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Your Eating Story_Final

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>> Hi. How are you doing with all of this story talk? As we've discussed, story can be an incredibly powerful tool to use with a wide variety of clients. We encourage you as always to explore your own stories and language around food. To help solidify that for you, this lecture introduces you to what we call the eating story. By the end of this lecture, you'll hopefully gain some awareness as to how you, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, can use story and language to gain self-awareness and insight into your own food narrative and guide others through broad exploration of their food narratives. Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of stories is their ability to empower. You can help clients reframe their eating stories and reclaim authorship over those stories. As Salman Rushdie put it, "Those who do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts." Empowering clients requires coming from a place of empowerment yourself, which in this case means understanding your own eating story. The eating story is a personal food narrative history or the roots of current relationships with food. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, your job isn't to dive deep into psychoanalysis, you want to focus on the present. However, emotional eating roots can run deep, so building sustainable, self-healing habits often requires the ability to understand and reflect on past experiences in order to reframe them in more empowering ways. The eating story is an opportunity to empower your clients through a sense of authorship. Understanding your eating story begins with writing it, which you'll get to practice in this module's skill building activities. We'll cover a basic three step process right now which includes three core components, personal language and overarching themes. This framework will help you feel better prepared for guiding clients through their personal eating stories later on in the course. The first component of an eating story is Bio-Individuality. This includes what food means to you based on your personal experiences and associations with food, your personal coping mechanisms, how you use food currently and how you've used in the past to cope, your ability to regulate emotions which informs how you do or don't use food to cope, your physical environment and circumstances, your Health History, including any food allergies or sensitivities, personal preferences when it comes to food, like taste, texture, and smell, and relationship with food preparation, for example, whether you avoid cooking or not. Take a minute right now to brainstorm. Grab your journal and spend a few minutes thinking about other bio-individual factors of an eating story. Did you find that easy or challenging? An eating narrative isn't supposed to follow any particular path. As with all aspects of emotional eating, it's one size fits none or as someone once put it to me, there's no ideal timeline for your life. We use different language around food and eating, and we think differently, we cope differently, and we all have different relationships with food for a reason. After all, we're different people. The second component of eating story is social influence. Connecting with others through a sense of belonging is a fundamental driver of human behavior. We're influenced by the people around us in ways large and small. When reflecting on our eating stories, it's helpful to think about family dynamics around food and eating. How was food presented to you growing up? Was it used as a treat or as a reward? Was food scarce or always abundant? I once had a client who was never allowed any sweets, so as a child, he would gorge himself on sweets when he visited friends. Sweets were sacred in his mind, so when he had the rare opportunity to indulge, he couldn't seem to get enough of them. How did your parents and other family members relate to food? I had another client who could never serve herself the last few bites of anything because she grew up as the oldest in a family of five children, she was taught to always save it for someone else who might want it. Her husband's mother grew up during the depression, so he was taught to waste nothing. You can probably imagine the ongoing struggle between the two of them. Do specific foods stand out in your mind in terms of traditions or family habits? For example, my mom always makes her mother's Swedish ring coffee cake on Christmas morning, a tradition that I'll likely carry on because it's so special in our family. A lot of families have traditions or habits around food. It's also helpful to think about peer influence, body image and emotional eating can go hand in hand. For example, kids are often teased for being overweight and associating with a group of friends who are always on a diet. Peers can encourage healthful eating habits and health promoting relationship with food. What roles have other people in your life played in your eating story? Helpful or not? Now let's talk about the third component, cultural influence. As we've discussed previously, culture can impact eating habits and drive emotional eating. What cultural norms did you grow up in? What messages did you receive throughout your life about food and eating? Which behaviors were encouraged and which behaviors were bad? What shoulds did you learn from the environment around you? Culture can also relate to ancestral roots. It's not uncommon to crave foods that we ate growing up because we associate them with comfort and connection. However, we also might crave foods eaten by our ancestors. As Joshua says, "They're part of our DNA." Finally, cultural influence includes environmental factors. This includes factors such as what foods are available if you live in a food desert or not or if your office always has a nice supply of pastries? Okay, to recap, the eating story is a personal food narrative history or the roots of current relationships with food. The three core components are bio-individuality, including experiences and associations with food, coping mechanisms, individual circumstances, and Health History, social influence including family and peers, and cultural influence including cultural norms, ancestral roots, and environmental factors. Awareness of these three components can shed light on the roots of your personal language around food. Constructing analogies and metaphors might illuminate patterns. Can you identify overarching themes? Can you see how this process might appeal to a wide range of clients both analytical and more intuitive types? We're organizing complex information in order to see relationships while focusing on the big picture. We're also bringing in symbolism through analogy and metaphor to help clients connect with what's going on for them in a new light. Recall that stories can motivate change and empower. The first step is awareness, which you'll notice as an ongoing theme in this course. Awareness and understanding of our roots can help us identify and work with triggers and thought and behavior patterns. Later on in this course, we'll expand on this eating story. But first, we want to challenge you to begin constructing your story based on this broad framework. Are you ready to practice? This week, sit down with a coaching partner using the framework we discussed, start reflecting on your eating stories using the Eating Story Brainstorm exercise handout. When done, use high-mileage questions to help you organize the roots into patterns and themes. What questions can you ask and how might you guide someone through this exercise in writing or visually? Send out any insights to the Facebook group making sure to keep your partner anonymous. And finally, share this information with someone in your life who might value it. Until next time.

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

Your Eating Story_Final

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