Body and Mind – Together Again
When we’re kids, we’re very in tune with what our bodies are telling us. Time to eat, time to stop eating, don’t do that because it hurts, don’t put that in your mouth because it tastes bad, etc. Over time, though, at least for those of us who struggle with weight, it’s like the lines of communication between body and mind are cut. We eat when we’re hungry and when we’re not, we eat until we’re full and then keep going, and we forget that underneath the layer of adipose tissue that separates us from the outside world there are actual muscles chomping at the bit to do something! We know in our minds (and our bodies told us at some point, too) that we need exercise and that food is fuel, but somehow we’ve learned to ignore those signals over time.
It’s kind of like drinking coffee or beer, or eating raw oysters or blue cheese (the latter of which I still can do only in extreme moderation) – these are acquired tastes for most people. You have to ignore the signals your body initially sends you in order to learn to like these things. Obesity is, in some sense at least, an acquired taste, as well. I don’t mean that any of us set out to become or remain obese, or like it when we get there, but we do often begin to ignore those basic signals like hunger, fullness, and needing to be active, that our bodies are sending us.
I think at some point, your body is so far from what you feel it should be, that it doesn’t even feel like a part of you anymore, and you just get out of touch with it. It’s almost like your body and mind subconsciously have it out and quit talking to one another – maybe kind of like this:
Body: Yo! Mind! No more room in the stomach down here – if you could put the brakes on the Oreo’s, that’d be great!
Mind: Did I hear something? Oh was that you, BODY? The one who’s totally out of shape and doesn’t look a thing like we should anymore?
Body: Um…yeah! But that out of shape thing is your fault! I’ve been telling your stubborn butt for YEARS that we were full and needed to go for a walk. But do you listen to anything? Noooo!
Mind: I’m done with you!!! We’re not speaking – ANYMORE!
Thankfully, the body never really shuts up, and at some point in the past year or so, I began to realize that I was totally ignoring many signals (or more accurately, alarms and warning buzzers) my body had been sounding for a while. I had a cough that wouldn’t go away, frequent backaches, and even gallstones that led to surgery last year. In an odd way, I have these bad things to thank for helping me pay attention to my body again. So began the wheels turning of my deciding to take my health back into my own hands, and it’s amazing how quickly your body and mind can become fast friends again.
When I started eating properly, I realized that feeling true hunger had become a rarity for me, and when I had felt hungry in the past few years, I’d often ignored it if I were busy with other things, leading to binges later in the day. When I started exercising, I became aware once again of the body that’s underneath the fat – the muscles that need to be worked and the fit guy at my core that’s waiting to be set free. Once you begin to realize that you really are connecting with your body again, it makes continuing with your weight loss journey that much easier. Reconciliation is a good thing!
Body: Gee, it’s good to have you back – wanna go for an ice cream?
Mind: Not on your life…