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The Food Foundation

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>> Hello there, nice to see you again. Let's start this lecture off with a scenario. Imagine that you're an architect and your client wants to build a house on a sandy beach. Where would you begin? Would you just start building? What might you do first? Grab your journal, pause the video, and write down some ideas. What did you come up with? You might have written down a wide range of possible considerations. However, I'm willing to bet that you probably included building some sort of a foundation. Let me bring in a story to illustrate. Have you heard the story of the three little pigs? They all build houses, but not all of those houses last. The first pig chooses the quickest route, the quick fix approach if you will, and build his house out of straw. The second pig spends a little more time and gives it a little more thought. He builds his house out of sticks. However, neither house can withstand the huffing and puffing and blowing down by the wolf. The third pig takes time to ensure a strong foundation. He builds his house out of bricks, and you know what, his house lasts. Yes, many children stories remain helpful anecdotes for adulthood. This module is all about learning the language of food. Today, we're focusing on where you might start when helping clients navigate unhelpful mindsets and habits around eating. When understanding the language of food, it helps to start with self-awareness of both routes and current food relationships. In short, it helps to build the food foundation. Why? Well, as we've discussed, it's not your job as a Health Coach to psychoanalyze your clients. However, habits like using food as a coping mechanism run deep. If it were as easy as sticking on a band-aid, you probably wouldn't have many clients in need of your support. The food foundation helps you meet your clients where they're at. Remember that one aspect of limiting beliefs is that they carry the past into the present, even if it's irrelevant, and that can keep us stuck in unhelpful habits and cycles. So where do you begin? We're going to cover five steps. Brainstorm the bio-individual eating story. Earlier in the course, we introduced the idea of the eating story or personal food narrative. The eating story is a tool that can help you answer important questions, such as what purpose has food served for this client? How has this client used food as a coping mechanism? What are some of the driving factors of this client's eating habits? When does this client eat due to emotional versus physical hunger? These are all aspects of learning the language of food. Like the Health History that you might include in a first session, the eating story provides valuable information. First of all, it sheds light on some roots of current mindsets and behaviors. As a review, it includes three broad components, bio-individuality, including experiences and associations with food coping mechanisms, ability to regulate emotions, physical circumstances, and Health History, social influences, including family dynamics, and peer influences, and cultural influences, including cultural norms, ancestral roots, and environmental factors. As a Health Coach, it takes time to dive deeper and make sense of the puzzle as a cohesive whole. There are so many pieces. Take culture for example. Compared to the United States, many countries, like Italy, add very little sugar to food. Desserts aren't as sweet and they aren't included after every meal as they often are in the US. How do you think this might affect a person's relationship with sweet foods both on a psychological and biological level? We included a handout called Eating Story Exploration with a comprehensive list of potential questions to ask. Different clients communicate in different ways. Some clients might prefer the eating story brainstorm exercise from earlier in the course, while others might prefer guidance through more specific questions. As always, it's important to adapt your approach to your client's needs and interests. Okay, here's the next step. Create a more cohesive eating story. When I do a puzzle, I start with the outside frame. Seeing this helps me make sense of the puzzle as a whole. I see general areas of color, and from there, I can connect the dots using the image on the puzzle box as a guide. The eating story is kind of like the puzzle border. It provides a framework or a foundation for understanding a client's relationship with food. But how do you take all of that information and make sense of it using a wide angle lens? Well, again, it depends on your client. Some clients might prefer to write as they would in a journal and compose a food narrative that way. Other clients might prefer something like a WordWeb. For a more visual learner, drawing a story tree might help. We included an Eating Story Exploration handout with several ideas to help you guide clients through personal eating stories based on bio-individual thinking styles. Okay, so the eating story explores the roots of current eating mindsets and habits. Obviously, you also want to explore the present, what, and how are your clients eating now. One great question goes something like this. What's one thing you'd like to change about your diet that you haven't been able to change? Most clients know the answer to this but they still feel stuck. Sometimes, they know what's going on and why they're stuck, and sometimes, they don't. All they know is that they can't seem to move forward. When it comes to understanding the big picture why behind what and how clients eat, here are the next three steps. Identify external triggers and stressors that drive emotional eating. Triggers and stressors can be both chronic and acute. Eating habits and patterns can be influenced by factors ranging from deep-rooted food associations to cravings based on something we just saw on television a few minutes before. Here are some factors to consider. How does location influence eating habits? Do you eat differently based on where you're eating? Do you eat differently when you multitask eat, for example, when you're on the phone or watching television? How does time influence eating habits? Do you eat on a schedule? Do you ever eat preventively? For