Welcome to the 11th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/ and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)
Yesterday’s post was all about gaining more insights and reviewing progress. And today? Well, today’s the day. This is the big one. If you can crack this, you’re pretty much well on your way to staying “on track” for the long term (and enjoying it!).
Today’s post is all about learning to trust your body again. And it’s not just about your learning to trust your body, it’s all about your body learning to trust you too! If, in the past, you trusted “outside” information to determine what/when/how to eat and if you stopped trusting your real appetite, if you stopped respecting and processing your emotions .. well, it might just be time to start relating to your body in a new way.
Trust is a crucial element of a mutually respectful, loving relationship. If the trust has been broken between you and your body, healing this trust can transform your relationship.
Chances are, you’re in a relationship right now with another person or you’ve experienced relationships in the past. And you may have had experiences of broken trust too or know people who have experienced it. And that means, you’ve probably got a fair bit of expertise in this field already. If you were to give advice on how to build trust in a relationship, what would it be? Can you think of at least 5 different ways to build trust in a relationship and then apply them to the relationship between you and your body?
Here are the 5 ways I came up with :
1. Start small You can build confidence and trust in your body by handing over “responsibility” for small things to start with. Whilst your body is a powerful, intelligent organism capable of both managing your appetite and regulating your weight, “you” may not be able to fully trust its capability yet. What is one small thing, one small responsibility you could give back to your body to show that you are beginning to trust it?
Idea : Every time you eat, check in with your body to see if you can gauge how hungry you are. Check whether it’s physiological hunger or an emotion. What’s important to start with, is not how good you are at determining how hungry you are – it’s the act of checking in the first place. The message to your body is “ I am genuinely trying to listen to you. I trust you are giving me some helpful information here. I may not know what that information is but I know it’s important.”
If that feels too much to start with, think of other body signals that you may not always respect, like a sleep signal. Do you ever get to the point in the evening when your body says sleep and your mind says “let’s stay up an watch the film”?. Do you think you could respect that signal and go to sleep? Again the message to your body is “I’m starting to listen. I know you are doing your best to maintain optimal health. I trust your judgement and I’m acting on it.”
2. Look for the things you can trust, rather than the things you can’t trust yet Often in relationships where trust has been broken, the “wounded” party wants to build trust again but finds themselves always looking for evidence of the behaviour that broke the trust in the first place. For example, if a partner had an affair, the “wounded” party is constantly on the look- out for all the signs of another affair (rather than on constant look- out for all the evidence that their partner is remaining faithful). So, within the context of your relationship with you body, make a list of at least 10 things that you totally trust about it. Consider this question every day and notice how quickly the list grows!
Idea : Write down your list, starting with the phrase “I totally trust my body to ….” Example ~ I totally trust my body to regulate my heart rate. I totally trust my body to grow my finger and toe nails. (Get the idea?)
3. Be honest, be open and be prepared to have the not-so-easy conversations Learning to communicate with your body in an honest way, and being prepared to “stay in the conversation” when things get tough, is key to building trust. The message to your body is “I’m not running away. I’m not just going to switch off the trust. By learning more about you, and by seeking to understand your needs and your motivations, I’m in a better position to build a trusting relationship with you.”
Idea : Have a regular “date” with your body. Set a period of time to one side every week for just you and your body. Get things off your chest (both of you!) and talk about the real stuff. You can use the process I described on the 4th Day of Christmas (that Barry Manilow is a very helpful guy, you know! :)) Using this process also helps to build empathy (something that can really support trust-building). https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/28/connect-communicate-and-collaborate/
4. Acknowledge your partner’s strengths : become a cheer-leader! We’ve probably all been to dinner parties where we’ve met a couple who quite obviously aren’t getting along. They pick and dig at each other, constantly undermining their relationship. And they even do it in public! (Woo-hoo! Hello! Wake-up call coming straight at ya!) How would you feel if someone did that to you? How do you think your body experiences your digs and prods (in public too!)?
If you’re serious about re-building your relationship with your body, and about establishing a climate of trust, then it’s time to start acknowledging your body’s strengths – and then RAVING about them (even in public!) The message to your body is something like this “ I may not have been so good at letting you know this in the past but I want to be with you. Just you. I admire you. You’ve stuck by me through thick-and-thin – literally. I’m in it for the long haul. I want us both to feel really good about being in this relationship. You can trust the fact that I genuinely admire you. I’m proud of you. And to build that trust, I’m going to keep reminding you that I’m on your side. Just like you’ve been on mine.”
