Our world is what our senses tell us.
When we are very conditioned and experiencing Eating Distress, we eat more with our heads and our fears than we do our senses.
Only when we are working on ourselves, practicing and applying recovery tools, we realise how much we were depriving ourselves in the past.
We hear a lot about what to eat, but it is very important to check in on how we are eat. Eating is multi-sensory experience. Our senses play an important role in our perception of food. Using our senses more, will help us eliminate our fears and gain more pleasure and satisfaction on a daily basis.
Do we taste our food?
Do we smell it?
How often do we touch it?
What about how sounds?
And colours, arrangements on the plate, cutlery – do we use our visual sense at the table at all? Do we set the table, light a candle, add flowers?
Allowing ourselves a pleasurable experience is a very important part of recovery. We are so conditioned with fears about food, that the pleasure of eating is ignored.
Pleasure comes from our mind, memories, rituals and especially from using our senses and sharing with people.
As Epicurus said:
‘We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.’
Making meals enjoyable is a very important part of the recovery process. Sharing this enjoyment is even more important for our mental and physical wellbeing.
It is important to keep in mind that when we label food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, these words can be loaded with judgement and contribute to our fears around food.
Let’s focus more and play with the words we use around food. Using and practicing words that describe taste can also help us to connect with our bodies more. We have many taste receptors on our tongues, let’s use them.
Without us realising, as a result of our ED behaviours many of our taste receptors got destroyed. Our mind was full of fears around food, that we didn’t even realise that we are lacking lots of taste and pleasure available from food.
Taste: Taste buds on our tongue and other parts of the mouth help us recognise different flavours in food. Taste can be influenced by factors like temperature and texture.
Smell: The sense of smell is closely linked to our sense of taste. The aroma of food contributes significantly to our overall perception of flavour. It helps us identify and differentiate various ingredients and can evoke memories and emotions associated with certain foods.
Sight: Focus on, colour, and presentation of food. It can influence our expectations and preferences for certain foods.
Touch: Our sense of touch comes into play when we eat, particularly in terms of texture. The way food feels in our mouth and our body.
Hearing: not as prominent as other senses, but hearing can also influence our perception of food.
The sounds of food being cooked, the sizzling or crunch. Playing music during our meal can contribute to a more pleasurable experience.
All these senses work together to create an experience, they help us to appreciate texture, flavours and quality of the food. Senses can influence different memories and embrace different traditions, and create new ones.