But he does love grapes. As I stick one through the bars of his cage, he stretches his neck, clicks his gratitude and gently grabs it, his black tongue encircling the treat. He eats it from the inside out, piercing it with his top mandible and slurping out all the grape’s juicy goodness. I give him another, but at the third one, he balks, backing up on his perch and baring his beak at me. “No thank you”, in parroteese.
I wedge the grape between the cage bars and there it waits until Bert is hungry again.
And I marvel at his ability to say no.
If I were a parrot I would likely keep on eating as long as my parrot mommy kept on giving. As it is, whatever ends up on my plate is mineminemine. Stop before it’s all gone? Unthinkable?
Except that I’m trying to learn to listen to hunger and fullness cues. Hunger is much easier. A dip in energy, the gurgle and growl of my stomach. But fullness? Fullness happens when the plate is empty, right?
My sponsor said that she knew she had enough when the food didn’t taste as good as it did when she started the meal. You mean I have to pay attention to taste? Holy cow – eating non compulsively is a lot of work! I actually have to pay attention.
One of the authors I’m reading says that it is not paying attention that feeds the compulsion, the aching emptyness. Just skimming through life rather than fully entering in to each moment. Instead, show up – really show up, and give my full attention to the food in front of me, to the people in my path, or even to my parrot for that matter.
Done with his lunch, Bert cleans off his beak, scraping it against the side of his perch. Then he begins to preen, delicately mouthing each feather, fluffing it, putting it in it’s place. I think I’ll go stare at my bird for a while, give him my full attention, and see if that diminishes the compulsive itch.