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The Benefits of Boundaries

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>> Hi. Nice to be with you again. Join me, if you will, on a brief mental journey. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes. Now imagine a place with no boundaries, a place without any structure, norms, rules, or even guidelines. A place where you can do whatever you want to do without limits and a place without repercussions and guilt. You're free to choose and do whatever you please. What would you do? How would you act? How would you be different than you are now? Okay, open your eyes. At first, a limitless place might sound pretty fantastic, right? But tell me this. In imagining this place, did you consider the fact that a place with no boundaries means that other people don't have any boundaries either? What might that mean for you and your supposed freedom? Consider this idea. Having boundaries actually gives you more freedom. Or to be more specific, having boundaries that you draw for yourself gives you more freedom. Grab your journal, and spend a few minutes thinking about that. Why might creating your own boundaries be freeing? Pause the video now. What did you come up with? While boundaries might, at first glance, seem limiting, they're actually the opposite. Understanding their benefits can help you empower clients around emotional eating, an idea that we'll explore today. Boundaries are essentially the limits that we place around food and eating, or your sweet spot with food. When defining boundaries, it's important to stay mindful of not becoming too rigid or jumping too far off the deep end into extreme patterns that end up doing more harm than good. Rigidity and extremism can lead to things like eating disorders and orthorexia and may even trigger binge-eating. Here, like everywhere else, moderation is key. The purpose of boundaries, or finding a bio-individual sweet spot, is to honor personal food values. That said, for the purposes of today, we're starting with the benefits of having them. So many of us struggle to create boundaries around food for reasons we've discussed throughout this course, including one size fits all mentalities and pressure to fit into objective ideals. Our relationships with food are often complicated. Many clients come to you not for information per se but to help them make changes because they feel so stuck in their habits, even if they know they're not helpful. In fact, that in and of itself is one place where boundaries are crucial. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, it's important to ask permission before asking possibly vulnerable questions around food relationships and eating approaches. In fact, that in and of itself is one place where boundaries are crucial. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, it's important to ask permission before asking possibly vulnerable questions around food relationships and eating approaches. Why? Because your clients have boundaries. Yes, you want to challenge them to take proactive steps towards their goals, but you also wants to meet them where they're at. This means respecting their boundaries, which includes the language and strategies you use as a coach. A lack of personal boundaries around food can perpetuate emotional eating habits, including disconnection, yo-yo cycles of dieting, and compulsive overeating, using food to cope, and feelings of stuckness and powerlessness. The beauty of helping clients find their sweet spots is that it honors the subconscious need for safety while empowering them to bravely build their own healthy and satisfying food relationships. Let's explore the five benefits of creating boundaries and how you can use this, as a tool, for empowering clients around emotional eating. Boundaries are based on bio-individuality. As we've discussed, emotional eating can be influenced by trying to fit into one size fits all ideals and biases. Empowering clients to draw their own boundaries honors their bio-individuality. For example, some clients benefit from going cold turkey and completely stopping certain eating habits or giving up certain foods without exception. Their boundaries might be more clear and straightforward lines. Here's a helpful quote, "Never can be a lot easier than sometimes." Whether it's because they haven't yet built up the self-trust for a more intuitive approach or because they thrive on concrete rules, some people naturally think in more black and white terms rather than shades of gray. Words like moderation might feel elusive or confusing. Some clients need a little more structure at least in the beginning. In fact, setting very clear and defined boundaries can be a positive challenge that propels movement because now they have a plan. Some clients might need to abide by clear lines and completely avoid certain unhelpful eating habits versus exploring all of the whys behind those habits first. Sometimes the why doesn't matter. This approach can simplify the cognitive process, kind of like the idea of just do it, as in just put the sneakers on in the morning or even sleep in your gym clothes to increase your chances of exercising. On the other hand, some clients might benefit from the discomfort caused by eating intuitively and allowing room for flexibility versus resorting to easy fixes of rigidity or temporary deprivation. These clients might benefit from exploring some deeper roots first, and their lines might be a little more meandering rather than straight and clear cut. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you might have beliefs around which approaches might help clients most. But remember two things, you and your clients are different people. What works for you might not work for them. And your job is to empower clients to do their own work in their own ways while providing support and accountability along their journeys of transformation. Boundaries require adaptation. As we've discussed, emotional eating can create and perpetuate feelings of stuckness, not only around food but in other areas of life. Empowering clients to draw their own boundaries requires them to adapt as needed. Your clients will come to you with their own versions of normal, and guiding them through transformation means that those normals will change over time. But change can be scary. And the idea of setting internal limits around food might feel threatening to clients who are used to eating based on external limits. Here's the thing. The body and mind adapt if we give them time. For example, choosing to drink a glass of water every time a craving for sugar hits can decrease those cravings over time because you have a new norm. Another example, eating sugar after not eating it for a long time can make you more aware of how sugar affects you because you have a new norm now. Perhaps your first sugar boundary is don't add sugar to coffee in the morning, but it develops into minimize all added sugar throughout the day or add less sugar to coffee. In other words, it's a continual process, not a onetime set in stone decision. You can help clients notice their eating triggers and emotional eating cycles, and adjust boundaries as needed. We'll talk more about habit change later on in the course. For now, grab your journal, and