I wish I had listened to my body, I wish I had been more compassionate, patient, and understanding of the world within me, before several things started to breakdown in my body.
For many years, I was blinded with the obsession of having a slim, shaped and toned “perfect body”, like those in fitness magazines. I kept thinking that by having that perfect body, I would finally feel good about myself, people would like me more, and I would be ready to enjoy life.
Unfortunately, I pursued that goal at the expense of many valuable things, including my emotional, and physical health. I missed a lot of valuable times with friends, and family because I was so scared of falling “off the wagon” missing a workout, or cheating with food at an event, or restaurant. Those guilty pleasures were just not allowed in my restrictive lifestyle. You can learn more about my story here.
Have you ever struggled with a food/body challenge? If you have, you probably know how powerful those thoughts and feelings can be, but you probably also know that there has always been a whispering voice in your ear trying to tell you to give up all those thoughts, and obsessions, and surrender to your inner knowledge. Part of you has always desired to be free from all of it.
During all my years of dieting, I failed to acknowledge the voice within me, which kept whispering in my ear that I needed to slow down, eat more, not exercise when I was tired, and to do something different because what I was doing was not working. However, my obsession with food and body was more powerful than that voice, my own intuition, and my desire to be healthy.
I would have saved myself a lot of pain and misery by paying attention, and honoring the needs of my hard-working body. Unfortunately, I can’t turn back time, but the good news is that our bodies are so resilient and forgiving that no matter where we are in our health or lifestyle, there is always a lot within our reach that we can do to improve our health, and body wherever we are at.
Your body was designed to heal, and it is always trying to heal and function well, but it needs proper care and nourishment, and only you can provide that for your body.
I have witnessed the healing power of the body in my own self, and big part of my healing has been due to being aware of the needs of my body, paying attention to my symptoms, being patient, compassionate and developing trust in that my body wants to heal and be a healthy weight.
It takes practice to get attuned to your body, only because it is something that most of us is not used to, but trust me, it is worth all the effort you can put into it. You will feel connected, free, and naturally happier.
I spent several years trying to figure out what to eat, what diet to follow, seeking out “the magical” exercise program, and eating style that will finally give me the body I wanted.
After going through many health issues, I came to the understanding that no one knows your body better than you do, than no one cares about your body and health as much as you should. We cannot just turn our bodies to a doctor, the way we turn our car to a mechanic, and expect him/her to figure us out. It’s important, and valuable to seek guidance of experts, especially with all the conflicting information available out there on the internet, but at the end of the day, we have to let our body lead the way, and adjust any diet plan, exercise program, food trend, etc. to our own needs, and where we are at in our level of health. This is why in my coaching practice, I teach my clients how to empower themselves to take their weight and health in their own hands.
When we develop the skill of listening carefully to our body’s signals, we are able to filter, and chose what is best for us, at any given time. We become In Charge.
Getting attuned to your body takes practice. You might not get it perfect the first time you try, because the mind, society, the media, and your own ego will always try to distract you, but with practice it will become quite normal and natural.
If you wish to connect with your body, and you’re coming from a place of restrictive diets and habits, like over-training, calorie, and nutrient tracking, guilt when indulging, extreme fear of gaining weight, fear of eating fat or carbohydrates, and a general feeling of not looking good enough. If you have had enough of it and you want to be at peace with your body, the food you eat, and your exercise routine. In other words, if you are ready to move from restriction to freedom this article series will help you get started.
In this article series I’m offering support and guidance in taking steps to developing the skill of tuning- in and accessing your body’s wisdom so you can stop dieting. You’ll learn simple, specific suggestions, and practices that you can incorporate into your life.
The goal is to go from a place of seeking the ultimate diet or weight loss program, engaging in endless dieting, over exercising, being confused about how to heal a certain condition, or simply confused about what to eat on a daily basis to accomplish your weight, or health goals to a place of practicing using your inner intuitive knowledge and internal “eating guide” to find what is best for you and your body at any given time.
Going from a state where we depend on the latest diet trend, what you see in your social media, peer pressure, and even a doctor’s or practitioner’s care to achieve our health and weight-loss goals, to one where we know the needs of our body, we explore different eating styles or healing programs, we seek advice of a professional, and we choose what feels good, and what helps us move forward is a big step. Having the option to use a doctor or practitioner to help us evaluate and support our nutrition and diet can be extremely helpful, but we should always adjust any program we decide to follow to our own needs, as opposed to forcing our body into a dietary plan or trend. Flexibility is key.
WHERE TO START?
Obsessive dieting, tracking, counting, restriction, guessing, doubting, guilt, etc. are an unnecessary burden. Personally, I have left all of that in the past, and will never go back. You don’t need to do any of that to be successful at losing extra weight, fat, and most importantly to be healthy and feel good!
The stress that we create around our food, health, body image, and nutrition choices can be a real, an unnecessary Burden. Some times when we are dedicated in our health journey or in improving the look of our bodies, in the process, we create a lot of stress, and end up doing the very thing that we’re trying to avoid because we get into an obsessed, and restrictive mindset. Some of us Constantly scrutinize our meals, obsessively track calories, protein, fat, etc.., we stress about how to bring healthy foods with us to the office, to the gym, when we travel, worrying about food at social events, wondering whether we will give in and binge or indulge with treats, or eat “too much” and fall off “the wagon”. All of these worries add a massive amount of stress and rigidity to our lives, without us even knowing it sometimes. All of this stress takes us away from the enjoyment that nourishing our body should be.
There is a place for tracking nutrients in some cases, but doing all those things obsessively are often an obstacle for our health and weight loss goals, especially if we do it from a place of obsession and fear, and let’s be honest, it sucks! When we are so strict and tight about our nutrition and health, our lives revolve around it, we become miserable, and we stop living in the moment. The unhappier we are, the more likely we are to go to food for comfort.
Whether your goal is to heal from a certain condition, lose weight, lose fat, look better, feel better, have better skin, learn how to eat and be healthier at home, in the office, with friends, etc. or all of the above; the first place to start is by stopping what you are doing, taking a step back, and having a look at how your body feels NOW, what symptoms you have?, What has been you diet for the past years?, how are your relationships with others around you?, what is your attitude towards life in general? How is your situation at work? What is it that your body really needs?
In other words, we must start with AWARENESS.
I invite you to you take some time to reflect on the questions above, and do a quick self-evaluation of where you are at in this moment. The goal is not to overthink or analyze your answers, just write down what comes at you first. To answer the question: How does my body feel right now? Sit in silence for a few minutes, or do your favorite meditation, and just feel, feel and acknowledge the sensations in your body. The idea is just to observe and notice.