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Limiting Beliefs and Emotional Eating_Final

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>> Hi there, great to see you again. In this lecture, we're going to continue exploring the healthy bias. We're going to focus specifically on limiting beliefs, what they are, and how they might keep us stuck in emotional eating cycles. Let's dive in, shall we? Limiting beliefs are false beliefs about ourselves or the world around us that we consider to be true, and that can hold us back. They're deeply ingrained as we unconsciously develop them for self-protection by generalizing our early experiences. Limiting beliefs guide our actions and behaviors even though they don't equate with reality. In that way, they're like biases. Let's start with a story. I once worked with a client, let's call her Rachel, who had spent a lot of our time together sharing her failed attempts to develop healthier routines around food. Rachel grew up with a father who loves to bake. It was his way of expressing love and bringing the family together. He said that food was "life." He believed that healthy eating was just another word for dieting and saw it as a form of self-punishment. He couldn't understand why people would refuse sweets as they fed the soul and brought his family so much joy. Sadly, her father died when Rachel was 13, and Rachel's mother wasn't much of a cook. So Rachel decided to learn how to bake as a way of honoring the memory of her father. She ended up going to culinary school and working as a pastry chef. However, over time, Rachel's health gradually declined. She no longer felt fulfilled professionally, she had no life outside of her job, and she often ate rich desserts throughout the day, which created shame about her increasing weight and affected her sleep. Sweet served as a coping mechanism to comfort herself from stress, to create a sense of fulfillment and her loneliness, and to connect with the joy that she didn't have in other areas of life outside of her job. Over time, we discover that Rachel associated healthy eating with the "dieting" her father considered as self-punishment. As a result, she had a deep rooted fear that eating healthy food meant not only a sad life for her but also disrespecting her father's memory. She feared that eating healthier meant severing emotional ties with her father. Can you see the limiting beliefs that Rachel developed based on her early experiences? See how they lingered into her adult life on a subconscious level even though they didn't really make sense in the reality? Let's cover three ways to think about limiting beliefs and apply them to emotional eating using Rachel's story as an example. After all, we all eat emotionally for valid reasons, and quite often, those reasons are rooted in limiting beliefs. Number one, limiting beliefs are not logical or rational. Our subconscious brains or reptilian brains are evolutionarily wired for safety. They're not logical or rational. They're also pretty rigid, and they inspire instinctive and impulsive actions. They love automatic mode and following familiar patterns and routines. These primal parts of the brain protect us from harm, which often serve us well and keep us out of harm's way. Deep down, we all want safety, what feels familiar, and what requires the path of least resistance. It makes sense, right? Thinking about Rachel, can you see some possible limiting beliefs? What about the belief that healthy eating is the same as dieting or the belief that they're both forms of self-punishment? Can you see how these beliefs are not logical or rational and how sweets might mean "safety"? As we discussed earlier in the course, emotional eating is usually a way of coping with stress or distressing emotions. Emotions are actually a part of the limbic brain but the reptilian brain often takes over. Why does this happen? Well, if you recall, emotional eating can mean using food for comfort, to numb, or distract, or to feel a sense of control. You can think of it this way. We might seek comfort in food because our reptilian brains want to stay with the familiar, we're programmed for automatic mode whenever possible so that we can take the path of least resistance, we might use food to escape from or numb emotions because our reptilian brains want safety, and we might use food to stay in control because our reptilian brain sense danger that we can't control. In short, our illogical and irrational brains can keep us stuck in limiting beliefs, which can fuel emotional eating habits. Number two, limiting beliefs project the past onto the present even if it's irrelevant. We form beliefs such as what's safe versus what's unsafe as children. And these beliefs become deeply ingrained in our reptilian brains so much so that we use them to judge any experience that even remotely resembles the previous experiences. Again, our reptilian brains like to follow patterns and routines. As a result, our limiting beliefs lead us to view the present through the lens of the past whether or not the past experience is relevant to the present situation. Let's go back to Rachel. As a child, she learned to equate sweets with love, joy, and connection, and dieting with sadness and self-punishment. So when her father died, she tried to keep the love, and joy, and connection alive through baking as her father did. You might say that, as an adult, sweets became her source of comfort, a connection to her father and to the one thing in her life that had real meaning to her, her job, and a way to express love through feeding others, even though she felt lonely. Rachel struggled with making healthy changes because deep down, she still associated dieting with sadness and self-punishment. She didn't want to feel sad or imprisoned, feelings associated with danger, not safety. So even as her health declined, both physically and emotionally, she couldn't move forward. Her limiting beliefs projected from her past onto her present. Because this happens on a subconscious level, Rachel just felt stuck and she didn't know why. Our current relationships with food are influenced by messages we receive, starting in childhood for example, from culture, family, friends, and other people. Many of these messages are "should" messages, like you should finish everything on your plate. Many of these messages don't take bio-individuality into account. And many of these messages lead to disconnection from our bodies, our needs, and our values. The point here is that emotional eating habits like limiting beliefs can result from projecting the past on to the present. Number three, limiting beliefs keep us stuck and block change. Again, our desire for what feels comfortable and known can keep us stuck in limiting beliefs even if they conflict with our goals. This feeling of self-sabotage or defeat can fuel emotional eating habits. You might hear things like, "Why should I even try? I always fail anyway." Limiting beliefs breed a feeling of failure. Failure breeds self-pity. And this sets the stage for a whole range of emotions to creep in that we may not want to face. Can you relate? Rachel's limiting beliefs kept her stuck in unhealthy eating habits and prevented her from finding nourishment from primary food. She had few social connections, and she no longer found enough nourishment from her career, yet she couldn't seem to move forward. She believed that baking was the only way left to connect her to her father, and she feared that healthy eating would lead her further away from happiness. Like Rachel, your clients all have some kind of need to be met. For example, safety or avoiding discomfort, which they believe can be met by maintaining the status quo. Does this remind you of the emotional eating cycle? Rachel didn't feel nourished in other areas of life, so she turned to sweets, which made her feel physically and emotionally worse, leading her to fuel more habits that led her away from greater health and happiness. In short, her limiting beliefs kept her stuck. To recap, limiting beliefs are beliefs that hold us back. Like biases, they are subjective perceptions that don't necessarily equate with reality. Like biases, limiting beliefs can keep us stuck in our personal perspectives and lead to pigeonholing. And finally, our reptilian brains can keep us stuck in limiting beliefs and emotional eating cycles because they aren't logical or rational. They project the past onto the present, and they block change. Stay tuned for how to start thinking about coaching clients around this material. For now, try applying it. We've included an exercise handout called Chart and Challenge Beliefs. We'll discuss the more specific ways to challenge beliefs soon. But challenge yourself to use what we've covered so far to brainstorm first. We've also included a done-for-you handout of this exercise that you can use with clients. What did this exercise bring up for you? How might it change your coaching approach specifically around emotional eating? Share with your course mates in the Facebook group so that we can support and learn from each other. I'll see you back here soon.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 9 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: integrativenutrition on Aug 30, 2018

Limiting Beliefs and Emotional Eating_Final

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