People are often surprised that I don’t tell my clients what to eat, when to eat, or how much to eat. I don't because I don’t have a clue what their body needs and wants at any given time. They are the expert of their body, not me!
My role is to help my clients connect with their body’s innate wisdom and trust it to guide them to the most nourishing, satisfying and supportive choices for their unique being. Part of this process includes exploring their attunement disruptors.
Attunement disruptors are obstacles that interfere with your ability to clearly hear—and appropriately respond to—the messages your body is sending you, including its sensations of hunger and fullness and feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Here are a few common ones:
- Dieting: When you’re on a diet—whether it’s Weight Watchers, Whole30 or Paleo—you prioritize a set of external rules over your internal cues (e.g., denying your hunger because you’ve reached your calorie allotment for the day; avoiding a pleasurable food because it’s not allowed).
- Food Rules: As with diet programs, your personal food rules (e.g., no eating after 7 p.m., no snacking, no seconds, no carbs) dictate your food choices rather than your body’s needs and desires.
- Distracted Dining: Eating while multitasking (e.g., TV watching, emailing, texting, driving, cleaning) inhibits your ability to tune into your body’s feedback.
- Eating Habits: Ingrained habits, like skipping breakfast, inflexible meal times and a clean-your-plate mentality, can override your body’s needs.
- Performative Eating: You’re disconnected from your body when you change how you eat when eating with others. You might do this to meet social or cultural expectations, please other people, or project a certain image.
- Inadequate Self-Care: Not prioritizing foundational daily self-care practices, such as restorative sleep, joyful movement, stress relief and screen-free time, makes it difficult to hear and respond to messages from your body.
Addressing obstacles to body attunement can take time, especially if your inner wisdom is clouded by a dieting mentality, food rules, internalized weight stigma and other deeply embedded beliefs and behaviors. Start small and get support if needed.
Removing your disruptors will help you reconnect with your body and become more aware of and responsive to its messages, needs and desires. As a result, you will cultivate a more trusting, peaceful and relaxed relationship with food and your body.