Tag Archives: quiet

Listening to your body means listening.

There has been a lot written about the notion of listening to our bodies.  Many people (including me) have written volumes about how our bodies have wisdom that can answer questions like:

1.  What does my body need right now?

2.  What do I need to eat?

3.  What sounds delicious to me right now?

4.  How does my body need or want to move right now?

5.  Do I need to rest right now?

Our bodies do have wisdom.  And we can learn a lot by learning to ask our bodies what our bodies need.  But a lot of people that I work with say that they have a hard time hearing the answer.  And I invariably reply, “I’m not surprised.”  In my experience, we are taught from a young age how to talk.  We are taught to perform and demand and emote and share.  What we are not taught, is how to listen.  Sadly, our culture does not seem to place sufficient value on listening.  And I think a lot of the problems in our world stem from the lack of emphasis placed on this important skill.

One of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, writes about this in one of his Discworld novels called Pyramids.  In this novel, our hero wanders off to Ephebe, where we find a whole lot of philosophers all talking at once.   Except for one character known as Endos.  You see, Endos is a professional listener.  His job is to sit quietly and absorb what other philosophers have to say.  From time to time he encourages them by saying things like “you don’t say” or “please, continue”.  For this service, Endos is paid handsomely.  Because you can’t toss a grape in Ephebe without hitting a philosopher, but a good listener is worth their weight in wine and gold.

So if we want to learn to listen to what our bodies have to say, it often helps to start by learning to listen, period.  As Endos would tell you, listening is a skill like any other.  It has specific techniques that can be  learned.  With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the listening techniques I’ve gathered and share with you how I feel they can be applied to listening to our bodies.

1.  Be Quiet.  It’s kind of obvious, but if we want to listen to somebody talk, we first need to stop talking.  In the case of listening to our bodies, that means that we should sit quietly and without distraction from television or radios or computers.  And then we need to stop talking to our bodies.  We need to stop telling it what we think it SHOULD want or it SHOULD need.  This is step one, but it is often the very most difficult.

2.  Be Encouraging.  My body is not going to talk to me if my body is sure I am going to scoff or treat it with disdain for the things it has to say.  If my body says, “I’m hungry,” and then I tell it, “You can’t be hungry because it isn’t noon yet,” we’ve got a problem.  Next time I ask my body what’s up, will it answer?  If I want my body to tell me things, I need to take a cue from Endos and be encouraging. I need to say things like, “Fascinating!  Do continue.”

3.  Be Patient.  Our bodies are used to being ignored.  It might take a while for our bodies to communicate with us again.  We need to give it time and space.  We need to accept that we won’t always get answers the moment we ask for them.  We need to treat our bodies with respect and patience.

4. Be Impartial.  If our bodies are convinced that we will judge it and treat it harshly for letting us know what it needs, it will stop telling us.  We need to listen to our bodies without judging.

5.  Be Responsive.  If we constantly respond to our bodies needs by denying those needs, our bodies will stop talking.  If our bodies learn that they are rewarded for telling us what they need by GETTING WHAT THEY NEED they will become more communicative.

I have lots more I could say about this, but I’d like to practice some active listening with you right now.  Do you have some thoughts about your experiences in learning to listen to your body?  I’d love to hear them.  Please share in the comments section below.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want to listen to me talk at YOUR group, classroom or organization?  Click HERE to learn more about my speaking programs.

Strengthening our Voices

Now with 36% more shout!

Now with 36% more shout!

This weekend I have been battling with a little rhinovirus-related laryngitis.  Which is a fancy way of saying the nasty gook from my latest head-cold is making it hard for me to talk.  Now anybody who knows me at all, knows that I find shutting up for any length of time a major sacrifice. And my husband has found he practically needs to tape my mouth shut to get me to rest my voice so I can get better.

But the whole thing has made me think a lot about the way that people of size are silenced in our society.  As fat people, we’re told that we don’t look healthy enough to run the country.  We’re told we are not eligible to run a company because of the way we look.  Many of us are not taken as seriously as we like because of the size of our pants.  We are patronized.  We are discriminated against.  And whenever we say anything about it.  When we complain about discrimination or unfairness, we’re patted on the head and told to just be quiet.

And many of us have been so hurt and so humiliated for so long, we just quietly sit and take it.  We accept second-class citizenship, we sit in silence and we relinquish our power just like that.  We stand idly by as fat friends and family members are treated as less than.

Why do we do this?  Why do we let others silence our voices?  Sometimes I imagine it is because we get tired.  Fighting is hard and painful (even if you DON’T read the comments section).  But I think the main reason so many of us become silent, is because we secretly or even openly believe the lies that other people tell us about ourselves.  We believe we are less capable.  We believe we have less to offer.  We believe that we don’t have the physical stamina necessary to run the company or run the world.

We will all face times of silence.  Whether it is because it is too dangerous to speak, or we are simply to tired to lift our voices, silence will happen.  And sometimes silence is golden.  The question is, how can we use these times of silence to come back even stronger?

I think we can take that time to remember that we are people of worth.  We can recall that each of us has something to say and deserves a space in which to say it.  We can also use the quiet times to help other people find their own voices.  Then we can find even greater strength in shouting and singing together.  And we can take the time to really listen to one another.  We can bend down and hear the quiet voices that don’t often take center stage.  And we can listen carefully to the loudest voices and hear the true meaning that often lurks between the spoken words.

Yes, from time to time each of us is silent.  But we can choose to use those quiet times to gird our loins and warm up our songs so we can roar out into the world once again.


The Fat Chick

P.S. Tune in to hear my voice TOMORROW on an amazing teleseminar.  Click HERE for more info.

And I wanted to make a shout out to all my Fit Fatties Across America out there!  This week Saturday is A Fatty Affair in San Jose.  Last week we reached Colorado.  Help us add another 1300 miles this week to get to San Jose by Saturday!  Don’t forget to enter all your minutes/or miles of exercise and help us hit our goal!