Who’s Talking? Mind or Body


We were in Big Sky Café the other day in San Luis Obispo on our drive down the coast from Big Sur where we had been camping. The whole way down in anticipation of lunch my body could not wait to have a huge bowl of salad, veggies it cried.

Camping you never eat as much in the way of fresh vegetables because their storage and preparation are not ideal for coolers and small cutting boards on dirty picnic tables. We do our best but inevitably we eat more protein, bread, and snack foods than usual. For some this is not just limited to camping.

An interesting thing happened though when we sat down at the café and I looked over the menu. There were so many great choices. Salads that matched exactly what I had known the whole drive down that I wanted. Yet sitting there my mind began to take over in its usual pattern, “Hmmm, what will be the most filling here?” “What will be the most decadent?” What about that juicy burger? What about some cheesy scrambled eggs? I could even have some veggies in them. I recognize this chatter. This was the voice of my mind, my ego really, trying to have its way. I was not even hungry enough for the burger. My body in its small voice kept pulling me back to the crunchy fresh salads, full of minerals I hadn’t had in days, full of live enzymes, but my mind just wanted to get as much for itself as it could, whether or not that really served me.

When you only listen to your mind you make different decisions then when you listen to your body. If you are only accustomed to listening to your mind it takes some focus to hear your body. The body is generally quieter than the mind. Until of course one day it’s not.

The body will tell you what it needs. The mind tells you what it wants. And isn’t it usually more fun to get what we want rather than what we need? That’s why the mind is louder.

Next time you’re nearing mealtime, before you are starving, listen. See if you can hear what your body is asking for. Then be conscious as you go to prepare or to order your food, who is talking now…mind or body?

Questions for You: Did your body want something but when you saw the menu your mind piped up? Can you see a distinction between what your body asks for and what your mind asks for? I’m interested to hear how other people experience this.

*** I really enjoyed this beautiful essay by Lindsey of A Design So Vast over at BlogHerMoms, about summer and memories, and the bittersweetness of this season.

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This entry was posted in Evaluation, Habits and Rituals, Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who’s Talking? Mind or Body

  1. Mara Rose says:

    Kathryn,
    That plate of veggies looks scrumptious! I know I need to eat more fruit and veggies, and I have fallen into bad eating habits. I am inspired by your photo. I think I am engaged in emotional eating.

    I love Big Sur, and the California Coast. Have a wonderful time 🙂

    • Kathryn says:

      Such an easy spiral to fall into Mara. And I think often in comforting our bruised egos we get out of balance and not only develop a bad habit (eating or any other immediate gratification habit – you can substitute shopping, drinking, etc. here) but we also lose our connection to our deeper selves. Listening to the body is a good way home.

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