Listening to Your Body and Brain Knowledge in Intuitive Eating — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC

Now, let’s talk listening to your body and brain knowledge in intuitive eating, and how you can use both these sources of information together.

Listening to Your Body Knowledge in Intuitive Eating:

Body knowledge consists of hunger and fullness cues, food preferences, cravings, and how food makes you feel. Essentially, it’s the information you gain by listening to your body and understanding what it’s trying to tell you.

It’s obvious in hindsight, but one thing I like to remind my clients in that your body’s job is to try and keep you alive. Everything it does, even the things you don’t like very much, are for a very good reason. While our body’s messaging system can certainly “misfire” under certain circumstances, for the most part, overall it will lead you towards feeding your body adequately and appropriately with a wide variety of foods, some more fun and others more fueling.

Now, when I talk about listening to your body, I know a lot of you out there are scratching your head and thinking, “uhhh but what if it’s not talking?” Many people are quite disconnected from their body, especially those who have experienced trauma, extreme stress, gastrointestinal disease or other conditions that cause chronic pain and discomfort. While that disconnection can be extremely frustrating when one is trying to practice intuitive eating, it’s helpful to remember that it started as a survival mechanism – a way of protecting yourself when embodiment didn’t feel safe.

I like to use a simple analogy to help clients reconnect with their body. Imagine your body is a friend that you’ve lost touch with over time. They kept calling you, trying to keep the relationship going, but for whatever reason you didn’t pick up the phone. So, they stopped calling. Now you want to reestablish the relationship. You realize you were a crappy friend, so It’s your turn to pick up the phone! You ask them what’s going on in their life and show up for them as a friend by taking actions that show you care.

In intuitive eating, this looks like you feeding yourself adequately throughout the day and checking in with your body to ask for its needs. You might not know the answer, but you’re at least showing up and demonstrating care by checking in! One way I have clients practice this is by checking in with their body at times throughout the day, and completing a brief body scan to see what their body might need. I encourage going beyond just checking with hunger and fullness cues. You body might need a snack. Or maybe it needs fuzzy socks for cold feet and a bathroom break. Honoring all your needs is a way to listen to your body and build embodiment.

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