Guest Post: 5 Tools For Re-Building Body Trust, by Ali Washington

In my counseling I have noticed that there is a huge epidemic of
people who are struggling with being out of tune and out of touch with their
bodies. What I mean by this is that I notice that it is very common for people
to have no idea what their bodies are asking them for in terms of food,
exercise, rest, play and don’t know how to tune into the storehouse of
knowledge that their body contains. This is as common in people who have had eating
disorders as it is with those who have not. Most of us grow up never being
taught how to listen to our bodies.
Here are some common symptoms of body disconnection I have
witnessed both in myself, and in those with whom I have worked:

The feeling that your body constantly “craves”
foods that are seemingly unhealthy.

Feeling that your that your body is working
against you, either in that it is not the size or shape you want it to be, or
that it cannot perform the tasks you would like it to.

Having trouble regulating your eating or
sleeping cycles.

Not having the ability to tap into your body
awareness to let you know if a situation is right for you or not.

Having difficulty finding a lifestyle that works
for you, and are constantly jumping from one diet to another.
These are all basically signs that you have fallen out of trust
and out of sync with your body. When you are in sync with your body finding a
diet and lifestyle that really works for you, and ability to love and respect
your body will all become much easier. So if you are feeling that you have lost
touch with your body, I have 5 tools for you to start using today to help bring
you back in touch with your most precious gift here on earth.
1.  Rest When You Are Tired: This is my
number one tool for re-establishing a loving connection with your body because
rest is often not as emotionally charged as changing your eating habits, but is
still vital to your health and wellbeing. It is also a way to demonstrate to
yourself that you honor your need for nourishment. Rest can be incredibly
nourishing and by taking the time to rest when you need rest you are
communicating to yourself and to your body that you value you. If you are used
to pushing yourself to within and inch of your breaking point, or past your
breaking point before you rest, this tip is for you. This does not mean that
you have to take a 3 hour nap every time you are sleepy. A quick fifteen minute
break where you close your eyes, do something you enjoy doing that does not
require a tone of focus like reading a light book, or just sitting and
breathing at your desk all count and will all start to bridge the gap between
you and your body.
2.   Notice How You Feel Before, During, and After
a Meal:
It can be so helpful to cultivate awareness around your eating,
without the intention of changing anything about the way that you are eating.
Simply by taking a moment or two to notice how you are feeling before you eat,
noticing how you are feeling during your meal, and then again taking pause
after your meal to take note of how you are feeling will begin to set a pattern
where you actively check in with your body 2-3 times a day. (or more if you are
a snacker 🙂 ) This regular checking in will again start to build that bond and
that recognition of signals from your body to your mind and spirit and because
eating is something you do several times a day it will be easy to set this new
pattern. You may also notice that you start to crave different foods as you
progress with this practice, or notice that there are correlations to how you
are feeling before you eat and what you choose to eat, or how that food
3.  Journal For 5 Minutes Every Day:
Journaling is seriously one of the best tools you have when it comes to
connecting with yourself. I recommend that you sit with a pen or pencil and
paper at night before you go to bed, and write without lifting your writing
tool off of the paper for 5 minutes straight. This is called stream of
consciousness writing, and it is very helpful in cases where you are feeling
disconnected from yourself. In this practice, if you do it repeatedly you may
find that you uncover unconscious thought patterns that are keeping you from
being able to trust your body. By bringing them to light in this way you will
be better able to move past and heal those thoughts.
4.  Connect Patterns In Life With Eating
This tip is a little more on the advanced side, but it can be very
useful if you are ready to do some deeper work. The way I recommend you set
this up is in a journal create 3 Columbus like this:
              Situation        How I felt
After The Situation        My Food
Cravings After
In the Situation column
list anything that was emotionally charged for you that day. This could be a
stressful meeting with your boss, an exam at school, or a fight with your
boyfriend. You may also want to note situations that were more positive like
getting a promotion or acing an exam. In the
How I Felt After The Situation
column record how the emotionally charged
situation made you feel, for instance maybe the meeting with your boss made you
feel scared and insecure, perhaps your test made you feel inadequate, and maybe
the promotion made you feel elated and proud of yourself. Finally, list any
food cravings or food related associations that came about after your event in
the My Food Cravings After column.
Perhaps you will notice that you always want some chocolate after situations
that make you feel small and powerless, or that you always crave wine when you
accomplish something.  You may also note
that certain situations and emotional states make you feel like avoiding food,
and that should also be noted. Again this is not necessarily about changing
anything, just about cultivating awareness and connection.
5.  Ditch Killer Workouts and Go For Fun: This
is my last and favorite tip in the area of becoming more connected with your
body, because it is the one that really turned things around for me. The right
kind of workout can help boost your mood, help you to think through things that
may be going on in your life, and help you to discover the joy of your body
through movement. The wrong kind of workout can make you feel depressed, tired
and out of connection. I used to push myself through rigorous workouts every
day because I thought that is what I needed to do if I wanted to be lean, toned
and healthy. But the truth was that I hated these workouts, they stressed me
out, stressed my body out, did not deliver to me the body that I wanted and
ultimately left me feeling more disconnected from my body than connected to it.
When I finally started to honor the fact that I wanted to do more gentle
workouts like yoga, dance and pilates I was able to find joy in movement again,
and I was able to develop a deeper
trust that my body knew what it wanted, and if I was to listen I felt a lot
better. And as a bonus I actually began to see favorable changes in the way my
body looked and felt.  I am not saying
you should give up marathon training or serious weight workouts at the gym if you
love doing those things, the key is to do what you love, and only what you
I really hope that this
article has given you some practical tools you can use in your life to
re-establish a deep and loving connection with your body. It is there for you
as a gift and a tool and should make you feel good.
About Ali:
Washington is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor, Trained Life
Coach, Reiki Master and author of The Perception Diet. She has fully healed herself from anorexia, which she
dealt with for about 10 years, and now has dedicated her life to assisting
those who are still struggling in finding freedom. She fully believes that
there is life after an ED, and she hopes that through her words or through her
one on one coaching she can help support as many recovery success stories as
she can. You can reach her on her facebook page or
through e-mail at unitycoaching(at)

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