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What is Body Wise?




What is Body Wise?


Answering the question of ‘what is body wise?’ has proven to be complicated, likely because being body wise is rooted in many intricacies. To start exploring the concept of being body wise, it is important to note that body wisdom is born within all of us. For example, newly born babies move towards breast milk moments after birth knowing that they need nourishment from food and from connection. We first learn to eat and connect, unapologetically, without fear or worry of optimum nutrition, weight gain or loss, or judgment from others.


While being body wise is an inherent part of human existence, there are many reasons we get disconnected from it.

These can include:

  • Traumatic experiences that require dissociation, which later leave us feeling uncomfortable being present in our bodies.

  • Diet culture that teaches us to strive for weight loss despite our desire for nourishment.

  • Being marginalized based on race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, and ethnicity that discriminate against our bodies’ right to exist.

  • Villainizing normal emotional reactions, leading us to push down emotions deemed inappropriate such as fear, anger, sadness, and shame.

  • Problematic behavioral modeling present in societal norms, especially in terms of familial and cultural expectations.


Being body wise is acknowledging that body disconnection is, by design, a protective response, not a defective one. There is nothing broken or wrong with you if you are noticing body disconnection. Body re-connection will take persistence, time, and returning to those early actions of body safety and nourishment.


Where Can I Start?


We always start within ourselves. Your body sensations and emotions are always valid because they exist and you are experiencing them. This may need to be repeated and said out loud, which you can start practicing at any time. You can even try it now, if you like.

Take a few breaths, take notice of what is going on in your body, and say out loud: “My body sensations and emotions are always valid”. Notice how you feel. Is it comfortable? Tense? Neutral? If it is tense, breathe deeply without trying to change how you are feeling and repeat: “My body sensations and emotions are always valid”. Repeat this as many times as necessary for this idea to feel safe and comfortable in your body.



Gratitude

Being body wise is connected to body gratitude. Every day our wise bodies beat our hearts, digest our food, create new cells and move oxygen with them, protect us from foreign invaders, inform us of danger, and so much more without need for appreciation or conscious thought. Even when our mind is telling us that our body is doing something “wrong,” our body is there for us, keeping us alive through complex life and health situations. Gratefulness for these body functions helps to shift our value away from what we look like or how we are perceived by society and towards true appreciation for the hard work that our body does.


Listening

Being body wise is listening to our bodies. This helps us to know the difference between eating to change our body and eating to feel good. All foods are valid and allowed, but some foods and meal patterns feel particularly good in each individual body. For some of us, cooked vegetables feel better than raw. For some, easily digestible carbohydrates provide quick energy while, for others, the same food provides a crash of energy. The only way to know what foods feel good is to connect, to remove judgment and look with curiosity at how foods and meal patterns feel in your body.


Getting Back to Trusting Yourself


Within disordered eating patterns and eating disorder behaviors, we often disconnect from trusting our bodies, so reconnection should be part of treatment.


Cultivating body wisdom gives us the ability to build our sense of worthiness, which allows gentle shifts in our thoughts and behaviors. If connecting to your body when eating or exercising feels really uncomfortable or impossible, this is often your body letting you know this connection feels unsafe. This doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or broken, it just means that something has happened to leave your body feeling unsafe and it is time to seek help to safely and fully connect to food, movement, and your body.


At Body Wise Nutrition, we focus on promoting you trusting yourself, which we believe leads to honoring your body and meeting your needs. We know that your body is wiser than BMI charts, nutrition labels, and general dietary guidelines. Your body knows what foods and movements feel good, we just have to find the best way to listen to and honor these cues.

Becoming body wise is not linear. Much like tree limbs that twist and turn to find the nourishment they need, we grow and change in similar ways. Body wisdom is within you and your body is waiting without judgment for you to connect how you can, when you can. This is where we come in at Body Wise Nutrition & Eating Disorders - we are here to promote self-trust, self-compassion, and to provide a safe space for you to relearn your body’s unique needs. You are never too far gone to understand your needs and return to them, claiming peace and joy in your nutrition journey. Take one more deep breath, tune in, and know that you are not alone in this journey.


This is being body wise.

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