When Intuitive Eating is Counter-Intuitive

This past week, I was surprised to learn that the most common cause of a certain type of shoulder dislocation is an epileptic seizure. I would have assumed that some of the more common effects of seizures would be paralysis, memory loss, or another sort of neurologic complication. But a joint dislocation? It seemed random to me.

posterior_shoulder_dislocation_007-600x528
X-ray image of a posterior shoulder dislocation

Once I learned the mechanism, though, it made a lot more sense. During some types of seizures, increased activity in the motor parts of the brain cause chaotic muscle contraction throughout the body. In a healthy person, the muscles that hold our joints in place all contract at the same time to help keep our bodies in stable positions. But with chaotic seizure activity, often times the muscles on the front side of the shoulder contract a lot more than the muscles on the back of the shoulder, basically wrenching the arm out of its socket.

My point in sharing this story is that sometimes our bodies work in strange ways, and we can experience symptoms that we might never ordinarily associate with a certain cause. I wish I could capture the look of disbelief on some of my clients’ faces when I suggest that the reason their bodies are holding onto extra fat is actually the result of exercising too much or not eating enough. Most people assume the opposite to be true, and so they work out more, eat less, and ultimately make the problem worse.

Learning to let go of our preconceived notions about health can be extremely challenging, especially because of the many contrary (yet convincing) messages advertised to us in the media and from our social networks.

Intuitive eating combats these external messages by facilitating inner awareness, and allowing our bodies to tell us what they need. When we respond in ways that honor cues for hunger, the need to rest, or the inclination to get up and take a walk, we end up reducing the stress responses that cause our bodies to store extra fat. Skipping meals or pushing through the discomfort of excessive exercise (or engaging other types of unbalanced habits) fatigues our internal systems. This sets us up for all sorts of other problems, like digestive disorders, fertility struggles, depression, and anxiety.

Our bodies are smart, though, and they let us know what we need if we shut up and listen!

If you have a heath concern that won’t go away, maybe it’s time to start thinking outside of the box! 


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