I have always wondered about sensory deprivation and how that might impact the taste sensation of food as well as the feeling of needing to eat. In a blind fold study, volunteers were blind folded and served ice cream. Participants thought they had eaten 88% more than they had actually eaten, and had eaten 9% less calories before they felt full, compared to those who could see.
On my trip to Toronto I made my reservation, took a cab, and went to have an experience of a lifetime! The restaurant itself was unusual and quite discreet, I thought there would be bright lights, a big sign, main level, I suppose I thought it would be more set up for the visually impaired, easy access, no steps. Far from it. It was on the lower level, underground, lots of steps. It was interesting because it reminded me of a murder mystery, you kind of had to find your way. We got to pick our meals in the light, it was three choices and some of the choices were entitled ‘mystery’. So of course we decided to go for mystery appetizer but a little too much trepidation for going for the mystery meal. So I went for chicken and my mother went for steak, dessert was a piece of chocolate cake with ice cream and my mother had cheesecake.
The scariest part was when we were led in by a server, she led us in by us holding her shoulder, she was obviously visually impaired and right away, as soon as we walked through the doors, it was black. I thought my eyes would acclimatize, I just had to wait it out, but it never happened at all, throughout the entire time. She sat us at our table, slowly, as it was a bit of a shuffle experience in and a shuffle experience sitting, and introduced us to the people who were sitting next to us, we all said hello timidly but the truth is we had no perspective as to how near or far anyone or anything was because it was completely pitch black.
Later, when I was telling someone about my experience they said that when they were in the dark they had a panic attack and had to leave, that the sensory deprivation was just too overwhelming, that they were too overwhelmed to function. Now I can admit, when I was sitting there in that utter blackness, it felt pretty overwhelming. It felt like I was in a very small space, like a closet or an elevator but the truth was it was a very big room, although I don't know how big. I could hear other people talking and there was a party of Spanish speaking people off to the right, and they were loud, they were having a good time, and that good time kind of rubbed off as a sort of grounding. Like, being able to hear something made not being able to see, okay. I could also tell they were quite far away and hearing them gave me a sense of security that I wasn’t in a tight space.
The wine came and it was good, relaxing. The appetizers came and surprise surprise I couldn't figure out what the surprise was, small pieces, maybe so people do not choke. So I said out loud, ‘I don’t know what this is!’ and the people beside us said, ‘it’s the calamari’. They didn't say it excitedly, they said it like they had to be told what it was, or they were expecting some exotic fish that was NOT calamari. I found myself gripping my knife and fork the entire time for fear I would lose them, as well as my wine glass.
I heard someone tip their wine glass over ‘cachunk’ and I would be mortified, but they just laughed! When we were done we went to the bar which was in the light, and I must say it was a relief to be able to see again. We ordered drinks from the bar, tequila sunrise, and even though the bartender could see she had trouble measuring and we ended up with free drinks. My mother had a relatively normal tequila sunrise, I had tequila with a splash of orange juice. Overall it was a great night.
So back to the study of blind folded ice cream eaters. I honestly felt like I ate WAY less than what I would normally eat. That when I left I actually felt like I needed to go and eat. So I took an Uber back to the room and had my usual snack before bed of cheese and grapes.
It would be fine to do the blind fold diet for fun, but as a way to lose weight - no way. In the time it was that we were in the dark, it felt like we were in a container, contained and restrained, but as soon as we went back out into the light, it felt like we had to get back to eating in our usual way. So much for sensory deprivation as a weight management strategy - but oh boy was it a fun try.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.