Finding your onramp to intuitive eating and body-care
It started with two hangovers in two months. Each time, I'd had ONE margarita. Like many people in their late thirties, I knew I couldn't drink like I used to. I had moderated and I didn't over drink like I did sometimes in my twenties. But for the second time in two months, I had headaches, nausea, low mood, and severe allergies after one drink. I couldn't moderate further without abstaining so I abstained.
I never met criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and I only very rarely drank more than one drink per day, the definition of moderate here in the United States. I love(ed) wine, whiskey, beer, gin, vodka, and especially Scotch. But I simply could not deny that my body was trying to send me a message that it didn't want to process alcohol anymore.
I don't identify as a non-drinker. I'm a drinker who imbibes only very rarely and in small amounts. I choose non-alcoholic, non-sugary drinks most of the time and while the ritual of making a beautiful mocktail is satisfying most of the time, sometimes I want the whiskey. Abstaining (for the most part) from alcohol was a response to my body screaming for help that enabled me to listen to its softer requests: Go to bed on time, eat a small breakfast and dinner and a big lunch, and get some exercise every day. Each time I listened to and responded to one of its requests, it had an easier but softer request for something else. Each time I responded, I felt better. It started with responding to my intuition on alcohol and continued into domains of sleep, exercise, managing my business/practice, mindful parenting, mindful partnering, and even how to explain listening to the body's intuition to my children.
Many people come to therapy to work on their relationship with their bodies. Especially for those of us raised in the lowfat craze of the 1980s and 1990s, we want rules to follow to have an ideal body. But this agenda of control has done nothing for our society as a whole but to increase obesity rates and give many people disordered relationships with their bodies and what they put in them. I'm glad we have rules about alcohol so folks know when they're taking on important medical or psychological risks but moderating might still leave you feeling like crap. Likewise, sticking to a prescribed diet or calorie count that works for someone else might be a terrible fit for you.
Stop and listen. Where is your body screaming for care? What can you do to love it? What happens when you hydrate it, sleep it, exercise it, feed it one thing vs. another, feed it more or less, caffeinate it, or stretch it? What does it feel like for you to crunch your work into a shorter workweek vs. spread it out over several days? What does your body say about whether you work better in the morning or evening?
If you address the issue your body is screaming about, what request do you hear from it next?
My journey with intuitive body-care started with a hangover but continues with much deeper work that permeates my family and professional lives. Where will you go on your adventure?