When I first heard about the concept of listening to your body and relying on it to tell you what and how much to eat, I was extremely sceptical. I’d think things like:
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!”
“I can’t trust my body to tell me what to eat, I’d literally never stop eating chocolate!”
“How do I even listen to my body anyway?”
Whether you’re already on your journey to food freedom and body love or you’re considering it, this episode will give you key insights as to the why and how to trust your body to guide your eating.
Baby, you were born with it
We are each born with our very own inbuilt “calorie counter” which (if we let it) guides us on when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat. This “calories counter” is your hunger and fullness signals and your cravings.
Think about it, when you were a baby, you’d cry for food (or to have your nappy changed or to be hugged or whatever it was you needed). As a baby, you didn’t have any conscious awareness of thought or language such as “I think I need to drink milk now as it’s lunchtime”… You had (have) a natural drive to feed and so in order to communicate that to the outside world to get your needs met, you cried. If you had a loving parent, you got your hunger needs met via a bottle or the breast. When you’ve had enough, you’ll naturally stop.
As we get older, our upbringing usually teaches us to ignore and disconnect from our body’s signals of hunger and fullness.
When you move onto solid foods, your parents’ turn your food into aeroplanes in an attempt to “encourage” you to eat more, even when your body is naturally stating that it’s had enough…
They do this out of love for sure to ensure you’re getting enough food and nourishment but your body knows exactly what it wants and needs. Humans are wired for survival… if left to your own devices as a child when you were hungry, you’d eat. When you’d had enough, you’d stop.
When you were a toddler may be the only time you were allowed sweets and chocolate were when you were “good” or well behaved as a reward. And so you were taught that certain foods were put on a pedestal and were seen as “treats”.
As you progressed to school age, you were most likely told to finish all the food on your plate if you wanted any dessert. So you learnt that ignoring your body’s fullness signals was necessary in order to taste the dessert.
Or maybe you were force-fed broccoli because it’s “good for you” and so you started to learn foods that are “good for you” are torturous to eat.
Then – due to living in a diet culture where thinness is celebrated – as you found your body changing as a teen, you copied your peers and started dieting in an attempt to change your body. Therefore, ignoring your hunger signals in order to “stick to the plan”…
Fast forward ___ years later and you’re stuck in the never-ending diet –> binge cycle.
FYI – (in case you didn’t already know!) dieting causes binge eating and emotional eating. So as you sit there surrounded by food wrappers, having completely ignored your body’s fullness signals, so full that you can barely breathe, you wonder what the F is wrong with you…
And then someone like me comes along and suggests listening to your body as the way to heal your relationship with food!
Would you sleep with you?
If you were in a romantic relationship with your body, would it want to sleep with you…?
The answer is a sure-fire sign as to how loving and connected your relationship with your body is (or isn’t…) If you’re either refusing to look at your body or constantly criticising it, no wonder you don’t feel the love.
If you’re constantly flip-flopping between underfeeding and overfeeding yourself and ignoring your body’s signals, no wonder you’re so disconnected.
Do you even remember what it feels like to be hungry? Or satisfied? Or full even?
Can you tune in to your body and know what it wants to eat or are you always up in your head with food rules and should’s or shouldnt’s?
Thought so… 😉
Hi body, nice to meet you
The first step to remembering – not learning because you already know it, you were born with it remember and it never leaves you, you’ve just become an expert at disconnecting and ignoring – how to tune into and recognise your body’s unique way of communicating to you.
So, it’s time to get reacquainted with your body and start getting to know her again. She’s missed you…
Start by writing her a letter…
This ritual is simple yet profound and I think you’ll be amazed at what comes through in your body letter!
How to write a letter to your body:💓👑
All you need to do is find a quiet space, get your journal and pen and allow yourself to ‘free flow’ a letter to your body.
Here are some examples of what you could include:
– Express an apology to your body for how you thought about her and treated her in the past – list all the BS lies you believed and were taught!
– Let your body know you’re sorry for how you’ve mistreated or neglected her in the past
– Express your intention for your relationship moving forward – what you desire to co-create together and how you consciously choose to think and act with your body being your best friend
– Let your body know how you are going to speak to her and treat her going forward
– Let your body know your new personal commitments to taking care of her
– Let your body know all the incredible things you desire to experience and enjoy with her being your best friend
– Share any sacred vows or commitments you choose to make
– Share your personal “no” list with your body. What are you not allowing your body to have to endure anymore?
– Let your body know how much you love her and appreciate her
Have fun writing your letter to your body. This is a sacred contract and new relationship with your body that will truly change your life.
The next step is to start listening
Keep practising getting out of your head and into your body.
What does hunger feel like to you?
What does fullness feel like to you?
Ask your body to help you to connect back with her.
How does your body communicate to you that she’s cold/hot?
What about when you’re thirsty or need to pee?
We have so many natural and instinctive drives and signals that we usually have no problem responding to (i.e putting on a jumper when we’re cold) yet when it comes to eating, we just don’t trust ourselves. As we’ve discovered, this is due to our upbringing and society’s conditioning in the context of diet culture and of course fatphobia. But the good news is, we can connect back to our natural drivers and signals and trust our body to guide us with what, when and how much to eat.
The language of your body
When we are remembering how to connect back to our body, it can feel like we’re learning a new language, especially if we’ve been disconnected from our body since childhood.
Connecting back to your body again is an exciting (and sometimes frustrating) self-loving discovery. So be gentle with yourself. There’s nothing to get “wrong” it’s about experimenting with what feels right for you and your body.
You’ll definitely have moments of frustration at the beginning of your reconnecting journey as you’ll be judging the shit out of yourself with regards to what you eat! This is why it’s impossible to teach you everything you need to know in order to connect with your body again and trust that she knows best in this episode alone… That’s precisely why I’ve created a 4-month program “Food & Body Freedom Queen” to guide you step by step to food freedom and body love #shamlessplug
But you can see huge positive shifts right away if from this moment on you practice tuning into your body on a regular basis and asking her;
“Am I hungry?”
“What do I feel like eating?”
“Have I had enough?”
“Would I like some more?”
“How do I feel physically?”
“How do I feel emotionally?”
“What do I need right now?”
As you can see, it’s about more than just-food. It’s about building a relationship with your body and caring for her – caring for YOU – because your body is your home.
Some practical tips
Many of you will have resistance to this because you’ll be scared of weight gain and you’ll also feel lost without having a plan or any food rules to follow. I know exactly how you feel, I spent over 20 years obsessing over my body and food and experiencing different diagnosed eating disorders… anorexia, binge eating, bulimia… I get it. Dieting was my home base, my comfort blanket and anything but control felt totally out of control.
So here are some tips to help you:
- Get to know the language of your body, as I’ve shared during this episode.
- Follow your body’s signals, cravings and drives with unwavering trust that she knows best (she DOES)
- When eating, eat mindfully and slow down. Allow yourself to experience the pleasure of eating.
- Check-in with yourself during eating and notice when you get a signal or a feeling to stop.
- Release any judgment from your mind and notice when diet fukery is screaming at you. Meet it with love and then let it go. “I trust my body” “I choose self-care over self-control.”
- Commit to body image work
- Devote yourself to doing the inner work to return home to infinite self-love (trauma release, emotional regulation, getting outside your comfort zone, letting go of limiting beliefs… just to name a few)
- Invest in yourself and get guidance and support from a professional you trust.
You got this! If I and my clients can do it, so can you. Because if you don’t do anything to change your relationship with food and your body, nothing will change… your body has the answers, get to know her, trust her, live in freedom and self-love.