Weekend Observations: the double-edged sword of being so “connected to our bods”

All the work I’ve done over the past few years on body-image, weight management and health has definitely made me much more aware of my body’s response to stress, food, exercise and self-love.

But there’s a downside to this awareness.

These past few weeks have been full of Jewish Holidays. With the exception of Yom Kippur — a fast day — these holidays have been about family, friends, prayer and food, drink and more food. And I’ve loved it!

But perhaps a bit too much.

And I had no idea that my body would respond so quickly and vehemently to what I ate.

I’m not talking about gaining weight (which I did, but I expected that). I’m talking about my stomach hurting after EVERY meal. I’ve always enjoyed food and have eaten my fair share of feasts. But I never experienced this. It was almost as if my body was saying, “Now that you and I are better acquainted, I’m going to say what I’m feeling loud and clear: you’re eating too much and I don’t like it damn it!”

What could possibly be different now than all the other times I gorged? Could it be that now that I have a more “close and personal” relationship with my body,  I can feel it communicating with me more “loudly?” Does that even make sense?

I really don’t know how to explain it but after weeks of feeling the repercussions of eating too much at 1 sitting, I have a newfound appreciation for the advice of eating smaller, fewer portions.  And a new-found respect (even fear!) for the power of my body’s “voice”.

Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

Weekend Observations: I Think Therefore My Body Is

 

I took my daughter to her friend’s birthday party and reconnected with parents I hadn’t seen during the summer months.  I ended up monopolizing one mother though.  I saw that she had tiny little needles in her ears and, having no respect for boundaries (at least when it comes to matters of style and beauty), I asked her about them.  She explained that she had been going to a holistic doctor initially to help her with her skin maladies.  The advice of the doctor was to change her diet, which inspired her to also get thinner and healthier.

She told me about special ingredients she was consuming to cleanse her system and her new attitude about food.  But what REALLY struck me was her claim that food responds to our mental states.  In other words, if we approach food with happiness, calmness and appreciation, it responds in a positive, more productive way once consumed. Translation: the appreciation for the banana I ate today may have led to greater absorption of the fruit’s vitamins and minerals into my body.

Huh?  I know.  It sounds like she downed the Holistic cool-aid (or antioxidant infused mango juice in this case).  But, still, I was intrigued.  Though I try to watch my weight and eat relatively unprocessed foods, I must admit I don’t have a very “zen” approach to food.  I often eat on the run or while engaged in three other activities at the same time.  My friend told me about a theory developed by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto that water reacts in different ways to one’s emotions and then responds to those emotions at the cellular level.

You can imagine the criticism this theory has generated from the scientific community. The rational part of me says what a bunch of crap, but then I’m thinking is it so crazy that our relationship to the food we consume can affect the way it reacts to our bodies?  Isn’t this akin to the power of positive thinking like the well documented healing power of prayer?  I even read an article in this month’s Allure that stated, according to a Harvard study, you can improve your eyesight by changing your mind (Seeing More Clearly).  Maybe our minds can really change our bodies.

I may not have totally transformed my eating habits as a result of this discussion (Exhibit A: I’m eating my lunch as I write this post), but the power of positive thinking has had an impact on me.  I’m definitely going to make a concerted effort to approach food with gratitude and appreciate the positive role it can play in my life.

I’ll never look at a jelly bean the same way.