In modern times, we are in such a rush and have such a DO! DO! DO! attitude, that we forget our bodies. We ignore them, push them to the limits, and expect them to do what we want them to do without asking them what they need to get the job done.
If you listen, your body is often trying to have a conversation with you, but during a hectic day, it’s easy to keep ignoring its pleas.
Here is an example of my day before I began practicing body awareness.
1. Not sleeping.
Instead of going to bed early enough to complete a full 8 hours of rest, I stay up to watch TV, read, or dally on social media. I’m not doing anything important. Definitely nothing more important than sleep. My body doesn’t need so much sleep, I think to myself. My body is under my control and must do as I say.
2. Not eating when hungry.
After going to bed late, I end up hitting the snooze button five times in the morning. Breakfast? No time. My stomach growls, but I ignore it. I figure my body has enough fat on it to fuel itself till I have time for a proper meal. I run out the door with a huge mug of coffee.
3. Not drinking water.
I slurp down my coffee and hit the ground running at work. I feel thirsty at times, but I’m so involved with the task at hand, I put off drinking water. I think, I have to get this work done. My body can wait. Before I realize it, go the full morning without one sip of water.
4. Eating when NOT hungry.
I’m already sleep-deprived and overly-caffeinated. Now I’m dehydrated, so I eat to try to stay awake even though I’m not very hungry at this point. I’d attack a box of chocolate chip cookies in the break room and guzzle down a few colas for a quick energy boost. After digestion, I feel the sugar and refined flour turn to sludge in my body, making me feel weighed down and cranky. My brain is foggy and I can’t wait for the day to be over.
The vicious circle is in full swing now. Because I didn’t sleep well and skipped meals, I was tired. Because I was tired and thirsty, I gorged on sugary foods and caffeine. After work, I feel guilty, so I go to the gym determined to burn off the extra calories I scarfed down.
Unfortunately, I didn’t consume enough protein or nutritious foods. I’m dehydrated and my sugar and caffeine rush are long gone.
I plan to burn off the extra 1000 calories, so I force my body through an intense routine, but it’s struggling to keep up. I notice my heart rate is higher than usual, and I feel dizzy and weak. I haven’t been meeting my fitness goals. Instead of losing fat and gaining muscle, it seems to be the opposite. Moreover, I feel like crap. I’m dehydrated, exhausted, and toxic. My stress hormones are so high that I’m a distracted, nervous wreck.
This was the daily punishment I put my body through from my twenties into my early thirties. Eventually, it got my attention. How? I became sick, and it has taken years to recover from the abuse.
So ask yourself…
Feel anxious, ill, or tired? Sit still for a moment.
Go over your body mentally. How is it feeling?
Ask it if it’s hungry, thirsty, stressed, or tired.
Then give it nutritious food, water, or rest.
You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel just by meeting your body’s needs instead of forcing it through the day with little or no attention.
To take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves. Practice body awareness several times a day and enjoy a happier, healthier, and more productive life.
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