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The Gift of Compassion

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>> Hello there. Let's continue to explore how you as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach can help clients navigate emotional eating. You know, health coaching can feel a lot like a constant balancing act. On one hand, you want to create greater awareness, clarity, and focus. You want to offer options, and you want to walk side by side with your clients. On the other hand, you're only the coach from the sidelines. These are their personal journeys. This module is about helping clients nourish from the inside. This is a necessary component for change because the behavioral change without an accompanying attitude shift is just willpower. In this lecture, we'll focus on guiding self-nourishment with a self-compassionate mindset. When it comes to self-nourishment, the key is to just let go and hold on. Does that sound like a strange balancing act? Let me clarify. When it comes to emotional eating, one of your most important jobs as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach is helping clients let go of the internal struggle and hold on to self-compassion. Letting go and holding on is a key aspect of self-compassion because it means caring about ourselves enough to move beyond our cycles of stuck. It means learning how to heal emotionally by accepting and sitting with emotions and either letting them go or using them in a compassionate way so that we don't try to escape them, for example, with food. Now self-compassion gets mixed reviews. Self-love, really to some clients the idea may sound selfish, weak, or self-pitying, plus won't you feel less motivated if you're nice to yourself instead of pushing yourself? Self-compassion is often considered a not so vital use of our energy. Let me start with a few key points based on some studies that defy these common myths. Number one, self-compassion can decrease brooding, self-pity, and external locus of control. Two, self-compassion can increase ability to cope. Three, self-compassion is often a better motivator than self-punishment. Four, self-compassion is the opposite of narcissistic. It's about recognizing that just like everyone else, we're imperfect. And five, self-compassion can increase our sustained ability to care for others. What do you think about all of that? Why do you think self-compassion is an important component to coaching emotional eating? To illustrate, I want to share a brief story. I once had a client named Angel. Angel experienced a lot of guilt around food. He was often on some kind of diet that only lasted a week or two at which point he ate all of his favorite treats over the weekend before starting another diet on Monday. When he went off his meal plan, he felt guilty. When he politely declined foods from family members or friends that didn't fit into his meal plan, he felt guilty. When he let himself enjoy his favorite foods, he felt guilty. Guilt was a common feeling for Angel. He felt guilty when he didn't spend enough time with his aging parents. He felt guilty when he didn't join his colleagues for work events. And he felt guilty on days he didn't exercise. Can you see how Angel's relationship with food mirrors his relationship with himself? Shifting our mindsets around food requires shifting our mindsets from self-judgment to self-compassion. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can illuminate your client's capacities for self-healing by demonstrating that they already have the tools they need. But while changing habits is important, those changes won't be as likely to stick without changing mindsets as well. Self-healing starts with self-compassion. Like habits, mindsets can be hard to shift. However, part of the frustration of habits is that as we might experiment with different ways of thinking, external influences remain beyond our control. When we try to make changes within ourselves, we have to remember to anticipate and accept the fact that the world around us will stay the same. Part of the struggle is learning how to navigate the things that are out of our power and be okay with the fact that we can't control them. This can feel disempowering, which is part of why so many people fail at dieting. You'll hear things like, I was doing so well meal prepping and eating healthy, and then I went to this party and there was pizza and cake. I never would have eaten that at home. Using this mindset, we don't trust ourselves to navigate what's beyond our control or to make food choices that align with our goals. The more loving and trusting our relationship is with ourselves, the more we believe in our ability to succeed, even when life throws a curve ball or a pizza our way. Therefore, the stronger we feel in mindset, the more we nourish the mindset, the more fuel we have for changing habits. Are you with me? Remember to coach beyond the food. If a client comes to you because of a struggle with food, help that client explore the real struggle aka the food metaphor. Why is that food or eating habits such a struggle? How does that client use food to help cope? How is this client disconnecting from self-compassion? Maladaptive eating patterns are the symptom, not the problem. Letting go of the struggle refers to our struggles with food, but also our struggles against ourselves. It means, letting go of self-judgment and nourishing it, letting go of shame and connecting with it, letting go of the past and honoring it, letting go of failure and using it. Let's start with self-judgment and the power of the mind. Did you know that simply acknowledging your stress can move brain activity from more reactive areas to more mindful ones? Viewing stress as beneficial as opposed to harmful can increase work performance and result in fewer negative health outcomes by altering cortisol responses to stress. How might you help your clients reframe their