When I review the Seven Steps to Balanced Eating with a new client, the very first step is to “Listen to Your Body”. Often I can tell they get a little confused by this concept and I don’t blame them. The fast-paced way of living in this current culture often doesn’t allow us time to stop and listen. Listening starts with cues that are very basic such as hunger and thirst and then possibly digging a little deeper to monitor the body’s reactions to certain foods and stress levels. Listening to your body is a skill that takes some time to cultivate. It also looks different for each individual and can change across the seasons of your life. Yet, despite the challenge, listening to your body is key when it comes to lasting success in health and nutrition. I am still on this journey and will be my whole life, but there are a few things I have picked up on the way that I can share with you.
Listening to your body starts with slowing down. Our bodies are trying to tell us something almost all the time but we just don’t listen. The key to change is to slow down in order to hear. For me, this begins with practicing a slow morning… assessing where I am and how I feel each morning upon waking. It also means being able to take the time to meet those needs before the demands of my day begin. It continues as I pay attention to when I am hungry and when I am satisfied throughout the day. In the evening, I allow myself time to unwind from my day and then retire to my bedroom at an early hour. I usually have a calming bath and some quiet time to read before shutting off the light. My days off are for enjoyable activities such as walking, reading, meditation, and yoga which are all so nourishing in and of themselves but they can become powerful tools when learning to listen to your body. Incorporating your own “slowing down practices” is the key.
Listening helps us to choose nourishing things for our bodies mentally, physically and emotionally. I find that many people are so used to feeling bad they have lost the sensation of feeling good and just resign themselves to feeling this way. We live with things like depression and malaise, bloating and indigestion, chronic pain and anxiety all the time without realizing that changes can be made if we just took the time to pay attention. When I practice listening to my body, it tells me whether a certain food or activity either benefits me or causes me discomfort. It really is that simple. For instance, a candy bar can give me joy for a moment but leads to a sugar crash an hour later which leaves me tired, foggy-brained and even depressed. I know I don’t want that reaction so it is rare for me to indulge in that way because I don’t like any of those feelings. I have worked so hard to feel energetic and joyful that I don’t want to go backward.
As I work with clients we explore this concept in so many ways and this is the main tool I use in helping them find their right path when it comes to eating the right foods, managing their emotions and increasing their mental energy. How are you feeling today?? Take a moment to listen to your body and know that there is help if needed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you find yourself in a place of discomfort and are unable to find your way. That’s what we are here for!!!
© The Sown Life LLC, 2019