10

votes

"Listen to your body." - how much BS is in that statement?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

You hear the recommendation again and again... 'Listen to your body.' But how much is our body really telling us, and what can it tell us?

For example:

  • Are cravings for specific foods your body's way of communicating micronutrient needs?
  • Eat to sateity. Does that really mean anything?

Thoughts? Real studies on the matter?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 10, 2013
at 08:43 PM

Ah I see. Good point. Sounds like trying a magnesium supplement is a good short-term measure, but the long-term solution would be improving gut health. (And the long-term solution has the advantage of treating all sorts of other causes as well, if you're not one of the many who finds magnesium deficiency to be that proximate cause)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 10, 2013
at 08:42 PM

Ah I see. Good point. Sounds like trying a magnesium supplement is a good short-term measure, but the long-term solution would be improving gut health. (And the long-term solution has the advantage of treating all sorts of other causes as well, if you're not one of the many who finds magnesium deficiency to be that proximate cause.)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on April 09, 2013
at 06:12 PM

@Wakaanai - good for you. Both my friend and I tried magnesium supplements and they have done nothing for us. My sugar cravings are completely gone after a course of antibiotics. So each BODY is different. My only question in this case: WHY are we magnesium deficient? My answer to it is - gut bacteria.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 09, 2013
at 04:20 PM

I started taking magnesium, and my chocolate cravings decreased rather significantly, FWIW. It sounds like you're over-generalizing from your own experience. There's a reason why magnesium deficiency is often suggested when someone craves chocolate to a strong extent: because often supplementing with magnesium with decrease these cravings

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on February 20, 2013
at 06:00 AM

Yes! when you're on the blood sugar roller coaster, your body is always telling you to eat more sugar! At this stage, you don't really know how to listen to your body

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 31, 2013
at 09:25 AM

The idea that craving some super-tasty chocolate is due to its magnesium content has always irritated me. That said 'listening to your body' (where this includes a variety of signals) is uncontroversially good in a host of circumstances. Equally obviously, it's a bad idea in a host of other circumstances.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 06:18 PM

Yeah daz, thats actually what I was thinking of. In the end saying "satiety" just isn't defined enough to give someone an actionable way to use it. So the 80% full rule like the Japanese say I think just makes it a little more specific.

37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:12 PM

Perhaps cravings isn't the most useful word... I do believe my brain regularly turns to certain foods to remind me of what I need to put into my body.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:00 PM

or copper, zinc, chiline, folate, b12, watever. Who knows, maybe they do? It's not like all people who eat it like it anyway, so maybe they do 'crave' something in there? Probly more likely I agree that ppl think liver is good, therefore want it because their mind says its healthy... Is still v. possible though that ppl could crave something in liver though....

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:31 PM

@NBS, Except you'll see folks proposing such often on PH. Particularly if someone claims to crave liver... "You are probably vitamin A deficient, listen to your body, eat that liver!"

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:28 PM

As long as you're not assigning spurious nutritional need to cravings, I'm fine with folks eating what they crave.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 30, 2013
at 04:00 AM

Oh, there is no porn there, believe me :)

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:35 AM

"eat till 2/3 full"...good advice. very close to the Japanese saying 'hara hachi bu' (eat until you are 80% full). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hara_hachi_bu , http://okinawa-diet.com/okinawa_diet/hara_hachi_bu.html

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 30, 2013
at 02:45 AM

before you can listen you need to know the language

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 30, 2013
at 02:14 AM

+1 beat me to it :) It's about learning to listen.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:14 AM

No disrespect to the Vulcans intended!

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on January 30, 2013
at 12:06 AM

I've also never seen a single piece of evidence to support the notion that a nutrient deficiency causes cravings for foods that contain that particular nutrient.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on January 29, 2013
at 11:56 PM

I think "listen to your body" is mostly used as a way for people who have an unhealthy relationship with food to rationalize their overeating. Crave chocolate? You must be magnesium-deficient, so go ahead and binge. Crave butter? You must be deficient in butyric acid. Nom nom nom...

