food choices were based on satisfying this insatiable need for taste. Of course, I craved foods that are the easiest to covet: sugar, salt, and grease. Dieting or not, I battled the need for taste against the need to stay thin on a daily basis. With time, the need for taste increased and my ability to lose weight decreased.
With awareness and practice, I'm no longer obsessed with the taste of food. The unexpected result of letting go of the need for taste (or at least the lowest common denominator of taste that I craved) is that I changed the food that I want to eat to foods that also happen to be good for my body.
Coming Soon: Let me know on facebook what you think of processed food, I'm working on a new post and I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you consider to be processed food? Can processed food healthy? To eat or not eat, let me know which side of the processed food fence you are on!