As you might have gathered from reading my blogs, I am a big believer in the idea of "listening to my body". Whether it is about nutrition, workout, sleep or anything else really, I believe that the body is extremely intelligent and sending us signs all the time. I am convinced that if we listen to these signs we can achieve optimal health. At the same time, I personally feel that because we are all living such a hectic lives, in such a hectic environment, where we are over analyzing everything, we are simply no longer capable of "listening to our body". We are not able to hear the signs that our body are sending us all the time.
For example, many of us prefer to focus on the scale or all kinds of different measurements, in order to determine our nutritional or workout choices. Or many of us wear a pulse watch during cardio to track all kind of information. I think that all these is interesting information, but by focusing too much on all these, we move further away from being able to heat what our body is telling us. Years ago I decided to stop using the scale (back in the days, I used to weigh myself every morning) because I realized that I was too focused on the number, rather than focusing on when I feel at my best. With time I learn to listen to my body, I learn to recognize when I feel most energized, how much sleep I need, and what is absolutely not good for me.
For example, just by experimenting and listening to my body, now I know not only what foods are giving me the most energy, but I also know when to eat certain foods. I love fruits, but I have come to the realization that when I eat fruits in the afternoon I get bloated......so I make sure that I avoid fruits in the afternoon. Although I don't eat animal products (except the occasional ice cream or chocolate), I have realized that not all vegan recipes are good for me - some make me tired, others bloated.
You might ask yourself - ok, but what does "listening to my body" really mean. There is no science to it.....it basically means to pay attention to all the little signs that your body is sending you throughout the day:
- how do you feel after each meal?
- do you feel tired after certain foods?
- do you feel bloated after certain foods / snacks?
- which foods give you energy?
- how does coffee make you feel - are you really that depended on coffee, or is it only your mind telling you need it?
- how do you feel when you reduce the sugar in your diet?
- how do you feel after different types of workouts?
- have you tried working out at different times of the day - when do you feel at your best?
- do you feel pain during workout? may be a sign of injury building up!?
- do you feel tired throughout the day - could it be you are not getting enough sleep?
- how is your mood affected by how you started your day?
- when do you feel stressed out, anxious - could your mood be affected by the food choices you are making.....or the amount of sleep?
- how does watching TV until midnight (or later) every night make you feel - does it relax you, or makes you even more tired?
- are you feeling sick - it might be best if you just give yourself one day rest!
- if something has been bothering or hurting for a while - go to the doctors, see what it might be
- when do you feel truly happy?
- what makes you smile?
- when do you feel at your best?
The list of signs is extremely long, but you get the point - don't focus on external factors, instead focus on the inside.......focus on the signs your body is sending you. Of course it will take some time, and practice, but it is totally worth it! There is nothing better than feeling great in your own skin, without worrying about the number on the scale, or fitting into some kind of society norms, or keeping up with the latest diet trend. One thing that might be helpful in the beginning is to have a notebook, where you note things down....or what you want to focus on that particular day (nutrition, workout, etc). Whichever way you decide to do it, I challenge you to pay more attention in the next month to your body and the signs it sends you.
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