Tag Archives: cravings

Loving Your Body by Listening to Your Body

listening

I’ve been married for nearly 20 years, and that’s quite a while.  If I’ve learned anything over this past 20 years about relationships, it’s this–if you love somebody you have to take time to listen to them.  Sure, it’s important to buy each other presents, and show affection.  And yeah, sex is pretty important too.  But few things are as important as taking time to really hear what your partner has to say.

Today is Love Your Body Day, and I think that’s wonderful.  It’s a day which encourages us to celebrate the bodies we have as they are.  It’s a day which encourages us to put diets aside and to spend at least 24 hours not comparing ourselves to unrealistic media ideals of bodies and not beating ourselves up for failing to “measure up”.

But I think we can take this relationship with our bodies a little further than failing to beat ourselves up.  And I think one of the most important things we can do to show our bodies love is to learn to listen to them.

Our bodies are mysterious and magical and wondrous.  So much of it works without our having to think consciously about it at all.  Our hearts beat, and breathing happens.  Our stomachs digest food and our bodies break it into nutrients that fuel movements both conscious and unconscious.  But for things that we need to do consciously like find food and move our limbs, and lay down to sleep our bodies have a very sophisticated built-in wiring system intricately connected with our brains.  And if we become attuned to that wiring system, we can learn so much about what our bodies need.

So many of us have learned to be frustrated by the fact that our bodies get hungry.  But I for one, am deeply grateful for it.  I am a busy person who is easily distracted.  Were it not for hunger, I think I might find myself stranded on the side of the road somewhere completely out of fuel and without roadside assistance.  Luckily, I get hungry often and in no uncertain terms.  So even if I find it really annoying, I find that I have to take the time to find food on the regular.  What’s more, I find that if I take the time to listen, my body is pretty specific about what food it wants.  The more carefully I listen to my body, the more attuned I am to what nutrients I am lacking and what foods might best top off my nutritional tank.  Sometimes my body craves carrots and sometimes (well most of the time) it craves chocolate.  And it seems the more carefully that I follow my body’s menu choices (rather than my brain’s dictates about what I should eat) the better I feel.  And when I really listen to what my body wants to eat, and give in by eating precisely as much of those things as my body wants, I am rewarded.  My body feels warm, wonderful and satisfied.

Another area where I’m learning to finally listen to my loud-talking body is in movement.  Our bodies are capable of amazing abilities to move through space.  Not only can we walk across a room or catch a ball without thinking about it, but we can also hike and swim in the ocean and dance.  And this is another place where the highly sophisticated wiring in our bodies has a lot to tell us.  If I sit too long, my body protests.  My back and knees stiffen.  I feel pain in my head and neck.  On the other hand, if I move too much or too long or in a way that is too intense for my current fitness level, my body sends me messages of pain and fatigue.  Now just like hunger, pain and fatigue can be deeply annoying.  My schedule may convince my conscious mind that it does not want to get up and move or it may not want to stop moving or it may find it extremely inconvenient to sleep.  Thankfully, my body sends signals that are difficult to ignore and I try to find ways to meet my body’s demands by moving or resting or sleeping.  And when I get this right, my body rewards me.  I feel a lightness in my limbs and a glowing sense of energy when I am well-exercised and well rested.

Our bodies strive for something that is so difficult for us to achieve in modern life–balance.  Our bodies tell us when we are eating more food than we need or not enough.  Our bodies tell us when we need more broccoli, and when we need buns.  Our bodies tell us when to leap and when to laugh and when to rest and when to run.  And when I listen, truly listen, to my body, it sings.  The energy flows through me and I feel a hum that runs from my toes to the top of my head.  That’s what it feels like to be in a loving relationship with my body.  It feels wonderful. It’s enough to make me strive to make every day love my body day.

Love,

Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Right Now Show Episode 010: Craving the 2K Cookie

Many of us have been taught that cravings are something to be thwarted, ignored or denied.  But our bodies have a way of insisting on getting what they want.  In this video you will learn about why it’s so important to pay attention to cravings, what happens when you ignore cravings and the very simplest and most effective way to deal with cravings.  You’ll also learn about the 2,000 calorie cookie, so check it out!

Intuitive eating can be extremely challenging.  But there is help out there.  Here are a few important resources:

The Fat Nutritionist

Ellyn Satter (especially in the area of family nutrition)

HAES(R) research about eating

And the amazing Golda Portetsky

Hope you get a chance to be good to yourself and treat your body well, right now!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Desires–What I Wanna

I LOVE jammie time!

I LOVE jammie time!

Not all cravings are for food.  Sure, chocolate chip cookies are important, but there are other things in life.  And in learning to listen to what my body wants to eat, I am learning to broaden the question and listen to the other things my body wants.

