I eat too much. If food is placed before me, I might take a bite or ten without being hungry.
Could I be a reflexive eater?
I’d like to blame this problem on my Mom. As a kid, we not only had three nice meals a day, but after school there always seemed to be a plate of cookies. It was such a Leave It To Beaver stereotype, with me home from a tough day in fourth grade and having a cool glass of milk and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts, of course) waiting for me.
There’s more. What about not having dessert after dinner, but waiting for later—with Bonanza or The Twilight Zone on ye olde TV—and enjoying a bowl of ice cream? I could continue confessing my bad food habits, and I suspect I’m not alone in the struggle to say “No” to a second helping or late night gazing and grazing at the refrigerator.
Reflexive eating is one of the concerns faced by hospice staff as they work with patients . . . and even more the patient’s families. When a person nears death, she or he will often eat less. Or, they’ll have no interest in food whatsoever. But equally often, kind friends and concerned family members will keep trying to feed their loved one. Sometimes, it seems to work. Like me with ice cream on the couch while watching Pa Cartwright teach Little Joe a life lesson, a patient may reflexively eat what is placed before them. In a way, they are on automatic pilot, with a hand gripping a fork and aiming for the scrambled eggs or a mouth opening wide when a spoonful of soup is offered. Read More →by