Body Kindness

Week 7/Honoring Your Hunger

One of the main tenets of diet culture is that it reveres the absence of hunger.  “You won’t be hungry”, diets so proudly proclaim as part of their marketing tagline, as if this is something to be celebrated. 

Wait.

How is it that this sign – hunger – has become labeled as “bad”, and the lack of it is somehow “good”?  This concept is presented in such a way that we can unknowingly be swept up into the whirlwind of beliefs that have us doubting our instincts, following patterns that end up leading us astray.

We were born with amazing signals.  When we were hungry, we cried until we were fed.  When we were satisfied, we pushed away.  When we were tired, we slept.  We were beautifully and undeniably attuned to what we needed before we could even speak a word.

Hunger is our body’s need for fuel, much like the gas light in our car.  It’s asking us to stop what we are doing momentarily to meet one simple need, allowing us to recenter and move on with the next part of our day.   This basic signal is part of our foundation that, when responded to, helps us do anything else in our life that has value to us.

What if you could practice listening for hunger and begin to embrace it as a gift, as a guide?   
We all have that signal within us.  If you have been an erratic eater, a dieter, a restrained or controlled eater the signals of hunger are most likely muted and disconnected – for now.  Eating on a regular basis throughout the day, however, teaches your body that it can again trust you to feed it.  This simple but powerful act allows your body to begin speaking to you again, whispering hunger signals in subtle or even loud and boisterous ways.  Notice a couple hours after eating if you start to lose focus, begin to think about food, become irritable or tired, or have a shift in body sensations.  Any of these can signal your body is starting to tell you that it’s running low on fuel.  Take this opportunity as a chance to honor your signals, recharge and catch up with yourself. 

What a wonderful time for us to reconnect with this basic, essential signal with which we were gifted. 

Christie Caggiani is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Her mindfulness-based, non-diet approach allows clients to identify, understand and move beyond their eating struggles, as they reconnect with their internal signals of hunger and satiety. She is passionate about teaching clients to eat intuitively and move joyfully.  For Sacred Treehouse, Christie has designed a series of fun and educational nutrition and cooking workshops for both children and teens. She also offers cooking and nutrition workshops for adults.

Week Three/Inviting Body Awareness Into Your Life

Have you made a resolution yet about your body? 

Most people do at the start of a new year.  We have a picture of what we think our bodies should or should not look like.  We then make a decision to push our bodies in that direction.  This course of action is held for a short time and eventually fades away.  We beat ourselves up and feel defeated for not “meeting our goal.” 
 
What if this year you actually turned towards your body? 
 
Imagine making a decision to treat your body with more respect, care and appreciation. What if you gave up the belief that it works to make negative comments about your body?  Can you see that moving towards the body helps you create a relationship with the body? Our bodies are not the enemy. Each body is unique.  The shape, size and condition are all reflections of a variety of factors: genetics, age, circumstances and care.  No relationship works if one half constantly criticizes the other.  This year, I invite you to try a different resolution:

 I want a positive relationship with my body.
Anni Johnston, LMHC-S, BC-D/MT, CEDS, CYT works at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Movement Therapist.  In addition to her therapy work, Anni offers weekly Beginner and Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse.  She also offers book studies and special workshops throughout the year.

Week Two/Discover the Pleasures of Mindful Eating

“Whether you eat alone or with other people, eating is a time to connect with your body and nourish it, especially through regular meals.”
 
Intuitive Eating Workbook, Evelyn Tribole and & Elyse Resch

 
Eating is a sacred practice. By incorporating mindfulness and creating time and space, the daily habit of eating can be transformed into a spiritual practice. The benefits of mindful eating are numerous.  When we lovingly bring attention to when, what, and how much we eat, we are able to experience true nourishment.  Mindful eating leads to a greater enjoyment of food and a deeper connection to the universe.
 
Here are some tips for how to incorporate mindful eating into your life:

  • Dine in an uncluttered space.  Use a beautiful place setting and sit down to eat.
  • Before starting your meal, take a few cleansing breathes, intentionally bringing mindfulness to the meal or snack.
  • You may also pause to bring gratitude for the food, recognizing all of the effort required to grow and prepare the food included in your meal.
  • Take time to smell, taste, and feel each bite of food. Pause in-between bites by placing utensils or hand held food down, taking a deep breath.
  • You may note any changes in feelings or energy at the conclusion of the meal.
  • Clean your space and pause again in gratitude before moving on with your day.

Recommended Reading:

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Workbook

Body Kindness

How to Eat