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Let the Listening Guide You

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

In this series, I am sharing four guidelines that helped me reimagine and rewire my relationship to food as part of my healing journey. In my first blog post, I introduced principle #1: Listen to what your body wants. (If you missed it, click here!) While I discussed this idea in the context of moving beyond incremental training with food, it is never too soon to tap into what feels good and right for you and your body. So, before I move on to principle #2, I want to dive deeper into different ways to bring more listening to your rewiring practice wherever you are in your journey.

Train towards whatever most excites you

A common question among new retrainers is, What should I train with first? Listening to what your body wants is an excellent way to direct your incremental training. What do you most want to be able to eat or do? Or put differently, what would light you up the most to reincorporate into your life? Start with what you feel most pulled toward, and then work backward to determine the baby steps for incremental training.

In my retraining, I have often found it easier to rewire when I am moving toward a clear goal that I really want. For example, this summer I had been training on one last ingredient and my incremental training was moving very slowly. While I wanted to be able to say I could eat anything, I found it difficult to feel motivated to do the dirty work that incorporating this ingredient entailed.

Then, I started to plan a trip to France for a friend’s wedding. As I did future visualizations of wandering Parisian streets, a fresh, flakey, buttery, croissant kept creeping its way in! When I made it a goal to taste a croissant in France, my motivation skyrocketed, and so did my training. I began by experimenting with dishes that contained soy sauce, and then, a few weeks before my trip, I got bold and trained with crumbs of bread. It was only after I got clear on what I was drawn toward that I was able to truly tap into my desire, counteract the old neural pathways, and take the leap.

The key to listening to what we want is noticing how that desire feels in the body. My first goal of being able to eat anything sounded nice, but it did not have the emotional and mental resonance to create sustained motivation. The visualization of biting into the croissant—the buttery flavor, the flaky texture—created that tingly feeling of joy that magnetized me toward my goal. By the time I arrived in France, I was ready to take that first (teeny tiny) magical bite!

As we get better at feeling and listening to what we want, it becomes easier to continually refine our goals moving toward a more authentic and inspired path.

Notice what you feel drawn towards in other areas of your life

Listening to what your body wants is by no means a skill limited to diet. How we do one thing spills into how we do everything. So, whether you never had food ITs at all, or don’t quite feel ready to apply this guiding principle in the realm of diet, you can still find ample opportunity to practice this skill. How does your body want to move? Who do you feel excited about spending time with? If you are working, what tasks most excite you or what types of clients are you most drawn towards? The beauty of this practice is that it is all about cultivating your listening skills, and flexing this listening muscle can aid you in every aspect of your life.

For example, in my healing journey, I have given a lot of thought to my morning routine. Aside from my morning round and a glass of water, I started to investigate what my body craves to kick start my day. Some people swear by an early morning workout or meditation, but with some experimentation, I have found that my body loves about 15 to 30 minutes of gentle stretching. Do I always feel wake up excited to get on my mat? Nope. But even if I don’t feel like it in the moment, I have experimented enough to know I almost always feel better once I do.

In what ways are you working on listening to what you want instead of focusing on what to avoid? Have you found it easier to listen with certain aspects of rewiring than others? Share your experience in the comments below!


About Meredith

Meredith is a Certified Health and Life Coach and creator of Inner Compass Health—a coaching practice empowering highly motivated women who face life disrupting stress and chronic conditions to harness their innate capacity to heal and thrive. Meredith’s work is inspired by her own healing journey. Since childhood she experienced evolving health issues culminating in over a decade of debilitating daily symptoms. In 2019, Meredith left her high-stress job and took her health into her own hands. Through a devoted brain retraining practice, self-care, inner work, and a nourishing diet and lifestyle, Meredith found so much more than relief from her symptoms—she learned to listen to her own inner compass. Today Meredith celebrates her health through nature, food, dance, and travel.


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