Whether you call it a gut feeling, or a feeling in your bones, your body houses your deepest wisdom. The problem is that it kinda talks in whispers. A fluttering in your chest. Maybe a flush in your cheeks. A rumble in your stomach. Maybe an overall lightness or even tingling. Your thoughts are a LOT louder than your physical sensations. Also, as a culture we’re pretty disembodied, meaning we’re pretty good and ignoring our body’s signals.
Today’s episode is designed to help you tune into what your body is communicating to you so that you can hear it, and act on it. It’s how you develop a better relationship with that inner wisdom, and how you become more aware of and accepting of your body’s needs. It’s also how you start to take better care of yourself.
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
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It might be that you notice that you’re yawning a lot and it feels like your body is dragging so you decide to lie down for a few minutes to rest and maybe fall asleep.
Or that your butt’s gone numb from too much sitting so you get up for a little walk.
Or that you’re irritable and whenever someone starts talking to you, you inwardly –or outwardly! – recoil, so you give yourself some alone time.
Or that your thoughts are pinging all over the place so you sit down to journal or call a friend to talk something out or take yourself on a walk.
Or that you’re feeling tired and a little headachey, or you notice that you’ve got sausage fingers, and so you go fill up your water bottle and get back on the hydration train.
It also influences what you eat
There is an evidence-based approach called Intuitive Eating that launched in the mid-1990s with a book of the same name, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resche. Intuitive Eating is the antidote to diet culture, and is as simple as eating what you want, when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re full. And it goes hand in hand with accepting your body as it is–what it desires, what it requires, and what it doesn’t need.
They have 10 principles of Intuitive Eating listed on their website, which is intuitiveeating.org, I’ll include a link to them in the show notes, but they are an awesome manifesto. They include: rejecting the diet mentality; honoring your hunger; learning your own body’s signals of fullness so that you don’t blow right past them and feel sick afterward; and never going without food for long enough to trigger that gotta-eat-everything-in-sight survival mechanism. (Something that intermittent fasting can certainly trigger in me!).
Overall, intuitive eating is a gentle approach to nutrition that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge, only self-awareness.
OK, so how do you start to hear your body’s signals?
You ask yourself one simple question:
What do I need right now?
It’s sooooo simple it might almost seem too easy, but it’s something we so rarely take the time to do.
If you’re starting to feel hungry, ask yourself, what kind of food do I need now? And then pause long enough to hear an answer. Maybe you just want snack, or if you’re hot you want something cool and refreshing, like a salad or some fruit, or if you’re cold you want something hot, like soup. Maybe you’re tired and you want something sugary to perk you up. Or maybe you’re stressed or bored and want something crunchy and salty to distract you. There are no wrong answers in intuitive eating, so long as you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
Or maybe you need to stretch, or call a friend, or do something just because you love doing it. The trick is to ask yourself the question, listen for the answer, and then actually do the thing!
I think you’ll find it pretty amazing that your body has such an opinion on what you need! And all you had to do was ask. 🙂