Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Principle 6 of Intuitive Eating
Feb 25, 20

Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Principle 6 of Intuitive Eating

If you haven’t already, check out our post introducing Intuitive Eating and our most recent post on the fifth principle, Feel Your Fullness.


If you’re like me, you’ve more than once said “It’s time to eat AGAIN? ALREADY!?”. Sometimes the simple act of feeding yourself seems like a monumental yet redundant task. I’ve even imagined how easy it would be if there was a nutritionally-complete pill you could take and voila, the need to feed myself would cease. For me, this desire comes from the time associated with cooking or eating out, but also from the responsibility of finding something healthy to eat. And if I resort to a time-saver meal like pizza, I MIGHT have residual feelings of guilt or disappointment that I didn’t make the effort to eat something healthy. 

So, why is it that these feelings of guilt might arise? Because in that moment, I’m not valuing the satisfaction that comes from eating pizza, I’m only valuing the nutritional profile of the food I'm eating.

This reflects a wider cultural tendency to value health over taste

“The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence - the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. 


When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content, By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had enough.”

  • Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole



For some, meal time is something to look forward to. But for others, it can be a dreaded internal battle. The difference between the two outcomes is what your body and mind have come to expect. 

How often do you give yourself satisfying meal times - ones that are aesthetically pleasing, full of flavor, enjoyed with friends, and in a comfortable setting? How often do you give yourself the opposite?

The most interesting part of this principle is that all the other hallmarks of Intuitive Eating feed into the satisfaction factor. For instance, if you eat when you are moderately hungry and not starving, you’ll have a more satisfying eating experience and aftermath. If you eat while rejecting the diet mentality, while rejecting harsh rules and embracing your intuition, you’ll find satisfaction in eating the foods you really enjoy. If you focus on gentle nutrition, you’ll be more satisfied with the food you’re eating because it’s taking care of your body.



When you think of “healthy” food, do you take into account how satisfying and flavorful the food is? Or, do you merely focus on it’s nutritional content?

Just like mental health is more than how often you get outside to enjoy nature, physical health is more than the nutritional profile of your food. The laughter that comes along with eating in the company of loved ones is beneficial for your health. The fresh air that surrounds you while you eat outside instead of infront of the TV is beneficial for your health. 

Remember that enjoying the experience of your lunch is key to a satisfying meal, not just the health factor of the food on your plate.

“If you regularly settle for an unsatisfying food or an unappetizing eating experience, satisfaction will not be the outcome; rather, you are likely to continue searching for a satisfying food, even though you are no longer hungry.”

  • Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole

Try out this exercise to help you explore what a satisfying meal experience looks like to you. Simply reflect on your answers to the following questions.



Who do you most enjoy sharing meals with?

How often do you break bread and build community with strangers?


What are your favorite flavors, types of foods, ingredients or meals? 

How do warm, rich foods make you feel?

How do chilled, raw foods make you feel?

What foods make you feel comforted? Energized? Full? 



What times of day do you like eating at, regardless of when you “should” eat?

In what emotional states do you like eating in?

In what emotional states do you have an unsatisfying meal experience?


What places do you enjoy eating - at home, a restaurant, friends house, etc?

Do you like to eat outside? Why?

Do you eat at the same table, in the same chair for each meal? Why?



What thoughts or feelings precipitate a pleasurable eating experience? Which do not?

What physical sensations and level of hunger precipitate a pleasurable eating experience?



While eating, what activities (talking, reading, watching TV, on your phone) promote a pleasurable eating experience? Which do not?


Our next blog post will focus on the seventh principle of Intuitive Eating, Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness.