Listening to Your Bod

4 Oct

Yesterday my sister called me complaining that she had a stomach ache because she overdid it this weekend. “I ate way too much this weekend,” she moaned. You see, she wasn’t upset over the fact that she over-ate (I’ve always admired my sister because she’s never let food make her feel guilty by any means), but rather she was upset by the way it made her feel...physically. It was family weekend at her school which meant parties and endless meals out. Between an entire chicken parmesan entrée to chips, dips and beer, she was definitely feeling it come Sunday night. Maybe a year ago, this kind of eating wouldn’t have made a difference on how she felt, but ever since she’s developed a healthier diet, she can no longer handle loads of grease, cheese ‘n’ fatty appetizers all in one weekend (and frankly, neither can I). 

This brings up my point that I-among many people who I know-choose to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet not because it’ll make us “skinny,” “healthy” or “heros” in any way but because it makes our bodies feel good. It’s funny because when I was a little kid (yes, I was a little chubby) I could eat an entire chicken parmesan feast (pasta and all) with a large soda, then dessert and feel wonderful afterward, still hungry even. Now if I tried to tackle that kind of meal I’d definitely feel the burn…in my stomach. My tummy can only handle half a burger these days (which I only do on occasion) and I also had to give up pasta, breads and pastries due to my gluten intolerance (grr). While years ago I could have probably downed an entire large pizza in one sitting, a slice or two (of gluten free) now does the trick. You get the point. 

Once you start to develop healthier eating habits, you begin to crave healthy food,  not because it’ll make you thin but because it makes your body feel good. While many tease me that I’m a health freak or admire my “amazing willpower,” it’s really not because I’m heroic or super motivated in any way; it’s just I enjoy healthy, wholesome food. Believe it or nut, but I actually crave grilled salmon and chicken with roasted vegetables. Hummus, edamame, kale, and other food people find “weird” or “healthy” appeal to me, and many others. I love cooking and experimenting with new foods each and every day, making meals that’ll fill me up, spark my creativity and ignite my taste buds. 

I guess my point is that being healthy isn’t so hard after all. It’s just a lifestyle choice that soon becomes second nature to you. I don’t avoid Doritos because I think they’ll make me fat but because I’d rather indulge in fresh fruits and veggies (they taste better) and I’d rather avoid the stomach ache I’d get from eating a bag of oily, greasy chips. Same goes for the ChickenParmesa/beer/party food indulgence my sister was complaining about. While I’m sure the meal was decadent and she enjoyed every bite, she had to pay the not-so-pleasant consequences of feeling bloated and full the rest of the weekend. Maybe eating half or saving some for later may have been more gentle on her body?

That’s the whole point: listening to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Know that foods are going to bother your stomach, and eat them sparingly. If cheese or beer always makes you feel bloated, maybe skip those foods on a weekend you have a lot of plans going on. It’s all about knowing what works best for you and your body, and using your body as your #1 decision maker. Take last night for example. I made a large salad with fresh veggies, Whole Food’s chicken veggie salad and a few mini mozzarella cheese balls. It filled me up for quite some time, and I figured that’d be it for the night. However, 9:00 rolled around and I was hungry again. No I wasn’t going to deprive myself, but I also knew I didn’t need an additional meal. So I met in the middle. I was craving salty and savory so I made a mini plate of low-sodium nachos with cheese and boy did it hit the spot. That’s listening to your body at its best. While 9 p.m. Sunday nachos might not be the norm,  it’s what my body was craving at the time, so I fed into it. 

I encourage you to do the same.

Do you listen to your body? What kinds of food make you feel good? Are there others that you struggle with (i.e. allergies, intolerance, bloat, etc)? Please share your personal experience with listening to YOUR body…


6 Responses to “Listening to Your Bod”

  1. Marci October 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Nice post, I feel the same about wanting healthy foods now. I know it will make me feel good and it’s good for me. I also know what my body will perform best on, and the feeling of empty tank too. You just learn what works!

    • healthychicks October 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

      Exactly, and what may feel good for someone may not settle quite well for another. We’re all going to experience food differently, as our bodies are all different. But it’s just about enjoying what you eat, listening to your body and knowing yourself best 🙂 Thanks for the response Marci!

  2. Brynne October 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    This is such a great, true post. I honestly LOVE eating healthy – everything just tastes so great and fresh and I know exactly what I’m putting into my body. When I was eating the typical college diet and not paying really much attention to the types of foods I was eating and what was in them or where they were coming from, I had heartburn, stomach problems, and migraines. Now I don’t. Listening to and honoring your body is so, so important to lead a long, happy life!

  3. Amanda October 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    I LOVE this post. I found out about your blog from my sister, Shannon, who went to JMU. I talk about food, fitness, healthy trends, etc. ALL the time, so I am starting a blog as well. This post makes perfect sense. Sometimes we all cheat, but we certainly regret it afterwards…not as much mentally as physically. My favorite feel-good foods are eggs, apples and tea. Today we had a few treats at work and by the afternoon I could feel the unhappiness in my stomach. But I came home for a nice run with the dog to make up for it!

    • healthychicks October 5, 2010 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks so much for your post Amanda! That’s too funny how you found me : ) It’s so true what you said-sometimes we have little regrets, and eating healthy is just so much easier on our bodies in the end. The run with your dog sounds wonderful, what a fun way to stay in shape! I will have to check out your blog too! Thanks again for the response!

  4. Jenny Jen October 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    I took a mindfulness course this summer, and one week we were asked to track everything we ate and to monitor how it made us feel. What I noticed is when I ate healthier foods, such as having raspberries with soda water as a snack as opposed to a bowl of sweet ice cream, my body responded better. I felt like I had more energy and felt good both mentally and physically.

    Since then I’ve enjoyed eating healthy, not to keep my figure, but solely for the way it makes me feel. If I had the choice to have a slice of cake, or a bowl of watermelon and was told they have the same amount of calories, I’d sooner reach for the bowl of watermelon.

    Great post. I like how you hit on the misconception that people who are ‘health conscious’ aren’t doing it to be thin, but because we feel better when we eat healthier foods.

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