Learning to Listen to Your Body: A Key to Healing Your Relationship with Food

Seeing how people were happier and healthier after shifting movement patterns to align with their natural structures, gave him the deepest sense of reward he’s felt professionally. Having built impactful and successful businesses in consumer health as well as clinical laboratory, his passion and mission have led him to founding Way. Check out his work and learn more here.

Learning to Listen to Your Body: A Key to Healing Your Relationship with Food

Human beings have done all kinds of incredible things with technology. We’ve created computers, rocket ships, electric cars, robots that build electric cars, and so many more things that have come to define and dominate modern human life.

However, none of these incredible creations of humankind are anywhere near as intelligent, efficient, and amazing as the human body itself. Yet, incredibly, very few people actually listen to their bodies. And they may suffer needlessly as a result.

A Cultural Blind Spot

Unfortunately, modern society places a lot of attention on what the body eats, how it looks, and what other people might think of it, but very little attention on the body itself.

Society in the modern day doesn’t really care what the body’s needs are. Instead, it seems obsessed with ignoring them, overriding them in order to try to brute force the body into shapes and sizes that are dictated by fads and fashions rather than good health, common sense, or even the laws of biology. Take movies and social media posts, for example. They are full of both ordinary people and celebrities talking about the restrictive diets they’re on and, seemingly more often than not, how they failed and how they’re now dealing with feelings of guilt and shame over those failures. They’re full of people talking on and on about how they want to look skinny and/or ripped more than anything else in the world. In short, they’re full of people sending the message that the only body worth having is unhealthily, unrealistically skinny and that the only way to get it is by forcing your will upon your body and overriding all of it its natural signals and cues.

This is not good for you in so many ways. For one thing, it trains you to actively ignore your body’s needs. How can you stay healthy when you not only don’t do what your body needs to be healthy, but also refuse to even find out what healthy is, for you? For another thing, it has a powerful negative effect on your mental health. It reinforces negative self images and, because restrictive diets almost always starve you of the fuel you need, makes you constantly stressed out and irritable.

Yet, despite such negative effects, people in modern culture remain largely blind to their own bodies, deaf to what their bodies are telling them. They remain committed to a path that keeps leading them to harm.

A Different Vision for the Future

At Way, we have a different vision for the future and if we don’t say so ourselves, a much healthier and saner vision. We aspire to build a future in which mainstream culture has moved past such harmful obsessions, such mistaken concepts of health. We aspire to build a future in which you hear both ordinary people and celebrities talk about mindfulness, about listening to their body and respecting its needs.

A future which promotes body neutrality. And that’s why we’ve developed Way, to make it easier for anyone who’s curious and looking to make a long-lasting change, find a better way of relating to their body and to food.

Intuitive Eating and Your Health

The best way to get to this future is by guiding and teaching people how to have a better relationship with food and their body.

You see, the reason why so many restrictive diets fail (about 83% of them!) is because they tell you what do – that may work for 3 months, 6 months, maybe even 12 months. But eventually, you’ll grow tired and exhausted of the rules and restrictions, and they’ll feel like a chore that drains the life out of you.

That probably feels that way because restrictive diets intentionally disconnect you from your body.

They’re designed to ignore your body’s needs, often denying it the calories, vitamins, and minerals that let it function properly – that help you feel good, have mental clarity and energy, and most importantly – not overthink about food.

Diets can place you under long term stress, which has been shown to harm both your physical and mental health. A more peaceful relationship with food is one which encourages you to listen to your body and respect its needs.

In other words, a healed relationship with food involves eating intuitively. That is, eating without second guessing yourself about what you want or denying your food cravings. Eating like young children do. When they want a specific food, they just eat it without wondering if it’s really for the best or feeling guilty about it afterward. Because they haven’t yet been taught to distrust and ignore their body’s signals they simply listen to those signals and trust that they’re for the best. And you know what? Eating this way, young kids get the things their bodies need to grow up healthy and strong.

When you eat intuitively, you teach yourself to trust that your body knows what it needs and will communicate those needs to you. You learn to see your food cravings as communications from your body about what it needs to function well. This trust will help you learn how to eat in a way that truly promotes good health – both physical and mental. It will also help you break out of the negative and toxic worldview of restrictive diet culture and its endless body shaming.

Mindful Eating Is Important, Too

Related to intuitive eating but distinct from it is the practice of mindful eating. Too many of us just wolf down our food without really paying attention to it. We eat while distracted by a thousand other things, from work to worries about what we’re eating. That’s really not very helpful in developing a healthier relationship with food.

It’s much better to be mindful when eating. Pay attention to the smells and tastes. Savor every bite. Enjoy it. Mindful eating has all kinds of beneficial effects. It can help you enjoy the experience more, which promotes positive states of mind and body positivity. It can help you to feel more satisfied with what you eat. And, once you learn how to be sensitive to your body’s positive responses to the food you’re enjoying, you have also learned how to be more sensitive to your body’s other signals, including the signal that tells you that you’re feeling full. When you eat mindfully, your body naturally starts to regulate how much it eats, all without some kind of superhuman effort from your willpower.

Isn’t it amazing how, when you stop trying to override your body’s natural instincts and stop ignoring everything it tells you, it’s perfectly capable of taking care of itself in a positive, healthy way?