spend a few minutes thinking about how this creates freedom for adaptation. Pause the video now. Were you able to make some connections there? Before we move on, I want to leave you with a name Andy Goldsworthy. If you're not familiar with his work, we included a link in your Skill Building Activities. He's an artist who works with nature in a rather transient way. By this, I mean that his work changes naturally. He might create an intricate artwork out of leaves or a pile of found stones, photograph it, and then release it to the elements. In other words, his art doesn't last. The leaves scatter and the stones fall. He essentially manufactures his own boundaries around adaptable art. Does that make sense? This might be a helpful metaphor to use with clients. In short, drawing personal boundaries is a continual process that requires adaptation, a skill that can be applied to many different areas of life. Boundaries promote self-nourishment. As we've discussed, emotional eating is essentially a coping mechanism. It's a way of using food to nourish emotions because we don't feel nourished in other areas of life. The irony being that it doesn't end up nourishing us at all. Empowering clients to draw their own boundaries serves as a tool for self-kindness and self-protection. First, self-kindness. Emotional eating often includes disconnection from personal needs and values. Honoring the borders that you set for yourself is a way of taking care of you. You're telling yourself, "I respect my needs, my values and what I'm comfortable with." To give you an example, imagine you have a client who struggles when he is eating with a certain peer group who always pressures him to eat junk food, which he knows is contributing to his low energy levels and his mental focus at work. Helping this client set boundaries around eating with friends is a form of self-nourishment because he's choosing to honor habits that make him feel better and they're aligned with his personal goals. Do you see that? My second point on self-nourishment today. Along with promoting self-kindness, boundaries help satisfy a need for self-protection. Remember how many people use food as control or comfort because their subconscious brains need to feel safe? A lack of boundaries can feel unsafe. Have you experienced this? It can show up in a variety of interactions with others. One example is personal space. Different people have different circles of personal space. Have you ever engaged in a conversation with a close-talker? Maybe you yourself are a close-talker. I once had a client who spoke of a favorite teacher who happened to be a close-talker and the internal struggle that this brought up for him. He wanted to connect with his teacher who genuinely valued him as a person. But my client always felt he wanted to back away during conversations. It just felt a little too close. He didn't feel threatened by his teacher at all, but his subconscious brain was saying danger, too close for comfort. Boundaries protect us, yet creating them around food is hard for many of us. We have boundaries in other areas of life, from personal space to work schedules, to how far we're willing to go to reach our goals. Yet when it comes to food, we just can't seem to figure it out, even though it's such a common struggle. To wrap up this point, helping clients draw their own boundaries promote self-nourishment through self-kindness and self-protection. As such, it might help curb eating emotionally either for comfort or for control. Let's move on. Boundaries motivate mindfulness and self-connection. As we've discussed, emotional eating can lead us away from these. Empowering clients to draw their own boundaries promotes connection to values, bio-individual body tunes, and to the present moment. It honors emotions because they decide what makes them uncomfortable, which helps you identify their wants and needs. It's also a helpful way of externalizing the emotional eating voice. Again, habits like overeating, restricting, and compulsive eating are often a battle between two internal voices, the self-judgment voice that says should and the emotional eating voice that says go for it. Neither of these voices are helpful. However, if you take time to build some boundaries, you can adjust them based on what ultimately makes you feel genuinely good. In doing so, you're practicing mindfulness and self-connection as well as neutrality and acceptance. And finally, boundaries empower. This really applies to all of the points I've made today, but it deserves its own point. As we've discussed, emotional eating can make us feel powerless. Creating personal boundaries shifts the locus of control to internal because you're honoring your chosen boundaries rather than trying to fit into those externally imposed on you. Many emotional eaters tend to restrict what or how much they eat after indulging in certain foods or overeating. But this restriction is a should, and it's different than setting boundaries which is a chosen act. Can you see the difference? Drawing boundaries provides responsibility. Clients are reframing and rewriting their own stories about eating based on where they are right now. This is an act of self-care rather than an act of punishment. Finally, it supports self-respect. Clients are boosting self-worth by honoring what works for them versus aiming to please everyone else. They're fitting out of other people's boundaries. They're saying no when they mean no and yes when they mean yes. They're asserting themselves because they're committed to their boundaries, and they get to decide whether or not to step out of those boundaries. We take time to build boundaries for a reason. And once we figure out what those look like for us, it's important to commit to them. We're often quick to commit to others but not to ourselves. Clients who honor their personal boundaries are committing to themselves. Okay, quick recap. While boundaries might, at first glance, seem limiting, they're actually the opposite. Helping clients draw them around food can empower them around emotional eating as well as in other areas of life. There are many benefits of drawing boundaries, including the five we covered today. They're based on bio-individuality. They require adaptation. They promote self-nourishment. They motivate mindfulness and self-connection. And they empower. Remember that the purpose of boundaries or finding a bio-individual sweet spot is to honor personal food values. Also remember the importance of honoring your clients' boundaries as a coach. Ask permission before diving into possibly vulnerable discussions and meet them where they're at. This is their journey of transformation. This week, in your Skill Building Activities, we're asking you to apply this material by researching Andy Goldsworthy, and how he challenges the limits of both art and nature as well as how you can apply these ideas to coaching clients around building food boundaries. Take a look at that, share your thoughts in the Facebook group, and I'll see you again soon.

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 40 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 8
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

The Benefits of Boundaries

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