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:42 PM

Yup, when I'm craving salmon, I don't question, I just go to the store and pick up a fillet :)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:42 PM

This toe pain... means... I'm deficient in Thin Mints!

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:40 PM

My dog would also vote for some cookies.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 10:09 PM

I'll save that time-traveling porn link for when I get home. ;)

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:43 PM

Yep. I started gaining unwanted fat weight when I started paleo, and only got it under control when I started calorie counting.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Exactly, Amy & Matt! It's like learning a new language, you have to start from the basics and gradually work your way up to learn the nuances.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Great answer, Nemesis. It's easier, I think, to listen to your body and actually *understand* what it's telling you when you eat real, whole foods. The true signals tend to get lost in the overwhelming noise of MSG, too much sugar, dyes, colorings, preservatives, and other additives chemically designed to *hide* and *mask* our bodies' *true* signals.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:44 PM

The more whole a diet is, the easier you can 'listen to your body' I think. When I logged my food intake, my daily calories became quite periodic, cycling between feasting and fasting with a period of 3-4 days.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:38 PM

I mention the eat to satiety one because, unless qualified with what you should be eating, it's incredibly misguided - so many factors affect it, and most folks don't know about nearly enough of them.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:34 PM

True true! Too often, newbies do A then B happens. Their 'listen to your body' message: A causes B. Rarely the case, particularly when A and B are both incredibly nuanced.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:31 PM

I was going to +1 this (especially for the "wild humans" comment, which I whole-heartedly agree with) but then you spelled Vulcan wrong. Must...Overlook...It. Okay...+1.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:26 PM

Nice connection!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:56 PM

#3 - Your body is telling you that it is yucky and doesn't want it! (I pictured a baby being fed peas on that one!)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:38 PM

Well you can listen to your body if you want. Mine is telling me to eat some cookies. Or you could listen to the neighbor's dog. But we all know how that turns out.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:36 PM

*But no one is listening.* I LOL'd.

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20 Answers

22
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Part of the process is learning to listen to your body. Yes, telling someone that is mentally or physically deranged to listen to their body is utterly meaningless and possibly dangerous. A better option may be to tell them to pay attention to what their body is doing; note how bad or good a particular food made them feel and try to make correlations with what their ultimate goals are.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 30, 2013
at 02:14 AM

+1 beat me to it :) It's about learning to listen.

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on February 20, 2013
at 06:00 AM

Yes! when you're on the blood sugar roller coaster, your body is always telling you to eat more sugar! At this stage, you don't really know how to listen to your body

12
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:14 PM

It's not a BS statement, but it is an incredibly lossy statement (i.e. you have to be hip to the question to understand it / the information in the statement itself is not obvious at face value).

I "listen to my body" whenever I exercise. I always try to push myself to a level that it appropriate for that day - because, for me, energy and maybe aches really do change day to day.

However, I hear you: if one is hormonally imbalanced then "listening to your body" could become a dangerous proposition. Do the victims of suicide "listen to their bodies"?

Responding to specific cravings are often, but not always, a pseudo-science, IMHO. However, "eating to satiety" is a very specific state - some people are literally unable to ever achieve satiety because of hormone imbalance and become physically full before the sense of satiety is felt.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:38 PM

I mention the eat to satiety one because, unless qualified with what you should be eating, it's incredibly misguided - so many factors affect it, and most folks don't know about nearly enough of them.

9
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:16 PM

It only makes sense if you can interpret what your body is "telling" you. That can take months, even years, to figure out. Newbies should log their experiences (reactions from food, what they ate, exercise, sleep, etc) in order to find correlations. If all you know about your body is that you get diarrhea from eating Taco Bell, you've got a long way to go before you know what your body is trying to say.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:43 PM

Yep. I started gaining unwanted fat weight when I started paleo, and only got it under control when I started calorie counting.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Exactly, Amy & Matt! It's like learning a new language, you have to start from the basics and gradually work your way up to learn the nuances.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:34 PM

True true! Too often, newbies do A then B happens. Their 'listen to your body' message: A causes B. Rarely the case, particularly when A and B are both incredibly nuanced.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Great answer, Nemesis. It's easier, I think, to listen to your body and actually *understand* what it's telling you when you eat real, whole foods. The true signals tend to get lost in the overwhelming noise of MSG, too much sugar, dyes, colorings, preservatives, and other additives chemically designed to *hide* and *mask* our bodies' *true* signals.

