Focus On Listening To Your Body, Instead Of The Numbers

the one I want

Focusing on what’s important this month reminded me about the importance of focusing on numbers. I can still remember the excitement I felt as a little girl when my mother would bring out the Advent calendar and we would count down the days till Christmas.

Currently, it’s important for me to focus on the numbers in my checking account, without that mindfulness I could be in trouble when it’s time to pay my bills!

There is also a shadow to focusing on numbers that is common with the people I work with. The number of calories in food or the numbers on a scale can turn into obsessions which interfere with their lives. Soon, their mind can be taken over by ruminating  on the calories they are able to eat within a day, or how many calories they need to burn off by exercising excessively. Looking to the numbers on a scale can begin to determine how they feel about themselves, or what kind of day they’re going to have.

I have been free from the obsession with numbers on the scale or the calories in the food I purchase for decades now.

I had a recent experience that brought my attention to how I can continue to make progress in using numbers in more loving ways for myself.

I love riding my bike, it’s one of my Self-Love Diet practices. There’s a hill I need to cross over  on the way to work. It is challenging even with my 7-gear, pink, white and green Townie Bike. Below is the strategy I’ve used for climbing this hill.

  1. If there are no cars at the intersection before the hill, I keep my momentum going by not stopping at the stop sign,which gives me a good beginning to the climb.
  2. If I have to stop, I start out at gear 5 and I push through till I get to the first light pole before I down shift, from 5 to 4. Next, I wait until I make it to the next light pole until I downshift into 3. I wait for the bike symbol painted on the road before I down shift into 2. Finally, I wait till I reach the next light pole and I downshift into 1 and finish the hill in this gear. I have managed the pace that I go up the hill externally by looking at the lights and bike lane signs and using them to inform me when I should shift gears.

I had a recent experience that made me aware of my external focus with biking up the hill, which was connected to a Yoga/Pilates class I took this past semester at the JC. In this class it was a continuous challenge to focus on my body and my capabilities instead of comparing myself to the abilities of the 20-something aged students in the class. The Yoga/Pilates exercises increased my core strength, which changed my experience of riding up the hill.

I was riding to work one day and I was in 5th gear as I approached the hill. I noticed that my body was working effortlessly. I also noticed my thought that told me that the light pole was coming and that it was time to downshift. This awareness of my body and my thoughts were in conflict. My body was telling me I didn’t need to downshift yet. I still had energy and was biking with ease in 5th gear. The trek up the hill made me aware that I was focusing on what number gear I should shift into, instead of listening to my body, like I used to look at the numbers on the scale if I was doing okay.  I lived a life focusing on the external before I learned how to trust my body’s wisdom.  This bike riding  experience of shifting when my body told me I needed to without even looking at the numbers of the gears was an exhilarating and freeing experience!

This was a physical, concrete example that reminds me of the importance of listening to my body.

Blessings on your Self-Love Diet!

Michelle Minero

Self-Love Diet Front CoverMichelle Minero, the Co-Founder of this blog and the overarching Love Warrior Community published her book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works. You can buy her book online or at stores in Petaluma, Sonoma and Healdsburg, California. For upcoming events and book signings, visit Michelle’s Events page.

Michelle Minero, MFT 3Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. Michelle’s book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works, was published on January 23, 2013. You can purchase a copy through Amazon. Her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies.

Michelle created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.

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