To complement “7 Steps to Better Nutrition: Nourish Your Body to Nourish Your Business,” in the October 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
Being a massage therapist is a rewarding experience.
You are helping people feel better, have less pain, sleep soundly, improve digestion and so much more. But what do you do for yourself to stay healthy? What happens to your business, all the clients you help, and all the people you are meant to help in the future if you burn out or get sick?
We love to use the word respect when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Certainly as nutritionists we advise clients to respect their body by supplying it with healthy food and nutrients.
However, there is a deeper level of respect we would like you to consider, one which involves respect for our amazing bodies and their innate ability to stay healthy as long as we don’t interrupt the process. It also involves respect for the messages our bodies share with us.
Meet Your Body Awareness Muscle
We often talk about a muscle we like to call our body awareness muscle. You know the saying “use it or lose it?” Well, if you repeatedly ignore your body awareness muscle, you will lose the ability to know what your body needs.
For example, if you continually stay up late when you are tired; or continue to eat foods that make you feel sick, lethargic or bloated; or keep eating after you are full, then you are not using your body awareness muscle.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the last example, because this is one of the most common challenges we see with our clients. Eating when you are not hungry or overeating is really tough on the digestive system. We strongly believe that having a well-running digestive system is absolutely imperative to good health.
Flex Your Body Awareness Muscle
So what are some ways to exercise your body awareness muscle so you can honor your body—and feed yourself only when you are truly hungry?
1. First, before you even take a bite, give yourself a check-in and ask yourself how hungry you are. It’s amazing how often we ignore our body and give it food when we are not actually physically hungry.
Figure out what your body is really telling you. Maybe you are thirsty, or bored, or planning to eat out of habit rather than hunger. Then, address that issue in a way other than eating.
2. During the eating process, pause and take stock of how you are feeling. Are you still hungry? If so, proceed slowly. If you are not hungry, put your fork down and be done with it. It’s perfectly okay to leave food on your plate.
The majority of us continue to eat past the point of hunger for two reasons: The food tastes so good we don’t want to stop; or we are so distracted that we don’t listen to the body’s signals at all.
In this case we often tell our clients to picture themselves feeding a baby with a spoon. When infants are full, they will push your hand away or spit out the food. Their bodies are innately telling them they’ve had enough.
Would you continue to force-feed a baby if you were getting those signals? Probably not. But we do this to ourselves every time we ignore our signals to stop eating.
3. When eating in a social situation, be sure to keep your internal monitor on. It is very common to keep eating as your co-diners are eating. Ignore the external cues around you and respect the ones your body is giving you. Also, remember it is okay to say no when offered more food than you need.
If the above scenarios don’t apply, good for you. But be sure to check other areas in your life where you may not be listening to your body’s signals.
Stay in Tune
As a massage therapist, you need to stay in tune with what your clients need. This intuitiveness is what can set you apart from other massage therapists.
How about bringing that intuitiveness into your own body? Then not only your clients benefit, but your business and your own health can thrive as well.
Jane Schwartz, R.D., and Stephanie Goodman, C.N.C., of The Nourishing Gurus, teach busy entrepreneurs how to boost energy and productivity through nutrition. They help their clients learn how to properly nourish themselves and make lasting changes through their three-pronged approach that includes mindset and lifestyle changes. They wrote “7 Steps to Better Nutrition: Nourish Your Body to Nourish Your Business,” for the October 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.