When I listen to my body I realize that, despite what hundreds of diet experts say, I am not actually hungry for food first thing in the morning. I don’t usually get hungry until about three or four hours after I awaken. How many times have I forced myself to cram in a bagel on the go because I believed I could only lose weight if I kick started my metabolism by eating breakfast.
Eating breakfast simply because I ‘should’ is acting out of alignment with my own particular body wisdom. When we are disconnected from our body we cannot hear what it is telling us: we get in our own way and divert our body’s natural tendency towards health. I have come to see that truly loving my body and making choices with food that serve it come naturally if I am practicing presence.
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What I have discovered, along with many others in the mindful and intuitive eating movements, is that there is truly no value in investing energy and money in complicated diet programs for weight loss. I have come to see that I am the only expert on my own body. Our bodies are naturally geared towards health and wholeness when they are functioning properly we just have to get out of their way so they can do their job. When I really tune in to the needs of my own body and eat in accordance with that wisdom I feel amazing. It is so simple and it is all contained within me all the time. Isn’t the universe funny, it took finally giving up dieting for me to lose the 70 extra pounds I had been holding.
We all need factual information to help guide us but I know that I didn’t struggle with my body weight because of something I didn’t know. I read countless diet and nutrition books, articles and have sat all too attentively and hopefully through many late night infomercials. My weight issues were not for lack of knowledge. In fact, overtime, I think all the information contributed to clouding out the voice of my own body. When I think now of how I avoided the natural goodness of an avocado due to fat grams and held back from bananas because of a high rating on the glycemic index…simply crazy. Not all fitness experts are out of touch with the emotional and spiritual hungers that can cause weight issues. My dear friend Rosa, for example, encourages her personal training clientele to explore these issues but most of us are ensnared in diet and fitness regimes that leave the soul of the matter completely off the table (pun intended).
Try this experiment, for one day eat as your body tells you to. Feel hunger; then eat. When you have had enough stop eating (even mid bite), choose whatever foods appeal to your body and your senses. Don’t be afraid. If you listen to your body you will know what you need to eat and how you need to move. Don’t force yourself to do your daily ‘workout’ rather check in with your body and ask it if and how it needs to move. Your thoughts and judgments will creep in, notice them and let them go. When you eat, experience the food, every bite. When you move, feel the joy of being in your body. In other words, practice presence. If you feel like eating when you are not hungry choose to explore the deeper craving instead. See how you feel at the end of that day. You may be surprised at just how amazing and freeing it is to trust yourself and how empowering it is to know that you are the best expert there is on the subject of your own body.