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Entering a New and Wonderful Relationship

By Charlene Rayburn

I never knew that my body had so much to “say.” I admit that it is because I never really listened…that is until I found the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program.

Learning to really listen to my body reminds me of the beginning of my relationship with my husband. We had a love-at-first-sight kind of experience, or to be more exact, it was “love at first date,” and I remember wondering if we’d get to know each other well. Over these past 25 years together, we’ve gotten to know one another so well that I can tell what he’s thinking just from a subtle facial expression or the timing of a pause in the conversation; and I can often sense his response even before he hears what I’m about to tell him. And he does the same with me. This predictability is far from boring; rather it creates a depth and richness to our marriage. I am so grateful to be able to experience such a genuine connection.

2 red hearts lots of whiteI’m starting to have a deeper connection with my body too. I’m beginning to be able to discern the difference between a craving and a true nourishment need. For example, when I first started giving myself permission to “eat what I want,” I wanted fettuccini alfredo. The desire for it was intense and sort of unsettling…I wanted it now and lots of it. So, we went to one of our favorite Italian restaurants three weekends in a row, and I ordered fettuccini alfredo each time. On the third visit, I ate only a small portion of it. I was done with my fettuccini alfredo craving. What I’ve learned is that cravings are loud, distracting and demanding.

My body’s messages for a specific nourishment need are different. They are calmer and more polite. For example, while in the produce section of the grocery store, I suddenly thought of parsley. I could almost smell and taste it. I had a gentle sense that eating parsley would be very satisfying so I bought some. Over the next few days I added it to a sausage, potato and pasta dish that I prepared, to my salads at lunchtime, and to my scrambled egg for breakfast. I was listening to my body’s subtle cues and it was a delicious way to give my body what it asked for. Yesterday, I had a similar polite message. My body respectfully recommended that I eat steak. I took it as an opportunity to invite my husband to enjoy dinner at a nearby steakhouse. While dining, I realized that I hadn’t eaten much protein over the past couple days. Although I hadn’t given it much thought, my body knew, and I enjoyed the meal very much.

This more intimate relationship with myself, my body and food is so rewarding, I think I’m ready for another life-long commitment.



About the author

Charlene Rayburn, CVCC, lives her passion for mindfulness and intentional leadership by serving as a personal and professional leadership coach, by managing a department of dedicated employees for a Fortune 500 sized health insurance organization, and by facilitating Am I Hungry?® workshops and coaching sessions. She has coached extensively with individuals and groups outside the corporate world, as well as with executives, leaders, and teams in non-profit, private, public, governmental, and educational organizations spanning the globe. Charlene received her coaching certificate through the Center for Coaching Mastery at Coachville, LLC, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Management from Davenport University. She is a member of the National Management Association. One of her most emotionally challenging and rewarding experiences was serving as a volunteer at the Center for Battered Women. Charlene currently lives in Michigan and enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, reading, learning, cooking, practicing yoga, and watching her grandson grow, who lives with his dad, her stepson in Fort Worth, Texas.

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