We live in a society that constantly bombards us with new “scientific” studies and information. This is especially true when it comes to food. How are we supposed to know what a Healthy Diet is, when we are given different guidelines at every turn? Do we follow the government guidelines, that are bought and paid for by lobbyists? Do we follow the guidelines given to us by today’s top selling authors? How about that diet system being sold at the “health food” store? No, No & No. What all of the options leave out is the fact that we have an “on-board expert” with us already. All we really have to do is Learn to Listen to our Body.
Get Me Off This Roller Coaster
I decided, after years of riding the Weight Roller Coaster, that I was going to quit listening to all of this “information”. My health and well being is not up for sale to the loudest bidder. After years of trying almost every new Healthy Diet idea and option, I’m still where I was at before. Unfortunately, there is no “miracle” plan that I can just plug myself into. So, where does that leave me?
Well, it leaves me better off than before. Instead of listening to every new study, new author and “scientific evidence” out there, I can Learn to Listen to my body. Believe it or not, a body has a whole lot to say.
What My Body Has To Say
I was taught, like so many, that the complaints of a body are basic inconveniences. If you have a headache, take a pill. If you have heartburn, there’s another pill for that. Move on, get over it and it will eventually go away.
What if those “complaints” are really just my body trying to tell me something is wrong, or out of balance?
What has finally sunk in, is that if I don’t Learn to Listen to my body, it will keep putting me right back where I started. Only now, instead of being in my 20’s and having youth on my side, I’m in my 40’s. Fortunately, I have retained some wisdom from the lessons I’ve been given.
Learn to Listen: My Lessons
Listening to my body has not come naturally to me. I have spent years trying to force it to do what I want it to do, or just flat out ignoring what it has been trying to tell me. However, over the last few years, I have gotten some lessons in how to listen to those body messages.
Learn to Listen: Lesson #1
The first lesson I had was actually watching my husband discover his gluten allergies. Several years ago, we received a phone call that his brother was in the hospital with an intestinal blockage. It was a gluten related issue. Additionally, we were told several other members of his family had discovered their own gluten intolerance over the previous couple of years.
My husband decided to try a gluten free diet for a couple of weeks. After just a couple of days, he came home and asked me to clean all of the gluten out of the house. Unlike many people who suffer from gluten allergies, he wasn’t constantly plagued by stomach aches. Instead, he had daily heart burn. Every morning, shortly after his breakfast of honey toast and coffee, he would get heart burn. He had eliminated so many other foods trying to get rid of it. Toast is supposed to help, or so he thought. After just two days of not eating any wheat, he quit having heart burn, and hasn’t suffered from it since.
Aside from the heart burn, he was also suffering from the “signs of old age.” Aching joints, tiredness and other symptoms that we are told are just what it means to get old. All of these “old age” symptoms also left when he quit eating wheat and other gluten foods. He felt at least 10 years younger, and continues to feel great to this day!
Learn to Listen: Lesson #2
My second lesson came in the form of completing the elimination diet in Dr John Mansfield’s The Six Secrets of Successful Weight Loss. The very premise of this diet is that your body knows what is good/bad for you, and will give you almost instantaneous feedback. Working through the diet twice has taught me how to use the scale to gauge if what I’m eating is healthy or harmful.
I know, now, to stay away from chemicals and gums (binding agents such as guar gum & carrageenan) in my food. Gums, which are meant to bind foods together, work especially well in my body. They bind my stomach up in knots and plug everything up. Some chemicals, including whatever is in my tap water, actually produces symptoms of depression in my body. Fortunately, I found the Zero Water Filtration Pitcher. I have a constant supply of clean, healthy water without having to buy bottled water.
Learn to Listen: Lesson #3
One of the biggest hurdles I face in learning to listen to my body, is really respecting what it has to say. My one body that I’m just learning to listen to, doesn’t compare to a thousand other voices that are supposed to be right. Some days, it is the voice from my childhood that says I need an extra treat. Other days, it is an outside voice that says I just can’t be healthy if I don’t do this, that or the other thing.
So, for me, the greatest lesson in all of this is to honor what my body needs. For example, I know I need a little more sleep than other people do. I have always been like this, and I have quit fighting it and feeling bad about it. I have learned that I really need to get out into nature, at least once a week. It is one of the top priorities of my week, and I haven’t missed more than a couple of hikes this whole summer.
Above and beyond just taking care of my body, I am continuing to Learn to Listen to my “self”. Recently, this was in the form of starting a Meditation group, and honoring that need in me.
This lesson is ongoing. At the heart of this is learning to trust my body, as well as my “self”. Trusting your body, and “self” should be the simplest and easiest thing to do. But, after a lifetime of having misinformation pounded into my brain, it is taking a while for the lessons to completely sink in.
Listening to My Body = Positive Changes
I have made some good progress, however. Learning to Listen has resulted in some tangible positive changes over the last year.
- Maintained a 20 pound weight loss for over a year
- I have also started the journey to releasing more of the weight I have gained
- Almost no symptoms of PMS
- I used to be able to tell it was coming 7-10 days before it actually happened
- More Energy
- No symptoms of Depression
- Something I have also struggled with most of my adult life
- A strong sense of feeling like I have “it” under control
- I no longer feel like my body has betrayed me, or that I just don’t get it
Listening to my body has taught me that every choice I make has an impact on my body. At the top of this list, are the choices I make about the foods I eat. Surprisingly, I’ve learned that I don’t need to follow an absolutely strict diet that allows no room for treats, fun or dining out. I’m learning to create my own healthy diet for my body, combining knowledge and wisdom from other sources with my own internal guidance.
How I have created My Own Healthy Diet, and Navigating the Diet World.