Do you sometimes think how convenient it would be if we didn’t have a body?
Imagine if we were just floating minds that could interact and experience things. We would not be bothered with having to get haircuts, showers, nor would we have the challenge of keeping fit or the bother of gaining weight!
It is our sense of disconnect from the body makes possible the almost abusive relationship we at times have with it. Sometimes we eat and drink too much and then we start to hate the body for the double chin, the fat tummy and thighs. Yet if the body had been asked (metaphorically), would it have chosen to overeat and drink too much wine; it would say no! It would also say, it was not asked and it wasn’t even consulted.
Afterwards, when we feel uncomfortable due to being full of rich unnecessary food and perhaps too much wine (that from the body’s perspective contains a toxin it has to deal with), we are likely to get annoyed with the body for feeling uncomfortable. When the scales show another two kilos, we again get frustrated with the body, and yet it didn’t invite the extra two kilos and direct them to the thighs.
The Poor Body
Imagine if when you started on this planet, someone said to you: ‘Here is a gift, it is called a body, and you will have it for as long as you are on this planet. Take good care of it, it is a very special gift and the better you look after it, the more likely it is that it will serve you well. Always remember that it is alive, needs nutrients, fresh air and its favourite treat is loving, movement and laughing.’ Imagine what would change if that were the perspective.
The irony is we engage in overeating or mindless eating and drinking to feel good, feel pleasure or avoid feeling empty, sad or lonely. Food in that context works for a fleeting moment of pleasure or numbness but then immediately after we are confronted with the ‘bill’, which tends to far outweigh the benefits gained. Naturally habit also play a huge role in how and when we eat.
When we are present, connected to others and experiencing joy, we are less likely to overeat. And the reason for this is a hormone called oxytocin*. Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone” as it is linked to feeling contentment, calm, trust, and connection with others. Oxytocin is released when we laugh, when we enjoy singing, dancing, have a massage, orgasm, breast feed, when we feel love, we feel connected to a community, partnership and or family. In short, oxytocin is released when we drink in life.
Celebrate your body by tuning into it, by listening to where it is at and to what it needs. It may need sleep, certain foods, gentle movement, hugs or a run.
Take in the pleasant lovely moments, drink them in, let them fill and spill into every cell of your body. This way your system is filled with the real feeling of joy, relaxation, and kindness rather than the poor substitute of overeating or drinking.
*Recent research by Dr. Elizabeth Lawson of Harvard Medical School shows that oxytocin tends to make us eat less due to feeling satisfied sooner.