Hey folks! My name is Kathryn, I’m a confidence coach and I recently took part in Shari’s 3-month online Weight Loss for Foodies group coaching program. I work with my clients using body listening skills, and I realised that many of the tools that I use were super useful in learning to eat mindfully. Today I’d love to share with you a simple tool that can help you to get back in touch with your body, and why I am passionate that it’s about time we all start listening to our bodies more.
Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re lightly full relies on one main thing – that we understand how to hear what our bodies are telling us! We all have a body, yet we live in an increasingly disembodied world, one which is increasingly reliant on staring at a screen and living to a schedule. We have wonderful technology and transport systems that have resulted in much less physical movement being necessary, while at the same time we are taught that our bodies are at best just a way of moving our brain around, at worst that they are something to be ashamed of. Our media is so full of digitally altered photographs of impossible bodies, adverts for the latest diet, and – my pet hate– the latest exercise craze talking about punishing your body, battling against it, ignoring pain. It’s no wonder that it can be a struggle to get back in touch with what our bodies are communicating to us, but they do all it the time, and we can tune back in.
What does listening to your body actually mean? It isn’t as if your tummy makes much in the way of small talk apart from the odd gurgle! Our bodies communicate through sensations, which our brain translates into a thought. If you’ve ever had a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is about to (or just has!) gone wrong, that’s your body talking to you. An aching neck from staring at your smartphone, or pins and needles because you’ve sat in the same position for too long, and, yes, hunger, they are all communications coming from your body. If you’re like most people, your body has to shout to be noticed, but there are more subtle sensations going on constantly that you can tune in to.
So precisely HOW do we tune in to listen to our bodies’ hunger and fullness signals? When I am curious about my hunger, I stop doing whatever I was doing, and I put my hand on my tummy. I close my eyes and take my attention from my closed eyes down inside of me until my attention is on the inside of my tummy; it’s a bit like pretending I can see inside there by visualising it. I notice my breathing moving my hand slightly, and I mentally explore what it feels like inside there. Try this yourself now.
What did you notice? Anything and everything you notice is great! It might be that you visualise a colour, pattern or shape, you might feel a physical sensation that is a little hard to describe, or you might even notice an emotion that you hadn’t realised you were feeling. Try it again now with the intention of working out how hungry you are. Does your stomach feel a bit empty (when I’m hungry, mine often feels like it’s contracting and getting smaller in size), a bit distended from being a bit too full, or nicely comfortable?
Keep on checking in with your tummy as often as you can throughout the day, and definitely before you eat. If you’re in a public environment, you don’t have to put your hand there and close your eyes, though I recommend starting off like this as it helps most people to focus. As with anything, you will get better with practice, so keep trying it! Your embodied listening will get more and more refined as you go on, and your body will breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief as you start to hear her whisper before she has to shout.
Are you ready to transform into someone who can eat what she loves without losing control, and slim down and stay there? Someone who eats in tune with her body’s signals? Join the Weight Loss for Foodies group coaching program! To learn more, click here.