I did a quick video about this over on my Facebook page earlier today and I thought the topic was worth writing about too.
In the video, I suggested that becoming more aware could help us lead to better over all health. It could help us stop eating when we were full and move in a way that was enjoyable for our bodies leading to fewer injuries.
How do we do this though?
When someone is just starting out in their health/fitness journey, the number of decisions being made is overwhelming to say the least. Which workout program will I do? What type of sports bra should I chose? What am I going to make for dinner? What about organic? Paleo? The number of questions goes on and on.
I think it is in this period, when we begin to start asking these questions, is a great time to also start practices to become more aware of ourselves.
START WITH YOUR FOOD
The place I always start with my clients is food. We always do a 3 day food diary. It goes beyond what you ate and drank for three days though. I want to know how you feel before and after your meals, were you actually hungry, how full were you after the meal? I also want to know about your snacking,; are you doing it because you are hungry, are you bored, is it a social gathering and everyone else is doing it?
By doing this exercise for 3 whole days, we can all become more aware of what we are putting into our bodies and why.
If we focus solely on the food, we miss a key piece which is, what truly triggers us to eat certain foods. Once we can begin to identify patterns, we can begin to change those patterns. And this all begins with awareness.
WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW
Whether or not you have consciously started a health and fitness journey or not, there are steps you can take now that make you a more aware individual.
I know, everyone is not in the same place on their journey but I think these 3 steps can really help anyone become more aware which, in turn, will lead to better health whether intentionally or not.
- Stop and breathe deeply. I think so many of us just rush through life and its many “to-dos” without even thinking. Sometimes we are already thinking about the next thing before we stop the thing we are doing right now. It is what I talked about in my last post too, be in the moment. Be present and realize what you are doing right now. In regards to food, slow down your eating, get rid of distractions at meals (staring at screens is an easy way to over eat), think about each bite and how it tastes. Savor your meal. Whether it is a quick bite before you go to the gym or a 5-course dinner, food is nutriton, fuel, and it tastes good! Let us give it the respect it deserves by paying more attention to it as it goes into our mouth.
- Ask the right questions. Asking better questions means you will get better answers. So what does this mean? Maybe you are just answering surface questions like “does it taste good?” , “is it convenient?”, “how much is it?”. While these questions are great for the moment, they aren’t really going to help you become aware of what you might be feeling. Start asking questions like “how will this food make me feel?” or “am I actually hungry right now?”. The second set of questions are going to highten your awareness of yourself in relation to the food much more than the first set. Ask these questions over and over again. In the beginning it might seem lame and but after awhile, it really becomes automatic and it won’t be some awkward interview with your dinner plate everytime you sit down to a meal.
- Adjust as you see fit. Being aware means realizing you might not be doing the right thing. Maybe it was the right thing for you last month but now, it just isn’t working. Adjusting doesn’t mean making drastic changes, it means making slight tweaks to the plan and seeing how your body reacts. The more necessary tweaks you make (don’t ever complicate and make unecessary ones) the more aware you will become of how your body feels with the smallest of changes.
Those are my 3 tips that anyone can apply in their daily lives right now. The more you apply these steps in your daily life, the easier they will become, and the easier they become, the easier it is to be more self aware.
Once self awareness becomes part of your lifestyle, pursuing health, as a practice, will become a much easier job.