What does it mean to listen to your body? Or how to actually do it? Since it’s been quite a popular topic on social media in the past months or even years, and it’s still going strong, I wanted to share my take on it. I’ve posted a lot already about body positivity, body image, dieting, intuitive eating and similar topics on my Instagram account. But when it comes to listening to my body, I’m still learning to understand the signals it sends me.
So here are some things I’ve found to be true for me that might also turn out to be true for you:
- Listening to and following your cravings isn’t the same as listening to and honouring your body’s needs. Just because you think you're craving something doesn't mean that's what your body actually needs. You may be craving chocolate but, in reality, you're just dehydrated and feeling thirsty. Those are simple but important differences to understand and it definitely gets easier as you go on.
- Listening to your body isn't limited to physical cues; it also relates to your mood and emotions. How you decide to nourish your body can easily affect how you feel. Once you start paying attention to it, it's not that hard to figure out how certain foods make you feel, and to choose the ones that make you thrive and skip or limit the ones that do the opposite.
- That’s why there’s a fine line between knowing when you might just need to push yourself a bit in order to feel better and realizing when you really just need to stop and rest. This also takes practice and mostly staying in tune with your thoughts and emotions, letting them just be there and flow freely, and getting better at understanding what they really mean.
Intuitive eating and food obsession
For many of us this may be strongly related to food. It’s scary but also very real how many people nowadays have issues with food, and quite complex ones at that. This may be restricting food, following strict diets, under- or overeating, or even battling eating disorders. This unfortunately often comes with feelings of guilt, unhappiness and isolation that cause us to develop an unhealthy, negative relationship with food that doesn’t let us enjoy eating and instead causes stress and anxiety.
As an example, it may be easy and natural for some but very difficult for others to allow themselves to eat a piece of pie or, for that matter, to stop at one piece. That’s where a mind-body balance comes in; learning to understand when your body is actually satiated and when it’s just your brain sending you signals it wants more sugar. It may sound simple and, to be honest, it actually is, as long as you realize that you’re the one in control of your eating habits, your attitude towards food and how it makes you feel.
So, to gather it all up, what I’m trying to make you realize is that truly listening to your body is really about having a healthy mind-body connection. It’s about recognizing your body’s signals, acknowledging them and only acting on them in a way that benefits you, rather than falling for every small craving and creating unhealthy behavior patterns. That’s how I’m going about it and so far it’s been working out really well for me; I can only hope it works for you too!