“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

Special Blog Post By: Elena Hollander, Director of Community Nutrition

Slow down, breathe, disconnect and enjoy!

As we enter into a new year, for many of us, it’s a time of resolutions, trying out new diets (detoxing from all of that sugar and eggnog?!) and committing or re-committing to exercise routines. It’s exciting and fun to start something new, but also important to listen to your body to make sure you stay truly healthy.

What does listening to your body actually mean? People define it in different ways, but it’s essentially respecting and caring for your body by taking the time and space to feel what it needs and honoring those needs, even if they’re not what the mind thinks you should do. For example, a new rigorous exercise schedule may leave you feeling exhausted. It’s important to recognize that and take some time to rest and relax, even if it’s not in your original workout plan. Otherwise, you may end up with an injury or stop the exercise altogether because it’s too much. Your body is smart and knows what it needs, so go ahead and trust it!

So, how do you actually listen to your body? We have so many external stimuli that it can be hard to hear internal cues. Here are some easy tips to tune in for a healthier and happier lifestyle:

  1. Slow down and breathe – When eating or exercising, take a moment to slow down and breathe deeply. Slow, deep breathing physically stimulates relaxation and can help you tune out distractions and hear internal cues.
  2. Disconnect to be present – Turn off social media and the TV while eating or exercising. Turn down the music volume. When you are disconnected, you can be better mindful and consciously feel the sensations in your body. This can help you know when you are full from eating and when you are straining with exercise. You become the expert on your body and can have a healthy relationship with both eating and exercise.
  3. Find joy in whatever you’re doing – Whether it’s resting or exercising, eating “healthy” or indulging, enjoy the experience! Don’t let judgment or guilt get in the way, even if what you’re doing wasn’t initially part of your mind’s plan. By celebrating the times you listen to your body, you positively reinforce the practice of tuning into your physical needs.

Happy New Year – and best of luck on your resolutions and knowing what’s right for your body to live well!

***Catch up on our past Nutrition Newbie posts.