Why Pleasure Is Good for Your Health

Here's something that very few health professionals will tell you about food: It's supposed to be pleasurable

Diet culture gets us so wrapped up in the pursuit of nutritional "perfection" that we miss the pleasure part. Food is supposed to bring us joy.

In fact, in intuitive eating—which has been shown to lead to better health outcomes than dieting and restrictive eating—pleasure is one of the 10 central principles.

Intuitive eating is driven by joy and satisfaction. It's about considering pleasure in all of our food choices, and honoring our desires to the best of our abilities each time we eat.

That doesn't mean we'll never eat a vegetable again. It just means that when we do, it's going to be prepared in an appealing way and integrated into the meal—no more sad, steamed broccoli on the side because it's what we think we're "supposed to" do. 

Intuitive eating means that we're flexible in our food choices, we don't follow diet rules, and we consider nutrition in the context of pleasure.

It's rare in this day and age to see a health and wellness professional showcasing this type of joyful, flexible, non-shaming relationship with food. Too many people in my profession feel that they need to limit their consumption of pleasurable foods (at least publicly) in order to fit into their idea of what wellness "should" look like—which unfortunately looks exactly like diet culture. 

That's why I'm such a fan of this week's podcast guest, Kylie Mitchell. She's a fellow dietitian who went through her own struggles with food and body image, and now she's a committed intuitive eater and body-acceptance warrior who works to help others find the joy in food through her blog (immaEATthat), social media presence, and private practice. 

Tune in to hear us discuss her recovery story, the problems with "healthy" food blogging and Instagramming, why it's so important for wellness pros to model flexibility and fun in our food choices, how to develop a better relationship with physical activity, and lots more! 

This post was originally published in my weekly email newsletter