How to beat the pleasure pain cycle


I love apple fritters. Today I love the idea more than the warm, sticky sweetness. During my college years I knew which shops were open at midnight. Eventually the pain in my gut became greater than the pleasure of the apple fritter. I retired those midnight runs to Sam’s donuts in favor of a tart green apple with almond butter. Everything we do is motivated by providing pleasure and avoiding pain. What makes a personal health plan successful is how we define pleasure and pain.


Deprivation causes pain

If you’re not sick already then an apple fritter may be the ultimate in pleasure. Deprivation may be the deepest pain. We develop emotional and physical addictions to pleasurable foods which makes deprivation painful. Too many pleasurable apple fritters and eventually your gut, feet, knees or head become the source of pain. So, you seek relief with a harsh New Year’s resolution: no more apple fritters and exercising every day. Pretty soon you have the pain of deprivation and foot pain from too much walking combined with the pain of failure. There’s just not enough pleasure to sustain a deprivation diet. That is why 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail in the first few months.

Healthy meals cause pleasure

Health programs that succeed start by filling you up with so much pleasurable savory meals that eventually you forget about the apple fritter. The pleasure in real food leaves you satisfied and energized. After a week or so your body pain subsides so that eventually you want to go for a walk around the block. Wow, maybe today you feel strong enough to walk to the beach! Both food and exercise have now turned to pleasure.

Redefining pleasure and pain

In a nostalgic moment you turn to an apple fritter for pleasure. Oh yeah, it still tastes good, but within a couple hours your knees begin to ache and you have no desire to walk. Hmm, has the apple fritter turned to pain? I love the art form of a good pastry, but the idea of ingesting one simply feels painful.

Healthy Body causes pleasure

Eventually you can redefine turkey stew with carrots and collards as great pleasure. You will have the strength to enjoy walking to the beach with your new working knees. You will find a tart green apple with almond butter pleasurable. Eventually the sight of an apple fritter will bring great nostalgia along with memories of pain.


We set our goals and jump for the sky even though we love to have our feet on the ground. How much healthy pleasure can you fit in one day? I help my clients use this approach to gain energy and freedom while stopping pain and fatigue. Health should never be about deprivation, it simply isn't sustainable. Click here to set up a time to tell me about your pain so we can find some pleasurable ways to start feeling better.


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Anna Rathbun, Food Therapy

 45180 A Main Street

 Mendocino, CA 95460 (physical address only)

 PO Box 583

 Little River, CA 95456 (mailing only)

707-937-0476

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