You may have often heard that you need to listen to your body, but have no earthly idea what it means. We are bombarded with media images, food marketing campaigns, pressures from society to be thin, and grow up learning that thin is better, in the midst of the rise of the nation’s most abundant obesity epidemic ever. Not to mention at the same time, we are exposed to thinner women in the media more than ever before. It’s no wonder women stopped listening to their bodies, because there are too many other sources screaming at us for attention, telling us what we should look like, yet tempting us with unhealthy foods. To find ways to listen to your body, put a few of these things below into practice. It might not silence the madness, but it’s a much better place to start that another health and fitness magazine giving you another 1500 calorie diet plan to follow.
1. Stop Comparing
One of the very first ways to listen to your body is to stop comparing it to other womens’ bodies to find your healthiest weight. There’s no way you can really tune into what it needs if you’re always trying to make it fit the mold of someone else.
2. Find out Foods What Fits You
If you’re eating a diet that just doesn’t sit well with you, or isn’t really something you find nourishing, balancing, and energizing, then stop! Base your diet around whole foods, from mostly plants, and stay shy of junk food and fast food. It’s really as simple as that. From there you can find what fits your personal taste, from an array of healthy foods. If you really love meat, fish, dairy, etc. then fine, keep eating it, but listen to what your body craves and give it what it wants, not what you think it should have.
3. Eat to 80%
When you sit down to eat, are you still hungry when you’re done or, do you eat past the point of fullness? If so, you’re tuning out of your body, and you need to tune back in quick. Getting in touch with your hunger is one of the most important things to do when listening to your body. Eat until you're 80% full and stop, then allow your body to rest and digest your food before you go for more. If you're still hungry 30 minutes later, then have just 1/2 cup more serving to see if that helps. By doing this, you allow yourself to feel what real hunger feels like, and allow yourself to get full enough so you're not starving an hour later. Don't be afraid to eat until you're 80% full, where you could eat more, but aren't truly hungry anymore. Being full is a good thing, but being stuffed is not. Learn to find the difference by truly listening to your hunger signals.
4. Let It Rest and Rejoice
In terms of exercise, do you exercise past the point of exhaustion, or just overdo it period? Or, do you really want to do relaxing yoga or take a walk, yet force yourself to run and lift weights? In order to listen to your body, do what type of exercise makes you feel good,not what you think will get you thinner, quicker. And if you need a rest day, then take one and start back up with your exercise routine the next day. Rest should be something to be rejoiced, not reprimanded.
5. Define Your Purpose
Many women have lost touch with what their purpose is here on Earth, so they fill their time and mental energy with trying to perfect their body. Let it go already ladies! As someone whose career is based in nutrition, and writing, I can tell you that my passion for both overrides my desire to be thin by a landslide. Sure, I could spend all my time exercising, measuring food, and focusing only on my weight, but who’s got time for that when you’ve got a passion and purpose? Define your passion and your purpose, and listening to your body will get easier.
Another way to listen to your body, is learn how certain foods digest for you. You may be eating a food that doesn’t agree with you, and ignoring it can cause many health, and even emotional issues. Listening to your body requires you to listen and relate how different foods digest within your body, so you can effectively give it foods that work. By doing so, you’re strengthening your body listening skills, and as a bonus, you’ll feel better too.
7. Don’t Let Others Decide
Lastly, don’t let anyone else decide what you should look like. YOU get to decide. Your size, whether that be your jeans or hip measurements, shouldn’t define who you are, and only you know what weight you feel best at. If you’re low in energy, and not feeling well, or overweight and not comfortable, change your body for yourself. You’ve got one life here, so live it for you, and not for the image someone else thinks you should fit into.
Listening to your body certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but as long as you continue to work at these steps, you will see progress. What tip do you have for listening to your body?