Thursday, October 8, 2009

Listening to your body

I am realizing that, if I listen to it, my body has a lot to tell me. It is usually best not to fight it when it tells me I want something. My body is good about telling me when it is hungry. It tells me when I need more sleep. It tells me if I am overdoing it in exercise. I know when I am thirsty and need to drink more water. I didn't realize how much I had overridden what all my body has to tell me until I started to listen to it more when re-adopting a healthy lifestyle this spring.

Lately my body has really needed a lot of sleep. Now often when I get higher than about 7.5 hours of sleep a night (assuming I'm not working on a sleep deficit) and into the 9-10 hrs/night, I feel groggy and not that well rested. My body is saying "I need less sleep" and "you overdid the whole sleep thing". This week I have slept quite a bit during the days and am still getting 8-10 hrs of sleep per night. I am not at all sleep-groggy; I think my body is trying to heal itself from the back injury as I sleep. I would have in the past felt guilty for napping during the day, not getting as much work done, etc. but I am not feeling that way now. Similarly, I am not beating myself up for not exercising. I really don't think I safely can so there is no need to feel guilty about it. My body is saying "yeah right" at this point. It is so much easier on the psyche to just listen to your body, and not fight it than to fight guilt.

Similarly, there are some days when I just feel hungry all day and will consume up to 50 points (for non-WW people to get a benchmark, I am normally given 31 daily points on WW). If my body is hungry like that, I listen and feed it. I figure I must need the fuel. Now it doesn't mean I regularly give it pizza and funnel cake to get me up to 50 points, but if I am eating clean, whole foods and am still hungry I don't fight this feeling.

Listening to my body has been so liberating. I think I had muted my body from years of overeating. After all, I was rarely really hungry when I weighed almost 300 lbs (though I often said I was "hungry" it was more of an "I want to eat" than true hunger-pangs). Listening to your body takes much of the guesswork out of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I need to be careful to continue listening to my body since it is usually pretty good at telling me what it wants or needs.

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