For the past 7 years, I have been attending weekend seminars on communication, listening and relating, hosted by Ariel and Shya Kane. I found the Kanes when I was searching for reasons why my life wasn’t the way I wanted it. Ariel and Shya wrote a book called, Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work, The 3 Principles of Instantaneous Transformation. It resonated with me. One of the ideas they present is about “true listening” – setting aside my opinions, agendas and prejudices and truly listening from another person’s perspective as if the words are brand new. What a difference it has made in my life. New possibilities continue to become available to me when I truly listen. I’ve also discovered that listening isn’t just about hearing people talk. It is possible to listen to my body as well.
Growing up, my dad gave wonderful bear hugs which in many cases would pop my back. It felt great. When I left home and went to college, and subsequently started my career, I wasn’t near my dad and so couldn’t partake in his great big hugs as often as I wanted. As an alternative, I found chiropractic. For over 20 years, whenever my body was telling me something was hurting or off, I would go to the chiropractor for an adjustment and after would feel much better. Around the same time I started chiropractic, I also started getting massages. Often times when I was on the massage table, I would ask the masseuse to hold pressure on any sore spots so I could breathe into them. Breathing into the soreness helped the soreness disappear.
Through chiropractic and massage, I got to know my body. I could feel when something was off. I could tell when it was time for an adjustment or massage. What I didn’t realize (until just recently) was how I could listen to my body in other ways – such as looking to see if/when I was really hungry, or if my body was desiring some physical activity.
I recently started a new way of eating called the Ketogenic Diet. A friend of mine had done some research on it and shared with me her links and references. I reviewed the information, found a plan called the “Keto Reset Mastery Course” from Primal Blueprint, decided it was just what I was looking for, and immediately signed up to learn more. What I found, and what the authors of the system suggested, was to eat when you’re hungry. Novel idea, right? I began to look honestly and saw there were times when I was eating because I was sad, emotional, or something else was going on. I wasn’t eating because my body needed fuel. I was eating for a host of other reasons and, most notably, I was eating when I was not necessarily hungry. I also discovered I didn’t really know what hunger felt like.
I had tried many “diets” before, so to say I didn’t really know what hunger felt like might seem illogical. However, I discovered that my usual ravenous sensation was often something different all together. Sometimes I mistook hunger for thirst. I would be thirsty, but would eat instead of drink to satisfy myself. As I started listening to my body, I found it was telling me what it needed – food, drink, activity, even sleep and stress management.
One of the things I started to do, in an effort to listen to my body was when I woke up in the morning, I would “ask” myself if I was hungry. Then I would listen to hear what my body had to say. Some days I would be hungry. Some days I wasn’t. When I started listening, my body told me when it was time to eat. And this time I heard it – I was actually listening to my body, instead of listening to the brat in my thoughts telling me, “I want to eat potato chips NOW!” or “I want to eat that heated cinnamon roll with melting butter on top,” or “I want to drink a liter of Mountain Dew.” Listening to when I was hungry also showed me I didn’t have to conform to a routine or habit on when to eat. I didn’t have to eat at a certain time during the day. I could eat when my body told me it needed fuel.
In present time, I eat when I’m hungry. In doing so, I find I don’t overeat. And I find when I do eat, I eat until I’m satiated and satisfied. I have surprised myself by how little food is needed to do the activities I want to do. I have quit eating just because something tastes good. I have learned what my body wants for fuel and by listening and paying attention to what my body is saying, I have a choice. I look, and I listen, and let my body tell me what it wants and I do what it tells me. I don’t listen to the brat in my thoughts anymore who says, like a child throwing a temper tantrum – “I want it NOW!”