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Food for a Purpose_Final

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>> Hi again. So far in this module, we've explored how our eating habits can mirror other lifestyle habits and four common one-size-fits-all approaches to eating in the matrix. As we've discussed, emotional eating is about using food for purposes other than nourishment, for example, as a coping mechanism for emotions that we don't want to feel. We're going to briefly review four of those purposes today so that you can think about how to use language to facilitate discussions with clients and how their current approaches increase stress and might lead them away from health. We often use food for purpose. Our motivation to eat doesn't always stem from physical hunger, and the foods we choose aren't always the foods that, one, nourish our bodies or two, nourish our spirits. Wouldn't it be nice if we could eat foods that make us feel good on all levels, body and mind? Our relationships with food run deep. So for some clients, it's helpful to honor the spiritual aspect. For example, some clients might really enjoy rituals around food. These can be very nourishing. Practicing gratitude is one form of this. However, we might also use food in order to fill a spiritual void. Again, use your judgment here, what works for one client won't necessarily work for another, and as always, explore all areas of a person's life. That said, most clients who use food will likely fall into at least one of four categories. We talked about this a bit when we explored connections between stress and eating, but these are broad patterns that you can always return to, so we want to highlight them again here. The first category is, number one, for comfort or relief. Just as some people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, some people use food for the same purpose, to comfort, relieve, numb or escape. Perhaps you are ashamed of how you feel. Recall that we sometimes judge our own emotions or perhaps you don't have anyone that you feel comfortable talking to, food can act sort of like a relationship, and it's usually very accessible. Remember how our reptilian brain seeks safety and what's familiar to us? Our favorite comfort foods provide both. They're always there for us no matter what, and they won't harm us, at least not right away. They can also provide instant gratification when we need a boost. A bag of chips can send us into a numbing trance like state. And we can escape stress by losing ourselves in a rich dessert. We also might use food to create an artificial sense of balance. For example, we might reach for foods high in energy and low in nutritional value, like donuts or bagels, which provide us with energy in the same way that our morning coffee does. When we're stressed or tired, we need a band-aid as soon as possible so that we can get on with life. And again, food is the most accessible form of relief. We've all been there. The bottom line using food for comfort usually only provides short-term relief, and it often leads us away from health. The next category is, number two, to gain a sense of control. When our reptilian brain sense danger that we can't control, we often want to feel and control ourselves. Have you ever felt frazzled at work and skipped lunch to prove to yourself that you can control your hunger through willpower? For many people, dieting, restricting, and creating rules around eating can act as a home base to return to whenever stress or anxiety creeps up. You might compare it to perfectionistic tendencies, everything has to be in perfect order to feel good about yourself. Think about the idea of all or none that we discussed earlier. Again, these ideas are related. They're just different ways of looking at the same basic themes. The bottom line, using food as a means of control often creates an emotional tug, sometimes to the point where food is all you think about. The irony is that the food, not you, ends up having control. Now onto number three, to distract ourselves. We've all been there. We get home after a long day and plop down in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn, a box of cookies, or whatever food calls to us and we chow down or we continually refill our plate at a party, simply because we need an excuse to leave boring conversations. It's normal. As with all emotional eating, it becomes an area to explore when it impacts multiple areas of life on a regular basis when it becomes a habit or a cycle. The bottom line, using food to distract perpetuates mindless eating and disconnection. We all use food to distract, but people who chronically struggle with this are usually avoiding something on a larger level. Denial through distraction is much easier than dealing with the roots. However, it's just a band-aid. It doesn't help us move forward. Facing struggles isn't easy, it requires courage and usually risk taking, but choosing distraction and avoidance often means dodging important areas of our lives, and it inhibits greater health and happiness. As a Health Coach, keep thinking about the metaphor of food. Lastly, we have number four, to fit in or connect with others. Our eating habits can be motivated by cultural norms and social influences. We might make food choices to boost our self-confidence or to help us cope with an unhelpful body image. We might eat more or less or eat different foods with certain people. We might focus on what we should eat all day long only to feel mentally exhausted by the end of the day and reward ourselves with food. Perhaps we hop onto the juicing bandwagon to fit in with the healthy crowd at the gym. Maybe we share nachos with friends before a game even though we don't even like nachos and we know that they give us indigestion. The bottom line is we all want to belong, but using food to do so can lead us away from health by disconnecting us from our bodies, values, primary food, personal power, and ironically others. To recap, comfort, control, distraction, and fitting in are four common ways you might use food for purpose other than nourishment. Let's close this module with five ways that you can help clients navigate the eating matrix. One, pay attention to the language your clients use. Maybe using food to numb is different than using it to comfort. What metaphors and analogies keep coming up? Two, model a lens of nonjudgmental curiosity. For example, focus on how emotions serve a purpose. Emotions provide information, indicate a perceived need or want, and motivate behavior. Help clients understand that they use food for a reason, and continually return to questions like, "How's that working for you?" to help them see the bigger picture. Three, use neutral language. For example, how can you reframe habits that appear rigid or dogmatic with other less negative words that help your client move from self-should to self-care? With an analytical client, you might think about how a textbook might describe them. With a more intuitive client, you might try visualization. And remember that stories metaphors and analogies can be very helpful. Four, think about how your clients think. Maybe your client appreciates more straightforward language or maybe he or she speaks in more symbolic terms. Again, pay attention to the language your clients use and use that as a guide. And five, use the three lenses of mindset, mindlessness, and disconnection. As a Health Coach, it's helpful to have a home base. Just as you return to the same themes in this course in order to review helpful frameworks, you can return to these three lenses to help your clients focus on the bigger picture. Emotional eating is complex, but at the end of the day, you want to help clients become unstuck, right? Focusing on broad themes can propel forward movement. Are you ready to practice? This week, sit down with a coaching partner and guide him or her through the How You Do exercise. Practice those high-mileage questions and use the Navigate with Neutrality exercise afterward to reflect on your use of language. Send out any insights to the Facebook group making sure to keep your partner anonymous. And finally, share this information with someone in your life who might value it. Until next time.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 18 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Aug 30, 2018

Food for a Purpose_Final

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