Hi there and welcome to Flawed yet Functional! If you’re new here, let me just share that I’m passionate about using food, habits, and hobbies to find optimal health and create your best life. One thing I’ve been slowly working on the last two years is knowing my body. Is my body really healthy and what does “normal” look like to me? Today, I’d like to share how to know your body in 5 easy steps AND give you a tool to guide you to success!
Inside: Learn how to know and understand your body’s needs for optimal health PLUS a free printable to guide you!
The steps I’ve outlined below are how I grew to know my body’s rhythms and needs which allowed me to make accurate decisions about how certain food and habits affect my health. I’ve heard healthcare providers or any health authority give generalities of health suggestions with the disclosure of “but you need to know your own body.”
Know my own body? How in the world do I go about doing that?
Well, let me tell you how I went from knowing zero about my body’s needs to being able to notice and measure the health impacts from my daily choices.
5 Steps to Knowing Your Body
1 | Get Enough Sleep
First things first, you must get enough sleep. It is impossible to track specific health results from food, exercise, or medicine changes without having your body at a baseline.
The baseline is your current health status plus sufficient, sound sleep. Start first with improving the quality and consistency of your sleep before moving on.
I once read a great tip on how to figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs. Set your alarm for the time you need to get up. Begin going to bed 7 hours before that. Every couple nights go to bed 30 minutes earlier until your body naturally wakes up before your alarm goes off. When your body wakes up on it’s own, it has had enough sleep!
Make your first step to knowing your body getting enough sleep.
2 | Eat Healthy Food
“Healthy” food has so many definitions, and eating healthy is an ongoing process. Part of learning your body is feeding it right so that it can behave optimally. So step two is begin to change your diet one step at a time to healthier, whole food and track the results.
You will begin to see small changes in your skin, hair, and nails, and over time there will be big changes in major health markers (blood sugar, cholesterol, less frequent sickness) and even hormonal changes (menstrual cycle regularity or emotional stability).
The changes are often small and slow, so it is important that you use a food journal to track not only the easy metrics (weight, blood sugar, blood pressure) but also the “how you feel” metrics (emotional well being, stress, anxiety, energy, focus, etc.).
Would you like a free printable to help you track your health? Sign up for emails from Flawed yet Functional below and receive a free food journal template!
3 | Change One Thing at a Time
As you work to find out how different foods and good habits affect your health, don’t get too excited and jump into a bunch of new things all at once.
Give your body time to adjust to each change (and give yourself time to track it) by only changing one thing at a time.
To keep yourself on track, make a list of things you’d like to refine or add to your life. Then one at a time, work your way down the list.
For example, your list could look like:
- 30 minutes of exercise
- Read one book a week
- Create a morning routine
- Eat 3 servings of vegetables a day
- Try a dairy-free diet
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
The sky’s the limit! Prioritize your list then pick one thing at a time to change.
4 | Wait, Observe, Track
Here’s the meat of the process: track each change and its results in a journal.
Our lives are way too complicated to remember when we ate what or did we get good sleep the whole prior week (or month!). Give your brain a helping hand and write it down.
When tracking results, make sure to note the obvious and not so obvious. For example, the first thing I make a note of in the morning is my sleep. I first write down great, good, or poor then I jot a few words to help me remember why. Don’t write a book! Just a phase like: “kids sick”, “bad dreams”, or “up too late”, anything to help you remember why the sleep was good or bad.
Another not so obvious thing to make note of is your emotional condition and physical changes. Things like weight, anger/sadness, menstrual cycle, and skin dryness are just a few examples of things that seem small each day but are huge indicators of your health over time. Once those things start to change, you’ll know your health is changing!
Tracking can be hard. If you don’t know where to start, use my template to get you going. Just sign up below for ongoing healthy living encouragement and receive a FREE food journal printable as a gift!
5 | Review and Draw a Conclusion
The main purpose of a food journal is to assist you in making a data-driven, correct assessment of how various aspects of your life affect your health. In order to make a correct assessment, you must sit down, look through the journal entries, and draw a conclusion based on your data.
Journaling all your meals and emotions doesn’t do any good if you don’t take the time to evaluate the results.
Try to look at only one measure at a time to determine your results. For me, blood sugar is the first priority in determining the success of any change. Once I’ve determined my blood sugar is either stable or improving, then I look for other changes that could be positively impacted (weight, mood, skin, etc.)
After you’ve reviewed and come to a reasonable conclusion about your first health change, now it’s time to add another. Go back through steps 3 to 5 for each additional change you wish to implement.
Journaling to improve your health is an ongoing process but not one that you have to do forever. Once you’ve healed your body and you’ve learned how your body reacts to various foods and healthy habits, then there’s no reason to continue keeping a food journal unless another health concern arises.
So if you’re in a period of health concerns, begin by getting enough sleep then change your diet while tracking the physical, mental, and emotional changes you experience. Continue until you are symptom free, then stop tracking and live the full, healthy life you were created to have!
Well, that’s my quick 5 steps for how I learned to know my body’s rhythms and needs. I am so much more in tune to my body and how it feels when things are going well…or when things are not going well. I feel the best I’ve felt in YEARS now! Take control of your health! Sign up below for your free food journal and start making positive changes today!