Guess what? All work and no pleasure & play makes Jane a dull girl. Let’s pretend your name is Jane for a moment.
Are you all work and no pleasure or play? Does the word pleasure make you feel a little uneasy? When was the last time you took time for pleasure and play in your life?
The “self-care movement” is in full gear. We’ve all heard about the importance of taking time for ourselves, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m taking it a step further than that. I’m talking about pleasure + play and there’s a little-known secret I want to let you in on regarding this.
There’s metabolic power in pleasure.
And that’s why I call pleasure Vitamin P.
It’s a vital element that makes your meals complete and your life worth living. This is NOT woo-thinking. This is so very true.
The truth is as humans, we’re genetically programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And this is quite apparent when it comes to food. When we eat, we’re seeking the pleasure of food and avoiding the pain of hunger.
Kind of amazing, right?
And get this: When you’re “turned on” by food, you turn on your metabolism.
Trust me when I tell you there have been several evidence-based studies on this “pleasure principle”. It’s a real, scientific thing. Taste and pleasure are essential to your metabolism and how you digest and assimilate the nutrients in the food you eat.
For example, if you deny yourself the pleasure of food through low-calorie dieting, or if you follow a restrictive diet, your body will respond by chemically demanding pleasure and satisfaction. If you’ve ever “cheated” while following a restrictive diet, then you know what I mean.
This has a lot to do with the balance of certain chemicals in the body and the brain (cholecystokinin and endorphins), but I won’t bore you with the biochem. Just know this is real and pleasure is an important part of your meals and your life.
And just like pleasure enhances your metabolism and nutrient absorption, stress and anxiety causes excess cortisol production and desensitizes you to pleasure. This causes you to eat more food during times of stress as your brain struggles to register the food’s pleasurable effects.
Gah!! What’s a girl to do??
First and foremost, recognize the way you experience pleasure with food is a mirror of how you experience pleasure in life.
Here are a few ways to get yourself on the pleasure train so you can increase your metabolism, improve digestion, and have a healthier (happier) relationship with food and your body:
- Stop dieting. I’m serious. Stop dieting, please. There’s nothing fun, pleasurable or sexy about being on a diet. Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to follow a therapeutic diet, you don’t need one to achieve a happy, healthy life.
- Enjoy sweet treats and healthy fats. We’re genetically programmed to desire and enjoy the taste of sweet foods and to desire and enjoy fats. Eating quality versions of sweets and fats will promote a healthier metabolism.
- Slow down and enjoy your meals. Eating on-the-run isn’t good for the metabolism. You end up eating too fast, not really taking the time to enjoy the food you’ve eaten. Start to bring more consciousness to your meals. Sit down with your food, without the distractions of technology, and really enjoy every single bite.
Once you start to practice these 3 things, you’ll start to see a big difference in how you relate to your food and your body. And then, magically, you’ll begin to bring more pleasure and play into other areas of your life. Remember, the way you experience pleasure with food is a mirror of how you experience pleasure in life.
So I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me how you can start to bring more pleasure & play into your meals this week?