Have you ever sat down to eat a meal, only to realize that you don’t actually want the food that is on your plate?
Just a few weeks ago, it was 8:00 pm on a Friday night, and I was sitting down to warm egg salad on whole wheat toast. Egg salad is a comforting meal that I usually love, but tonight I realized that it just wasn’t cutting it.
I realized in that moment that the only thing that would satisfy me was Spaghetti Bolognese.
Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese, with spicy sausage, sautéed mushrooms, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
And I knew just what I had to do.
But I didn’t always know what to do. In fact, this situation used to be really tough for me. So in this post, I want to give you two options for what to do when that Spaghetti Bolognese Realization hits:
1. Go get what you most want
Sometimes you need to eat what you most want.
That was what was true for me on that Friday night. It was 20-degree weather, but I didn’t care. I knew that by the time I went to the supermarket, got home, and made dinner, it would be 9:30 pm, but I didn’t care.
So I put on my coat and my hat and my scarf and my gloves, and I went to the supermarket.
And once the Spaghetti Bolognese was ready? I didn’t actually want that much. A small plate was perfect.
I’m not saying that you have to do this. Sometimes there are other very compelling reasons why you can’t do this. But I am saying that sometimes when you want Spaghetti Bolognese, the only thing that will do is Spaghetti Bolognese.
Here’s something for you to play around with at least once this week: This week, when you’re about to eat, ask yourself if what you have in front of you is what you most want to be eating. If it isn’t, see if you have the time/energy/resources to give it to yourself. See how it affects your appetite and your contentment.
2. Eat what’s on your plate anyway
It’s a bit unrealistic to expect that every night is a go-to-the-supermarket-at-8-and-make-homemade-pasta kind of night.
Maybe what’s on your plate is the only food within miles, or you don’t have time or resources to make another meal. Or you’re already in your sweatpants and don’t feel like leaving the house.
Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat the food anyway.
But it’s pretty important to remain aware of the fact that you’re not prioritizing taste that night. That instead of giving your taste buds what they most want, you are instead indulging some other need: the need to not leave the house in 20 degree weather, the need to finish up the meal and move onto the other things on your to-do list.
The reason that this is important is because, since you’re not prioritizing taste, you may end your meal not completely satisfied.
And when that happens, it’s very tempting to want to eat more. A few chocolate covered pretzels. A bite of old French toast, straight out of the Tupperware in your fridge. Four Sun Chips, while you’re holding the bag in one hand and the rubber band in the other.
And this is a danger zone.
Of course, if you are hungry, there’s nothing wrong with having more food after your main meal. But too often this post-meal scrounging is because your meal wasn’t satisfying, and now you’re trying to satisfy yourself by having a bite of this, a lick of that.
But those little bits of things won’t work when what you really want is Spaghetti Bolognese.
So if you find yourself in that situation this week, here’s some things to try:
- Take a moment to remember that you are taking care of yourself in ways that don’t have to do with delicious foods. Do this in a way that feels gentle and good to you: take a deep breath, feel your body, touch your hips and arms, and face, and remember that you it’s okay to not feel pleasure from food at every second, because you’re fulfilling your needs in other ways — by not going outside tonight, by not spending too much time dealing with food prep.
- Do something fun. Sometimes I have chosen not to prioritize food, but that is because I am so stressed and busy in other ways. The problem then is that I’m not getting pleasure from food, and I’m not getting pleasure from my to-do list. On those days, it’s really important for me to carve out even 10 minutes to do something fun, as a bribe to get myself to stop eating (hey, you’ve gotta do what you gotta do).
Which situation do you find yourself in more often? Do you tend to eat what’s on your plate anyway, or make (or order!) yourself a whole new meal? I’d love to chat about it with you in the comments!