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To honor your individuality is to recognize what your body craves or needs to achieve health and balance. It is to appreciate and love yourself for who you are!

No two people are alike. We differ in body shape, size, preferences, talents, etc. So it is only logical to say that no one diet works for every person out there.  Everyone is unique in the way the body reacts to, processes and absorbs food.   Vibrant health depends on age, gender, ancestry, body, blood type and lifestyle.  Honoring your individuality is the key to optimal health.

To honor your individuality is to recognize what your body craves or needs to achieve health and balance. It is to appreciate and love yourself for who you are! When we don’t feel right, we assume that something went wrong or that we are abnormal, and that the condition, illness or discomfort is beyond our control. But that discomfort, or weight gain or illness is usually a sign from your body that something is simply out of balance. So it is important to develop an individual program and make lifestyle changes that work for your mental, emotional and physical health. And most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others, but love yourself unconditionally for who YOU are.

Much of honoring your individuality includes listening to your body. Your body gives you many signals like hunger, thirst, pain, cravings or feelings. These signals are telling you that something is out of balance and needs to be corrected.  So how do you understand what it is saying? Here are a few simple tips to cultivate awareness and listen to your body:

  1. Question what you are told. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” The field of nutrition is incredibly complex and complicated. For example, trying to read a label today is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Do you really understand what is written and can you trust it? Doing your own research to find out if the latest cereal is really good for your heart like the labels says will help you break free from the latest fads and give you a boost of confidence when shopping.
  2. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. You are you! No one else is you! This is why you may have gained weight on the South Beach Diet while your neighbor lost 10 lbs. We live in a media monsoon with diet books, cooking shows and news programs pouring down on us.  Yet, with all this information at hand, we are more confused than ever! It wasn’t long ago that people ate instinctively, with the seasons, according to the land.  Your great-grandmother didn’t need books, programs or celebrities telling her what to eat, which brings us to the next tip…
  3. Go back to basics Simply put, if your great-grandmother didn’t eat it, or wouldn’t be able to recognize it, neither should you. Fast food, microwave meals and packaged foods are recent food inventions and don’t provide the nutrients that fresh, seasonal produce does.  Eating healthfully really isn’t that complicated. The body knows what to eat – it’s the brain that makes mistakes. Give yourself time to listen to your body and intuition.
  4. Take note of how certain foods make you feel Often, keeping a food diary is all it takes to solve that heart burn or indigestion problem. Investing a little time now will help prevent a myriad of problems later. I know several people who complain of daily abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloating or heartburn after eating dairy, but still do not make the connection that perhaps dairy does not work well in their bodies.   If they cut dairy out of their diet, they will probably see these symptoms go away.
  5. Make time to check in with your body This point is the most important of all. Taking a few moments out of your day to check in with yourself will make a dramatic difference in how you feel.  If you don’t feel well, ask yourself, “What did I eat today? What did I do today?”  Rather than taking a pill to cover up the pain, do a little detective work to find out why the problem is there. Often, just practicing deep breathing to calm the mind and the body will help you figure out what is going on.

Embrace your individuality. You are unique and deserve to treat yourself that way!