5
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:10 PM

Random thoughts....no science here:

I like to watch the intuitive nature of my kids in this respect. They go through "phases" of eating. As long as all the food in the house is clean whole food they can have whatever they want whenever they want.

They binge and fast. They eat all meat or just fruit for some entire meals. They eat till their satisfied then its off to play. In essence they have not been either socially corrupted by the media outlets nor has their satiety feedbacks and metabolic processes been destroyed. They are wild humans.

Now they won't stay like that. The more they watch garbage TV and get indoctrinated by advertising the more they will have to fight to follow their "instincts". Its a bit of an uphill battle in this society, but it's worth it I think.

As for those who are already trying to break that media driven vulkan mind grip.....well we just gotta keep working at it. Reading the journal articles that completely refute the message helps. So re-educating yourself to listen to your body is a process. Then there are the psychological and even physical addictions/habits to break before you can attempt to trust your cravings.

I think the "listen to your body" mantra works for everyone when you consider exercise. If it hurts stop. Easy enough, but hell I don't listen either when it's balls out intensity time.

Oh as to "eat till satiety", I think phrasing it like "eat till 2/3 full" makes it a bit more identifiable for people.

No easy answer overall....its a nice sentiment, but probably not reasonable nutritional advise to anybody coming off of decades worth of the SAD bender they have been on.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:14 AM

No disrespect to the Vulcans intended!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:44 PM

The more whole a diet is, the easier you can 'listen to your body' I think. When I logged my food intake, my daily calories became quite periodic, cycling between feasting and fasting with a period of 3-4 days.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 06:18 PM

Yeah daz, thats actually what I was thinking of. In the end saying "satiety" just isn't defined enough to give someone an actionable way to use it. So the 80% full rule like the Japanese say I think just makes it a little more specific.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:31 PM

I was going to +1 this (especially for the "wild humans" comment, which I whole-heartedly agree with) but then you spelled Vulcan wrong. Must...Overlook...It. Okay...+1.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:35 AM

"eat till 2/3 full"...good advice. very close to the Japanese saying 'hara hachi bu' (eat until you are 80% full). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hara_hachi_bu , http://okinawa-diet.com/okinawa_diet/hara_hachi_bu.html

4
43a4ef6f58026d1593004aebe542d597

on January 29, 2013
at 09:13 PM

When giving nutrition advise to my family, friends, etc., I commonly use the tip, "Listen to your body." The problem with this advice is that the body is an amazing machine. It works unlike anything else in the world. It can take abuse for a long time, 10-40 years or more, before it starts breaking down and showing real signs of disease. A person can feed their body junk for half of their life before they realize they have things like cancer, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, etc. The human body compensates better than anything else. Take a car for example, put sugar water into it's gas tank and see how far it will go. It will immediately show signs of failure, i.e. it won't start. A car needs a certain fuel to function properly. The body is a little less forth giving when it comes to what it needs to "function properly." Another problem is that every human is different. One person will be able to do what I described above: eat junk for all of their lives and live til they're 80 without ever gaining a pound or getting a disease. A different person will start gaining weight in fourth grade, be a diabetic by 30, and have a heart attack by 45 (eating the average American diet). Each person has to be in tune with their own bodies. And yes this is hard to teach.

