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Are You Listening To Your Body?

The health and fitness industry, fat loss industry, nutrition or diet industry – whatever you wish to call it – they are all packed with experts, some more qualified than others. Some we like and trust, others we don’t. This is fantastic and we should be grateful for the information we have access to, however, it seems folks are now having difficultly making decisions for themselves and actually listening to the natural feedback their body offers.

Matt Running IntervalsUnderstand that we are all different. One man’s food is another man’s poison, some people thrive on a low carb, high fat diet and others not so much. Some of us excel at certain types of training stimulus, whilst others crash out and loathe every minute. There are usually plenty of reasons for this: our individual hormonal profile, gut health, genetics and gender are just a few to consider. These are called variables and influence which direction we may take with a client.

Whilst you may not know what the above means, your body is smart and it only ever desires health and wellness so it will soon throw signs and symptoms at you to guide you. These physical and psychological symptoms offer feedback as to whether you’re on track and doing yourself some good or maybe not so much.

Never ignore these signals as they offer an opportunity to make a few decisions and adaptations yourself, before potentially investing in the help of a professional.

To Bean Or Not To Bean

Let me make myself a bit clearer. The other day I posted a picture of a sweet potato jacket with hummus in it. Not homemade hummus, just organic shop bought hummus. Big up M&S!

The Offending Sweet Potato and HummusI received plenty of likes because it looked awesome but I also received a few comments and messages of the “That’s not paleo” nature, including “I thought chickpeas were a no no” and “Surely you would have been better off making your own” or the best one “Does this mean I can have chick peas?”

Personally, I rarely have chickpeas though I know occasionally they’re fine for me. Others may struggle and get an instant bout of bloating and discomfort. Yes, chickpeas are a legume and they are not ‘strictly paleo,’ but they offer some nutrients and won’t kill you either. We refer to ourselves as paleo-ish so as not be confined by rules when it comes to nutrition. Besides some shop bought humous is hardly a Dominos pizza!

In the instance of eating food I listen to my body. There are plenty of foods considered a yes yes (see what I did there), such as bananas or eggs, that are packed with nutrients and completely natural yet some people just don’t do very well with them. They may have an intolerance, so even if I tell someone to eat bananas it doesn’t mean they should, especially if they don’t feel too hot afterwards.

At Fitter Food we are all about educating our clients and members and a huge part of that process is understanding what your body does and doesn’t like – but most of all it’s about actually listening to them. Signs something is not quite right include:

  • Low energy levels
  • Spots and skin issues
  • Bloating/wind
  • Low sex drive
  • Low mood

Paleo Primer BookSounds obvious and nothing new coming from us, yet many would rather do as they are told rather than make up their own mind. I am not saying you should ignore advice but more so find that balance and develop an understanding of what does and does not work for you.

We actually cover the above in greater detail in our debut book The Paleo Primer where we discuss sign your diet is not working and what to do about it.

3 Easy Step To Listen To Your Body

1) Do an elimination diet

Basically eliminate gluten and anything processed like bread, pasta, cereal, poor quality cooking oils, sweets, dairy and sugar – yes this includes alcohol. Opt for nutrient dense and single ingredient foods, which can be found in our Fitter Food Pantry Cheat Sheet here. It’s not forever, but by eliminating these things you will lay a nice solid foundation of health which will put you in a better position to decide what does and doesn’t work so well for you once you start re-introducing things.

2) Re-introduce one thing at a time in small amounts

Elimination diets can be tough but they are effective, which is why it would be a huge shame to make it a waste of time by just going crazy and consuming a load of gluten, sugar and dairy in one hit. You will feel pretty awful not to mention find it near on impossible to identify what is not agreeing with you. So start with a little bit of goat’s yogurt and see how you are, then some goats cheese and if all is good there try some goats milk. If you feel ok then follow the same process with cow’s dairy and see how you are. In most instances we find people do best when reducing dairy to just having occasionally and from good quality sources too.

profile-matt3) Keep a log

When introducing ingredients it’s important to keep a log to gauge your body’s response. Keep in mind some foods can take up to 2-3 days to cause reactions. So it’s best to leave a few days inbetween trying different things. Keep note of bloating, wind, energy and skin.

So remember: taking advice is helpful, putting advice into practice is important but it’s essential you listen to your body and adapt accordingly!