We landed on the name Body Wise through our purposeful intention to find a way to say (with brevity) the complexities of nutritional healing through trusting and listening to our bodies. 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. Newly born babies move towards breast milk moments after birth with the wisdom to know 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 judgement from others.
While being body wise is an inherent part of human existence which lives deeply and profoundly within all of us, 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 which teaches us to strive for weight loss despite our hungers for nourishment. Experiences of marginalization based on race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, and ethnicity which discriminate against our bodies’ right to exist. Pathologizing normal emotional reactions leading us to push down emotions deemed inappropriate such as fear, anger, sadness, and shame. Our societal value on thoughts, seeking and testing knowledge only through what the mind remembers.
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 remembering safety in the body. Persistent engagement of mindful, judgement free curiosity of your body sensations and increasing your awareness of how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors take root in your body create body connection. 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. Try it now if you like. Take a few breaths, take notice of your body, and say out loud: “My body sensations and emotions are always valid”. Notice how this lands in your body. Is it comfortable? Tense? Neutral? If it is tense, breathe into the tension without trying to change it and repeat: “My body sensations and emotions are always valid”. Repeat as many times as necessary for this idea to feel safe and comfortable in your body.
Being body wise is connected to body gratitude. Every day our wise bodies beat our hearts, digest our food, create new cells, protect us from foreign invaders, move oxygen throughout our cells, informing us of danger, and so much more in every moment of every day of life without need for appreciation or conscious thought. Even when our mind tells us our body is betraying us due to panic or chronic illness or chronic pain or genetic disorder or weight gain or body disproportion, and we talk smack to our bodies or treat ourselves poorly with our actions, the body still fights for our inherent worth by continuing to breathe, digest, heal, and move to the best of its ability.
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. Some foods and meal patterns feel particularly good in your individual body. For some of us cooked vegetables feel better than raw. For some, easily digestible carbohydrates provide quick energy and for others, a tiresome crash of energy. The only way to know what foods feel good is to connect, to remove judgement and look with curiosity at how food and meal patterns feel in your body.
Within disordered eating patterns and eating disorder behaviors, we often disconnect from trusting the wiseness of our bodies and reconnection should be part of treatment. This not only helps with shifting behavior through utilizing body knowledge and sensations that arise during urges to engage in disordered eating patterns and increases our ability to calm the body which increases mindful decision making; but it also connects us to the wiseness of our inherent worth. The body knows our inherent worthiness even when our thoughts and behaviors and/or the thoughts and behaviors of others are attempting to prove our worthlessness.
Cultivating body wisdom gives us the ability to build our sense of worthiness which naturally and gently allows shifts to our thoughts and behaviors. At Body Wise Nutrition, we focus here in order to honor your body being wiser than BMI charts, nutrition labels, and general dietary guidelines. Your body will let you know what foods and movements feel good in your body.
This is being body wise.
If connecting to your body when eating or exercising feels really uncomfortable or impossible, again this is just 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.
Becoming body wise is not linear, much like tree limbs that twist and turn to find the nourishment they need, we grow the same way. Body wisdom is within you and your body is waiting without judgement, for you to connect how you can, when you can. Trust your process, show up where you are without criticism or judgement. Your body sensations and emotions are always valid because they exist and you are experiencing them. They don’t always belong to this moment, sometimes they belong to wounds that we carry, still trust that they are real and valid. There is power in validating your body experience and of remembering your inherent worth in making shifts to your thoughts and behaviors. Deepen your connection only when you are ready and it feels safe to do so. It’s okay to need help with this process, it is not unusual or weak to require help reconnecting to your body wisdom. And Body Wise Nutrition & Eating Disorders is here to help you do so.