The practice of checking in with yourself after you eat.
How do you feel after you eat?
Most of you are familiar with the sensation of being stuffed, bloated, or tired after eating. Jokingly, (though really it isn’t a joke), you use these feelings as evidence that the meal was good and you loved it so much that you ate as much as you possibly could. “Oh my god! It was so good I can’t even move now!”
With so many diets and fads related to what we are suppose to eat, we tend to all become a bit disordered in our eating. This is partly observable by the fact that most of you can recite at least 5 different fad diets to lose weight, but have a hard time really knowing what your body truly needs and craves.
For the purposes of this post I’m offering a very general definition of what Disordered Eating is, but will cover it in more depth in a future post.
Disordered Eating: In this case, disordered eating manifests as possible behaviors such as stuffing emotions, stress eating, binging, obsessive restrictions, and harmful eating choices that over all don’t qualify a person for a diagnosis of an actual Eating Disorder, but is disconnected from the healthy rhythm of hunger and nourishment needs of the body.
Little emphasis is placed on the wisdom of our bodies. A scientist has nothing on the truth your body can give you. But we tend to live in such a disconnection from our bodies, it’s hard to really know what our bodies are telling us, if anything at all.
What is your body telling you?
When you eat something, how do you feel afterward? If you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, achy, fuzzy headed, grumpy, or anything else that might suggest your system is in distress or off balance, your body is telling you something. By the same token, if you feel awake, alive, energized and able to continue on with your day fueled to take on what comes next, your body is telling you something.
By the way, YES, it is possible to have a meal and actually feel amazing after you have consumed it. The majority of us don’t actually have experience of this.
The wisdom is within.
It doesn’t matter that conventional science says that milk is healthy for your bones, if when you drink it, you develop congestion and excess mucus or gassy bloat. Nor does it matter that there is also suggestion that drinking milk is bad for you for the very reasons stated above if you end up feeling fueled, satisfied, energized and awakened by milk. What matters here is the affect to your body.
What gives me a bad reaction, might not be the same for you, or you… or even you.
Things being what they are, I’m obligated here to remind everyone that I’m not a doctor nor am I dispensing medical advice. * We are all responsible for our bodies, our health and the management of both.* However, read what I’m saying here in context. Your body is speaking to you daily. Much of what harms you, your body is already warning you against long before things go very wrong with your health.
We are in constant dialogue with our bodies and health. Most of the time however, there isn’t a lot of listening that is taking place. In fact, often when we hear what our bodies are saying, we ignore it and eat that bowl of whatever anyways, because damn it… it was so so good!
There are two things of note here:
1. We are constantly getting feedback from our bodies on what it needs and what it doesn’t need, what keeps it going and healthy and what depletes it.
2. There is the very harsh reality that often when we get a message that something isn’t good for us, we eat it anyway because the value we place on our bodies and health is cut off from the immediate satisfaction of what something tastes like or any other sense of pleasure it might be giving us due to disordered eating.
Read that again, because what I’m telling you as well as myself is that our willingness to listen and honor the wisdom of our bodies is directly linked to the amount of value and worth we place on our bodies, our health, and ultimately ourselves.
Our self worth is directly reflected back to you in how you feed yourself and how you tend to your body.
After every single time you eat, check in with the sensations of your body. Do this immediately after and then again in an hour after. Sensation is the language of your body’s wisdom. Pay attention, really hear it, let it sink in and let this information inform you.
Don’t worry about changing your habits. Just practice the art of listening and taking in the information your body is giving you. Often, just this simple act carries with it profound awareness and shifts in how you approach things. At the very least, it helps you get in tune with your body.
How do you feel?
You might find that you actually do not know what your body really loves and what makes it feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. It might take a while before you begin to see patterns and identify that which fuels you well. This is fine. You’re learning your body and by doing so, you’re giving it enough importance to listen to. This is what a practice is all about; repeating an action so that over time wisdom and mastery unfolds.