Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who Are You Listening To?

Most people refuse to envisage intuitive eating for one simple reason: it's based on listening to your body.

"Eek! If I listened to my body, I'd be stuffing myself with bad food constantly!"

Actually, no, you wouldn't and here's why: you're not listening to your body. When you're eating in a clearly destructive way, you're listening to your mind, not your body.

The mind is a really noisy creature. It talks constantly and is usually really loud. It's got an opinion on everything, it makes all kinds of crazy (and yes, sometimes even surprisingly sensible) suggestions. It rarely leaves you in peace. Even when you're asleep, you're dreaming...your mind's at work.

Much of the time, the body is shy and retiring. If your health is decent, you don't notice yourself breathing. Your heart beats normally and quietly. You only notice your heart when something's really wrong or when you're exercising and your heart rate is elevated. You don't think about your back or your joints unless you've had an accident or suffer from arthritis. Usually, your body just goes about its work and doesn't make a fuss or constantly remind you that it's there.

Your body does communicate with you, but one of the sad lessons we learn as we grow up, is that we should ignore its messages. A baby cries when he or she is hungry. Once sated, the infant usually drifts off into a happy slumber. Babies also turn their heads away in disgust once they've had enough to eat. What do we do as adults? We "virtuously" ignore our legitimate hunger signals one day and stuff ourselves to the point of feeling physically ill the next. We often act this destructively several times a day.

Growing up is the process whereby we learn to no longer listen to our bodies and only listen to our minds. Sad, isn't it?


  1. I love this post, and we hit on the same main point didn't we? It is sad that we stop listening to our bodies as we grow older, and instead eat when we aren't hungry.

    Even my 2 year old eats just until he is full. One time he said he wanted a vanilla wafer, but he didn't eat it. He just shoved it into his applesauce and then threw it on the floor.

    I remember thinking, "I don't think I'd ever turn down a cookie when I was heavy!"

    Great post!!

  2. Awesome post. Truer words have never been spoken!

  3. I think the body follows the mind.
    I think the mind is split - half between the ego/physical and half on so-called higher, peace, etc.
    The trick for me is to listen better and choose what I already know is right.

  4. Excellent post!

    I think the big thing is that we allow outside influences to interfere with the messages that our bodies send us. In time we lose the ability to understand them. We might think that our body is saying one thing, when it in fact it says something completely different. It really is worth our while to start shutting out the external influences and get in tune with our bodies again. I'm all for it!

  5. Liked this post a lot. Listening to my own body is the hardest thing. I find meditation and quiet times help, but often I am so unused to listening to my own body that I just don't know what my body wants! (That's usually a time when overeating takes place...)

  6. What an excellent post! I must try and listen better - and trust in my body more!

  7. Really great post! SO much to think about here as I feel I'm totally out of touch with my body's needs and can't see a way of ever relating to its needs ever again. My mind never stops to listen to my body ...

    If I could just get rid of my mind I'd be fine ...

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  8. My body needs to learn to speak up... the mind never had that problem, unfortunately.

  9. ok - so now I know what I SHOULD do... now tell me HOW.... truth be told, I wait too long to eat, then want anything to satisfy (usually something sweet or spicy...NOT a celery stick)

  10. It's true, nice post... Recently I eat so often and it's foods that I know not healthy. But I don't want EVER to add weight again. So, I torture myself with a lot more workout. Now, my body can no longer listen to my mind because i'm too tired to do anything... :)

  11. Very good and so true. I heard years ago that we should watch a baby or toddler for lessons on eating right. They eat when hungry and stop when full and don't ask for more until they are hungry again.

    Like Diane, I have been amazed at times when my kids were little and didn't want dessert after dinner, because they were too full. I never turned down dessert, full or not.

    I found you Diane's blog, fittothefinish. Glad I checked it out today! Great post!