…little servings of thoughts coming to you…
Weight matters when it affects our health and well-being. As I share my thoughts I aim to keep it personal, an account relating to my experiences. My health issues associated with my weight were the catalyst for me to find my way back to health and I consider it to be a life style change. Just recently I spoke about mind-set and habits and that they can hinder a healthy life. I am not laying out a specific diet or rules to follow and would highly encourage you to discover your own journey back to a healthy life.
First I highlighted the need to respect your Self, body and mind. One of the ways to respect your self more is to become aware and think about what hinders you. You can do this by observing your daily habits: I find the easiest way is to question, notice and journal.
Today I encourage you to begin the habit of self-reflection and to explore your body signals and your relationship to food by using questions: specifically highlighting the need for listening to your body in relation to the food you eat. If you have been trying to make changes without success think of asking a professional or mentor for help. Although I read about nutrition for thirty years I eventually asked a dietician for help and learnt many helpful things over a three year period. One of the things that she taught me was to listen and respond to my body signals, this includes:
- satiety (full tummy)
- full bladder and bowels;
- when I was cold or hot,
- in need of sleep or refreshed
- in need of emotional care
- fresh air and deep breathing
- and exercise.
It probably sounds obvious but I am a person that ignores and negates my needs over other peoples’ needs or at the cost of focusing on a project so much so that I forget to breathe deeply or regularly, eat or drink water. We live such busy stress-filled lives so it is easy to numb ourselves to more basic needs.
What does listening to your body mean?
Here is an example of my experience:
I noticed that pizza, pasta, cooked cheese and refined flours made me bloat, feeling really ill and sluggish after eating. When I told my dietician about it she said: “your mouth is hungry for it but your stomach is telling you that it doesn’t’ want it; it is not good for you. You need to listen to that signal.” I began to ask, “Which foods make me feel sick, bloated, tired or sweat?” “Which food stimulates acid re-flux?” The more I began to listen to my body and how it felt the more I chose to not eat what made me feel uncomfortable, even if it tasted nice. I wanted to feel comfortable. As a result this year I don’t eat any sugar, flour, refined foods or processed food (no pizza, pasta or baked goods); only ‘clean’, unprocessed whole foods therefore I cook all my meals from scratch. I choose fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds for a healthy way of eating. I also only eat a small amount of dairy. I discovered that these foods were good for me because I felt much more energized after eating them and have even noticed, now through Spring, that I can smell the scent of flowers, something that I haven’t experienced for a long time; and I also get much less hay-fever.
These questions are useful in helping you to self-reflect and notice your body signals:
- Are you aware of your body signals?
- Can you become more aware?
- Do you know what it feels like to be full or empty (physically and emotionally)?
- Do you know when enough is enough and stop eating or drinking?
- Do you know which foods your body likes or dislikes?
- Which foods make you feel energized or sluggish?
The more you notice your body signals the better. Do you ignore the signs your body is showing you or do you listen and respond to those needs? Often we have developed a habit of ignoring signs and symptoms because we are too busy or because it looks weak to admit these signs to ourselves so we bravely drive ourselves on. What would be another reason we ignore body signals? Maybe if we don’t respect ourselves enough then we don’t care what our bodies feel and would rather have a short rush of convenient food even at the expense to our health.
I view food as giving me health or taking health away from me. It can be a natural medicine my being or it can be a slow acting poison. I know that it is difficult to change one’s ways or lifestyle especially as we are so busy and have habitual routines but it can be done slowly and with intent; one step at a time. I would encourage you to begin by developing the habit of self-reflection with regards to eating and thereby let your body guide you into what foods are right for you as well as doing some personal research. It is most motivating. Please feel free to tell me what you think about why we ignore body signals?
I will send you another little serving of thoughts soon.
Much love, Morag