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What To Do When Diet & Exercise Don’t Work (Part 1 of 2)

First, here’s a short list of what NOT to do:

  • Panic
  • Complain
  • Stress out
  • Take it personally or assume there’s something wrong with you
  • Blame any external factors

Truly, there’s only ONE THING you need to do:

Listen To Your Body.

Because listening…really listening to your body is no easy task, I want to teach you HOW to do this.  Could be one of THE MOST VALUABLE skills you ever learn as a woman (or a human, I know more men than usual have been stopping by lately-welcome, gentleman).

I’ve been speaking about this a lot lately and notice that when I open up about my beliefs about women and their bodies, the response can be summed up in an overwhelming “OH MY GOD, YES!!” So here it is.

Most of us spend a lot of time out of our bodies, living externally. 

We’re concerned about what we eat, how we look, what we weigh, who we’re dating, where we’re going (this applies to several destinations from dinner Thursday night to our careers), and more.

We go through days at a time without actually checking IN with how we feel.  And I’m not just talking about our emotions.  I’m talking about deep in our guts, our organs, our cells.  We rarely take enough deep breaths each day, slow down for five minutes or more and ask our bodies, our vessels, the only real place we have to live–“What up girl?! How’s it going in there?!”

Our bodies are much smarter than our minds, so as we behave this way, rushing around, focused on the external world, ignoring ourselves– they have to speak up like a little kid who isn’t getting enough attention.  Our bodies do this in the form of illness, fatigue, stress, and more.  All of these things are like big fucking stop signs begging us to SLOW DOWN and PAY ATTENTION to what’s going on inside.

I know this because I’ve lived the greater part of my 20s this way.  It wasn’t until 2011 that I learned to slow down, shut up, and listen.  Coincidentally, 2012 has been the most magical year of my life (more on that in the coming months…).

So how do you listen to your body? She can’t talk…or can she?

Quick story:

I was chatting with my mom last week about refinancing the house.  She was going over all the details of this company she wasn’t sure she should do business with.  I stopped her in the middle of the conversation and said, “I don’t need all the details, do you think you should do business with these people or not?” At first she thought I was being dismissive.  So I explained myself…”Just sit there for a minute, think about this situation, do you have any sensations in your body? Do they feel good or bad? You know the answer. Should you do business with these people?” She said, “No.” BOOM!  She knew it all along.  And you know stuff, too.

All it took was one minute of sitting still with herself, tuning IN, and feeling the message her body had about the situation to get the answer.  That’s listening to your body.

To be more clear, I’ve broken it down into a few easy steps so you can start experiencing this phenomenon yourself, today.

Step #1:

Stop and take three deep breaths…I mean deep, breathe into your belly for at least a count of five seconds, pause and hold the breath for a second, and exhale through your nose for at least a count of five seconds.

Step #2:

Ask your body the question. Out loud or to yourself, up to you, might depend on where you are.

Step #3:

Listen.  This is kind of like a word association test.  The first thing that pops into your mind is THE ANSWER.

Step #4:

[quote] Trust yourself.  You know.–>Click to Tweet this![/quote]

Now, I obviously don’t expect you to start tuning into your body everyday for every single thing you need to know immediately.  I just want you to try it out.  Start with small stuff like, “What do you want for lunch today?” and work your way up to more important things like, “Why do I keep hanging out with this person who is not a good friend?”


The next time you’re about to call, text, email, Facebook, Tweet, or smoke signal someone to ask their opinion on a situation, ask your body first.  Then bring your booty back to this blog post and tell me how it went.

That’s Part I of What to do When Diet & Exercise Don’t Work.  In Part 2 I’m going to show you how to apply this new skill more specifically when your diet and exercise routine aren’t getting any results or you’re just bored and craving something new.


Have your own tips and strategies for tuning into your body? Share ’em up, girl! Don’t be selfish, the comment box is below.

What To Do When Diet & Exercise Don’t Work (Part 1 of 2)
  • Dr. Samantha

    "Trust yourself. You know." Yes, yes, and yes.

    • Liz DiAlto

      I made that a tweetable! Glad you liked it 🙂

  • Lisa Clausén

    Liz, Yes you are spot on! As a yoga teacher and holistic minded coach, this is what I teach and hold the space for my students and clients to do and experience. Ah, we run around with a million thoughts and questions in our head in this time and age of Twitter like 140 characters short attention span. Running around confused and stressed. And all the time while worrying we actually have the solution litterally at hand: our body. Our beautiful temple. The entrance to our inner wisdome. Our core. Heart and soul. It is so easy. Yet so difficult.
    And you know what? It takes courage. Courage to dare to see and to dare to choose. It takes acting on the message your inner voice is sending you. How do you find the voice? Be it a body sensation, a feeling vibration, an inner voice or a picture, color or smell flashing by behind your closed eye lids when looking inwards to find your inner wisdom and answer.
    So, what do you want to find the answer to? Dare to find out? Close your eyes, inhale-exhale, relax and start exploring.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Lisa, you make a really good point about courage.  I have read about and experienced with my own clients and friends that some people are scared what they'll find if they actually "go in."  So worth it though! Appreciate your comment 🙂

  • Zsofi

    Yes, to add to this: 'I have read about and experienced with my own clients and friends that some people are scared what they'll find if they actually "go in."' 
    ^^^ to me, that's because, like you said, we already KNOW the answers. We really do. But we hide the answers because it can be inconvenient or feel impossible to honour the answers. So really tuning in–and making our conscious mind aware of what we already KNOW is terrifying, because then you actually have to follow through on what is generally the harder answer. Saying no – changing bad habits – setting new boundaries. 
    And getting the awareness of those answers is a challenge. 

    • Liz DiAlto

      Zsofi, this is good stuff.  What waits for us on the other side of terrifying is so magical though!!

  • http:/// Sirena

    LOVE!  Great blog lady 🙂

  • Marsha

    I love this post & look forward to part two. I will definitely start listening more to my body because I'm at the point you described — no results!! Thanks for your encouragement & insight!

  • Desi

    What a great post. Thanks for the reminder.
    I have been living with wrist pain for years. I have had this lump on my wrist and when I asked Doctors about it they were dismissive and told me it was nothing.
    I went on vaction a few weeks ago and I really took the time to check in with my body and resolved to come home and figure it out. I made an appointment and my current Doctor said exactly what it was and refered me to Orthopedist.
    I'm going to see the Orthopedist today. I can't tell you how nice it's been to know this pain is going to be gone.

  • Jenna Dalton

    I love listening to my body and trusting my intuition.
    As a Health//Life Coach I always encourage clients to trust that their body knows best and to learn to listen to it. We usually ignore it because we have "more important things to do".
    Two of my favorite books on the subject are The Gift of Fear and Blink which basically scientifically show why we need to trust our gut.
    Thanks for the reminder, Liz!

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  • Dr. Samantha Mathers

    I love this! Thank you!


    Howdy! This post could not be written much better!

    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly
    will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’s going
    to have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!