I sometimes have people say things to me like, “I am in tune with my body,” or, “I know how to listen to my body.”
I don’t think my body and I are actually on speaking terms.
It’s not that my hunger impulses don’t work, I’m just guilty of ignoring them a lot. It’s breakfast/lunch/dinner time, so I should eat. Or, hey these fries are good – I’m going to eat all of them. Meanwhile my stomach is waving the white flag and yelling, “STOP EATING THAT, STUPID!”
My cravings are also kind of whack. I’ll hear normal people say, “I’m craving something crunchy!” and then go eat a celery stick. Whereas I don’t seem to crave anything that doesn’t involve salt, sugar, fat or grease. Let’s be honest, I didn’t get to be the size I am from craving fruit all the time.
Now that the holiday season is passing, I feel about a hundred pounds heavier. Oh my clothes all still fit, so I couldn’t have realistically gained very much, but when I look in the mirror instead of going, “okay – it’s a nice face,” all I’m thinking is, “you have two chins.” I feel blocked up and weighted down. I haven’t given myself a chance to feel properly, stomach grumblingly hungry in way too long.
So today I began what I call a listening detox.
I got into work and prepared myself a cup of hot, vanilla earl grey tea (my favorite). No sugar, no cream, no chemicals. Then I hydrated. Then – I just focused on trying to listen.
No food allowed until my stomach actually, literally growled to indicate an empty tank, then some fruit. I brought four delicious little Clementine’s and I had one each time I growled. Then, a plentiful supply of fresh, raw vegetables in finger food size (no dip). All of these are foods which, to put it delicately, have cleansing properties.
For lunch I had a sandwich made with more vegetables and a little cheese.
Dinner was a bowl of the post-Christmas split pea and ham soup I made this evening. As always, my danger time for food is when I arrive in from work, and I scarfed down a handful of pita chips with artichoke dip while I was cooking. As usual, this means at the end of the day I wind up taking a mental inventory and wishing I could delete a couple of items from my menu. At least I’m studiously ignoring the siren song of eggnog and cookies that is coming from my refrigerator.
It’s not easy. In addition to all the bio hazards at home, the moment I walked into the office today I was confronted with three big trays of Christmas cookies and my refined sugar craving impulses immediately perked up. Still, I know that if I start eating them I’ll just continue to feel awful; over-sugared, weighted down, and running inefficiently on lousy fuel sources.
I wish that what my body needs and what it seems to want could match up a bit better. I wish I did suffer from celery cravings. In the meantime, all I can do is focus hard on the need rather than the want, and try my best to listen.