You may have heard me say once, twice, or a million times to listen to your body. To be tuned in to your body. And you might be thinking, “Okay cool, I hear you. And I want to do that, but I have no idea how”.
We are bombarded daily with noise of meals plans, diets, and “the most effective” workouts. It’s confusing and overwhelming. And we no longer know how to quiet it all down, turn inwards, and listen to what our bodies really need.
This week I want to try and make listening and being tuned in a bit easier.
More practical for you.
Because we are all different. Our bodies respond to foods and stressors differently. And to be honest, understanding how to interpret your body’s cues is absolutely necessary in developing a healthy relationship with your own body, food, and exercise. It takes some practice and a bit of time, but well worth it.
I’ve said this before, but I think the foods we eat have a much larger impact on our health than we think. And this goes beyond providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and weight gain or loss. I’m talking about affecting our moods, inflammation, digestion, and even how our skin looks.
We need to start paying attention to what we are eating, when, how much, and how we feel afterwards. First step in being “tuned in” and listening to our bodies is keeping some sort of food diary. An honest food diary. So you can start seeing patterns of overeating (same time every day, caused by a common emotional trigger, etc), record any symptoms you may feel after eating (gas, bloating, headache, sudden fatigue, etc.), and keep track of cravings (does eating a heavy carb breakfast cause you to crave sugar all day). There is no right or wrong way to record this information. It’s just a way to bring your habits and your emotional and physical symptoms to light. And make some observations that we wouldn’t see in our day to day hustle.
Next task would be to start taking time each day to scan the body. A moment to pause and really feel your body. Sit quietly, start at your toes and work your way up your body. How are you feeling physically and emotionally? Tense, tight muscles? Having a hard time quieting the mind? Again, jot all these feelings down so that you can start seeing patterns and be more aware of how your body reacts to stressors.
Taking this even further, pause for a moment pre and post workout and scan the body. Are you super energized and ready to kill it in the gym? Is your body sore from a previous workout or just plain tired. And how about afterwards, has the workout energized you or completely depleted you, leading to an all day feeding frenzy or even a nap? Understanding this is key to making adjustments to your training...especially if you are pushing hard, feeling depleted, and (not surprisingly) not seeing results.
What I probably could have said in the beginning?
Listening to your body requires you to actually stop for a moment and turn all your focus (that is usually given to everything else) on you.
You need to stop listening to the outside noise and tune inwards to hear, trust, and understand the cues our bodies give to us all day long. Because we desperately need to get back in touch with our bodies.