Does hiding senses make sense?

My wife was away for a week recently, and I knew I would have some problems in the kitchen. I had no clue how to operate the microwave or turn on our new dishwasher. One night, I kept answering my cellphone until I realized it was the fridge making a ringing noise because the door was left open.

I had occasion to drive my wife’s Toyota Prius while she was gone, and I had no idea how to use all the high-tech controls on the dashboard. I wanted to listen to my favorite radio station, so I turned to what I thought was 90.1. The station did not come on, but it sure got hot in the car.

When Mary Ellen returned from her trip, she asked if I had kept to my diet. I admitted that I had gone to two all-you-can-eat buffets, and I consumed too much because everything looked so good.

That was the wrong thing to say. Apparently Mary Ellen read an article on the plane that one way to lose weight is to eat your meals while blindfolded. In several experiments, people who had their eyes covered ingested 22 percent fewer calories. That number was actually much higher, but researchers decided not to count all the food that fell on the floor or dribbled down people’s shirts.

The theory behind this is simple. When you can’t see what’s on your plate, scientists say you’re “more apt to listen to your stomach.” I am someone who does listen to my stomach, and so does the entire congregation at the Heartland Church on Sunday mornings.

When subjects were taken to an actual restaurant (rather than dining in the lab) and then blindfolded, they finished about half of what was on their plate — unless they peeked and saw they were in Chipotle. Then they consumed 100 percent less.

I wanted to test the theory of not viewing the food I ate for lunch the next day while my wife was out shopping. When she arrived home, I told her I had been doing a little experiment to see if this calorie-reduction plan was legit.

Mary Ellen looked at the ketchup all over my face and shirt and said: “Okay, now tomorrow see what happens when you eat blindfolded.”

Researchers also claimed that cutting off any one of your senses enhances the taste of food, which leads to less consumption of unneeded calories. I wondered what effect it would have to wear earplugs.

“This is crazy,” said my wife. “Covering your ears will not make you eat less.”

“It’s worth a try, Mary Ellen. What are we having tonight?”

“I’m making your favorite: oven-fried coconut chicken, twice-baked potatoes and creamed spinach.”

“I wish you had waited until I put in my earplugs to tell me that.”


“Because that sounded really good.”

The bottom line is that I have tried covering my ears, my nose and my eyes and I have not really lost any weight. Next week, I’m going to try something I should have thought of before: I’m going to try covering my mouth.