What your body wants isn’t necessarily what your mind craves. Sounds a little trippy. I was talking to my good friend in Texas last night and we have both been on a similar journey of re-evaluating what we put into our bodies and how we choose to nourish our bodies. We both have given up caffeine and sugar and both of us are doing the cold shower thing. Although I have to give him massive credit for having taken it to the extreme of ice baths.

We talked for a while about how amazing the results have been. It seems that both of us are feeling the same – nothing short of amazing! I will speak for myself when I say, I was completely addicted to sugar. I grew up amongst other sugar addicts and we even had dedicated cupboard space just for our treats. I remember my father doing the shopping at month-end and sure-as-shit, the chocolates, and sweets were on the grocery list too (before any of the essentials). As a result, I had frequent dentist visits. I had cavities galore!

It was only until later in my life that I started learning about how my body was responding to food, after having serious health issues. My husband at the time was into everything healthy and I’d get the beady eye every time I chose a chocolate instead of a banana. He was the one that went to the gym, carried his water bottle everywhere he went, and always had a healthy snack in hand. I did not want to hear his gentle prodding to quit sugar, I could not even fathom that such a thing was possible. After we separated, I started rethinking my behaviors, especially around my body. I was not only feeling shitty emotionally, but my body was really battling to process all the sugar. Like most things it was cyclical in nature:  feel tired and depressed, reach for a chocolate or two, feel tired…you get where I’m going with this. I was in a feedback loop.

I started gradually becoming introduced to the link between sugary substances and the body and decided to get my body moving through running. I reduced my sugar intake to a modicum of mildly appropriate. I felt a lot happier with my body and how I was feeling in overall. Now I know we grow in awareness through time, and I also know we fall back into our old patterns and habits especially when we aren’t addressing the underlying emotions that we are carrying. Needless to say, just as gradually as I progressed to being healthier and more active, I regressed with the same intensity because I was not looking at the emotional aspect of my life. It wasn’t before long that my stomach and skin issues persisted. 

Fast-forward a few years, I started really looking into my emotional baggage, that I was putting off for a while. Ok, let me clarify, in the past I was doing spiritual course after spiritual course, devouring self-help books, and seeing a psychologist on the regular, but I was still avoiding facing the deeper emotions that were there. It was only after I really started getting my hands dirty that I saw progress, and it finally freed up space for me to feel my body. I started becoming aware of my sensitivity to certain foods, music, situations, and people. I started making very slow and delicate alterations to where I would place my body but this time, I had the backing of my emotional resilience. The more I started taking note of what I was eating daily and how I was or was not moving my body. Things started to shift as I grew in my awareness that I no longer needed the sugar or the coffee to support me emotionally. I was already doing that by being more introspective and not trying to use sugar as a means to cope and self-soothe. 

I started noticing just how beautifully intelligent my body was and that it, and I, deserved to feel good every day. So, I decided to quit sugar and caffeine completely. Not only that, I started working out every day. Then I started tuning in deeper and really listening to what my body wanted. It wanted cold showers in the mornings! Yikes! Was that the biggest shift for me! I used to like my showers nothing short of scolding hot, for my entire existence up until this point. But I went with my own insanity and paid attention to the way I felt when I was done. I felt more alive like I had a newly cleaned and reset PC. I was more functional and alert and I felt so much ease. All my little aches disappeared. This is now becoming my usual way of doing things, not because I don’t want something a tad bit sweet or a nice comforting shower, and of course I have a healthy medium when it’s called for, but I am leaning into what is good for my body and my mind. The stuff that yields more longer-term results. Because I have dealt with my emotional baggage, I no longer need the quick-fix solutions that can not be sustained long-term, without hurting me. 

Our bodies want to feel good so that our minds can feel good. When they are working as a team, we are in an optimal state of being. When they are working in opposition to each other, we experience what is undesirable and that can not be long-lived because of the toll it takes on us.

Action Steps: 

  • I invite you to start being curious about your choices around WHY you are choosing the foods or activities you are? 
  • Are they adding to you or are they taking away from you? 
  • Perhaps keep a journal and track what you eat and how you move your body and then at the end of the day write down how you feel. 
  • After a week or two, you’ll have enough evidence to make a more informed choice about your body and your mind!

‘’Your mind, emotions, and body are instruments, and the way you align and tune them determines how well you play life.’’ ~Harbhajan Singh Yogi

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