At some point every day, my body craves rest.  Especially since I am such an early riser, there comes a point where my body wants to just curl up somewhere under a nice blankie and get some sleep. And it feels so good!  I love, love, love my jammies.  In fact when my friend and super talented photographer Kelly Varner came over to take some pictures, we went through the closet to look for some clothes.  When she saw my collection of PJs she laughed and said, “you have a lot of pajamas!”  To which I replied, “of course!  Jammies are awesome!”  At some point in the evening, I’ve been known to shout out, “What time is it?”  To which my husband has learned the Pavlovian retort, “It’s jammie time!”  At which point I’ve been known to burst into my own version of “Jammie Time” which is based on “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.  I’ve even got a special little song I sing when I slip into a bed made with clean sheets fresh out of the dryer.

Sometimes, I really just crave some time alone.  I want to shut the door and shut out the world.  I want to read or surf the net or display my wrath via computer games and I don’t want to talk to anybody or be with anybody.  Sometimes I crave company.  Sometimes I want to talk to somebody and sometimes, I just want to go to the coffee shop and sit in a room with a bunch of strangers–just to be somewhere other than my room all by myself.

Sometimes I feel the need to go out into the world and sing and dance and play with others.  Sometimes I want to walk or bike or stretch or shake my groove thing.  And sometimes I need to withdraw from the world and be outside and be with nature.  Sometimes I want to shut off my phone and simply look at some clouds or some trees or the ocean.

My point is that there are many, many kinds of cravings in my life.  Some of these cravings involve food.  Many do not.  But I find that when I am ignoring cravings in one area of my life, other cravings tend to intensify.  If I’m craving alone time but find I can’t get it, I find myself craving more sleep.  If I’m craving sleep, but can’t get it, I find myself craving sweet or starchy foods.  When I’m feeling the need to go out and dance and shout and shake my groove thing and can’t do it, I crave shopping for new things.  I have learned that there are many “displacements” for when I ignore the underlying cravings in my life.  And I have learned that my life works better when I can find a way to satisfy the underlying cravings rather than the displacement cravings.  Now life being what it is, I can’t always get whatever I want whenever I want it.  And I’m a little old to flop down on the floor of the local grocery store to have a kicking and screaming tantrum.  But even when I can’t have what I want, I find it helpful to know what it is.  And I’ve found it helpful to make peace with the replacement cravings too.  They are all part of me and it’s all good.  It’s all good.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Cravings

Recently, a very dear friend sent me a link to this video.  I think it’s partly because she knows how I feel about cookies.  But it got me thinking about what length I would go to to get a chocolate chip cookie and all about the nature of cravings.

In a recent post I talked about the “Big Fat Cookie Cycle” and how deprivation and binging go together like peanut butter and jelly.  There is no question in my mind that systematically restricting our access to certain foods gives us cravings for those foods.  But it seems to me the whole issue of cravings is somewhat complicated.

Cravings can also be driven by nutritional needs.  And as we become more in tune with our bodies I think we can learn to listen when our body is asking for certain foods.  Sometimes I crave things based on what my body needs like vitamin C or protein or carbohydrates or all the happy stuff in green leafy vegetables.

But what about chocolate chip cookies?  Does vitamin C stand for “cookie”.  (Alas, no.) Cravings can sometimes be about nutrition, but cravings can be about other things too.  Am I craving sugar because I’m looking for a boost?  Am I craving cookies because they just taste delicious?  Am I craving a chocolate chip cookie because it is simply one of the best foods invented ever?  And so sometimes these cravings happen and I’m okay with that.

Sometimes I crave a cookie because I’m feeling sad, tired, overstressed, lonely, depressed, or just feel like I need a pick me up.  And you know what, I’m okay with that too.

Sometimes I grab a cookie because I have three minutes in which to stuff food into my body before my next appointment and a cookie will allow me to quickly get enough energy to get through the next two hours and still keep one hand on the steering wheel.  Unfortunately cookies consumed for expediency as opposed to genuine desire do not taste so good.  So I’m working on this whole aspect of things.

The truth is, I crave different things at different times for each or all of these reasons.  I am not an “intuitive eating” ninja who always understands why I’m eating what I’m eating.  I don’t always have 40 minutes over which to enjoy a leisurely meal complete with linen napkins and candlelight and savor each bite of deliciousness and ponder its purpose in my life and resultant effect on my well being.  And I don’t only crave foods that my doctor or the latest diet guru says I should.  Sometimes I crave kale and sometimes I crave chocolate.  I am a real person with a real life.  And so I can’t always tell you why I want a cookie.  I just know if I don’t get a cookie when I really, REALLY want a cookie, (see above video) there’s likely to be a backlash.  And when that backlash hits, one cookie simply will not do it.  Take away my cookies for too long and I don’t even know if that jar on top of the fridge would be enough.  So I will continue to eat cookies when I really, really want cookies and try to make time for the deep philosophical pondering later.

Then again, had he lived in our time, Freud might have said, “Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie.”

Love,

The Fat Chick