Listen UP

listen-to-others-clipart-1The other day I had to stop at the gas station to fill up my car. It was on empty. I know it needed fuel; the little red light had come on. What I didn’t know was exactly how much gas it needed nor did I know how much was actually still in the tank. I mean really how much farther could I have gone without worrying about running out of fuel?

I took out the handy dandy owner’s manual. I read that my vehicle had a 21 -gallon tank. After filling up with gas I found I actually had over 2 gallons in the tank and could have gone on further in my journey. My point?

My car signals me when I need more gas in the tank to make my car go. I even have a little leeway after that signal blinks on.

One of the biggest game changing skills you can develop is listening to what your body is already telling you. Like the little light that goes on when your car reaches a level of lowness in fuel, our bodies send us similar signals when we are getting low on fuel.

While we don’t have a little light on top of our heads to sound out the warning signs, I’ll have to admit that would be very handy, we do have a signal that lets us know we are getting low on fuel. Hunger is our body’s signal. It often starts as a low level of emptiness. That feeling can come and go at first but steadily gets stronger. Eating only after our bodies give us that signal will help us in many ways.

1. Mindless eating is one of the biggest culprits of sabotaging our body. Food is in sight so we eat. Others are eating so we eat. We just saw this great commercial on TV so we eat. There is nothing else to do so we eat. We walk past a restaurant and the smells are just so too wonderful, so we eat.

But eating when we don’t need to is not necessary. And when we eat food our bodies don’t need it gets stored as fat.

2. Snacking on a regular basis takes away our abilities to even hear our bodies speak. Many of us don’t know what hunger feels like. While others panic at the first sign of being hungry and stuff too much food down for what the signal is saying. Remember the first signs of hunger are there just to warn us at some time in the near future we should eat. It doesn’t mean we are starving.

3. Our bodies actually enjoy a break from constantly having to digest food. The time between meals allows your body to focus its attention on other things.

4. Without using your hunger signal properly you can overeat your way to an unhealthy weight and not understand how to bring it back to healthy again.

My suggestion to you is first know what hunger feels like. Hunger is a growing sensation that at first comes and goes but after a bit is a constant hollow or empty ache. We should be hungry for at least 30 minutes before eating each meal. It is a skill to work on daily. But with practice, you’ll soon comfortable being hungry for a bit before filling your tank with fuel.

Take baby steps. If you feel paralyzed to eat all your meals after being hungry first, then start with listening to hunger before eating your dinner meal. Just start listening. By listening you learn and by learning more about yourself you will build that skill for a lifetime.

To your health,

Coach Nancy

About the author

Coach Nancy

Nancy Carlson is a Certified Professional Fitness Trainer with the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association, a Level 1 Youth Conditioning Specialist with the International Youth Conditioning Association, and is a Level 2 Certified Precision Nutrition Master coach. Nancy was recognized in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the “Best of the Best” Fitness Trainer in Southern NH by the Hippo Press.

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