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Recovering from Self-Destructive Behaviors Around Food and Intimacy

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>> Hi there. And welcome to the third video of a series Recovering from Self-Destructive Behaviors Around Food and Intimacy. In this video, I'm going to share with you seven steps that I believe are critically important to helping yourself, a client, or a loved one recover from an eating disorder or other form of self-destructive behavior that can interfere with a person's health, relationships, or ability to function in the world. While I don't claim to have it all figured out, I have managed to successfully recover from my own eating disorder which involved features of anorexia nervosa as well as bulimia nervosa. Today, I feel more at peace with food than I have in my entire life. And I'm tempted to say it's because I've been to hell and back with it. I've struggled, experimented, and explored food with so much patience and curiosity over time that I found a way to coexist with it gracefully. I've managed to maintain the same healthy body weight for the past decade without counting calories or obsessing about food. And I want to share with you what has helped me on my journey in hopes that it will be valuable to you as well. So let's dive in, shall we? Number one, take responsibility for your own health and happiness. I'm naming this as number one because if you don't first take responsibility for your own health and happiness, then you aren't going to be able to effect change in your life. The first step to fixing any problem is to acknowledge and own the problem and to break habits of avoidance and denial. Earlier in this module, we talked about how modern society, lifestyle, and the food climate in westernized cultures can act as forces that contribute to dysfunctional eating. However, where you place blame is where you place power. So while it can be helpful to raise your client's awareness to these issues, you'll want to be careful not to lead them to a place where they feel victimized and helpless. Remember that as long as a person considers him or herself a victim, he or she will not be able to move beyond self-destructive behaviors around food. My suggestion is to help your clients become empowered instead. And a great place to start is by first empowering yourself through self-awareness. I've put together a self-assessment in this module called "What Are You Really Hungry For?" This includes a list of questions to help you and your clients gain awareness around dysfunctional eating habits to help conquer and move beyond them. This worksheet is an especially useful tool for clients who struggle with eating disorders or are emotional eaters, which is why we've also included a done-for-you version in your Business Toolkit. I welcome you to fill it out yourself, even if you don't struggle with any kind of extreme behaviors, as it can only serve to enhance your relationship with food, exercise, and your body. Number two, work with your body, not against it. Next, you want your mind and body to be on the same team working together rather than pitted against one another. Too often, people on diets attempt to use willpower to restrict the natural desires of their bodies. This creates a conflict where the mind and body are working against one another. And this is why diets don't work, at least not in the long term. The only kind of healthy diet that is sustainable is one where a person's mind and body are being nurtured simultaneously and are working together in harmony. For the most part, our actions and behaviors are driven by our subconscious beliefs. We're governed by beliefs and principles we've been taught over time that we're not even aware of in our conscious minds. When our subconscious beliefs aren't in alignment with the things we want to achieve with our conscious minds, this can act as a roadblock. As Jen Sincero puts it in her book, "You Are a Badass," it's like trying to drive with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. For example, if in your conscious mind you want to overcome anorexia nervosa and get your body to a healthy weight, but you hold the subconscious belief that says, if I'm healthy then I'm invisible and I don't want to be invisible, I want to be noticed. And the only way I know how to be noticed is by being severely underweight, then you aren't going to be able to reach a healthy weight by making decisions with your conscious mind. The only way for you to reach a healthy weight will be for you to first address your subconscious belief. The goal is to feel connected to your body, to trust your body, to be one with your body. Number three, experiment with being flexible. When I used to binge, it was because my overall diet was overly restrictive. I was suppressing 100% of my cravings and desires 100% of the time. Because of this, my body fought back causing me to lose control and go into a binge. Then of course, I'd feel guilty and terrible after binging, so then I'd have to purge, and it became this endless cycle of restricting, indulging, and repenting. So I can tell you from experience that if an individual is abusing food or engaging in compulsive behaviors around food, chances are that individual is fighting against their body and desires rather than working with their natural cravings. Encourage your clients to practice being flexible in exchange for an all-or-nothing rule-based diet mindset. It's good to eat consciously, but it's also healthy to be able to make exceptions and to be able to listen to and trust the body and it's fluctuating needs. Number four, make decisions rooted in love, not fear. It's extremely rare these days for me to feel any sense of guilt around eating but should any sort of guilty feeling arise, I take