Wednesday, November 16, 2011
My body is brilliant.
It always knows how to operate and function well without ever needing a reminder.
To be honest, I really don't even understand or grasp what's going on in my body the majority of the time. How does my brain know how to type? How does my heart beat keep on going and going? I understand so very little.
In my reading and studying lately, I've been learning a lot about the major disconnect most people (at least Americans) have between their body, its signals, and how we understand it and respond to it. I notice this a lot in my own behaviors, and am working toward being more responsive and understanding when my body is trying to tell me something, and what to do with that feeling.
There is a vast cultural stigma about the BODY being what's wrong with a person. A person's BODY has cravings, the BODY directs a person to eat that whole tub of ice cream. The BODY gets cramps or bloating, and the BODY forces a person to stop running or exercising. It's the BODY that leads the PERSON astray.
Or so it is thought.
But in reality... our bodies are such amazing self-sustaining, self-healing organisms. They know what we want and need. And it's time we start tuning in and listening more carefully.
I'm learning about identifying the real signals behind cravings. When my body faces a sugar craving, it doesn't mean it's trying to sabotage me. It's not set-out to destroy my clean-eating goals for the day, nor is it wanting me to binge and feel guilt. It's communicating to me in the only way it knows and can most easily-- through hunger signals. When the craving strikes, I'm trying to look at what really may be contributing to it. The auto-response here on Spark is "EMOTIONAL EATING!!" which can be true in some instances. But for the majority of the time, I'm really not a flailing emotional maniac that needs to stuff my face with sugar... so I'm tuning into other factors.
I'm realizing that a huge contributor to sugar-cravings for me is my job, which (as you know) I'm in the process of "fixing" and changing in my life by going through these classes and training. I'm noticing that so often I crave sugar and sweets right after work-- on my drive home -- or immediately after dinner. The after-work cravings happen on both days when I'm working ALL DAY (so it's closer to dinner time when I drive home) and days when I leave work around lunch, or in the afternoon. I crave sweet things...
The reason being... sweet things are pleasurable and comforting to me. They give me immediate energy. In contrast, being at work is boring, draining, deflating, and overall quite unpleasant. I loathe being at work. I am surrounded by chemical smells of ink, grating sounds of the printers, cold cinder block walls, cold tile floors, and negative unhappy people. Nothing about my job is calming or enjoyable, nor is it energizing or uplifting. Sugar gives me the comfort and joy, energy and boost I want after being dragged down in my workplace.
Just coming to this realization that my cravings are most definitely related to my dissatisfaction with my job has given me great hope for the future as I continue to work toward a change in careers. Perhaps when I'm doing work I love, living a schedule that I control and enjoy, I will no longer face the same types of cravings!
The other time I crave sugar is after dinner. It's a habitual craving for me, meaning I have almost ALWAYS had dessert after dinner time (and even lunch meals) for my entire life. It was just part of the "balanced meal." (LOL). So, rather than it being about soothing myself (like after work), it's often out of habit. I finish my meal, get cleaned up, and then almost immediately feel myself drawn back to the kitchen to grab something sweet. Last night, I noticed this feeling and remembered it before sitting down to eat. Rather than letting myself wander back to the kitchen, I decided to just load up a big plate of salad to eat before my main dish, and then I found myself actually comfortably full after dinner, and not feeling like the dessert was necessary. This method of dealing with cravings is called "crowding out"-- adding MORE healthful items to your diet rather than simply eliminating a "bad food" or restricting its consumption.
My hope is that over the next year I will continue to become more and more in tune with the signals my body is sending, and appreciate them as ways of communication, rather than inflictions of self-sabotage. As I learn and grow, I'm excited to share bits and pieces with you all, and will be VERY excited to share my new website and business blog with you all when I officially get that up and going!
In closing today, I challenge you to pay attention to the subtle (or blatant!) signals your body is sending you, and start recognizing the WHY behind the WHAT, and the HOW to properly respond. What is you body telling you right now?
Mine is saying I'm hungry. :) Off to lunch! Have a great week!