Listening to our bodies is not necessarily as simple as it sounds. In fact, it can be downright difficult. Having a history of dieting tends to make this an even bigger challenge. Dieting essentially teaches us not to listen or trust our body’s signals of hunger and fullness, our cravings, and even what our bodies want to naturally do in terms of movement. So, what happens to many of us when we start trying to eat in a more mindful way? We struggle!
I believe this is a difficult but often necessary part of the process of learning to eat in a more connected and embodied way. We will have times where we feel like we have no idea what in the world we want to eat. (Even though we know we are hungry). We will have times when nothing we eat seems satisfying, when we eat something that doesn’t agree with us and deal with feeling sick, bloated, tired, etc. We also will have moments where we eat “too much”, “feel overfull” etc. Or eat and then find we are hungry an hour later.
This gets frustrating and people often have moments during the process of learning to eat more intuitively where they feel like they just cannot connect with their body enough to make sense of all this information. This is what I like to call the “what the heck is my body trying to tell me?!” phase. So how do we deal with these moments when they come up? Part of managing this is acknowledging the frustration we are feeling. It’s ok to be irritated that nothing is sounding great when we are hungry, or because we ate a little more than feels comfortable. It’s also important recognize this is part of the process. We are learning something new-we are not meant to be perfect at this right away. Also, our bodies are complex things. Yes, we can continue to get better and better at understanding and listening to the signals they send us, but that doesn’t mean we ever necessarily “master” this process. That said, if we keep these things in mind we will find these periods of struggle happen less and less frequently and we are gradually but surely better able to navigate what our body is telling us. Another question it’s important to think about is are we really giving our bodies the opportunity to tell us what we are really needing? I may want my body to tell me what it wants to eat but if I’m running around all day doing things and then suddenly want to know what sounds good for dinner or how much I need to eat to be comfortably full it’s going to be hard to hear those signals, at least accurately. This is probably the most important piece of this process. If we want our body to give us any of this information,we need to get quiet and listen.
Questions about listening to our bodies or anything else food or body image related? Feel free to get in touch!