it as a cue that there's something deeper going on in my body that I need to pay attention to. I communicate with myself rather than escaping through extreme thought patterns and extreme dieting. In the end, eating healthily isn't about being a slave to your diet or enduring feelings of anxiousness, apprehension, and isolation just to maintain a diet that's clean. It's living in harmony with food, the environment, other people, and most importantly, yourself. Julia Child once said, "People who love to eat are always the best people." And I think there's a lot of truth to this. In being able to welcome food into our lives with a shameless affection, we welcome other forms of nourishment into our lives with the same openness and optimism. We empower ourselves and the people around us to expand on a heart level. I believe that regardless of what we actually eat if we're eating in the energy of love and sharing that love with others, we're going to make the planet more sustainable for us all. Calories after all are a measure of energy, and everything we eat, as well as everything we do has the power to nourish or deplete us. Number five, be present in your body. In the process of recovering from my eating disorder, I had a pivotal moment that stood out to me the moment I decided I was going to stop hurting myself and get healthy. I was in my college dorm room and I had just binged on a pint of ice cream. My urge was to go to the bathroom and throw it up, but instead of doing that, for the first time, I decided to sit with the discomfort instead. I remember pacing around the room for a while wanting to jump out of my skin, but I kept telling myself that I needed to be present with the negative feelings that were erupting in my body, rather than moving onto the next thing and trying to escape them. Eventually, I was lying on the floor still fighting the urge to expel the ice cream from my body when something kind of miraculous happened, the urge subsided. All it took was sitting with the discomfort long enough, then it was gone or it had transformed into something else. The point is too often we expend valuable energy running away from the things we're afraid of. But what if instead we just sit with the discomfort and travel into the void? We could free ourselves from needless suffering. Our feelings want to be witnessed, but we can choose to witness our feelings without allowing them to sabotage or control us. As a Health Coach, you can help clients practice being still in their bodies. Some might call this meditation. Help them get comfortable with the feeling of existing for the sake of existing. There's a great freedom that comes with surrendering in this way. Number six, simplify your life. I'm including this one because it's not something that's often listed as a step in recovering from an eating disorder, but I think that in general, taking action to eliminate unnecessary chaos and distractions from your life is a critical component to happiness, healing, and inner peace. I know for myself that I need to feel organized and caught up on my life in order to feel like I can think clearly. Of course, in our busy modern lifestyles, it can feel impossible to ever really be caught up. But this is why it's so important to eliminate the things in your life that are taking up time and energy but don't add value to your life. It's important for self-healing to set limits for yourself. We have a greater need than previous generations to simplify our lives in ways that protect our sanity and well-being. Here are a few suggestions you might offer clients, donate clothing, books, and possessions you're no longer using. Clean all of those icons off your computer desktop and organize them into folders instead. Clean out your email inbox and unsubscribe to all of those junk emails that keep coming in. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Limit your exposure to environments and people who drain you. And let go of friends and relationships that don't feel nurturing and supportive. Taking all of these steps frees up valuable space in your life for healing and self-care, and makes room for new and fulfilling relationships and activities. Number seven, be kind, be patient, and keep checking in. My best advice to anyone who's overcoming an eating disorder or destructive eating habits is to be kind to yourself and be patient. Balance is a journey, not a destination, and recovery isn't always a straight line. Often, it involves relapses and backward steps, and that's okay, it's all part of the process. Just as a gymnast must find their center with each step, we're all continuously evolving, and therefore, we must remain willing to continuously adjust ourselves accordingly. At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong way to feed yourself. There's only the amount of awareness, responsibility, and love you choose to bring to the table. Remember, your body is a very wise machine, and you stand to gain the most by respecting that wisdom and by tuning into it. You also have the right to nurture yourself as you see fit, regardless of the influences of society and the expectations of others. You're entitled to have an appetite and to assert your needs and desires and to allow others to see your hunger and your humanity. Thanks so much for joining me for this third lecture and for this series. I've really enjoyed sharing this information with you, and I hope you've gotten a lot out of it. Feel free to hop on over to Facebook to share your thoughts and ideas with your classmates and moderators. Take care, and see you soon.

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 39 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

Recovering from Self-Destructive Behaviors Around Food and Intimacy

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