stress? Earlier in this course, we discussed high cortisol reactors, individuals who have a high cortisol reactivity to stress. Thinking about stress as positive can decrease cortisol response for high reactors and increase it in low reactors. The bottom line here is that mindset seems to have powerful effects on the stress response. Have you heard the phrase mind over matter? Can you think of examples in your life when your mindset impacted an outcome? Grab your journal, hit pause, and write down any experiences you've had that illustrate the power of the mind. What did you come up with? Did any of your experiences involves self-talk? Self-talk is that internal voice that often sounds the loudest. In fact, it can drown out everything else around us. It might say things like don't eat that or you're not good enough. It might also say more empowering things like you're worth it or you can do it. However, it can take a long time for that empowering voice to gain strength. We can be our own worst enemies. Many of us, at least to some extent, fight some sort of constant battle throughout our lives. It's a battle between the self-compassionate voice and the self-judgmental voice. A battle between the voices that can say, "Listen to my body, and I should eat salad every day." As you probably know, this is exhausting. Being stuck in a cycle causes endless frustration. We might feel discontent because we think we need to change in order to be happy, but we can't seem to change no matter how hard we try. Or maybe we've just given up hope and accepted that things will never change. Letting go of the struggle means letting go of self-judgment and nourishing it with self-compassion. How might you as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach help clients struggling with emotional eating do this? Grab your journal, pause the video again, and jot down some ideas. Letting go of the struggle also means letting go of shame and connecting with it or connecting to others with it. Shame can weigh us down like no other. And often the last thing we want to do is connect with others when we feel ashamed. However, as Brené Brown describes it, "Empathy is the antidote to shame." If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can't survive. Self-compassion is the recognition that we're not alone in our suffering. Therefore, looking at how shame impacts us and how we can crowd it out helps us connect more with others. Letting go of that struggle means letting go of self-judgment, shame, and also the past. Maybe we keep thinking about what we should have done, maybe we long for or dwell on options that no longer exist because they're in the past, maybe we continue habits or ways of life that no longer work for us because it's what we've always done. Those habits are familiar and they're safe. Staying in the past can keep us stuck in habit loops and unhelpful cycles, like emotional eating. This might look like measuring food or sticking to rigid meal plans. Or it might mean completely ignoring our own health because we're so focused on taking care of others. Letting go of the struggle means letting go of the past and honoring it. It happened but there's nothing we can do about it. How might you as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach help clients struggling with emotional eating do this? Grab your journal, pause the video, and jot down some ideas. Finally, letting go of the struggle means letting go of failure and using it. No one's perfect and life isn't perfect. The objective ideal is an illusion. There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to physical appearance, health, happiness, or anything else that many of us strive so hard to achieve and never quite seem to reach. Life constantly changes and we constantly change. However, fear of failure can keep us stuck. And those times when we do fail based on our own definitions of success that is can devastate us. While self-esteem is about making a judgment by comparing ourselves to others, self-compassion helps us recognize that no one is perfect. Empathy, self-compassion, and self-nourishment are antidotes to shame, self-judgment and cycles of stuck. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, these are some of the greatest gifts you might offer your clients. It's not all about the food. After all, some of the happiest people might be those who don't eat well. Why? Because they're the ones who can connect with their bigger picture values. They're the ones who can let things go and they choose to listen to the more helpful voices in their heads that help them get back up and try again. To recap, self-compassion is valuable, and it's an important piece of coaching emotional eating because our relationship with food often mirrors our relationship with ourselves. Food is a metaphor. Therefore, shifting our mindsets around food requires shifting our mindsets from self-judgment to self-compassion. The more we nourish the mindset, the more fuel we have for changing habits and coping strategies. As a Health Coach, you can help clients let go of the struggle by letting go of self-judgment and nourishing it, letting go of shame and connecting with it, letting go of the past and honoring it, letting go of failure and using it. Okay, so how do you do this? Don't worry, that's coming up soon. For now, try applying this to yourself to let the material sink in a bit. We included some exercises and resources to help you explore your own self-compassion. How self-compassionate are you? Keep sharing with your course mates in the Facebook group. After all, we could probably all use at least a little more self-compassion. So let's keep supporting that in each other. I'll see you again soon.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 5 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 8
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

The Gift of Compassion

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