Getting in Tune With Yourself: How to Listen to Your Body
Nov. 08 2021
Understanding what our bodies are attempting to tell us is an essential step on the path to better health. While obviously we can’t directly hear what our body is saying, if we pay attention, there are many signs that our body uses to communicate.
Your body is constantly communicating. Get in tune with it.
When is Your Body Telling You Something is Wrong?
Listening to your body is especially important as a person navigating type 2 diabetes. Make a note if you’ve noticed any of these common physiological signs that something might not be quite right:
- Poor sleep quality
- Increased fatigue
- Increased weight
- Increased waist circumference
- Increased hunger
- Increased acne
- Increased time for wound healing
- Increased frequency of urination
It is important to keep in mind that the signals listed above may be due to other reasons as well. If you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms always consult your treating health care provider.
By learning how to recognize these indicators, you will be better able to associate them with what is happening in your body and stay in control of your metabolic health.
Take note of what your body is telling you.
Based on the above signs, it may help to reflect and take note of what your body is telling you.
Ideas for Getting in Tune With Your Body
The following list describes questions you can ask yourself to help be aware and stay in tune with your body.
Try going for a 30-minute walk after a meal. Reflect on how you felt after completing your walk.
- Was it easy to get your pulse to slow down? (Can use an activity tracker if you have one, otherwise two fingers on your wrist works well.) Observe right after the walk and again 20 minutes later.
- How did you feel after your walk? Did you feel exhilarated or tired?
- How long did it take you to stop feeling tired?
How was your day?
- Did you have any moments of high stress?
- What induced the stress and how did you react?
- Were you able to calm yourself down?
- What could you try next time?
How did you feel after eating today?
- Did you feel tired or experience feelings of fatigue or weakness?
- What did you eat and how much did you eat?
- Where were you eating? A desk, table, work, home?
- Did you eat at a new time than usual?
- Did you eat with anyone?
- Reflect on what this could be telling you about your food choices.
How was your sleep last night?
- Did you have to take many trips to the restroom?
- How did you feel upon waking? Cheerful, well rested, groggy, or irritable?
- Why do you think this is and how can you be better in tune with what your body is telling you from your sleep?
When is Your Body Telling You Something Good?
That’s right. Your body isn’t always communicating problems. Sometimes it’s telling you that you’re doing everything right.
For example, when you are eating a diet that keeps your glucose in a healthy range all day, you might feel like you have more energy. You might feel more cheerful. You might notice measurable physical differences — a smaller waist size, a lower A1C. When you are really in tune with your body and listening to what it is telling you, you can begin to make an educated guess about whether your glucose is in a healthy or unhealthy range.
You also should have a pretty good idea of how your own behavior might affect your blood glucose levels and whether they’re staying in a good range. For example, if you had a cinnamon roll for breakfast and weren’t able to go on your usual morning walk because you had a meeting – well, you can probably guess that your glucose is fairly high. Over time, you will tend to learn what behaviors help you stay in range.
And when you get really good at developing your behavioral awareness and reading the signals your body gives based on what you eat, how you move, what medications you’ve taken, how much sleep or stress you’ve experienced — you might even be able to stop using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Of course, you shouldn’t hesitate to check your glucose levels with a fingerstick or blood glucose meter reading when needed. But “checking in” with your body can help you anticipate your physical needs and address them, too.
And then we’d end with this, which is already how we are ending:
Brainstorming about the above experiences can have a big impact on how you understand your body and the effects your type 2 diabetes has on it. Give it a go! And if something doesn’t feel right, you should always check with your health provider.