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Choose Empowerment

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>> Hi again. Before we start today, take a minute to think about the idea of empowerment. What does empowerment mean to you? How would you define it for yourself? Grab your journal, hit pause, and write down your thoughts. Did simply writing about empowerment feel empowering? Sometimes the smallest shifts can remind us that our mindsets can drastically impact our bodies and behaviors. When it comes to empowerment, self-awareness is key. Though it sounds rather obvious, recognizing the power we have over our own lives isn't a given. Empowerments can jumpstart us out of the emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual stuckness. As Dr. John Sarno says in The MindBody Prescription, empowerment is a strong medicine. Now as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you're not healing your clients. When it comes to scope of practice, you want to be careful about the language you use. That said, in this course, we talk a lot about how you can guide self-healing in clients, in terms of mindsets, emotions, and behaviors. Earlier in the course, we discussed the importance of self-compassion. In this module, we're focusing on self-empowerment, why it matters, and how you can use it to help clients develop more health promoting relationships with food. Given half the chance, the body will heal itself. That probably sounds familiar by now. But what does it really mean to give the body a chance? Well, it usually starts with the mind, knowledge about the mind-body connection, trust in that connection, and the conscious choice to honor that connection. I want to share a story that illustrates this power. I once had a client who broke her humerus, the upper arm bone. Now there are many nerves in the arm, and due to the fracture, she had significant damage to her radial nerve. Apparently, the doctor said that her chance of regaining full nerve function was quite low. However, my client remembers it differently. In her mind, the chance was much higher. From the beginning, she had no doubt that she would fully recover. To her, this was just a big bump in the road. Over the next six months, she went to physical therapy, she continued to exercise however she could, and she maintained a positive mindset as much as possible. And you know what? She regained full function of her arm. It was a process, believe me. The radial nerve regrows at about one millimeter per day, and that requires patience. She lost it sometimes, as probably anyone would. However, she kept the big picture in mind. She pushed forward, she practiced patience. She celebrated small victories, she kept a sense of humor, and she used her injury as an opportunity to pursue passions that had taken a backseat in recent years. She did a lot of failing forward, that's for sure. Empowerment is a choice. We're constantly choosing. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can encourage self-healing and nourishing within and beyond food by reminding clients that everything they do is a choice. You can empower their mindsets. As with other areas of self-healing, this takes time. Taking back the ability to choose requires taking risks and staying honest with yourself. It can feel much easier to pin frustrations on external factors, which is part of why so many people stay stuck in habits for so long. There's a comfort in staying put, even if deep down we're working against ourselves. Change can also feel threatening to our self-image and values. We think, "If I change, then that means I've been doing things wrong." Or we might think that changing means we've had the wrong values all along. So we do everything in our power to stick with the familiar. Self-empowerment is a crucial aspect of coaching emotional eating. Here are four benefits of a self-empowered mindset. Number one, empowerment provides a sense of responsibility. Now, be honest, don't you sometimes not want to take responsibility? Responsibility gets a bad rap. However, taking responsibility is the first step to problem solving. Empowerment means that we get to choose our own problems rather than having them forced upon us by someone else. Which would you prefer, someone telling you that you can't eat certain things or deciding that you want to experiment with different ways of eating because you're tired of feeling tired and guilty? Now yes, taking responsibility means that you might not always make the best choices. First of all, are there ever best choices to begin with? Second of all, we're human, our decisions range from helpful to harmful. Taking responsibility means accepting imperfection and figuring out how to navigate mistakes because you have the power to do so. Let's talk about the connection between empowerment and control. When it comes to emotional eating, some people use food for control, yet this usually means that they use food as a way of controlling emotions that they don't want to feel. Empowerment is about taking the wheel, so to speak, and choosing to be the driver. For example, choosing to take active control of your mindset and habits around food and not choosing to let food take over. Does that make sense? Empowerment is saying, "I get to choose how and what I eat." It means choosing based on your personal values, not values imposed on you by others or by the matrix, as we discussed earlier in the course. It's not saying, "I will have control over my eating and never eat dessert again." It's not about willpower, which isn't infinite, but simply a way of delaying gratification. This is an important distinction to make as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. We included a handout called Taking the Wheel to help you think about this more. Empowerment also means choosing based on your metric of success. What is the metric of success? It's basically the standard by which you measure yourself. Many of us are always trying to do better, to accomplish more, and to improve ourselves. This is all well and good, but what is the standard against which we're measuring ourselves and our problems? Part of empowerment is saying, "You know what? My idea of success isn't the same as my friends'," and that's okay. Finally, empowerment means choosing based on an internal locus of control. Knowing what we can and can't control and letting go of the things we can't so that they don't have control over us. That can be incredibly liberating. Emotional hunger can make you feel powerless. Recurrent food attacks can feel out of control which can increase the stress and emotions that you're trying to escape from in the first place through food. