• Emma Green

How to Listen to your body

‘Listen to your body’ is a phrase often thrown out without much context. I don’t think it’s bad advice but I do think it needs qualification. Here are some of my thoughts about it:⠀ 1. It takes time: Learning to listen to your body is so much easier said than done. We are usually really good at this as children but as we get older society tells us to detach from our minds and bodies. If we have a past of a disordered relationship with food/our bodies/exercise it’s even harder to get back in touch with ourselves.

2. It takes patience: Along with time, it takes a lot of patience. It is vey difficult to do and making mistakes is inevitable during the process. Although making mistakes is always uncomfortable, they’re needed for us to learn more about our bodies and move forwards with this knowledge.

3. Isn’t all or nothing: There seems to be a misconception that listening to your body means abandoning all other information. Instead, we can combine the information from our bodies with other contextual information to make a decision about the best course of action in a particular situation.

4. Isn’t always helpful: Although I think the ability to listen to your body is a valuable skill, I don’t think it’s beneficial or even possible in every situation. For example, if you are in the early stages of eating disorder recovery, your bodily signals and your ability to interpret them are not reliable. Instead, you’re better following more structured advice from your health care team.

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