People in the wellness space (myself included) always say, “Listen to your body.” “Eat intuitively.” “Practice mindfulness.” But, ummmmmm. What does that mean? Well, that’s why today we’re breaking down how to listen to your body so you can be on your way to finding food freedom.
HOW TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY + FIND FOOD FREEDOM
The amazing thing is, if you know how to listen to your body, you can STOP dieting forever (and who the heck doesn’t want that?!) By using the simple practices of intuitive and mindful eating, you can find Food Freedom – the sweet spot between eating what makes you happy, and eating what keeps you healthy. When you reach Food Freedom, it means you already know how to listen to your body, so you can stop relying on food rules and diet labels to maintain a healthy weight, have amazing energy, and a positive outlook on life.
BUT HOW DO YOU DO IT?
People talk about listening to your body all the time, but how the heck do you know what to eat? How do you tune into what your body is trying to tell you or if it’s even saying anything at all? How are you supposed to eat mindfully and intuitively when you have no idea how to listen to your body?
That’s exactly why you start off with 3 simple keys when you first learn how to listen to your body.
3 KEYS FOR INTUITIVE AND MINDFUL EATING
A HUGE deal (maybe the biggest deal) in your healthy lifestyle, is your food. You have to have a sustainable, healthy diet that frees you from emotional eating, food guilt, and other disordered eating habits… so it’s crucial to learn the valuable skills that teach you how to practice mindful and intuitive eating.
1. THE FOOD YOU EAT MUST BE HEALTHY FOR YOUR BODY + MIND
Your mind and body are separate things, but they’re also part of the same being… YOU! So, if you want to learn how to listen to your body, you need to also listen to your mind. One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that your body only wants to do the healthy thing. Your body wants what’s best for YOU as a whole person. That means your body also cares about what happens to your mind. If you’re unsure about what I’m talking about, here are some examples that show what I mean when I say the body and mind are connected.
- Your body is impacted by your emotional and mental stress.
- If your gut health is poor, you are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
- When you’re happy, you’re a LOT less likely to fall victim to the binge eating cycle.
So, given those examples, we can see that the body and mind can influence each other in major ways. That means if you want to be a mindful and intuitive eater, you need to listen to your body AND your mind. You need to eat foods that keep you healthy AND make you happy.
In order to listen to your body and mind, ask yourself the following questions:
- What foods have I been restricting myself from?
- How would I feel if I was allowed to eat my favorite unhealthy foods?
- Would I be happier if my meals were more delicious?
2. THE FOOD YOU EAT CAN’T BE RESTRICTIVE AND HARD TO GET
Let’s get this straight: the world is not simple. Life is very complex. We don’t live the exact same life every single day. Things happen, good and bad, that change our routine. You go on vacation, you forget to bring your homemade lunch, you miss the last train home, you meet friends for dinner, you get invited to work or school events. So then what happens? What happens when you don’t have access to YOUR food? When YOU aren’t the one cooking? How can YOU listen to your body then?
If you want to learn how to listen to your body, you can’t be so restrictive around food that it makes it impossible to stray from your routine. From my experience with orthorexia, I know how extreme restriction can get. A restriction is just a way of using your mind to sabotage your happiness. But the mistake is, you can’t listen to your body if you’re so caught up in fear, guilt, and anxiety around food. You have to find Food Freedom and loosen your restriction if you truly want to practice mindful and intuitive eating habits.
That means, in order to listen to your body, you have to be free from restriction. And you do that by addressing these main issues:
- Food fear – going outside of your routine and comfort zone should not result in fear and anxiety around food.
- Food guilt – indulging should not result in a food binge, restricting your food the next day, or feeling guilty for allowing yourself to enjoy delicious foods.
- Self-love – your food should not have an impact on your self-worth. Food is something completely separate from who you are as a person.
3. THE FOOD YOU EAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR BASIC HEALTHY EATING NEEDS
You must have an understanding of SUPER basic foods that make you feel good. That means you need to make sure you…
- Know which foods (if any) are sensitivities or irritating to your gut.
- Have a foundation of eating real food without living by restrictive diet labels.
- Get support in recovering from dieting mindsets and/or eating disorders.
TAKEAWAY: LEARN HOW TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY + FIND FOOD FREEDOM
If you want to be happy, you truly need to understand what it means to practice mindful and intuitive eating. That means you 1. need to eat what’s healthy for your mind AND your body, 2. live without restriction and inflexible standards, 3. eat in alignment with your most basic needs.
If you want more specific tips on mindful and intuitive eating, read these posts: