Listen to your own body!
How often do you ask others for advice? How often do you follow what others are doing? How often do you take on ideologies or habits that others suggest?
Do you ever pause and really feel within, whether what you are doing is right for you?
I am very trusting and I often underestimate my own guidance. I follow others and ask for advice, so I can just do what they are doing. I often feel others must know better, especially those who are older than me or have more experience than I do. Sometimes, I just see that something works for 999,000 others, so I think that it has to work for me too!
But I have to remember that I have wisdom and knowledge within me and that I know best what really works for me.
Let me explain with a little personal experience.
You might know that I have put on some weight in the last couple of years. It is not that it disturbs me, or that I want to be thinner. So far I am healthy. Still, of course, people come around and suggest ideas for me to lose weight. Also, I am open to all kinds of advice, as I (like most of you) want to lead a healthy life.
So there I was, hearing about all those high vibrational people, going raw vegan. I normally don’t eat much meat (mostly chicken), and I do have fish. And I feel fine doing so, so I don’t feel I need to change this.
I have also used green smoothies a couple of times, over longer periods. I love them: I love the taste they have, I love the simplicity of making them; I love to vary my smoothies with different ingredients. Still, though, after a couple of days of drinking green smoothies, I’d start to feel cold from within. I had this chill that I just could not shake off. I even tried to warm up my green smoothies to at least body temperature, to no avail. I still felt chilly. Still I thought drinking green smoothies was the way to go.
Another coach told me to eat lots of raw vegetables in order to keep my insulin production low. It made sense in my mind, and I love to eat raw vegetables, so I thought, “Why not!?” Again, eating raw vegetables is very easy to handle, as not much preparation is required.
Again, my body just didn’t like it. I did not feel good – I felt chilly and not really energetic. I was more tired and lagging.
When I finally went to my Ayurveda Week, my eyes opened.
I had three hot meals a day. Wow. I felt so good.
Of course, we worked on the acid that has built up in my body over the last nearly 46 years, despite a mostly alkaline diet. Acid comes from all forms of stress, in addition to food sources. I learnt that only hot meals and drinks can loosen the acid and flush it out of your cells. I learnt that raw food was adding acid TO my body (Just to clarify, that this is what works for ME. It’s not necessarily what works for you!)
After one week at an Ayurvedic retreat, I felt so energized like I haven’t been in ages; despite all the good food I had been giving my body.
I could feel a clear difference. Yes, this was what my body wanted. Warmth and nourishing and loving is what I needed.
It took me all of those sidesteps, all of those detours, all of those learning experiences to arrive at what I truly needed.
I could have listened to my own body when it told me that something in green smoothies was not for me, or when it showed me that raw food isn’t for me, either.
Why didn’t I listen to my body?
Like so many others, I am used to ignoring the signals from my body. Even worse, I’ve learnt to rationalize my true feelings and cravings away because I thought someone outside of me knew better about what I needed than I did.
I was denying my body’s signals by telling myself that my cravings were just a result of my body being used to bad habits. I had to change my body and habits, just like the experts said.
How often have you disregarded your body’s signal?
When you were a baby or a small child, it is likely that you stopped eating when you were full. Later on, you may have learned to ignore signals of fullness and gained a tendency to eat more than what was good for you. You may have enjoyed the food, or – like me – you may have been taught to finish the food on your plate.
Whatever the reason for the disconnection from your body’s cues, it is time to connect back with your body – not just with food – but with all of the feelings that arise within you.
Your body sends signals about danger, too, or about how you feel about other people (tension in our body). It sends clear signals. Even pain is a sign from the body that something is not right, and you should be finding the source of it instead of trying to cover it up.
How often have you had a hunch that something was not right? How often did you ignore your intuition and just go for it, only to think later that you had been right from the get-go?
It’s important that you remember those signals! How did they come to you? Were they thoughts, feelings, muscle tightness, headaches, or something else? Next time, listen to the clues your body is giving you! Learn to trust what your body says.
This can relate to friends, business, or opportunities. If you are working with a coach, make sure he or she is the right fit for you. Why? Because when you feel secure and comfortable, you will profit the most from the relationship. If something is slightly off, it is not ok – even if the coach successfully helped millions of people.
It is OK to be the odd one out
Yes, I had to learn that, too. Green smoothies aren’t for me. My body doesn’t do well when I only consume raw food, despite the fact that a very successful coach who had treated numerous people with raw foods had advised me.
“Why not me?” I asked.
I’ve come to realize that it is ok not to fit into the crowd. It is more important to listen to your own guidance than it is to try to make yourself fit into something that wasn’t meant for you in the first place.
And to be honest, I know that I am not the only one that this type of diet doesn’t work well for. It’s just not many of those who it didn’t work for speak out. Remember that.
We all have our own bodies; we all have our own signals. With some, cues and clues might come more in words, others might see pictures, still others just know, and then some might just feel.
The way you sense your knowing is wonderful and perfect for you. Know and trust your own guidance.
Learn to listen to your body with some simple exercises:
1) Sit still for 3 minutes. Concentrate on your breathing, and then ask your body:
- “What do you want to let me know?”
2) Next time you get introduced to a new person, listen within. Does your body get tense, or is it relaxed. (Concentrate on your tummy area, your solar plexus might give you signs)
- You can do this exercise with food or drinks too. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and ask yourself, “Is that food helping my body?”
3) Before you engage in something new, ask your body, “Is this ok for me?”
- Before you sign up for a new session with a coach or healer, ask your body, “Is this what I need now?”
Listen by concentrating on your body’s signals.
- Is there tension? Does something tighten up? Or is your body relaxed and feeling ok?
- Concentrate on your tummy (Solar Plexus area) – it is usually the one that tightens when something is a no.
- Maybe you feel a clear Yes or NO. If so, it’s important to ask questions that require a clear yes or no answer.
- Do your shoulders tighten or rise up to your ears?
You can find another tip on this YouTube video:
In stressful times, your body goes into the fear and flight mode and is not able to send clear signals, and you might not be open to receive any guidance. Next week I will be talking about stress: what can cause it, how to detect early signals, and what to do about it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or post your question as a comment.
PS: If you’d like further information on food and eating, I recommend:
Caroline Silk’s approach to mindful eating (link).
Doreen Virtue’s book about The Yo-YO Diet Syndrome (link to Amazon).