The supreme irony in embarking on a health and wellness journey is that we inevitably get bogged down in the vast store of information available to us. Much of that information is right at our very fingertips (thanks, internet!), and this is further complicated by the fact that a large portion of that information? It’s incredibly contradictory.
When it comes to food and our bodies, we have a tendency to place so much importance on what others TELL us and so little on our own experience.
I see it time and time again.
And I get it. I love the science. I love to read all the studies and latest research and understand how and why our bodies process and respond to food.
But here’s the thing…
Facts and studies and stats and data help us to understand something. Experience allows us to know.
The key issue: We don’t trust ourselves.
We place such little value on our own experience that what we FEEL in our bodies becomes secondary to what books, studies, “experts”, and external cues tell us. We discard our experience… and instead… we own what we’ve been told. In this way, we become miserable, walking “shoulds”.
I’ve taken to calling this voice Karen. (Karen is notoriously the WORST.)
Example: you are told that intermittent fasting will help you drop weight and regulate your blood sugar. So you start doing it, and you feel awful. You’re starving. But people tell you your body just needs to adjust. It needs time. It works for Karen, so it should work for you, too. I mean just LOOK at Karen.
Example: I went vegetarian and lost my cycle after only 6 months. I spent 5 years convinced that the knowledge I held in my brain about the benefits of a vegetarian diet was TRUTH, even while my body was experiencing a huge disconnect. My body KNEW that it needed meat. Maybe Karen can be a vegetarian and GLOW… but… what’s right for Karen isn’t necessarily right for me.
The challenge here, then, comes from discernment. The difficulty is in knowing the difference between the messages coming from your body (internal cues) and the data that’s coming from other sources (external cues).
How do we come to discern, then, what’s external and what’s internal?
You don’t need more information. You don’t actually NEED to know more about food. What you need is to learn how to discern meaning from your own experience, and to allow that information to empower you and support you.
So the next time you feel like reading about another food trend or falling down a rabbit hole of scientific research, may I suggest that instead you get quiet and tune in to yourself? That may look like:
Going for a walk, unplugged (no earphones/podcasts/audiobooks/music)
Journal (you can stream of conscious write away or try this prompt generator)
Read a fiction book and see what kind of stories light you up
Meditate (try a guided meditation or, if you already have a practice and feel pretty solid in your meditation, do your thing)
Get your hands on a copy of Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto, which, yes, I recognize that I’m herein telling you to read another book, but let me be clear: I wrote this book to guide you to learn to listen to your internal cues in favor of the blasted external cues.
Most importantly, when you feel the urge to go down that “should” path, ask yourself: is this true, or is this complete and actual nonsense? And if it is true, how is it serving me? If it isn’t true, how can I release the voice of Karen and bid her a not-so-fond farewell?
p.s. If this intrigues you, be sure to check out the four ways you can break free of food rules.