Tuning Into Your Body to Support Your Health and Yourself
Posted Jul 28 2010 8:45pm
By Dahlia Yoskowitz
Tuning in to our bodies, finding our voices and standing up for what we want can lead us on the path towards truly knowing and valuing ourselves. Choosing to nourish ourselves—our minds, our bodies, our spirits—with healthy food and with loving thoughts is a crucial part of self-care, and is one way of validating the beauty that exists within each of us.
But with the demands of everyday life constantly creeping in, that can be hard! Despite your best intentions to make the right choices for yourself and your family during every minute of your life, it simply isn’t realistically possible.
Has this scenario ever happened to you? All three kids are talking to you at the same time: one is hungry, one just fell down, one needs help with homework; the plumber meanwhile is telling you: “sorry, it’s going to cost a couple thousand more”; the phone is ringing and a million other things are going on as well. At times like these, it’s hard to find the clarity in which to think up a healthy snack for the kids, or even to think in positive terms at all. You just want to survive the day!
On other occasions, when things are calmer, you have more time and peace of mind to process decisions, pay attention to what is best for you and strive for better outcomes. The more chances you have in easier situations to make healthy choices and act on them, the more you will eventually make healthier choices in even tough situations.
For example, you’re at the market and your kids are begging for macaroni and cheese for dinner. You’re listening to what they want and thinking about the Kraft Mac & Cheese box, but you’re also asking yourself whether that’s really healthy for them. After taking a moment, you decide on Annie’s organic Mac & Cheese—a healthier choice! Even if it is a seemingly small decision, practice really does help.
Going out to dinner can be an example of this. You’re looking at the menu, remembering your concerted effort to eat healthfully, but also feeling lighthearted and fun among friends you are out with.
Sometimes you may be in the mood to exercise your adventurous side and the right choice is to honor that thrill-seeking voice inside your head and to order the goat cheese-pesto pizza you’ve been dying to try. The important part of this is tuning in and acting on that personal choice with confidence: speaking up for what you desire at that time.
The same holds true in other instances. Perhaps you are out to dinner and are in the mood for something light and healthy, despite the fact that friends or family members are urging you to try certain dishes. Taking a moment to check in with yourself to decide if you feel like ordering a fancy dish or something simple is important. The choice is a personal one, and speaking up in a kind but firm voice tells the waiter as well as the people you are with, what it is you want.
Even though at times I like to be adventurous at restaurants, the other day, I felt like ordering a plain piece of fish with steamed vegetables, and asked if the kitchen could accommodate my wish. When a friend said, “that’s so boring! She means grilled fish—you’ll like that better,” I found my voice and responded: “Thanks, but I would actually like the fish broiled if that’s possible—that’s what I’m in the mood for tonight.”
By tuning in to what I wanted, and ordering according to my wishes rather than according to what my friend or the waiter recommended, I was speaking up for myself and honoring my inner wisdom of how to best care for myself that evening.
*Note from Karen: YOU are your body’s truest expert. We have gotten so used to listening to experts tell us what is good for us, and listening to others’ opinions about what we might like, that we have moved away from listening to our intuition, the wise part of us that knows what is in our best interest.
Start tuning in, speaking up and honoring that intuition, whether you’re out to dinner with friends, or simply having breakfast or lunch alone at home. Ask yourself: “What am I really in the mood for right now? What is my body really needing? What would feel satisfying and nourishing and feed my taste buds and my health, in this moment?”
It’s your body. You are the only one who can REALLY know what makes it run best. By honoring and respecting this wisdom, you are doing one of the most important things you can do for your health. You are also modeling for your children how to value the most important possession they have…themselves.
Want to use this article in your next newsletter or on your website? You have my permission as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Schachter is a licensed clinical social worker and certified health counselor who is committed to helping girls and women find peace, nourishment and wellbeing with food, eating, and in their bodies. To receive her FREE Special Report: 7 Secrets to Having The Relationship with Food You’ve Always Wanted (and The Body You’ve Always Wanted Too), go to www.healthybodieshappyminds.com. (You’ll find recipes and other free resources there as well!)