Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Time to Kiss and Make-up with Your Body
For the past couple months, we’ve talked about how to attain true weight loss by first dealing with your crap. That is and always will be step one. Then, once you begin to deal with the emotional side of your weight, the feat of losing weight won’t seem so enormous.
But it will still take some effort. Step one is not a wonder drug. But it certainly takes your problem from cancer-level down to the severity of the common cold. It will require some attention and doctoring, but you can deal with it.
I believe that initially some of the effort will have to focus around reconnecting your mind with your body. I completely understand that when you struggle with weight loss and body image issues, the last thing you want to think about is your body. It disgusts you, it frustrates you, it embarrasses you.
But what you’ve forgotten is that it also gives you life and carries you around this big blue and green earth every single day. And it might actually have something worthwhile to say if you’ll take the time to listen to it.
At this point, I fully anticipate you saying: “I wouldn’t be in this spot if it weren’t for my body.”
And this is my response to you: 1. You still need to deal with your shit because then you will know that… 2. What you said is not true. Your body had nothing to do with you gaining weight. (By the way, I’m speaking to people with non-thyroid weight gain—I’m well aware of the havoc that a crazy thyroid can have on the body. However, even if your weight gain is the result of a medical issue, it is just as important to cultivate an appreciation for and understanding of your body so stick with me here.)
Therefore, I am now declaring this as the moment to begin to kiss and make up with your body. And the way you start to do that is by listening and recording what your body tells you. I am not in the habit of using this blog to tell people what to do. But I feel so strongly about this aspect of “whole healing” that I am going to suggest that you try this writing exercise for a week and see how it goes.
I know there are people out there who absolutely hate writing anything down. Gripping a pen in their hand feels like the blade of a double-edged sword. But I’m going to ask you to put on a hefty pair of gloves and grab that pain-inducing writing utensil and begin jotting down what you’re body tells you.
This will not take hours of introspection. Intially, I’m thinking you can get this done in 20-30 minutes a day, in five or six 5-minute chunks. You will not have to continue this exercise till the grave. This is not a diet plan. All I’m doing is getting you aware of how your body feels.
Here are some questions I’d like for you to answer throughout your day:
1. How does my body feel (this morning, this afternoon, this evening)? (Do you feel energetic or tired, do you feel heavy or light, do you feel hungry or full or something in between?)
2. If you are hungry, how do you know? (Does your stomach growl, do you feel light-headed, do you feel shaky and weak, do you feel tired?)
3. Before you eat, ask yourself, “what sounds good?” (Try not to sensor your responses here. If you’ve dieted for many years, you may try to get all righteous about it, choosing what you “should” eat rather than what your body really wants to eat. Forget about “good and bad foods” for now and just let your body have a voice. But make sure it’s your body that’s talking and not your mind. Make sure it’s your body that’s saying “I want that cinnamon roll” and not your mind really saying “I can’t believe John never apologized for what he said to me last night in bed. I want a cinnamon roll.” There’s a big difference between the two.
4. Then write down what you decided to eat.
5. After you eat, ask yourself, “how do I feel?” (Do you feel full, bursting, still hungry, just right, tired, energized, happy, sad, fulfilled, unfulfilled?)
6. If you are one who normally exercises, write down how you feel after you do it. (Great, energized, exhausted, full of aches, angry, frustrated?)
7. How do you feel your treated your body today? (Good, bad, alright, like a queen, like a trashcan?)
I’d like you to repeat numbers 1-5 every time you eat. Again, I’m not looking for an epic-length writing here. I just want you to attune your ear to the voice of your body.
Now perhaps this is a practice you already do. Perhaps the path from your mind to your body is a deeply-grooved path. If so, I’d love to hear how this practice has benefited you. And if you are just doing this for the first time, what are your apprehensions?