In a world full of talking heads and 24-7 communications, it is no wonder that the external noise-fest increasingly drowns out our inner voice that’s trying to give guidance. Listening to anything can be hard in a non-stop world. But listening – to our bodies, to ourselves – is actually critical to our overall ongoing good health.
When we talk about ‘listening’ to the body, we are really talking about two things. In one sense there are signs your body will give you to indicate its health or otherwise energy, wellbeing and vitality or illness, lethargy and injuries. The other is more conceptual; it is your own knowledge as to what is really good for you. Deep down we all really know what is good for us. That’s why we each have to learn to trust ourselves – intuition is the best ‘friend’ any of us can have.
There isn’t a person alive who has demolished a whole packet of potato crisps or box of chocolates in one sitting and felt that it was a healthy thing to do! You know when you overindulge and/or when you’re not giving your body what it needs and what it’s asking for. That’s why your intuition – your ability to listen to what is inherently truthful for your needs – is the first essential bow in your quiver of health.
Intuition – your inner knowing –will guide you to what is right for you personally. It’s there to help you, not just as the stern voice of your conscience. You need to know that you must act on it and not ‘talk yourself out of’ the rightness of what you feel. Don’t worry that you’ll get out of control if you trust your instincts about what food you need. Think of it as the friendly voice that’s looking out for you, helping you to make good, positive and healthy choices.
“Reclaiming personal power is far more important than how we think we look.”
But you need information as well, to make your intuition truly helpful to you. When you have the correct information and you use your intuition based on that, amazing things happen. You begin to take care of yourself and become fully aware of what your body needs and what it is telling you. Balance then becomes possible.
Looking after yourself
Looking after yourself is a key theme of all the Girlosophy books. And learning to look after yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually, is a huge task that requires complete commitment. Sadly however, it seems too many of us are struggling with that commitment to ourselves. Eating disorders are prevalent in many countries today – particularly in affluent countries – and it is adolescent girls and young women who are most at risk from developing them.
Most women have either experienced an eating disorder directly (whether temporary or otherwise) or at least know of someone who has. Some may have realized they were developing an eating issue of some sort but have managed to pull back from the abyss of a full-blown disorder. In all cases, there are devastating health and emotional and psychological consequences.
Eating disorders can be tricky to define. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, bingeing, extreme fasting are all eating disorders. One may share symptoms with another or be a fairly temporary precursor that, in time, might become a deepening of another, different disorder. Different phases in a sufferer’s life may manifest a different type of eating disorder, making it difficult to treat. Because controlling food intake becomes the sufferer’s basic expression of personal power, all eating disorders are the result of an imbalance energetically and, often, a distorted perception of the body.
There is also a widely held view that an addiction to exercise is possibly related to eating disorders. It’s another form of control aimed at the body and food consumption.
However we are born and grow, we need to get this obsession about our physical shape into a healthier perspective. We need to love ourselves as we are, not as we think we should be, or as we think others want us to be. Reclaiming personal power is far more important than how we think we look.
Photographer: Anthea Paul