Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sixth Sense

Remember when you learned about the five senses? See, hear, smell, taste, touch . . . We learned smell and taste are closely connected. In my class we learned how our bodies compensate for the missing sense when it is taken away from us. For instance the blind often develop acute hearing and sense of touch and smell. I remember being fearful I could lose my sense of smell. That concerned me because I was afraid if there was a fire and I could not smell the burning I would die in my sleep. I was also afraid that I could go deaf or blind.

Strangely I was not afraid to lose my sense of taste. I was often sick with head colds and could not taste my food. It never stopped me from eating anyway. Later I became aware this was because I rarely tasted my food. I gobbled it up so fast that the visual cue of seeing the food was enough to ignite my appetite. Often I finished a particularly favorite item and only as I swallowed the last bite did I realize I had not taken the time to truly taste my food.

When I started incorporating a small part of mindful eating into my food behaviors I practiced taking the time to stop and really taste my food. I pause between bites. I eat slower. I really taste it. Sometimes I find myself satisfied with less food when I do this. Sometimes, not always. That is important to remember because I then tried "mindfully eating' cake, cookies, ice cream and chocolate and once I got past the first bite I usually reverted back to gobbling. Since I took the time to taste that first could I have stopped there? I couldn't and I didn't. I am sure there are people who can but I am not one of them. I am  not one of the people who can mindfully eat a serving of most desserts and be satisfied with a serving. I longed to be one of these people. I tried, I practiced, I acted as if and I tried again when I failed. 

I have a Sixth Sense, This Sense is knowing when something is blessing my life and when it is not. It is a fledgling sense, not yet fully developed, still forming and testing it's functions in my brain and soul.  It is this sixth sense the helps me to refrain from buying a panini maker when I do not eat bread. It is my Sixth Sense that helps me know that some TV programs are okay for me today and some are too hard core food porn for my serenity on a given day. It is the sense that prevents me from testing theories that lead me back into food obsession. It is the Sense that encourages me to keep doing the next right thing. It is the Sense that affirms in my heart how to respond when someone asks me for help. It is the Sense that reminds me that it is not my job to be perfect or always right. It it the Sense that reminds me it is my job to love, listen and share. It is my most important Sense but it is also the one with the least strength and has no other sense to back it up. You might be thinking that common sense would be it's ally but let me remind you that my common sense tried to convince me that chocolate is a vegetable.

Speaking of the Sixth Sense: There is a movie by that name starring Bruce Willis. In this movie his widow is sitting in a restaurant having an anniversary dinner by herself. The check comes and she signs it, whispers 'happy anniversary,' gets up and exits, leaving 3/4 of an exquisite looking dessert at the table. Assuming that it was as good as it looked, I have never left a dessert I ordered uneaten. I can understand not ordering dessert. I can understand eating in misery. I can understand not touching it at all. I can accept trying it, not liking it and leaving it behind but I cannot fathom myself ever ordering a dessert, taking a bite or two and letting it go. This is why MY Sixth Sense tries to keep me from testing such strange waters. 

Are you aware of a sixth sense helping you in your battle of keeping the pounds off? Have you found ways to increase its strength. Please share some sense with us here.



Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,

I know that my Sixth Sense is in me and telling me to (or not to) do certain behaviors to help me get the weight off.

The hard part, really listening and trusting it to guide me in the right direction no matter how much I want to do the opposite, because of bad habits.

Funny you mention kitchen gadgets (the panini maker). I threw away a toaster about 6 months ago, because I would buy bread to toast, butter, eat, repeat. It was like candy to me. Not that I haven't had bread since, but it sure helps not having that toaster!! THAT habit bit the dust. ;o) Gosh, makes me think I should get rid of a couple other appliances... LOL

I am going to start thinking of my "gut feelings" as my Sixth Sense, and become more aware of what it is trying to say.

Oh how I wish I could mindfully eat (or intuitive eat). I have read quite a few books on it, and it's kind of hard to do this when your body seems to be never full and asks for certain foods, and once I get started.....

Thanks for listening,


Jane Cartelli said...

LOL! I threw out my toaster a few months ago too! The smell of toast is something I love but I am the only one in the house who cares to have toast so really, did I need it in the house? I got rid of it.

When I was a kid my mom would unplug the TV and send us outside to play because that was healthy.
My mom taught me not to use electical appliances near water such as a sink, a tub, a pool.

It makes sense for me to remove from myself the appliances that can ZAP me of my recovery.

I also got rid of my bread maker.


Vickie said...

I was smiling all the way through this post.

I knew exactly the scene you meant.

I even remembered the dessert.

I was smiling because I have read/heard that scene described many times over the years, but it was always about the plot, never about the dessert.

I understand 100% about what you mean about embracing tiny parts of mindful eating but not jumping into it ('as an excuse' is how I look at it). I thought your paragraph explained it well (and very diplomatically).

that is a tough subject (mindful) as there are people who sooooooo desperately want that to work, want that to be the answer. I always have the empression that they think if they jsut tried harder, it would work. It is such a form of self sabotage (in my opinion) for so many people with eating disorders.

Jane Cartelli said...

Vicki -
Amen to that. It can help me with what I do eat and how I eat what I eat but I cannot re-introduce my addictive foods. No way.

But that does not stop me from wishing it would work, and that is not helpful to keeping the pounds off because it keeps open I door I need to shut, bolt and break the key.