Now for your specific questions. How much is our body telling us? Well...lots. Think about all the signs our bodies use to communicate with us: chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, obesity, dry skin, discolored nails, brittle nails, dandruff, hives, heart burn, joint pain, tooth decay, headaches, acne, gas, constipation, diarrhea, etc., etc. That list could go on forever. I'm sure we have all experienced a few of those symptoms. Our perception of those symptoms is what differs from person to person. Most people think heartburn and obesity is just something they were born with and they were doomed from the get go. Personally, if I get heartburn, I know exactly why and what caused it.

When it comes to cravings, I can only speak for myself. I don't think my cravings come from nutrient deficiencies. I used to be overweight and I still remember what all that delicious food tastes like. When I see friends eating cheese fries, my body still craves it even though I know it will do me no good. I guess for the last 10 years I have been eating more on knowledge and whatever goal I'm currently shooting for, than what nutrient my body currently needs. I eat protein because I know it builds muscle, not necessarily because my body is telling me to. I think the body shows a sign or symptom to show what you are lacking or eating too much of. I don't think it is the form of a craving. Sugar causes a craving because it is tricking your body into thinking it's still hungry 10 minutes later because your blood glucose has just spiked and plummeted, resulting in a craving for more food. I don't think we're supposed to listen to that one, lol.

Alright, last thing. Satiety. Eating too much during one meal is bad for you. I think we all know that. And your body will let you know. It has sensors to tell you when you are full, stretch receptors in the stomach as one example. Whether or not we listen to those sensors is the question. When I tell someone not to overeat, I just mean, eat until you aren't hungry anymore. You should not feel full, bloated, and gross after a meal, regardless of whether it was healthy or not. Sorry for the long answer. First post and lots to say.

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:09 PM

In a healthy, non-addicted body, cravings are hints of necessary nutrients. The reason cravings are looked down on in modern day conventional wisdom is that they have been hijacked by addictive substances.

Some of these are sugar, fructose, the exorphin fraction in grains, MSG and some other excitotoxins such as aspertame. Some of the artificial coal-tar derived colors also alter brain function.

The problem is that conventional wisdom dictates that if it tastes good it's not health food. Craving a steak with some melted butter is not a bad craving at all, neither is a good quality bacon - I'd argue that these are health foods when compared to a dinner of pasta.

While in and of themselves, carbs aren't addictive, but they do cause us to feel hungry after eating them because they cause the usual high blood glucose, insulin spike, low blood sugar hunger rollercoaster. And once digested, they become glucose, so as usual, a bowl of pasta and a bowl of sugar aren't very different (save perhaps the phytates, gluten, gliadin.)

Robb Wolf mentioned that one of his clients, an ex-crack addict mentioned that it was harder for her to quit sugar than it was to quit crack.

Unlike protein, and fat, there is no such thing as an essential carb. We have evolved to be opportunistic eaters because in the last two million years, the environment we evolved in provided times of famine and eating all we could to fatten up for winter/ice ages allowed us to survive. We are adapted to eat certain kinds of foods, in certain macronutrient ratios with specific micronutrient needs.

Unfortunately in the modern day these needs aren't being met, and fake foods have been created by the "food" industry to hijack our senses and instincts.

Bright colors, complex odors, and flavors, salt, sweet, umami, are hints of micronutrient content. Unfortunately big crap-in-a-box food manufacturers have learned how to exploit these through artificial means. A few years ago they started making fake blueberries with paint, sugar, and odor and put them in cereal for example.

They realized certain combinations of flavors are not filling/satisfying to the point that they even advertise them as "you can't eat just one." You'll find most of these things have the same kinds of ingredients. Without the additives, such things would be as appetizing as cardboard.

Most fast food "snacks" are designed to be crunchy, but once you chew them they turn to liquid as they mix with saliva and never satiate.

The salt in these is pure sodium chloride usually, which we are hard wired to crave because salty things also have other minerals we need. So we consume more and more and miss out on magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, etc. while we're actually starved of what we're really craving.

They put MSG in as much stuff as possible to keep you addicted. When people found out how harmful it was, they found other ways to make it, and called it by dozens of new names to hide that its purpose was MSG. So you have stuff like "vegetable extract" or hydrolized protein, yeast extract, and so on.