Idea : Every day, look at your body and find one thing you love about it. Now go for it with the gushing! Really get yourself into the “I really love this” feeling (you know how to do this now, right?) .A brilliant example of this feeling is in Saturday Night Fever when Doreen says “I love to watch you dance, Tony!” She adores him and when she says these words, we totally believe her because her whole body is giving that message too. So get your Doreen on and get going with the adoration 🙂
Here are some ideas to get you started :
“I just LOVE the way my eyes sparkle when …….”
“It’s incredible how I can let other people know what I’m feeling without having to say a word. What an amazing thing!”
“I adore how my eyebrows tell the whole story by….”
“I’m in awe of my own heartbeat. When I feel it, it makes me realise ……”
Advanced Method 🙂 After I’ve done this exercise, I usually share an Austin Powers moment with myself in front of the mirror : I give myself a wink and say “It’s good to be me!”. This step is completely optional ~ although, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It really makes me giggle 🙂
5. Be predictable If your partner says they will be at home at 7pm and they always are, it builds trust. Now, thinking in terms of the relationship between you and your body, can your body predict you and can you predict it? I bet, in the past, your body may have been pretty confident that if it gave you a loud and clear “stop eating now!”signal , you wouldn’t stop at all! So now, you’ve got the opportunity to show your body how predictable you can be in a new way, so trust grows between you 🙂
Decide on one thing you can do every day (something that will support your weight loss journey) which will let your body know that it can rely on you. Make sure this behaviour is so regular, that it becomes predictable.
Idea : (I’m saying this in a very quiet and gentle voice 🙂 and I’ve just winked at you too in an Austin Powers way). Do something physical (your body will love you for it!). 5 minutes a day will do the trick as long as you do it every day and become predictable.
You could stretch, you could dance, you could go for a walk, you could… (well you’ve got the general direction I’m headed in, right?)
Phew – so that’s us done for today! It’s really worth journaling your journey towards a trusting relationship with your body : it’ll probably be a deeply moving experience! And if you’re reading this, wondering whether it’s worth building a trusting relationship with your body, all I can say is that it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.
I feel privileged to own my body. I am in awe of its strength and tenderness. I love the way it supports me and communicates with me.I love the way it moves. Most of all, I feel that I always have “someone” on my side .. and now, I feel there is no gap between me and my body. We are close, inseparable and deeply connected : walking each other home 🙂 (That’s right, I’m crying : it’s a true love story and it’s okay to cry at those!)
Here are what some of the women who’ve experienced the Thigh-High Boot Camp programme say about their journey with Trust :
Julie (attended Thigh-High Boot Camp in Portrush, Northern Ireland, June 2012) “I spent such a long time in my life not being in touch with my body and hating it. At boot camp, I began an exciting journey to get me back in touch with my body again and what an exciting journey that is! (I’m well on the way to reaching my final destination of overall fabulousness :)). One of the key things I’ve learned is that my body is actually a pretty amazing thing and knows what it’s doing. I’m beginning to trust my body to do the best for me and it’s giving me fabulous results. No guilt, losing weight in an effortless way, getting excited about exercise and generally feeling so much better about myself, my body and my life. Drop the conscious control and guilt and trust your body. The great thing is that when you tune into your body and actually listen to it, it’ll tell you LOUD and CLEAR exactly what it needs. I’m certainly excited about what 2013 will bring!”
Kate (attended Thigh-High Boot Camp in Drymen, Scotland, October 2012) “Tuning in to my authentic appetite has been a revelation. It turns out that the part of myself I believed I could trust the least is the part that most deserves my trust and respect.”
Stephanie (attended the programme in Scotland, August 2010) “It’s been a journey… Now I don’t think, I feel. And I feel pretty darn good. And when I’m feeling, I’m not analysing : I am not focusing on losing weight/ body fat. It is just happening. And I’m having what I want when I want. What I want has changed a lot, what appeals to me has changed.”
Gotta run 🙂 ! (#Predictable :))
© Jane Talbot 2013