Is your body really an obstacle?
Learning to listen:
I know many of us have been raised to see our bodies as the enemy: too fat, too thin, too much cellulite, not fertile enough.
We see all these things as obstacles to overcome. Things we can change about our bodies if we just work hard enough.
If we eat the right things. Run the right number of miles. Dry brush, exfoliate, take supplements. We can overcome our bodies and achieve our desired outcome, whether that’s smoother thighs or a baby.
But what if our bodies aren’t really the enemy? What if I told you that your body’s on your team. She wants you to have all the things you want.
What your body doesn’t like is when you ignore her. When you drown out her yells and do the exact opposite thing she’s telling you to do.
All she wants is for you to listen.
In this week’s post, I explore what it means to listen to our bodies instead of trying to overcome them:
Listening to your body isn’t something you learn in a day. It’s lifelong work. And it’s part of the work we do in my Flourish Fertility program, to help you make the changes you need in your body.
It’s a mindset shift, and a change in how we approach our health (and guess what–it totally makes it easier to sustain some of those lifestyle shifts!)
And though listening can help you make the changes your body needs to feel healthy and supported, it won’t guarantee you a supermodel body, or even a baby.
But listening to our bodies helps us learn to love and respect our bodies the way they are: to nurture, and appreciate this sacred vessel you are living in.
What have you been trying to “overcome” and how can you start to deeply listen to your body instead? Share in the comments below!
Read the transcript
I was spending some time with friends last week, and two of them are serious runners and do marathons and half marathons and stuff. One recently finished a marathon after coming back from an injury, and the other was doing PT because she was recently injured. To be clear, both of these injuries were overuse injuries, not like they tripped, fell and broke their arm.
One of my friends was saying that her PT was letting her increase her milage and that she hurt for like 3 days after her last run. My other friend reminded her that soon, she’d only be in pain for a day, and that was totally more manageable.
I’ll be honest–I’m not a runner. I love to hike, I cycle, but running aint my thing. Women who do run are badass–and I don’t have anything against running in principle, but the whole time I was listening to this exchange, all I could think was “your bodies are screaming at you to stop running.”
I really, and sincerely believe that our bodies tell us what they need. They give us strong signs and signals, that we’ve really learned from a young age to override. The pain these women were in was a really strong and clear signal from their bodies to stop. To rest. To slow down.
But because our society has this belief of no pain no gain, and has trained us to ignore our body cues, neither of them saw it this way. Most of us see our bodies as something to overcome. As an obstacle. As something that’s made to hold us back and hinder us.
But here’s my radical belief: our bodies aren’t something to overcome. They are something to work with, to listen to. And what we really need is to learn how to deeply listen to our bodies. To hear their shouts, but also their murmurs. To hear when they whisper to us, and when they are literally screaming at us.
At a most basic level, even as kids, we start overriding our bodies signals. “Clean your plate.” “Finish your vegetables.” “You need to eat that–it’s good for you.” And kids are totally purposefully difficult and annoying sometimes, so I’m not blaming parents, but at the same time, we are telling kids that they can’t be full unless they’ve eaten everything. That we know what foods are good for them, not their bodies (hello food sensitivities). So we’ve really grown up to ignore more and more of these cues. Anyone else need a special pass to go to the bathroom in school?? Hello!
But what’s really essential is that we teach ourselves and our kids how to listen to our bodies cues. To eat when we’re hungry, to stop when we’re not. To go to the bathroom when we gotta go. To quit the no pain no gain thing–challenge is good but pain is bad. And instead start deeply listening. To notice the subtle shifts in our bodies, and not try to overcome them, but work with them.
The same is true of fertility. Fertility challenges don’t mean that you have to overcome your body’s deficiencies. In my view it means your smart body isn’t happy about something. Something’s out of balance, and your fertility is merely a symptom of a larger problem. I want to help you find that root problem, so it doesn’t become an even bigger problem later, and so you can develop a healthy two-way relationship with your body.
Fertility gives us an opportunity to listen to our bodies. To notice what makes them feel good, what makes them feel bad, and to realize that maybe some of our habits haven’t been the best. And that doesn’t mean that every woman will conceive without help. But learning to listen and respond to your body will help you live healthier and happier throughout your life.
So stop fighting your body and start listening. She’s actually your best friend–treat her like one.
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