The Art of Listening to Your Body

by | Dec 7, 2019 | Diet

In a society that seems to value one narrow, near-impossible ideal of health and beauty, it’s no wonder we also seem to have a collective dieting problem. But trying to force your body to be something it’s not — whether that’s through restricting calories, doing workouts you hate or jumping from celery juice cleanses to eliminating entire food groups — only sets you up for frustration, disappointment and self-loathing.

So what if we took a new approach? What if we listened to our bodies?

That’s the whole concept behind intuitive eating, a wellness and self-care framework that integrates emotion, instinct and rational thought into the way we think about food and our bodies. Started by two dietitians, the intuitive eating movement centers on 10 principles, which you can read about here. It essentially boils down to tuning into what your brain is telling your stomach, and approaching food from a place of peace. After all, it’s there to nourish you, not sabotage you!

We’re coming up on the holiday season, a particularly challenging time for feeling good about our eating decisions. While it may sound daunting, the work parties, family gatherings, celebrations with friends and eating and drinking galore present a perfect opportunity to work on intuitive eating. Here are some ways to begin integrating this mindset into your day-to-day, especially over the next few months. You may find yourself emerging from this holiday season actually feeling  more focused, energized and healthy!

  • THINK ABOUT YOUR WHY. When you’re at a family holiday party, think about why you’re there. Is it for Aunt Suzy’s honey-glazed ham that you look forward to eating every year? Nothing wrong with that, enjoy it! Or, are you stressed out by family dynamics and eating heaps of mac and cheese to avoid conversation with Uncle Joe? In that case, your body doesn’t really want the food…it just wants you to find meaningful conversation elsewhere. Maybe try catching up with a cousin instead. Listening to your brain and body in this way will help guide the decisions you make in these sometimes-tricky situations where food can get confused with a host of other distractions.
  1. FULLY ENJOY IT: Put down the phone, shut off the TV and focus on what you’re eating. Pay attention to every bite, every taste. This will help you really appreciate what you’re putting in your body, not to mention help your brain signal that you’re full. 
  2. EXERCISE YOUR OWN WAY. Listen to your body when you’re breaking a sweat — what makes you feel strong, powerful and invincible? Tune into that! With OurStrongCircle, you can bundle your favorite classes at gyms and studios into a single package with no monthly limit. That means all the workouts you want, with none you don’t. And at your own convenience…especially helpful during this busy holiday season!
  3. HONOR YOUR BODY. Instead of focusing on the things your body can’t do, embrace and be grateful for all the things it can do. Think about it — all day, every second for your entire life, your body is working to keep you alive and thriving. You’re breathing, digesting, thinking, feeling, noticing. You’re a complex, high-functioning individual capable of so much. Remember how far your body has taken you. Love and be thankful for it.

Alice

Alice is a writer and editor based in Chicago, Illinois. She writes about physical and mental health, fitness and cooking/recipes. Outside of her work she enjoys staying active by running marathons, climbing and biking

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