I’ve discovered something new this past week or so: without the allure of taste and smell, food seems boring and eating is a chore (thanks Coronavirus!). While preparing dinner a few nights ago for my family, I had a growing sense of irritation. I started cutting up onions and found my eyes watering even though I couldn’t smell them.
While cooking, my husband came into the room and said, “Smells good!” Let’s just say I didn’t appreciate his compliment or poor timing. When we sat down to eat, it felt so wrong to put spoonfuls of the new teriyaki recipe into my mouth without being able to taste it. I couldn’t tell if this was a recipe I would add to the monthly rotor. I felt annoyed, because I believed I should be enjoying the meal I just prepared by smelling and tasting it. Instead, I was eating just because my body needed the nutrition the meal would provide. My husband tried to describe it to me, but I found it added to my annoyance.
Now I have been slowly regaining my sense of taste and smell over the past few days, and I’m overjoyed it didn’t last longer. However, the experience was enlightening. I felt robbed (a little dramatic, I know) of my sense of smell and taste in the beginning, but I will say that it gets easier to deal with the longer the absence remains. And I found that I almost liked not dealing with the desire to eat just because of something I smelt or because I had the desire for a certain taste. I ate when I was hungry and easily stopped when I was full.
This brings me to the point of my post. Food only has power over us if we let it—it needs our permission. Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate for good food and enjoying all the pleasure eating has to offer. But I found it instructive that food only has the power that I give it. It cannot force itself into my mouth without my brain deciding to put it there. It cannot jump into my cart in the grocery store, cook itself, and force me to chew and swallow it.
This experience has reminded me to be purposeful instead of mindless when it comes to eating and choosing what will energize my body. I always have the power to choose. And taking responsibility for that choice can make all the difference, especially when you are striving for weight loss and an increase in health and energy. Take back your power today!