• on June 3, 2015

Belly listening

I spend a great deal of my life in my head, in my brain, and specifically in my “monkey mind”. You know, the bit that swings through the trees, leaping from branch to branch, up and down, round and round.

I also spend time “zoning out” which is often when food comes in. I get lost in the carbfest, especially if it is in front of the TV. I’m looking for some downtime after a busy day or a means to escape from difficult feelings.

But what does the recipient of all this extra and sometimes poor quality food think about this habit? How does my belly cope when I eat more than I need?

Did you know that your belly has a brain? It is not just a casual receptacle for whatever I choose to chuck into it. It communicates with with my nervous system, my immune system, my endocrine (hormone) system; in fact my whole body. I might be numbing myself with food but my belly is doing the exact opposite. It is noticing EVERYTHING and doing its very best to deal with what I have presented to it.

So, a simple practice: before eating I ask, hand on belly, “what do you need?” During eating I listen to my belly’s response to the food I have chosen and especially after eating I ask “did I choose well?” Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I try to notice, not judge (this is hard as critical monkey likes perfection!)

It is such a different voice to the craving monkey who screams “ICE CREAM!” and then proceeds to give me twenty different reasons/justifications why this is such a good idea. The belly sighs and does its best.

My belly never lies. I am learning to listen.