Why are you Treating Your Body so Badly?
This question is hard to answer especially when applied to those of us who think we are being ‘healthy’ and taking care of our bodies. Most people reading this will think “Oh, not me, I eat healthy, exercise and treat my body well!”
Hmmm… let’s just take a look at some of the unconscious ways we are not respecting or treating our bodies well:
- Have you ever pushed yourself to stay up late at night and finish a project – even though you are exhausted?
- Do you ever eat more than your body needs and then feel the effects later?
- Do you ever skip meals and realize you are actually very hungry when you do eat?
- Have you ever believed the adage “no pain, no gain” ?
- Do you push yourself when exercising to do just one more?
- Do you compare yourself to others and then push yourself to keep up? Whether it is in your work environment, yoga class, sport, etc?
- Do you ‘forget’ to drink water and then realize you are really thirsty much later?
- When eating something you think you ‘shouldn’t’ do you berate yourself for it?
This list could go on and on and shows us just some of the many common ways we are engaging in an unhealthy relationship with our bodies.
What then would we consider a healthy relationship, one in which we treat our bodies kindly and with respect?
Communicating with your Body
The key here is actually communicating with the body either by listening to the body when it lets us know it has had enough or asking the body what it needs. Like any habit the more you do this the easier it becomes. When your body feels as if you are honoring and respecting it you will find a new sense of empowerment, you will increase energy and health in your life as you become a partner/teammate with your body instead of an adversary.
Some simple ways you can begin this process are:
- When eating – eat until you have your first burp and then stop. The burp is your bodies way of telling you it’s full. If you tend to eat light, make sure you are eating until you get the first burp. Even if you think you don’t burp – take a week to really pay attention to this when eating and you will notice the burp, since it is a natural bodily function that we all have. Remember that the burp does have to make sense – if you burp after the first bite it obviously is not an indicator that you are full. The right amount of food for each meal should be able to fit in both palms of your hands put together. Some days you might need more food some days less, but if you listen for your first burp you won’t need to wonder when those days are.
- When you are exhausted or sleepy honor your body and go to bed – this seems so simple, but many times we will ignore the body and push on.
- Eat regular meals – the old fashioned way of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day is actually following basic Ayurvedic principles for good health and can make a huge difference if your Vata is out of balance.
- If you are hungry at normal mealtimes – eat. Skipping meals is very hard on your body creating stress and depletion.
- If you ate a good sized meal and experienced a burp, but still feel hungry check in with your body and see if it is really hunger or emotional stress or boredom causing the perceived hunger. If this is the case try drinking some water, doing some breathing or taking a short walk.
- When you exercise, honor your body – stop when it hurts or you feel tired – pushing past your limits will only diminish your strength over time.
Check in with your body throughout the day as you would check in with a child or pet and see if you are hungry, thirsty or tired. If life seems way too busy and hectic for you to be able to do this then ask yourself why you are choosing to live life this way – most often we are just patterning ourselves unconsciously after what we saw our parents do. Realize that you can make changes that will take care of your body.
Take care of your Body and it will take care of you
And the final question: Why should I listen and treat my body with so much respect and care?
This is the key to living a long healthy and happy life. Too often I see clients’ who have abused their bodies for years who wonder then why they get sick or injured or are tired all the time. Imagine your body as a beautiful vessel. The more you care for this vessel in loving and kind ways, the more it will respond in kind and operate smoothly and efficiently for you.