Archives for March, 2010

Noseful, not Mouthful

Preloading on liquids (a glass of water, a cup of watery soup) is an old appetite-control trick.  Preloading on smell is a little newer.  Let's have a sniff of what it's all about...

Anosmia-Aquesia Connection

Taste is primarily smell since the “senses of taste and smell are yoked together phenomenologically” (Dennett, 1992, p. 46) and the smell of food accounts for a lion’s share of the food’s overall flavor.

Loss of sense of smell (anosmia) can lead to a loss of taste (aquesia) which can lead to a loss of appetite. When your nose is stopped up, everything seems to taste… tasteless.   This kind of temporary anosmia (loss of smell) can be apparently induced on demand.

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Math of Self-Change

Ever thought about how many precedents of change it takes to change a habit?  Indeed, how many precedents did it take you to quit the last habit you quit and to develop the last habit you developed?  Something to ponder, huh?  Well, here's a bit of somewhat arbitrary math of self-change for your to ponder ...

The hand-to-mouth eating motion is just as automated as our bipedal loco-motion.  It’s, pardon my Spanish, loco to think that merely reading about mindful eating will do you any good.  It won’t, not without an experiential journey to accompany your insights.  After all, to walk, it's not just enough to have wings of intention, but you also have to have fairly well-conditioned hamstrings and a path of change long enough to get you to your destination.

Consider this: you have invested literally a lifetime into mindless eating.  It's gonna take you a few clicks to override your mindless eating reflex with a habit of mindful eating.  It's a marathon not a Blitzkrieg, a process of deciding to be mindful, time and again, not a one-time decision to stop being mindless.

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Ahimsa Eating Re-Considered

“Zero-sum” is when one’s needs cancel out another’s needs.  I learned the meaning of this violent doctrine as a Russian kid playing “nozhichki.”  Nozhichki (“little knives”) is a game of divide-and-conquer.  First, with the point of your pocketknife you draw a sizable circle on hard ground.  Then, you divide it in half – one side for you, the other side is for your playing opponent.  Then you take turns flinging the knife into your opponent’s turf: if the knife “stands” (i.e. if the blade jams into the ground), then, following the line of the blade, you carve out a piece of your enemy’s territory and add it to your own domain.  And you continue the onslaught like this until you win over the entire circle or your knife falls flat, in which case it’s your enemy’s turn.  Either my pocketknife needed a better blade or my throwing hand wasn’t good or the ground in the Arbat neighborhood of Moscow (just a block away from the Spaso-House, the residence of the U.S. ambassador to U.S.S.R.) was too hard, but the games would often find me on the losing side.

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