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, empowering clients can help them move out of emotional eating cycles because they no longer have to use food to escape pressure or maintain a sense of control when life feels overwhelming. Let's move on, number two, empowerment motivates realistic optimism. What's realistic optimism, you might ask. Think of it like this, optimism is great, but blind optimism doesn't always help you prepare for real life challenges. Seeing the glass is half full rather than half empty can be very helpful. For example, remember how perceiving stress as positive can benefit you both emotionally and physically. However, blind optimism can motivate an external locus of control. You might depend on good things happening to you. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor describes what he calls the positive Tetris effect. Basically, the brain scans for things like gratitude and optimism, and armed with positivity, the brain stays open to possibility. In other words, choosing to focus on the positive empowers your brain to see more possible options. However, realistic optimism takes it a step further. You believe that you will succeed, but you also recognize that you need to take responsibility. In other words, you focus on the positive while preparing for potential obstacles. Do you see how this relates to empowerment? If we feel powerless, it can be hard to maintain any sense of optimism or see alternatives. Feeling like they have power over outcomes that they can control gives clients hope that they can make alternative choices that might work better for them in the future. Let's tie this to emotional eating, shall we? Knowledge makes a huge difference. That's the self-awareness piece. And it relates to mindset, related to realistic optimism is the idea that the outcome might not be as perfect as we had hoped. For example, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you might help clients practice realistic optimism by, one, recognizing that they can focus on an internal locus of control and choose how they respond to emotions, which will pass if given half the chance. And two, that they can allow themselves some wiggle room, for instance, with eating habits. And use setbacks as opportunities to fail forward. Makes sense? Let's keep going. Number three, empowerment focuses on the present. This is because responsibility focuses on the present. The past is the past, it happened, we can't change it, and we can't control it. However, we can make decisions about where to go from here. Self-empowerment means recognizing what we can and can't control. You can help clients recognize not only that they have the power to choose but that they usually have all they need to move toward their goals. Yet again, this relates to internal locus of control. Focusing on the present also helps clients value the process versus the destination. Of course, clients usually want to reach their goals. However, enjoying the process makes it much more meaningful. Wouldn't you agree? Have you ever participated in a challenge such as a 30-day challenge? In a challenge like this, you set one or several goals, and your fellow challengers help keep you accountable. Granted, it feels pretty great to say at the end, "Yes, I succeeded. I did yoga every single day for 30 days," or "I cooked three meals at home every single week." However, part of the benefit of a challenge is the process, noticing what does and doesn't work for you, why you aren't able to stay in line with your goals, and how you might adjust based on the big picture. After all, we try challenges for a reason, right? Whether it's a 30-day diet or a week long social media cleanse, we try it because we want to work on some area of our lives that isn't working well for us at the time. Sticking with it for 30 days can empower us to focus on the present journey, not just the end goal. When supporting clients with emotional eating, you might help clients identify current triggers and stressors so that they feel more in control when urges arise. You also might help them identify limiting beliefs that motivate them to project the past onto the present. And finally, number four, empowerment supports movement. As we discussed earlier in the course, the why behind our motivation matters. Habits driven by fear can work against us, fear can keep us stuck. Feeling a sense of empowerment requires some kind of correspondence between the cause of action and its outcomes. In other words, learned helplessness is the sense of powerlessness that can arise because we continually fail. For instance, we continually try dieting to lose weight, but we don't lose any weight, and we always end up giving up on dieting. After a while, we throw in the towel and say, "It's hopeless. There's nothing I can do to change." So we stay in our emotional eating loops and cycles of stuck. Empowerment energizes us. Have you ever experienced this? Think of a baby who has just learned how to crawl. Suddenly everything is within reach. They can't stop crawling and parents have to baby-proof everything in the house, talk about freedom in all its glory. Now think in terms of coaching your clients. Do you think the clients feel more motivated if you tell them exactly what to eat or when you help them recognize that they're their own best experts and have the power to feel better on their own bio-individual terms. I encourage you to research on the power of self-empowerment. For example, did you know that feeling in control over your life and your job can reduce stress and positively impact physical health? Let's end here for today with a brief recap. Like self-compassion, self-empowerment is a critical piece of coaching emotional eating. Why? Because self-empowerment provides a sense of responsibility based on bio-individual values and metrics of success, motivates realistic optimism and an internal locus of control, focuses on the present, and supports movement out of cycles of stuck. Are you ready to apply this material? In this week's Skill Building Activities, we're asking you to do some research on the power of mindset. You can find details in your Learning Center. That's all for now, stay connected with us in the Facebook group. And I'll see you again soon.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

Choose Empowerment

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