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What happened when I finally started listening to my Body

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What happened when I finally started listening to my Body

Val MacDonald

 

All I can say is it’s a different kind of a craving.

I crave what my body needs now, not what my emotions are calling out for.

There are so many shifts that occurred once I decided to feed my body what it needed, instead of what my emotions needed (or what I thought they needed, as it turns out).

First, I had to figure out what those emotions were telling me.

My body was helping me discover what those emotions were, because my body was reacting to the food I was feeding it.  It was rejecting the food choices I was making.  It spoke to me-loudly.

When I finally decided to listen, I made changes.  It didn’t happen overnight.  It was a process.

The changes were made gradually and in tandem with observation.  That was key for me.  I observed how my body responded to eating various foods.  I took notes, literally, about how these foods affected my energy levels and moods, my digestion and my fungus levels.

It took a long time to figure this out, because along the way I would turn to the very foods that caused the problems, in times when I needed comfort.  Like turning to a person who is most likely to kick me when I’m down.  Not helpful.

But gradually, as I discovered pathways for dealing with the emotions, I did not go down the food pathway; the cake and the cookies and the ice cream, and the brownies and the butter tarts.  These foods were replaced with the quinoa, and the beet salad, and the apples and the roasted sunflower seeds and the oven roasted vegetables and the dates.

The desserts eventually came in during times of celebration.

At first when I knew I needed to remove these foods from my daily intake, I felt a sense of resentment and deprivation.  Yet, as I started to make the connection between the food I ate and the health I experienced, I stopped resenting it.  I started appreciating the value of the other foods.

I started experimenting with those other foods, and making them more appealing, and tasty.

As I was doing this, I started journaling.  Now my emotions had an outlet.  I also started practicing yoga.  This was where so much healing took place for me.

Through the practice of yoga, I was able to release emotions from my body.  With the emotions released, I could view my life’s challenges with a new perspective.  I could think rationally and come to the conclusion about what I needed to do, and then follow through with what that involved.

I still get a lot of pleasure from food.  From yam and ginger soup, eggs fried in coconut oil with leeks and kale.  From pears and goat’s feta, and steel cut oats served with maple syrup, cinnamon and yogurt.

It’s like I see that cake and I have a few bites, but because it’s so sweet to me now, a few bites is all I need.

I have changed the relationship I have with food.  Through doing this I have changed the relationship I have with my body and myself.

Through listening to my body, I started to respect it.  I am no longer overriding its physical needs with my emotional needs.

My comfort foods became nourishing foods to my body.  My body responded by giving me more energy, more vitality and more clarity.

I started to love how that felt.  I wanted to feel that way all the time.  And so I began to really listen to my body, more and more.

I started to understand what my body loves.  It loves therapeutic yoga.  It loves walking.  It loves sleep.  It loves resting with soft music.  It loves dancing with fast music.  It loves being in Nature.  I understand how to nourish and restore my body.  I understand how to respect my body’s boundaries and how to not push those boundaries.

Through my respect for my body I stopped judging it.  I started appreciating it for everything it does for me.

Through this appreciation, I started to love my body.

Through loving my body, I let go of how society says it’s supposed to look.  It just doesn’t matter anymore.

I gradually accepted the way my body is shaped, naturally.

The shift in accepting and valuing my body exactly as it is, allowed me to accept and value myself exactly as I am now.

And by accepting and valuing myself, it is becoming less important for me to gain approval from others.

This acceptance and valuing came through the understanding that I am a spiritual being having a human experience.

This journey to health and self acceptance has been my most important human experience, because it changed how I perceive everyone that I meet.  The human experience is challenging for all of us.  And what we need is compassion.  We need compassion for one another, but first we need compassion for ourselves.

We will only arrive at true compassion by letting go of judgment.

This seems like a big task.  But it can be done through acts of kindness for ourselves and for each other. This is a good place to start.  Start being kind to yourself today.  Don’t know how?  Allow me to make a few suggestions to get you started.

15 Ways to be kind to yourself

   I.      Watch your Self critic-please be gentle with yourself

 II.      Forgive-yourself and others

III.      Stop hating your body-start appreciating it for everything it does

IV.      Exercise-find an activity that you love doing

  V.      Give hugs-the beauty in this is that you get to receive them, too!

VI.      Disconnect from your devices-become present with what is in front of you

VII.      Listen to your body-you will experience a greater sense of well-being

VIII.      Accept compliments-thank the person for their kindness

IX.      Sleep- discover how much sleep your body needs

  X.      Stop complaining-no one is listening, anyway!

XI.      Regularly breathe deeply-either in a yoga class or in a chair

XII.      Mindful Eating-chew slowly and enjoy your food

XIII.      It’s okay to cry-this relieves stress and you will feel better

XIV.      Me time-Do or not do, whatever you want, by yourself

XV.      Laugh-whatever it is that makes you laugh, get more of it!