If you’re anything like I was, you always listen to the experts and ignore your body. If they say their diet will help us feel better and lose weight, we believe it must. And when the diet fails, well… we tend to think that we did something wrong.
In fact, it never occurred to me to actually pay attention to my body’s signals. Not that I would have even known what they were for that matter!
These days, I do listen to what the authors and doctors have to say. But my first priority is to listen to my body.
Because I’ve learned that while what the experts say may be 100% true, it doesn’t mean that my body will respond the same.
If you’re not sure how to listen to your body, that’s ok! I’ve experimented with a ton of methods and taught myself and my clients successfully what to look for… And I’m sharing several of the exercises with you today so you can try them out for yourself.
In order to listen to our body, we have to pay attention to not just what we eat, but also to how we eat. The way we eat and the environment we’re eating in matters.
So let’s get started, shall we?
1. Turn Off Distractions.
Have you ever been at your desk working away while eating your lunch and 30 minutes later you look down and realize you’ve eaten a whole plate of food and barely remember doing so?
Or maybe you’ve been engrossed in a T.V. show and later realize you’ve consumed a whole bag of chips?
At times like this, we may even still feel hungry because we didn’t really even realize we had eaten. Seriously, our brains won’t think we have eaten anything and it’ll keep sending us hunger signals until it does.
So turn off distractions like cell phones and TV. And stay away from the computer or anything work related.
If your focus is on anything but your food, how will you be able to listen to your body’s signals?
2. Pay Attention to Each Bite.
Most people inhale their food so quickly that they really have no idea how it tastes – and they may very well think they like it when they don’t!
Notice the aroma and appearance of your food. Feel the taste and the texture of it in your mouth. Savor each bite.
Take, for example, McDonalds’ fast food. Most people shovel Mickey D’s food down so quickly on the go, they never really taste it. And when asked to pay attention to it, to eat slowly and chew fully… they realize they’re actually grossed out by it!
The next time you find yourself going up to a drive-through, pay attention and savor each bite and see if you even like the taste anymore.
3. Chew Your Food.
A huge part of digestion begins in the mouth with the chewing process as enzymes that break down your food are released through your salivary glands. Chewing your food allows your body to absorb and assimilate more nutrients and improves digestion.
The next time you eat, give it a try. Do your best to chew each bite at least 30 times and notice how you do and how you feel.
When you practice chewing regularly, you’ll find you no longer have to count your chews; you’ll know by the texture of the food when it’s time to swallow. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth, so the more you can break down the food in your mouth, the easier it will be for your body to digest it.
Because you’re taking more time to chew, you’ll be able to notice that you feel full sooner, which means you’re much more likely to consume less while still feeling full.
And your body will stop sending your brain signals to crave food.
4. Let Your Body’s Sensations Sink in.
Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal. Focus your attention on the sensations in your body, and then take a short walk. Walking stimulates your metabolism and speeds up the rate at which the food moves through your system.
At the very least, avoid lying down afterward. The horizontal position of your body slows down your metabolism and inhibits digestion. It’ll likely cause discomfort that may or may not have anything to do with the food you ate which could cause the sensations you feel in your body to be inaccurate.
Give your brain a chance to register the sensations from your food so you can listen to the cue’s it’s sending you.
5. Keep a Food Journal.
What better way to listen to yourself than by writing down all your body’s sensations?
Jot down what you eat for each meal. Record how you feel while you eat and again 30 minutes after, and then once again 2 hours later.
Notice which foods make you feel good and energized and which ones make you feel sluggish, bloated, gassy, tired, light-headed, or give you brain fog after a short time. Really try to tune into which foods give you energy and which ones cause symptoms of any kind.
Many people are sensitive to something, which can cause unnecessary side effects or reactions. So paying close attention to how you feel is key. Foods that don’t agree with us can also cause inflammation, which may hinder weight loss.
What’s more, often people are eating very healthy but aren’t aware that something they’re eating may be the cause of their “feeling off.”
And just because a food is supposed to be healthy doesn’t mean it’s healthy for YOU and your unique body. By understanding this and realizing that each of us is one-of-a-kind, it can be a huge eye-opener when you discover the foods that work for you… and those that don’t.
For example, I’ve discovered many of the women I work with have candida. (An overgrowth of yeast in the body that causes a multitude of symptoms). Experts often recommend fermented foods as one of the best things you can eat to heal your body. However, that’s not always the case!
Many of my clients have found the detoxing symptoms too intense. So they removed fermented foods from their diet temporarily and when they reintroduced it to their body, they did so just a little at a time and slowly increased.
If the sauerkraut and kimchi are causing you unbearable bloating and discomfort, then likely, the yeast is dying off so quickly, the symptoms are too much. In that case, you may need to heal your body in other ways first before reintroducing it again.
I always say that it isn’t you that failed the diet. The diet failed you.
Because every body is different. What works for some (including experts!), may not work for you. So listen to what your body is telling you.