When some idiot falsely thought that nitrates were harmful to us, the food industry started to use beets and celery extracts. In this case, the nitrates aren't harmful (unless heated), but the point is that the industry likes to hide things on labels, to make them seem as harmless as possible, even when they might not be.

Their goals are to create as inexpensive a product as possible, with as long a shelflife as possible, with addictive ingredients. Some of the addiction is lifestyle image advertising.

More recently, you have outright lies about certain things being "heart healthy" when they are exactly not.

These people are very good at what they do. Unfortunately, what they produce is exactly the opposite of healthy.

Once you kick your addictions, and eat only paleo (no cheats), your cravings return as a valuable source of information. How you look, feel and perform is a key indicator of health. If you feel energetic and can function well throughout your day, your body is telling you everything is great. If you wake up tired, with puffy eyes, it's telling you the opposite. Learn the signs and you will have a powerful feedback mechanism.

3
Cb8d90e4fa665a7b69df083e897f0d5a

(55)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:22 PM

With a history of disordered eating, I always thought 'listening to my body' was impossible if I wanted to achieve my body goals; I mean, how could I trust a damaged body? But then, after different events, I realized that most of the problem was listening to my mind instead of actually listening to my body. When I binged and was so full that my body hurt, yet i HAD to finish all the cookies, it was my mind telling, not my body. I realize that there are physical factors as well, like hormonal imbalances that makes it hard to tell whats really your body telling you. But still I think its an underrated concept we should pay more attention to. Now I do half-half; I plan meals and schedule when I am eating the meals, but I am also weary of 'listening' to my body ex. hunger signs etc.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 08:26 PM

Nice connection!

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:27 PM

There are real studies, but they are in realm of quantum physics, psychology and quantum biology. Here is, for example, one study that defies all odds:

Time-traveling Porn

I am sorry I cannot be any more specific. This is what I know (take it with a grain of salt):

  1. Not everybody can hear what their body is saying to them. Some people (high in testosterone and serotonin in the brain in my experience) just cannot hear what their bodies are screaming to them. The only people who can hear are people high in estrogen. But I could be wrong.

  2. Subconscious overrides the conscious. We learn more from subtle clues than from direct speech.

  3. Sometimes it is very hard to figure out what your body is saying to you. For example, I was taking mega-doses of ginger juice and my body rebelled. I was taking lemon juice (thought it would be good because it is the opposite) and my body rebelled even more. What is it saying to me? I don't know. No clue whatsoever. I am trying to communicate with my body, but it does not seems to cooperate.

  4. Also, one thing I have learned is that cravings have nothing to do with your deficiencies but more with your gut bacteria. You know why most people crave chocolate? No, it is NOT MAGNESIUM. Chocolate is a fermentable substance and your bad bacteria THRIVES ON IT even if it is sugar free. It is illegal on SCD diet. Now a combination of sugar and chocolate - your bad bacteria will have a party! Add some nuts - and you will end up craving for even more. Listening to your body takes understanding how it works. And we know more about quantum physics, it seems, than about our own bodies.

Anyway, I can give you over 100 anecdotal references that illustrate that listening to your body is not only important - it is crucial in some cases.

But no one is listening.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:56 PM

#3 - Your body is telling you that it is yucky and doesn't want it! (I pictured a baby being fed peas on that one!)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 29, 2013
at 10:09 PM

I'll save that time-traveling porn link for when I get home. ;)

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 29, 2013
at 07:36 PM

*But no one is listening.* I LOL'd.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 30, 2013
at 04:00 AM

Oh, there is no porn there, believe me :)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 09, 2013
at 04:20 PM

I started taking magnesium, and my chocolate cravings decreased rather significantly, FWIW. It sounds like you're over-generalizing from your own experience. There's a reason why magnesium deficiency is often suggested when someone craves chocolate to a strong extent: because often supplementing with magnesium with decrease these cravings

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 10, 2013
at 08:42 PM

Ah I see. Good point. Sounds like trying a magnesium supplement is a good short-term measure, but the long-term solution would be improving gut health. (And the long-term solution has the advantage of treating all sorts of other causes as well, if you're not one of the many who finds magnesium deficiency to be that proximate cause.)

