Your body is uniquely designed: your digestive system, your organs, and your cells, all react differently to the foods, thoughts and emotions that you consume. That is why it is so important to get to know your body and to listen to the messages it is giving you.
Whether you are listening to your bodies signals or not, it will always tell you what’s up, what it doesn’t like and what it does like. If you eat something and it makes you feel tired, sick, gives you a rash, or you experience stomach upsets, that is a sign that you might not want to eat or drink that specific food. Those are the signs we can’t ignore. But it will also speak to you emotionally with feelings of irritability, and perhaps sadness. Yes, food does have that affect on us. On the flip side of that, when you are really taking care of your body, you will get a rush of happy chemicals and hormones that flood your body and mind and make you feel so good.
Your body will never lie to you. If you can pay attention to the signs (symptoms), you will be able to avoid a lot of unwanted discomfort, which will make you feel healthier and happier.
The Mind Body-Connection
Your mind and your body are always talking to each other. We act like they are disconnected and separate from one another, but that could not be further from the truth.
Stomach upsets, cravings, headaches, and body aches are often caused by what you are eating, but also what you are thinking. Oftentimes, it is both. Limiting beliefs, fears, worry, and negative thought patterns keep us feeling stuck and create physical symptoms in our body.
When you are nervous, where do feel it?
When you are sad, what foods do you crave?
When you are stressed, do you get headaches, or digestion upsets?
When you are scared, do you get nauseas or start to sweat?
That is your body reacting to your thoughts.
The same reaction happens with food. When you eat processed food, too much sugar, or have a week of binging, do you feel sluggish, tired, and moody, have headaches, or get night sweats? That is your brain reacting to what you are eating.
Our bodies are designed to naturally look for what it needs nutritionally as well. “Laurie-ann needs iron, let’s go find it.” If you haven’t fed it iron, it will feel the lack and react with symptoms. Those symptoms you feel are your body’s way of communicating with you. Telling you that it is lacking in something essential. Your body is always talking to you, but are you listening?”
You can check in anytime by simply stopping and asking yourself questions…tuning in.
How do I feel today emotionally?
How do I feel today physically?
Am I feeling any negative feelings in body? If yes, where?
These questions are important because your body wants (needs) to communicate with you in order to gets its needs met. It needs you to nourish it, feed it, care for it – it can’t do that on its own.
When you are nourishing your fearsome threesome – your mind, body and soul, things feel harmonious. You feel energized, clear, and just have an overall sense of good health and happiness. When you are living in a constant state of stress, never taking time just for yourself, never resting, are constantly with toxic people, giving ALL of yourself to others, not speaking your truth, not moving your body, or not feeding it healthy foods, you feel the exact opposite.
Sometimes we all get caught in one or many of these negative vortexes and we need to get ourselves out. The problem isn’t that we don’t know what to do, it’s that we get so busy in the spiral that we are not paying attention. But eventually, we have no choice but to pay attention because we suffer from burnout, get sick, become depressed, have an anxiety attack, headaches, fatigue, digestive upsets…the list goes on. Your body will eventually MAKE you stop and listen.
Physical and emotional symptoms are our bodies way of telling us that we are giving it something unwanted, or that we have too much negative energy built up in our system caused by everyday, all day, constant chronic stress.
The longer you ignore the signals, the worse you are going to feel and the stronger the signals are going to get.
AN EXERCISE ON TUNING IN
Along with stopping in the moment and tuning in with the questions above, if you are trying to pinpoint where your triggers are, A great place to start is with mindfulness. For one week, track what you are eating and how the food makes you feel physically and emotionally. I also recommend tracking your emotions and thoughts and how they make you feel physically (in your body).
At the beginning of any big lifestyle change, tracking your food and your mood is a great tool for weight loss, getting healthy and creating new habits. The act of writing down what you consume in a day has been proven to help people make healthier choices. By being conscious of what you ate and how you felt, it will help you create positive changes in the way you eat.
You can download a printable tracker here
This was a transformational tool for me. I focused on the main symptoms that I was having and started to work on repairing them. By understanding my body and paying attention to what was happening, I was able to notice the positive results of the changes I was making. I knew immediately what worked and even more importantly, what was making me feel sick.
This is also a great way to see where you are emotionally eating. You will know that if you were really sad before you ate two bowls of ice cream, that you have a trigger there.
By focusing on the positive changes, you can see how eating healthy can enhance not only your physical state, but your emotional state as well. This will definitely keep you feeling inspired because you will want to continue to feel good.
For those with physical symptoms, such as digestive upset, headaches, body aches, fatigue, or constant infections and colds, I also recommend keeping track of how you feel physically so you can learn to start paying attention to what foods bother you.
For years I had no idea that it was meat and processed foods that were causing so many of my health issues. Keeping a daily food diary helped me narrow down exactly what was causing me strife.
If your stomach suddenly gets upset after you eat something, or your energy is zapped, that is a clear sign that the food you are eating may not be good for you. This exercise helps you get to know your body and do what feels right for you. I want you to do what feels right for you, not what all the other books and experts are telling you, and that includes me.
The key here is to avoid information overload. With Google searches right at your fingertips, we have stopped listening to our own gut. Whether it is something you read, or someone else trying to tell you what is right for you, listen to what your body is saying. It’s not about the best ten steps; it’s about the results…your results.
10 years ago I became a vegetarian. I didn’t do it properly and wasn’t getting my nutritional needs met. A simple test at the doctors showed that I was anemic. My doctor’s recommendation was to eat meat. Even though I told her that it made me sick, she didn’t listen. She told me to eat it and basically suck it up. I know that she is a doctor and an expert, but in that moment, I listened to my body. I would literally throw up after eating red meat. Why would I put myself through that just because someone told me that was the solution to getting more iron? I listened, and I found a way that worked for me and my iron levels went right back to normal – no meat required.
If something works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else and do not give up until you find the best solution.
Put yourself in the drivers seat of your health and life by not letting your body have to make you sick before you give it what it needs. You are on the driver, not the passenger.