Step 1: PAY ATTENTION
Welcome back! Glad you’re here.
Today we’re going to learn the first of four basic steps toward unleashing our inner health experts. Yeah! Let’s do this.
Before we get to the meat of Step 1, I want you to stop and just take a look around. We live in a very strange time and place when it comes to health, don't you think? A time when we are so far removed from nature and it's ways that we think edible food-like substances are real food, digestive upsets are normal, and degenerative disease/premature aging is to be expected. (Oh, but wait! There's a pill for that!) We often don’t even realize anything is off with our bodies until we’re diagnosed with a full-blown autoimmune disease or other chronic ailment. Don’t let that be you.
Now I'm sure you already have a list of all the issues you'd like to fix about your body. But before we get to that, we need to go deeper. Because there's usually an entire iceberg under that ugly little piece of ice you're fixated on. What I mean is, instead of asking "What do I need to do to fix this?" you need to ask WHY is this happening to me to begin with.
There are many red flags along the way to degeneration that point to some abnormal happening in the body, and these are worth your attention. Here are just a few common ones that most people don’t consider “that bad” and thus ignore completely.
-anxiety, irritability or depression
-increasing allergy issues
-skin rashes and breakouts
-poor quality sleep
But ignoring these things often means you’ve got bigger problems down the road, and that’s not anyone's idea of a good time. So…
Step #1: PAY ATTENTION
To what, you ask? Pay attention to yourself. Now, if you're reading this, I'm assuming you're not completely mindless when it comes to what you're shoving into your mouth all day long. So you actually have a one up on some people out there. See? You get a gold star already. But we're going to take it a little further than keeping a simple food log, or counting calories or macros. Not that those things are bad in and of themselves, but typically, they are habits driven by and measured by someone else's standard. Your goal now (and forever) is to create your own standards.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the best physical, emotional and mental condition possible. What does that look like to you? For me, I imagine my younger self running through fields of green without any notice of my body whatsoever. With my hair blowing in the wind, I'm able to run and laugh and roll around in the grass and just be free. I feel strong and agile, and I'm able to focus vividly on what I want to. My attention isn't split between my bodily limitations and everything else going on...
Okay, now you do it. This vision of yourself is important to hold onto and we'll be using it often, so make note.
In order to really pay attention and listen to what your body is telling you, you may want to reflect on some of these questions, compare them to that vision of yourself at optimal health, and be specific.
- How do I feel when I first wake up in the morning?
- How do I feel after each meal?
- Do I reach for food when I feel excited, bummed, or bored?
- How often am I eating or sipping on something other than water throughout the day?
- How do I feel when my head hits the pillow?
- Do I feel unsettled, impatient or worried much of the time?
Beginning today, you are your own health detective, as the lovely Lily Nichols likes to say. (Check out her 30-day Guide to a Happy Tummy, you won't regret it.) In order to create your own standards, you're going to have to collect some data first. So if it works for you, then by all means keep a food log. But not necessarily as a means of accountability, rather it should be a way for you to investigate your habits and look for patterns. Remember, our goal here is to lean into our own intuitiveness and thoroughly understand the messages our bodies are sending. This takes a little focus and intentionality in this noisy world. So however you choose to follow Step 1 is up to you--mental notes, pen to paper, a voice log on your phone--there are a million ways. The point is, do what WORKS for you. But do it.
Next up we're going to uncover Step 2. So buckle your seatbelt, my friend. You might actually learn a thing or two.