It’s ironic that we spend so much time obsessed about our bodies:
Yet we spend little time listening to our bodies when it is speaking to us. Your body is talking to you each and every day and you will enjoy a much healthier, happier body when you start paying attention to what it says.
Here are 3 reasons to listen up:
1. Know What is Right for You (and it may be different from what everyone else is doing)
One of the biggest requests I get from clients is for a meal plan. They just want an easy to follow guide that will help them to lose weight, have more energy and reduce their risk of disease. I tend to shy away from preparing a detailed meal plan and instead offer general guidelines for a healthy lifestyle with some specific suggestions based on their goals, current diet, lifestyle and other factors. I truly believe that we are each unique so although I can make recommendations, I emphasize to my clients to let your body be the guide to know what foods, exercise plan and self-care practices are right for them. So even if everyone around you is doing keto and seemingly getting amazing results, this may not work for you. Your body knows what it needs – trust it.
2. Avoid Hurting Yourself (by paying attention to the warning signs)
At the beginning of every year, I hear countless reports from clients whose bodies are in so much pain from overtraining that even walking is challenging. Sure exercise releases endorphins and is essential for the body, but overdoing it just puts your body at risk for injury. We can do the same with the food choices we make – choosing to eat shellfish although we are allergic; drinking red wine when we know it brings on migraines or indulging in ice-cream when we are lactose intolerant. While the symptoms may be mild and nothing that a pill and some time can’t fix, when we ignore these warning signals it becomes more chronic.
3. Easier to Give it What it Needs (without having to rely on willpower to do what you “should” do)
When you build a connection to your body it is much easier to choose to give it what it needs – the whole foods that it enjoys, moving in a way that’s natural for your body, getting enough sleep. Otherwise we are constantly relying on the sheer power of the mind to do what we think we “should” do. Then feeling guilty when we don’t get our exercise in or eat some junk. If you are unaccustomed to eating wholesome foods, it may seem at first that your body doesn’t want them because your tastebuds most certainly won’t. But as you start giving your body what it needs, it will speak to you through your glowing skin, energy level and bowel movements.
So maybe you think you are listening to your body…and when it asks for cake, you are happy to oblige. Or perhaps you tell yourself that you want to wake up early to go for a run, but when your alarm goes off you are convinced your body needs more rest. Be careful, because our minds are very powerful and can sometimes rationalize doing what we want to do and not what is best for our bodies.
Like any good relationship, the one with your body needs nurturing. Here are 3 steps to develop a stronger connection with your own body:
1. Slow Down, Get Quiet and Listen
When we are moving so fast, doing so many things, with countless thoughts in our minds it is harder to notice when our body speaks. Which is one of the reasons why we sometimes only notice when our body is screaming at us! Consciously pause during the day to notice your breath, stay with your body when you exercise and feel how your body responds as it digests.
2. Body Scan
Connect your body and your mind by spending a few moments every day systematically scanning your body. Just by bringing an awareness to what we are feeling in our body, not only promotes relaxation, but also helps us to be more in tune with the signals our body sends us every day.
3. End of Day Reflection
At the end of every day, take a moment to check in with your body and your relationship to it. Pay attention to how certain foods make your body feel. How does your body feel when it gets movement and sufficient rest? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Your body is your temple, beautifully designed with a language that many of us have forgotten. Spend some time to reconnect with your amazing body.