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A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living: Thermoception

As you read this latest refracted sense-ble look at a healthy lifestyle, you may feel warm and fuzzy or possibly turn a cold shoulder. The sense of temperature is not an easy item to describe. How else can I explain why, when I feel cold, someone else feels hot? How does thermoception fit in with weight loss?

woman standing in front of a blowing fan

The sense of temperature comes down to lessons learned. Remember, it’s only necessary to touch a hot stove once. I “touched” on this with my thoughts shared in previous blogs. The same temperature on my skin can feel comfortable or uncomfortable. It’s all relative to the thermal condition of my whole body at that time. A cool breeze feels good if I’ve just completed a three-mile walk on a hot day — or that same breeze can make me feel colder if I’m standing in the shade.

Thermoception importance comes into play to regulate my core body temperature so that it’s “just right.” This has a dramatic effect on my metabolic rate. I need to go beyond this balance just to feel “the burn.” However, what’s just right for me may be a different starting point for you.

Thermoception is a team player with all the other senses. Because of this cooperation among the senses, I have a difficult time passing up a piece of warm apple pie. If I sense I’m not in great control, it may be best to have a cold slice (a warm slice tends to lead to a second). This may sound odd, but remember, I’m sometimes satisfied just by smelling good food. It really all depends on how I feel at the time or where I am on my journey, when all my senses start making their presence known. Some like things hot and some like things cold.

Thermoception is another complicated sense, and its full ramifications are not fully known. Again, this is why weight loss is an individual journey, with individual plans, done with the support of others. We cannot be alone on this trek.

I can only sum up by stating that it must have been the sense of thermoception acting up when, after I thought what was a great week, I had a chilling visit at the scale — making me hot under the collar.


This is part 9 of the multipart series, “A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living.” In my next blog, we’ll look to the human sense of thirst.

Missed the beginning of our journey through the human senses? Check out the rest of A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living.


1 thought on “A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living: Thermoception

  1. I am looking for something more on interoception, or even another topic things on addictive behaviors. Maybe I missed up. Thank you,

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