How do you feel?
Isn’t that a nice question to hear? From your doctor, your partner, friends, coworkers, parents, children. It’s nice to feel noticed, and to then have your feelings hopefully validated by someone who cares.
Let me ask you this, though: when was the last time you asked yourself how you feel? I don’t mean when was the last time you felt something or had an opinion (I am posting this on social media, after all, so chances are we’ve all expressed some opinion today), but I mean really taking the time to sit down, take a breath, and ask yourself “how does this make me feel?”
A common trend in pop psychology is mindfulness, which is a pretty well-named practice if you ask me. It basically is an empirically supported method to do what so many of us try to do in our daily lives – be present. A lot of people use it in yoga or meditation, but it has also been used in treatment settings for basically every single mental illness you can think of. And most of the time, it’s effective.
Why do I bring up mindfulness? Because I want to stress that it’s important that we all take time to ask ourselves how we are feeling. And I don’t just mean emotionally – I mean from every nook and cranny of our bodies.
You have a problem at work – how does that make you feel? It might make you feel angry, but does your anger also find a home in your body? In your stomach, your chest, your fists? You go through a breakup or experience grief or loss – how does that make you feel? You might feel sad or confused, but you might also feel physically empty, drained, or sluggish. These feelings are all real, and we owe it to ourselves to treat each feeling we have with respect.
Trusting my body has been one of the single most important metrics that I have grown to follow in regards to my personal health and nutrition. It has taken me some time to realize that, for example, dairy and grains put a lot of strain on my stomach. I started having pretty severe stomach pain during the fall of 2014 and had a hunch that it may be due to diet. So I went to a doctor and got blood tests. Nothing. Not lactose intolerant, not gluten intolerant, nothing. But the pain persisted for almost a year until just a few weeks ago when I started the whole life challenge. The whole life challenge is a wonderful challenge that helps users track sleep, activity levels, mood, and nutrition over the span of 8 weeks. Part of the nutritional aspect is following a paleo strategy. I pretty much stopped having stomach pain altogether, with a few exceptions being a trip to Vegas, a best friends birthday, and various other occasions here and there. I was happy to take part in celebrations (have your cake and eat it too type scenarios), but I noticed that as soon as I ate foods with added sugar, grains, and dairy, that the pain came back.
But why? I didn’t test positive for anything?
But here’s the thing – I didn’t stop and ask myself how I was feeling. I didn’t allow myself to be autonomous with my doctor and ask for real advice for what I was really feeling.
I’m glad that I took the opportunity to shift my lifestyle enough that I noticed drastic changes in how my body was feeling, because it made me realize that I can and should take more ownership over how different foods make me feel. And I happen to think that this is a pretty bad ass way to tackle most uncomfortable situations in your life.
There’s a reason they say “trust your gut.”
Tell us how you’re feeling on Twitter. @onutritionals || #PinkyUp
Inquiries: [email protected]