When's the last time someone asked you, "How are you feeling?" not counting when you were sick?
It's not a question we ask each other often. And when we do ask someone or they ask us, the reply is usually a pretty quick "fine" or "busy" or "okay".
Can you imagine asking the bank teller or the grocery store clerk, "So how are you feeling today?" (that is if you actually get to talk to a real person when you're at the bank or the store!) What if your boss walked into your office and asked you, "How are you feeling about the changes around here?" Would you get really nervous and think this was some kind of a test?
It would definitely stop me in my tracks if someone asked me how I'm feeling as I was going about my day.
In our private Calm Your Cravings Course we introduce a powerful tool the first week called The Daily Dish and one of the questions we ask our ladies is 'How are you feeling before you eat?' followed by 'How are you feeling after you eat?'
It's not uncommon for the women to experience resistance around these two questions, to the point of leaving them blank even. One of the ladies today shared about this:
The Daily Dish asks, "How are you feeling?" Honestly, I think the last time someone asked me that question was 7 years ago in the hospital after surgery! When, especially as women, does anyone ever ask us this question? Usually I think we are asked, "How are you doing?" Doing is an activity, not a feeling. I think the word "feeling" is what really hit me. How are you feeling? Wow, I don't even know. I haven't thought about it in years! I am simply baffled by the thought that it's been years since anyone has asked me this question. And honestly, I have a wonderful and supportive network of friends and family."
Another woman wrote in response:
I have the hardest time filling out those two blanks. I'm not sure how I'm feeling, I'm fine, or am I?
I love this response - '...or am I?'. Such a seemingly simple question - how do I feel? - and yet it's uncomfortable at best to answer it and often we just can't because we really truly don't know how we actually feel.
My husband and I have been asking each other "How are you feeling?" lately as a way of giving our relationship a little extra TLC and sometimes when I ask him or he asks me we'll say, "What do you mean - how do I feel about what?" Even with consciousness we sometimes struggle with just answering this question.
Why does this even matter enough for me to blog about it anyway?
Because when you aren't creating space to Notice & Name how you feel, let alone giving yourself permission to feel what you feel, those 'stuck' emotions impact your physical body. There is actually a biochemical reaction in your body that goes way beyond my understanding but there is science if you'd like to read more about it.
What Jill and I also know to be true personally and from working with thousands of women over the years is that when you don't give yourself permission to feel what you feel, your brilliant body steps in to do everything she can to get your attention. She's like, "hey, I'm feeling a bit ________ and you're ignoring this important feeling and I need you to at least notice it and maybe even feel it a little bit!"
And then, in all of her brilliance, one of the main ways your body tries to get your attention is through intense and persistent and annoying cravings. For ice cream and chips and cookies and cocktails and bread and _____________.
The thing is that you really aren't craving the food exactly. You are but you aren't. The food is merely the pathway for your body and spirit to get your attention and to get what she needs. Sometimes she needs something nutritionally - like more friendly fat or more B vitamins and the craving is trying to tell you that. Other times your cravings is communicating something about an emotional need. Your craving is the messenger and it's pointing you either to the feeling you actually want and need to feel OR it's distracting you from feeling the feeling you really don't want to feel.
This is a whole new way of looking at cravings, yes? If it's confusing or doesn't resonate with you, that's okay. What I really want for you as a result of reading this post is to get a little more comfortable actually feeling into how you feel in any given moment. Create just a little bit of space to ask yourself, "How am I feeling right now?". Especially if you're about to indulge in a craving (that ice cream or chips or cookies or wine or bread or _____________maybe?) and you're not even hungry and you're pretty sure you're not going to even enjoy it while you're indulging, let alone feel good afterwards.
And, maybe along with asking yourself, "How am I feeling?' today, ask someone else "How are you feeling?" and then just listen. After it hits them that you didn't ask "How are you doing?", they might just take a breath and feel into how they are really feeling and share it with you. Wouldn't that be beautiful?
(feeling accomplished for getting this written)