example, do you ever eat when you're not hungry because you know you won't have time to eat later on? When do you eat the most and least throughout the day? How does sleep influence your eating habits? How do other people influence your eating habits? Do you ever eat out of obligation, for example, because a family member makes something you don't want to eat? How do other people's comments around food, weight, and body appearance affect your food choices? How do cultural messages influence eating habits? Do you ever eat based on what you "should" eat? Does trying to fit in with a cultural ideal influence how you eat? When and how do preceding events influence eating habits? For example, do you make food choices based on media ads you recently saw? And, of course, how do emotions influence eating habits? We included all of these questions and more on a handout so you can have them as a resource. Recognize general eating approaches. Identifying triggers is an important piece of the food foundation. You can use the eating story, plus those current triggers to understand general patterns and approaches. In the first part of the course, we explored eating in the matrix, including four common one-size-fits-all approaches to eating, extreme, quick fix, objective, and dogmatic. These approaches derive from both external and internal triggers. As a Health Coach, you can use the lenses of mindset, mindlessness, and disconnection to help clients identify overall eating patterns. Mindset includes self-talk, self-judgment, for example, self-shoulding, and the idea that the relationship with self is mirrored in the language we use with ourselves AKA those internal voices that can make us our own worst enemies. A few questions you might ask might be how do your eating behaviors relate to your relationship with yourself? Are your emotions and beliefs serving you? Is emotional eating helpful? Remember, it can be. Sometimes, familiar food can ground us when we feel anxious. As always, look at the big picture, whether you use food consistently and how it impacts quality of life. Mindlessness includes all of those coping strategies and habits that we automatically fall into because they're easy, because we've been doing them for so long, and because we want to escape discomfort. Something to consider. What's the pattern across different areas of life? Disconnection includes coping strategies and habits, like emotional eating that lead us away from self-connection and connection with others, more specifically, disconnection from the body, intuition, personal values, personal power, and primary food. Remember that primary food includes exercise, career, spirituality, and relationships. For example, more empathetic individuals might have a hard time focusing on eating when they're trying to connect with people face to face. It also includes things like sexuality. In fact, food and sexuality can be intricately linked. We might use food because we don't want to connect with our sexuality. Hormones can play a role in food choices, sexuality ebbs and flows. These are just a few possible connections. As a Health Coach, you can help clients recognize disconnects in primary food. Understand the cycle. Earlier in the course, we discussed the stress cycle and the emotional eating cycle both of which follow the same general pattern. We have a negative emotion or thought that we don't want to accept or deal with. So we choose a behavior, like emotional eating that helps us escape that emotion or thought and end up distressed due to the behavior we chose. In short, we end up stuck in a cycle of distress. Emotional eating habits can affect mood, energy, sleep, relationships, and really most, if not all, areas of life. As a Health Coach, you can help clients step outside of themselves and understand the cycle that leaves them feeling stuck. You can use the eating story, triggers and stressors, and overall eating approaches viewed through the lenses of mindset, mindlessness, and disconnection. You can also use high-mileage questions, including those we discussed today to dig a little deeper. One helpful tool is the triple-why. If you've spent some time with young children, you likely know the question why very well. Children often continually ask why until you find yourself either explaining something in scientific or philosophical detail, or just making something up in the hope that they stop asking. The why question is a delicate balance. Asking why several times can help get to the root and three is generally all the whys it takes. We included this in your Skill Building Activities so you can try it for yourself. Regardless of the method you use, remember what we've discussed so far in this course. And as a Health Coach, pay attention to things like the language and symbolism your client uses, for example, analogy and metaphor. Biases and limiting beliefs, both your own and your clients. And the matrix, how food habits mirror other life habits and how a client's relationship with food relates to that client's relationship with life in general and with themselves. For example, pervasive themes might include boredom, guilt, extreme approaches, fear of pleasure, or avoidance of conflict. The bottom line, food is a metaphor. As Dr. Anita Johnston put it in her book, "Eating in the Light of the Moon," the problems with food are reflections of the real issues we struggle with. Let's recap. As a Health Coach, trying to understand a client's food language, it's helpful to start with the food foundation or self-awareness of roots of current eating mindsets and habits using a bio-individual approach to the eating story as a framework. You also want to consider triggers and stressors that contribute to current eating habits. From there, you can help clients understand their general approaches to food and emotional eating cycles. How are you feeling about all of this? Does this make sense based on what we've covered so far in the course? We've included several Skill Building Activities to help you apply and practice this material on your own. So look for those in the Learning Center. I will see you back here soon.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 7
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

The Food Foundation

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