Unfortunately, deciphering your body's signals can be as confusing as figuring out what the acronyms in your teenager's text messages mean BRB, BTW, TTYL, LOL, WYWH. You might need a list of common texting phrases (like this one) just to figure out what they are saying to you.

Just like texting, merely listening to what your body is saying may lead you astray. When your alarm rings for your early morning workout, your body may say, you deserve an extra hour of sleep. A late night message from your body that you deserve a snack or a glass of wine may not be the most reliable message to listen to either.

But what if you learned to translate the messages your body gives you? If you learned to listen to what your body is really saying, you could give your body the TLC (an acronym you know!) it is craving and still meet your health goals. Here are some keys to understanding what your body is really saying.

Identify true hunger versus

emotional eating. Keep track of what and how often you eat by keeping a food journal. Sometimes seeing it in print helps you assess whether it is true hunger or whether you are actually feeling bored, upset, stressed or tired.

Cravings = nutrient deficiency.

Cravings are a sign that we are missing some vital nutrients that would help us feel satisfied and balanced. For example, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, you may intensely crave chocolate or chips (or maybe chocolate chips). While they taste great for the first few bites, it will eventually bring your cravings back full force. Eating protein and other nutrient rich foods, on the other hand, will satisfy your cravings longer and help you make it through the afternoon slump.

Try water first.

Often when you feel hungry, you are actually dehydrated, but your body is sending you mixed signals. Turning to water first may satisfy your hunger and help you feel better all around.

Recognize hunger and cravings as a signal to reduce stress.

Eating will rarely reduce stress long term. To reduce stress, get out and get moving. The increase of endorphins and change of pace will help you resist the urge to eat.

Practice.

Don't feel bad if you thought you were responding to your body's signals only to find you have been tricked into eating too many goodies and snacks. Just as it takes practice to be text savvy, it takes practice to correctly interpret your body signals. You can start by adding nutrient rich foods to your diet and recognizing the effects on your energy level, hunger, and mood. You can also find support groups of others who are striving to meet their health goals. Also consider connecting with professionals at our Wellness Center, who can help you meet your health goals. We have exercise physiologists who can develop an exercise program just right for you; we have dietitians who can help you develop healthier eating habits; we even have a psychologist who can help you understand more about issues that might be preventing you from achieving your health goals. Call to find out more 535-4200.

Identifying what your body is really telling you can be tricky. When you begin to understand the signals your body is sending you, not only will you feel healthier and avoid unnecessary weight gain, you will become your own BFF (best friend forever).

October 28, 2017
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