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on April 09, 2013
at 06:12 PM

@Wakaanai - good for you. Both my friend and I tried magnesium supplements and they have done nothing for us. My sugar cravings are completely gone after a course of antibiotics. So each BODY is different. My only question in this case: WHY are we magnesium deficient? My answer to it is - gut bacteria.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 10, 2013
at 08:43 PM

Ah I see. Good point. Sounds like trying a magnesium supplement is a good short-term measure, but the long-term solution would be improving gut health. (And the long-term solution has the advantage of treating all sorts of other causes as well, if you're not one of the many who finds magnesium deficiency to be that proximate cause)

0
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on January 31, 2013
at 07:50 AM

I think once you start eating clean foods, there's a lot of value to it. I can tell you that all my cravings are linked to something. Coffee--thiamine and magnesium. Chocolate--magnesium. Cheese--just read something about immunomodulation (I have vitiligo and yes, I know cheese is highly contested here). The list goes on and on. The problem is when you're dealing with things like sugar addictions and stuff.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on January 31, 2013
at 06:23 AM

In it's simplest sense, it makes sense, if yu're hungry, eat. If you're tired, rest. If you're thirsty, drink. If you're in pain, stop. But it only goes so far. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you're full, sometimes it can be hard to discern if you're actually hungry or stressed, bored, or craving a favorite flavor, and if you don't push yuorself, you'll never get stronger. Use wisdom when to listen to your body.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:43 PM

We may not be so attuned to say, I am 7% less than optimal in copper.

But I know:

When I was low carb I felt like crap

When I increased my carb intake, my energy came back and I felt better.

When I used nature made vitamins I felt no different

When I switched to Opti-Men for supplementation I was able to sleep better, and my digestion was easier. And my pee is bright yellow if I don't workout (although it is the same amount of riboflavin as I had in the nature made brand).

When I added dairy I felt less hungry

When I did ketosis I felt like crap

etc.

I have bought or borrowed all sorts of measuring devices to try to put some science behind my N=1: peak flow, bio-impedance, glucose/ blood ketone meter, calipers, heart rate monitors, BP monitors, sleep cycle, actograph, pvt, various apps that ping you at random times to check stress levels, etc.

None of those have been as valuable as listening to my body to see whether the change is helping.

0
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on January 30, 2013
at 11:58 AM

I think listening to one's body is a prescriptive statement that is often put forth as shorthand for learning to recognise and interpret what what happens after, say, one reaches for the 'cookies'; it's about being aware/mindful of what is happening, of how one feels with regard to eating or anything else. Sure I agree that often there are factors that influence one's ability to be 'in tune' but arguably over time a state can be reached where 'listening to one's body' is more than a idealised prescription - it is something that can be borne out in practice through fostering awareness of how one acts and perceives, particularly but not exclusively with regard to food.

To take up the example of Dave S and 'listening' to cookie cravings, listening to one's body doesn't entail going along with every transient craving/thought/feeling etc that comes up; it is (arguably) about being aware and responding to those cravings, not reacting. It is about learning to interpret how one is and relates to food and the world more broadly. This takes time for everyone is always incomplete, but certainly I think that if people eat unrefined foods for a while, amongst other things, learning about yourself and the world along the way, then 'listening to body' is a valuable descriptor (and 'prescription' to make). One's body is more than one's head/mind/cravings etc.

I agree with what's been said that many people do have the ability to 'eat to satiety'/learn to recognise hunger cues and eat to satisfaction according. Sure some people may have to feel physically full before concluding consumption, but that very feeling of fullness doesn't entail that stomachs are literally 'full', surely... The stomach is pretty big... I take eating to satiety to mean eating til one is satisfied.

