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The Gentle Politeness of Our Bodies

By Charlene Rayburn

As I continue to practice listening to my body as the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating program encourages, I’ve started to notice how gently and politely it “speaks.” For example:

  • A level 4 on the Hunger and Fullness Scale is similar to my body saying, “Excuse me, I recommend you make plans to eat soon.”empty fuel guage
  • A 3 is equivalent to, “Just sending you this friendly reminder, you can eat anytime now.”
  • A 2 is like, “Okay, p-l-e-a-s-e listen to me and eat.”
  • And a 1 is, “Yep, this is what I was trying to avoid.”

Then, of course the other end of the scale is similar messages regarding fullness. Instead of my body communicating to eat, it is communicating to stop eating with the same politeness and strength of messaging.

But, my emotions are not as well-mannered. Giddy excitement shouts, “Let’s eat because it’s fun!” Stressed-out feelings cry, “Let’s eat because it’s distracting.” Exhaustion lures, “Let’s eat because it’s soothing.” Boredom nags, “Let’s eat because it is something enjoyable to do…right now.” The key is to pay attention. Do I feel like I’m being shouted at? Then, it’s probably an emotion, and it’s time to discern which emotion is trying to send me a message, so I can respond appropriately.

Unless I’ve been ignoring them for too long, my hunger signals are much more subtle. It’s not particularly easy to listen to those quieter messages among the shouting, but it is definitely worth it. I’ll keep practicing.


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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