How to Trust Your Own Body: Eating What You Want When You Want It

What happens if you ask you body what it wants to eat for dinner? Seriously, if you just walk through the grocery store and let your body decide. Are you feeling like something salty and savory or light and fresh? Here is something you may not know. When we are listening to our body, really putting the energy into being connected, it will make wise choices. Your body really does know best; it is just that we have a very hard time trusting  – even our own body! 

How mistrust has evolved

From the moment you start to group foods into different camps, the problems start. For instance, do you have a “bad” food list and a “good” food list? Apart from allergies, do you refrain from eating certain foods because they are “not good for you” or not on your particular “diet plan?” It is likely that this method of playing bad cop/good cop with foods has contributed to a sense of detachment and mistrust of your bodily instincts.

Additionally, if you have never really consumed real food and lived a junk food life, your body is very mixed up and probably sending you mixed signals because of this. Take, for instance, the sugar rollercoaster. Consuming a great deal of sugar sends crazy signals to your body and causes negative reactions that skew its natural ability to know what is best. 

The issues you have with distrusting your body don’t all come from within. The food manufacturers and their marketing ploys contribute to mass confusion when it comes to what we should and should not be eating.

It is really simple

The saddest part of all is that trusting your body is super simple, and once you get into the groove you will find that everything falls into place – even your waistline!! Here are a few tips to help you find great harmony from within.

  • Ditch the diet –  Quit following someone else’s rules for your body. You are not the person in the ad, on the commercial, or on the front cover of the book that promises if you eat paper towels for a month, you will be skinny!
  • Eat when you are hungry – If you aren’t hungry and everyone else is eating – no worries. The first step to trusting your body is knowing that your body will tell you when it needs to be fed. If you wake up in the morning, and you are hungry…then eat.  Eating when you are truly hungry helps reduce the stress of trying to remember to eat certain times of the day. If you aren’t hungry at noon but you are hungry at 3 pm, then eat at 3 pm. Also, if your body asks for food at 7 pm, don’t ignore the sign – give yourself a healthy snack. When you honor your natural hunger cycles, your body becomes much more energy-efficient and balanced.
  • Stop eating when you are satisfied – When you eat to satisfy hunger, there is a point at which the body signals, “I am full, you can stop.”  This is critical to your success as an intuitive eater – you have to know when to stop. Never eat until you are on the verge of discomfort or you feel you have to recline to digest. Once this has happened, you have overruled your own body.  
  • Understand emotional eating – It is highly important to know the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger. If you find yourself grabbing for a snack when you are lonely, anxious, sad, or mad – it’s most likely emotional eating. To keep emotional eating in check, be very mindful about your eating habits. Notice the times that you might be eating out of emotion and put healthy habits in place. For instance – if you are bored, go do something outdoors, if you are lonely, call a friend, and if you are stressed, practice yoga or deep breathing.
  • Pay close attention to how you feel after you eat – A food journal can be really useful for this. Keep track of all foods and how they make you feel. Did eating a particular food make you feel sluggish or energized? Do you feel gassy or bloated? If a particular food or food combination makes you feel poorly, avoid it, or eat it less often. If a particular food makes you feel energized and balanced – eat more of it. It really is that simple. What you are doing here is listening to your body!
  • What is good for you might not be good for other people – We are all built the same but different. What this means is that while there are fundamental similarities between all humans, there are also differences that make us each unique. This is why one diet might work for one person but cause another person to gain weight and feel crappy. Listening to your own body is not about following the latest diet craze but rather plugging into what your body needs for balance, strength, and energy. Your journey will be highly personal.

Listen closely

Listening to the feedback that your body gives you is one of the most effective tools for managing overall health and wellbeing. It takes some time, so be patient with yourself and don’t get frustrated. Before long, you will be so in sync with your body that it will only ask for what is best for you and when you deliver you just continue to reinforce the intelligence your body is wired with. The closer you get to your own body, the less outside influences like diet books, commercials, and marketing campaigns will influence you. 

Stay strong and stay tuned in!

-Susan Patterson

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