Listen To Your Body: Become Embodied

Pay attention, observe your body, and get out of the head—I know it is a busy place up there and that can be part of the problem!

Write down your symptoms

  • See if there are patterns of symptoms after eating certain foods
  • Track your menstruation cycle
  • Track your body temperature to check thyroid function
  • Delegate responsibilities if you are a control freak (like me)
  • Stop pushing yourself too hard at the gym – but do exercise and move

I do believe that intelligent allopathy or medical crisis management has its place, absolutely. I am not against Western Medicine, to the contrary, it is life saving and I am grateful for the medical interventions that are available to us today. They saved my life. What I stand for is introducing a paradigm shift from conventional medicine and disease management into a wellness strategy of customized integrative health. This strategy is based on personalized nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices that include fun activities, assess environmental factors and immune challenges, provides customized stress management and the optimization of functions within the body with supportive nutrients (especially if genetic challenges are in play).

As one of my heroes, Dr. Jeffrey Bland eloquently writes:

“I choose to view the future of health care as personalized lifestyle medicine because it encompasses all the concepts that have been described here: genomics, systems thinking, patient-activated networks, self-monitoring, lifestyle choices, and, above all, personalization. You have the opportunity and power to shape your own pattern of health and longevity. It’s what personalized health management is all about.

It is time to forget about what trendy diet you should be on or what you should weigh, it is time to listen to your unique body’s nutritional needs. Food can help or insult our body and we eat every day, multiple times a day. Making small changes and changing of habits will be necessary.

You are unique. Honor and embrace that in your daily choices, in how you respect and think about yourself. If you do not take action to make changes today, you could find yourself in the same place next year. By reading this book, or even one chapter, you will learn something of value, and if you put it into action, you’ll experience a change for the better. This will ensure an increase in your energy, resilience, and wellbeing from a mind-body perspective.

There is no quick fix, no magic pill, and no app that will be able to address your specific energy needs that are explained in this book. Do you really want to be in the same place, still, again, next year? Have you ever had a commitment unravel similarly to the one below?

  • I will start exercising next month.
  • I will start after Jenny’s birthday party . . .
  • I will cut out all sugar and coffee . . .
  • I will start when the kids go off to school . . .
  • I am going to lose 5 lbs. in February, so I’ll only eat breakfast and dinner . . .

“Time is a created thing. To say, ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, “I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu

In reality, there is never a good time to start making changes as right now, in the present. Building up a huge “event” creates more stress and the feeling of having to sacrifice; “So let me eat two tubs of ice cream today because tomorrow I’ll be starving myself.” And then, should you not succeed, you get that tape recorder on the shoulder saying:” See, you failed again.” That does not help you or your situation. Keep it real and be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Choose any area of your life that needs attention now and choose to do something about it; a small bite, nothing drastic or overwhelming. Maybe go get some blood work done, check your thyroid panel (not just TSH, all markers), both vitamin D markers, ANA, fasting insulin, HA1C, CRP besides the usual blood chemistry screen.

Think of taking small steps in this way: You would not go to the gym as a novice and lift heavy weights way beyond what you are capable of presently. It is the same with making changes regarding our nutrition and lifestyle.

Consider all areas of stress that are affecting you right now and choose one area where you can make a manageable change right now, for example:

  • Writing out a healthy shopping list with more vegetables (ideally organic)
  • Taking a daily walk
  • Having less coffee during the day
  • Eating breakfast instead of running out with a cup of coffee
  • Adding another vegetable on your plate
  • Going to bed 20 minutes earlier
  • Packing the kids’ lunch at night rather than scrambling in the morning
  • Choosing not to go to a networking event and going home instead.

You see, there are so many ways you can start decreasing your stress and add energy into your life. No big chunks of life-altering change will work, despite best intentions! Rather than “taking away” and feeling deprived by making severe dietary changes, think of daily healthier choices as nurturing your body within the context self-care. That mindset alone is an energy deposit! Hooray.

Rika Keck, FDN-P

NY Integrated Health