Recently, a dozen brave souls joined me on a journey to a destination unknown.
Before we took off, some were feeling stressed, some were feeling frazzled.
As we set sail who could have foretold that we would end up snorkeling in the Caribbean, strolling down the streets of Rechavia mid-morning, and taking in the views in New Hampshire.
The lady who was in the Caribbean even saw the blue and green colors of the fish, felt the water on her face…
These ladies listened on the teleconference with open minds and allowed themselves to experience revisiting those places…
…for a sum total of about 30 seconds.
“Wait a second! Thirty-seconds. This whole build-up is about thirty short seconds?”
Yup. And yet in 30 seconds, they experienced feelings of rejuvenation they had been craving for weeks.
How did they do this?
I walked them through a process of getting more in touch with their bodies.
“Yeah, yeah, in touch with our bodies. Can we please get practical and realistic, Rena?”
Yes, of course, our cognition has its place, and I do a lot of cognitive behavioral coaching with my clients.
The problem is that when we’re in “diet mode”, we spend a lot of time in our heads. There are lots of rules we need to follow and calculate and make sense of. (Remember, we can be in “diet mode” with our time and work as well as food).
And as a result, we lose the connection to our bodies. So we need to spend time connecting back to our bodies.
Hence the phrase *intuitive* eating — because it’s about getting out of our heads and into our hearts and bodies.
Feeling the foods we need and the amounts and when — ie, intuitively understanding it.
Leaving behind the absolute need to be calculating or measuring.
So what’s the moral of the story?
When we’re in a difficult situation, it can sometimes feel that it will take a ton of time, money, and energy to get out of it.
The truth? Sometimes all we need to experience is a tiny shift in one direction, and that changes the whole trajectory of our path.
Suddenly things seem easier. More doable. Surmountable.
Here’s what one lady experienced as a result of our journey:
“Yesterday over the course of the day there was definitely a marked difference in the way I felt internally and in my interactions with those around me. (Of course not perfect and I still had my moments but I keep reminding myself what you always say – we are aiming for progress not perfection here!)
There was a certain inner serenity that I carried around with me for the rest of the day. I felt more connected to my body signals and really felt it when I was hungry for a meal – despite the fact that I had been snacking over the day I realized I hadn’t had a proper meal in a good few hours!
This is big progress because it was the first time in a long while that I felt hunger and was able to differentiate that it was hunger for a meal not a snack.
This inner serenity also spilled over to my emotional world and I was able to really experience my joys and even sadness while at the same time compartmentalizing the feelings I acknowledged but wasn’t ready to deal with at the moment. Again, not perfectly throughout the day but it was still huge for me.
The spillover even continued into today! Though by now I could really use another vacation! 😀
Although, hey, what’s stopping me now that I know how to do it?!”
On the surface this might just seem like another “nice” or “quaint” little bit of self-care.
It is important to realize that this is KEY to healing our relationships with food.
Intrigued? Here’s an exercise to take it one step further.
Take out a blank paper and write down what you’re feeling. It could be frustrated. Maybe annoyed. Silly. Hopeful. Frazzled. Distracted. Excited. Energetic. Something else entirely. It could be a few different things. Write them down, and then turn your paper over so you can’t see what is written on it.
Then, gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let the exhale last a little bit longer than the inhale. Notice what you’re feeling in your body. Is it totally relaxed or is there tension anywhere? Maybe you’re feeling shaky. Just notice the feeling. And then breathe into that sensation inside your body for a few breaths.
Now take out the paper again, blank side up, and write down what you’re feeling now.
Has anything shifted for you? Is the feeling the same?
Just notice what has shifted for you.
Want more accountability? Post in the comments below and let me know how this exercise went for you.