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The Eating Intention

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>> Hi there. You know, one of the ironies of health coaching is that so much of the coaching you do doesn't have anything to do with nutrition. At least, that's how it might appear on the surface. However, as you know, nutrition isn't just about finding nourishment from food as your clients might understand it. It's about finding nourishment beyond food. Secondly, as we've discussed throughout this course, our relationships with food often mirror our relationships with other areas of life and with ourselves. Nonetheless, health coaching does include coaching around food itself. When it comes to emotional eating, food serves a purpose, and helping clients build a more nourishing relationship with food requires... Well, talking about the food. Later in this course, we'll cover how to help clients find their own middle grounds in terms of what they eat. But before we go into that, let's start with how clients eat. In many ways, this is even more important. Why do you think that is? Grab your journal, pause the video, and write down some ideas. What did you come up with? We're going to incorporate several ideas from this course into today's topic, understanding the value of coaching clients around mindful eating and the importance of eating with intention, attention, and mindful presence. Let's start by circling back to an example from earlier on in the course an imaginary client's name Desiree. Desiree struggled with many digestive issues like cramps and bloating. She had many life stresses including taking care of triplets and working 12-hour night shifts. She rarely sat down for a meal, and she often ate comfort foods somewhat mindlessly as a way to unwind. For Desiree, mindful eating was not part of her current food relationship. Coaching around emotional eating requires addressing broader issues such as stress, body image, biases, and limiting beliefs, and other factors that contribute to current food relationships. It also includes mindful eating. Mindful eating means eating with intention or purpose. In particular, to nourish both body and mind, and paying attention to current eating habits on purpose, in the moment, and without judgment. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you'll have a wide variety of clients. Some of those clients might be very familiar with mindful eating, and though they value it, they've gotten out of the habit. For those clients, having support in this area might be exactly what they need to get back in the habit. On the other hand, some clients might not understand what mindful eating is, and they might see absolutely no value in it whatsoever. Why is mindful eating so important? What benefits appeal to a wide range of clients? Here are four benefits that might help foster healthful eating intentions. Number one, mindful eating benefits digestion. Recall the relationship between stress, eating habits, and digestion. Stress can psychologically and biologically disregulate appetite and food choice. And when in a fight or flight state, the body can't rest and digest. Incorporating pleasure biologically changes the way your body metabolizes food. Feeling pleasure while you eat rather than eating to numb emotions or eating your stress away turns on the relaxation response. In other words, it revs up the parasympathetic nervous system which improves digestion. Here are few more tangible benefits. Eating slowly might be linked with weight loss. And mindfulness has long been used to help manage cravings. When it comes to cravings, there's a big difference between restricting to win over the cravings and eating mindfully. For example, mindful eaters are often satisfied with less food, and they're less likely to fall into extreme patterns and yo-yo cycles such as bingeing and restricting. Number two, mindful eating empowers. Eating on the go is common because we all have a million things to do, right? Many of your clients feel overworked and overwhelmed, and it's probably not realistic to suggest that they simply eliminate stress. Stress will always be there in some capacity. That's life. Helping clients make a few adjustments that put them in a more relaxed state while eating can help them immensely. It helps not only facilitate digestion but self-empowerment. Empowerment shifts locus of control to internal by helping clients understand that while stress will always be there, they can choose how to respond to it, including to set it aside while they take a few minutes to eat. Eating with intention is kind of the opposite of using food for a purpose. Why? Because it tunes clients into the why, of what, when, and how much they eat. In other words, it empowers them by helping them connect with their bio-individual body tunes. It encourages self-awareness and self-connection, and it's a great practice for letting go and learning to work with emotions rather than feeling controlled by them. If you tell me what to eat, I might do it for a little while, but it probably won't stick. For example, I might get bored, I might disconnect from the eating experience in efforts to make healthy foods more enjoyable, and my reptilian brain might lead me to self-sabotage because I'm sick and tired of it all or because I'm scared of real change. However, asking me to focus on eating itself allows me to practice staying present and tuned into my body and intuition, which ultimately helps me figure out how to self-regulate and trust myself. In short, mindful eating empowers mindsets and behaviors. Let's keep going. Number three, mindful eating is sustainable. Most people who come to you for help will likely know the difference between nutritious foods and those that offer a little nutritional benefit beyond calories, more or less. However, many of them will pay much less attention to how they eat. Helping them slow down might be the difference between struggling with food for the rest of their lives and developing a sustainable way of eating that aligns with their physical and emotional goals. Why? Because it's kind of the anti-diet approach, it's sustainable, it's bio-individual, and it promotes health and satisfaction. A big part of emotional eating relates to instant gratification. Many of your clients are used to jumping into extreme diets for fast results and using food to get distance from emotions as quickly as possible. The irony of instant gratification is that people are seldom gratified because they're not even present enough to enjoy it. They're so disconnected from what they really want that no amount of food or substance or habit like stress shopping satisfies them emotionally, so they keep reaching for more fixes. Mindfulness keeps them present rather than constantly leapfrogging over the present. And if they stick with it, they learn what they really need to feel better emotionally, and that it's not food, substances, or shopping, it's connection, it's joy, it's creativity. It's all of those areas of life that for whatever reason aren't nourishing them right now. And finally, number four. Mindful eating can set off a domino effect. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Prioritizing intention and attention around eating is an opportunity for clients to practice self-care and align with values like mindfulness, slowing down, trusting themselves, and creating space for pleasure, approaches that can translate into all areas of life. To recap, so far, when it comes to emotional eating, food serves a purpose. And helping clients build a more nourishing relationship with food requires eating mindfully with intention and attention. Four benefits of mindful eating are it benefits digestion, it empowers, it's sustainable, and it can stimulate a domino effect across all areas of life. Just a few more important points before we end today. First of all, slowing down and focusing on the process of eating might feel scary for some people. For people who use food to help them cope, asking them to actually pay attention to eating might make them feel vulnerable unsure, or even anxious. They've been so disconnected from the process of eating that actually noticing what and how much they eat might lead to self-judgment. It's all part of the journey. Secondly, mindful eating requires practice. You don't just get mindful, you continue to try it on and play around with it, and notice the effects it has on you. So many of us are always used to doing that we've in a sense forgotten how to just be. Mindful eating means stopping, and that's challenging. Finally, as always, meet your clients where they're at by remembering two things, bio-individuality and scope of practice. Mindful eating won't look the same for everyone. For one client, it might mean lighting candles and taking deep breaths before a meal. For another client, it might mean scheduling 10 minutes of uninterrupted lunch time away from the computer. Mindful eating also might not be an important part of the conversation until months into the coaching process or it might seem like a helpful place to begin. If a client has a history of an eating disorder, you might start with primary food. Engage how conversations around actual food go before discussing food itself. It also might be a good time to refer out. If, for example, you find that talking about food itself makes the client very anxious or motivates rigidity, use your judgment here and know that you always have support here at IIN and with other healthcare professionals that you collaborate with, as we encourage you to do. To close for today, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, three ways you can support clients around mindful eating are to help them shift from self-judgment to self-compassion, support them through the process of practicing, and use a bio-individual approach within your scope of practice. This week, we included an exercise called Five Senses Eating in your skill-building activities for you to apply some mindfulness to your own eating. Give that a try and share your experience in the Facebook group. Stay tuned for some specific ways that you can support clients around mindful eating. Until next time.

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 54 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 6
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

The Eating Intention

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