Figuring out exactly what foods cause you inflammation and body pain open you up to listening and knowing exactly what foods work for you. You never have to diet another day in your life! In fact, I encourage rejecting the diet mentality and stay directly connected to experience your body.
I am going to ask you this question and I want you to see if you can REALLY answer it. “What does your body need here and now?” Right now! Ask yourself this out loud if you can. The first thing that pops into your head is exactly what you need. Trust it!
Have you ever asked yourself that question before? I started doing this as an experiment. If you have worked with me, you know that I experiment with a lot of things to see if something works, how it makes me feel, etc. Reason being, I would never ask a client to do something that I am not willing to do, or have done, myself. Staying present with my body sensation has done wonders for not only my physical body, but it has created so much freedom in my emotional and mental clarity.
The reason that I pose that question is that I often hear (I’ve lost count over the last month) women say how they feel so disconnected with their body. They don’t know where to start or how to treat themselves. The result of that is mindless eating, body shame and ultimately suppressing expression. This leaves them feeling empty, alone and thinking they are depressed.
When I ask them if they have a history of dieting, if they are on a diet all of the time or if they really try and watch what they eat, the answer is YES! My immediate response is, “COOL!” That’s why so many people feel bad. They are all up in their own head and never IN their body. There is no way to know what to eat, how to eat or what the body and soul needs. Cultivating a relationship with your body, turning inward, listening to how your body ticks and what it’s trying to communicate to your through sensation and emotions is the type of work that needs attention, commitment and openness to work. It doesn’t have to be so serious all the time so it doesn’t make it heavy, but it does take TIME.
May starts bathing suit season and everyone becoming obsessed with how they are going to look on the outside. What matters the most is what is happening on the inside. I want to share a little peak into what I do with my private clients on a daily basis. We are going to talk about rejecting the diet mentality and eating for YOUR body.
Time is something that we never want to wait for, we never seem to want to take time for ourselves or to let the body do what it needs to do. Our minds are on autopilot. In today’s world there is SO much information out there that most of us are overwhelmed, totally disconnected from ourselves, anxious about what we are going to eat next and how we can make ourselves look like we are doing great on social media when in fact we feel like prisoners in our own bodies. The kicker is that we don’t want to ask for help because we think everyone else has their shit together. I’m here to tell you that no one has their shit together! We are all moving through life the best way we can. Know that it’s okay to ask for help. You do not have to be an expert in everything, but you do need to take the time to pay attention to what’s happening in your body. It will NEVER lead you astray.
So back to getting in touch with your body. Ever since I had an eating disorder and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I was unleashed in this wheat filled world needing to take drastic measures to create health within my body. The ONLY thing I knew how to do was listen to my body, so my default mode was to shut out all the “chatter” of “eat this, not that” and tune in to what my body was saying. Unbeknownst to me, I was practicing intuitive eating with a little twist of Colleen the artist thrown in there. Who knew that there were already seminars that teach exactly what I already knew to do deep down inside? So, I want to share with you a little bit on how powerful listening to your body is.
There is a term that we use in the functional nutrition world that is referred to as attunement, diving deep inward as I call it, but for the purpose of the next few examples from studies, lets call this the “inner guide”.
It has been argued that all individuals have a natural mechanism within themselves that will ensure good nutrition at a healthy weight if allowed to function. It has been suggested that as individuals get in touch with this ‘‘inner guide’’, they are more in tune with their body’s physical needs and eat in a way that supports health, adequate body weight, and nutrition. At the same time, the individual will avoid overeating, obsessive food consumption and harmful dieting (e.g., Schwartz, 1996; Tribole & Resch, 1996).
This style of eating, often referred to as Intuitive Eating, is supposed to represent adaptive behavior. It represents trust in, and a strong connection with internal physiological needs pertaining to hunger, satiety cues and eating in response to these cues rather than relying on diet plans, environmental cues and emotional states. Intuitive eating concept is based on the assertion that restrained dieting is not sustainable and may contribute to such negative outcomes as weight cycling, dysfunctional relationships with food, and increased risk of eating disorders. I have seen this first hand. Chronic dieting results in eating disorders and loss of connection with the body causing chronic health issues if not careful. Intuitive eating isn’t simply listening to your body and saying, “What do I want right now? I think I want a candy bar!” No! That’s the farthest from thing intuitive eating. First things first. You have to cleanse the body of its top layer of inflammation and mixed messages. This is why I always start with the MRT food sensitivity test so the body is able to clearly communicate. A crucial key feature of intuitive eating assumes that it is primarily based on one’s ability to clearly recognize the physical signs of hunger and fullness by focusing on physiological hunger and satiety signals rather than external and emotional cues.
Central components of intuitive eating are (1) unconditional permission to eat the desired food when hungry, (2) eating for physical, rather than emotional reasons and (3) reliance on internal hunger and satiety cues to determine when and how much to eat (cf. Tylka, 2006). Until now, studies using self-report measures of intuitive eating have supported intuitive eating’s adaptive properties by demonstrating that intuitive eating scores are positively related to self-reports of increased physical and reduced emotional eating, improved emotional well-being and less preoccupation with food choice. This, my friends, is a powerful practice. I encourage you to stop dieting, to trust yourself and to get curious with your eating. Take all of the “eat this superfood, not that” with a grain of salt because what works for one person is NOT going to work for another.
In this world, food has been replaced with nutrients and common sense by confusion. Most of what we are consuming today as “food” is no longer a product of nature but of food science. The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. Making thoughtful choices and using the body as a guide can, and will enrich your life, fine tune your senses, recreate your definition of what it means to be healthy and bring back the pleasure of enjoying what nourishes you.
I would LOVE to talk with you more about this if you are interested in leaving diets, calories and servings behind forever, let’s chat!
Mindfulness Practice: Can you sit quietly and feel your heart beat? Actually feel your heart beating without having to find your pulse on your arm?
Practice: Throughout the day, see if you can simply get quiet in the midst of your daily activities to listen for your heart beat, for just feel your heartbeat, without putting your hand on your chest or fingers on your pulse point. Simply tap in to yourself. This is the start of listening to your body and becoming in tune with what state you are in from moment to moment. Happy Listening!