As with everything in language etc though there are all thee caveats/contextual factors attached to a statement. I don't think 'listening to one's body' and 'eating to satiey' are usually statements of BS, but useful shorthand statements that relate to the value in cultivating awareness and one's ability to respond to some sort of stimulus beneficially.

NB - I've been getting into the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and some eastern stuff a bit lately, I'm sure that shows in the post above...

0
6e5f39a30de97c253823ce56c31682fb

on January 30, 2013
at 11:28 AM

half the people on this site are stupid.

0
E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 30, 2013
at 02:42 AM

As Mathgirl said its about learning to listen.

Allow me to illustrate by a personal example: I'm driving and I begin to get craving for chocolate ice cream. I'm imagining the taste and texture of the ice cream. The more I think on this the greater the motivation to stop past a supermarket and buy a tub.

Then I think about the consequences of eating the ice cream. This helps me to get some perspective but doesn't stop the cravings. Instead it sets up a counter motivation to avoid the ice cream.

The problem is that this has now created a conflict between two diametrically opposed motives - one from my hypothalamus, which in anticipation of the ice cream is probably clearing out glucose from my bloodstream and making me really hungry and an opposing one from my frontal cortex (planning) in combination with my amygdala (fear). The result is increasing stress that will drive cortisol release and make me even more hungry whilst liberating stored energy substrates and rechanneling them to my waistline.

So then I think about something completely different. Something fun and interesting that I'm looking forward to doing when I get home (reviewing a new software package). Something remarkable begins to happen then. I stop thinking about the ice cream and also stop pressing myself about thinking about the ice cream.

What I've now realised is that the craving for ice cream was from boredom. As soon as I thought about a rewarding activity the desire for ice cream practically vanished and my mind became occupied with the anticipated activity.

Had I known that the desire for ice cream was in fact my brain saying - "I'm bored (and becoming depleted of dopamine), need some interesting activity (to help with neurotransmitter synthesis).", I could have directly thought about what was I doing next. But instead, my brain (in the background, i.e. subconsciously) considered the shortcut, which was the chocolate ice cream.

0
C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

on January 29, 2013
at 10:17 PM

If I listened to my body I'd eat nothing but salt & lamb!... jokes aside "listen to your body" can be beneficial for some & destructive for others, its a multifaceted statement. It all depends on how it is taken...so for me it is neither b/s nor is it non b/s

0
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:52 PM

You should definitely listen to your body. French Fries cooked in lard taste better than LIMP french fries made with shitty shitty oil. Big ass meaty burgers taste better than puny bread dominant counterparts. I think telling someone to listen to their body with the one limitation of, only eat foods you could reasonable prepare by yourself in an apocolypse, (can't realistically mill soak and ferment grains in 3 hours, but I can pick some tubers, kill a deer, catch a fish, etc).

0
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:35 PM

In my experience there is no BS in that statement, but at the same time you have to untrain yourself from the sugar and starch cravings of our society before you can detect the real natural cravings. I often get intense cravings for things as diverse as spinach, blueberries and fish and never ignore them.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:42 PM

Yup, when I'm craving salmon, I don't question, I just go to the store and pick up a fillet :)

37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on January 30, 2013
at 03:12 PM

Perhaps cravings isn't the most useful word... I do believe my brain regularly turns to certain foods to remind me of what I need to put into my body.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 30, 2013
at 01:28 PM

As long as you're not assigning spurious nutritional need to cravings, I'm fine with folks eating what they crave.

0
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on January 29, 2013
at 09:03 PM

One should always listen to their body. The trick is HOW to listen to what the body really wants through all the noise and the thoughts and the preconceived notions (sometimes since infancy). It's not easy.

-1
5c9fda2bd0018516806bba200a93f6fa

(608)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:16 PM

spam / trolling

-1
Abf0b6d5e20906f742fd600887292c15

on January 29, 2013
at 07:54 PM

Well I figure since dietary fat, protein and carbohydrate are always needed, atleast listening to thise cravings would be wise

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