So how do you listen to your body? Here are a few simple tips:
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. In fact, nutrition is the only scientific field in which two parties can prove two opposing theories and both be correct! Trying to read a label today is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Every night on the news there are new studies highlighted saying this or that is bad or good for you. The next night, it is the opposite. Do your own research and find out if the latest cereal is really good for your heart like the labels says. Breaking free from the latest fads will give you time to explore your own body and health.
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 – and we cannot really blame it with all the food marketing and news reports around us.
4. Take note of how certain foods make you feel
Sometimes 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. Once they cut dairy out of their diet, they see these symptoms go away.
5. Make time to check in with your body
This 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 too 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 pain is there. A simple breathing and meditation exercise I share with my clients is a great way to do just this. Put your right hand over your stomach and your left hand over your heart. Close your eyes. Breathe in and out slowly through your nose. Thank your heart for never missing a beat and your stomach for digesting your food.
Embrace your individuality. You are unique and deserve to treat yourself that way!