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Make friends with your body

Column Woertman

(By Em. prof. dr. Liesbeth Woertman – original article here)

Don’t look at kilos, but listen to your body, headlines the NRC today. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. Pay attention to your body’s signals, say the authors of Intuitive Eating. That is of course true, but go for it. It’s not that common that we listen to our bodies.

Most people don’t listen to their bodies at all but live in their heads.

Perhaps it would be more useful to first read Lisette Thooft’s book about body awareness.

… laughing really hard, because you used to think you had to be perfect.

The bad thing is that when you start feeling again, something you may not have done for years, you first feel sadness or loss or fear. Not necessarily those feelings we’re waiting for. Thooft writes on page 52: “Emotions never have to go away, you don’t have to let anything go, on the contrary: everything is allowed to be there. On the other hand, if a feeling is allowed to be there, if you can allow it and feel it, if you open your heart to it and can relax in it, it will transform itself. Anger becomes strength, fear becomes sensitivity, sadness becomes caring.”

From my own experience I can say that these are slow change processes but very worthwhile. Feeling better in your body makes you softer and warmer. Let yourself be touched, literally and figuratively, that helps a lot in experiencing your body.

Feeling your body is the best diet you can give her. Feel when you need to rest. Feeling when to eat. And feeling because you have to laugh, laugh really hard, because you used to think you had to be perfect.

Do not think in kilos, but experience the liveliness of your body, so that you can take good care of her and enjoy her.

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Em. prof.dr. Woertman

Liesbeth Woertman is emeritus professor of Psychology. In 2007/8 she was lecturer of the year at the University of Utrecht. She obtained her doctorate in 1994 on the subject of body image.

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