Has anyone ever told you to just “listen to your body?” Maybe you were discussing with someone how many times you should be running a week, or maybe you were wondering if you’ve said yes to too many commitments, or maybe you were talking with someone about eating styles and food restrictions. In all of these situations someone could use the phrase “just listen to your body” as an answer. I use to hate that phrase. Why in the world, I would think to myself, would I listen to my body to tell me what it needs when more often than not it’s screaming “chocolate chip cookie please!” or “7:30pm bedtime please!”. Clearly my body doesn’t know what’s best.
Now, however, I think much differently. Sure I still hear those carb cravings loud and clear, but I’m learning to interpret my body language in a wiser way than I have in the past. When I’m not sure what to do, whether I am tired or looking for something for lunch or wondering how to spend my evening, I check-in to my body. I literally pause and try to get a feeling for what it’s telling me, in the way of my mood, my cravings, my thoughts. Am I feeling worn down but have an afternoon of work ahead of me? Then my body is telling me to whip up an energizing smoothie or green juice to take with me. Am I feeling bored and unproductive? Then my body wants me to sit down and write. Is my mind tired and overworked? Then I’d be best off making a cup of tea and watching a light-hearted show.
Unfortunately I spent many years not really listening to my body and therefore not giving it what it needed. At one time in my life I was running quite intensely but dropping pounds because I wasn’t nourishing myself with enough good calories. At night I often binged on wheat thin crackers and Kraft peanut butter, feeling sick and guilty afterwards. I didn’t realize that this craving made perfect sense because my body desperately needed the protein, fat, and carbs.
I’m learning that my body really does know what it needs. If it seems off balance it’s because I’ve treated it in an unbalanced way and need to take steps to get back to a more balanced me.
Would you say you are good at reading your body’s signals or is listening to your body something you neglect? How do you know when your body is trying to tell you something? What are the messages it tries to send you most often?