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Nourish Relationships

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>> Hi there. I want to start today's conversation with a study. In fact, it's the world's longest study on happiness, 75 years total. We included a TED Talk on it in your Skill Building Activities. It's called "What Makes a Good Life." As it turns out, the number one predictor of health is, well, what do you think? The name of this lecture gives it away, but yes, it's relationships. Those study participants most satisfied with their relationships at age 50, where the healthiest participants at age 80. Quality matters. In fact, a bad marriage can be more detrimental to health than divorce. Positive relationships protect both mental and physical health. For example, mood doesn't worsen when you're in physical pain. People feel just as happy as they do without pain. In contrast, poor relationships can worsen mood if you're in pain. Memory stays sharper if you believe you have people you can count on. People happiest in retirement had actually worked to replace workmates with playmates. And people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships. Interesting, isn't it? When it comes to primary food, relationships are a very valuable place to start. It's kind of the glue that can hold it all together. And that's the topic of today's lecture. How you can help clients evaluate the nourishment they receive from them and the impact this can have on the relationships with food? A client's relationship with food often mirrors not only the self-relationship but relationships with others. How you do one thing is how you do everything. In her book, freedom from emotional eating, Barb Raveling compares emotional eating to having an affair. As she puts it, we can have emotional relationships with food. For example, habits like overeating and eating compulsively just happen before we even realize what we're doing. We sort of just fall into the habits as many people describe falling into a love affair. Food can be comforting, fun, and worth it in the moment. It's only afterward that the guilt sets in. Does that sound like something that might happen with a love affair? Metaphors like this can help you and your clients make connections and increase understanding. Here's another idea. Earlier in this course, we discussed the idea of food addiction or addictive like behaviors around food. In his TED Talk, yes, we're referencing many TED Talks in this module, Johann Hari suggests that part of addiction is not being able to bear to be present in your life. He references a Rat Park study in which researchers found that when provided with plenty of food, toys, movement options, and social company, rats almost never use drug-laced water. In contrast, when in isolation, rats almost always preferred the drug water over regular water often to the point of overdose. Now, yes, it's important to take everything with a grain of salt and not oversimplify studies like this. Human lives are complicated after all. But the conclusion of this TED Talk sums it up well. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection. Let's explore this idea. Grab your journal and draw a Venn diagram, two circles side by side that overlap in the middle. In one circle, brainstorm, emotions, mindsets, and behaviors that you associate with addiction, in the other circle, brainstorm, emotions, mindsets, and behaviors that you associate with connection. Pause the video and give it a try. Now look at your two circles and write any overlap you see in the middle. Pause the video now. What do you think about the relationship between connection and addiction? Here at IIN, we present many different ways of thinking about this material, and you might not agree with all of it. It's not black or white. However, hearing a lot of viewpoints can help you determine what works for you as a coach. The reason we shared these two perspectives is because we can probably all agree with this idea, we all want to connect. Connecting is a common desire and losing it is a common fear. These roots run deep. The problem is that in our desire to connect or fit in, we don't always respect or respond to our own needs. Relationships include friendship, love and emotional intimacy, physical touch, sensuality and sexuality, and open communication. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can help clients nourish their relationship with others in many different ways so that food doesn't become the most important relationship in their lives. Let's go over a few now. Number one, model nourishing relationships. As a coach, you can empathize, share stories, ask the right questions, and listen. You can use direct communication while modeling non-judgment, neutrality, and curiosity. You can honor client's strengths, while challenging in supportive ways. You can be powerfully present. Finally, you can respect personal boundaries by asking client's permission before asking high-mileage questions about possibly vulnerable areas. Just by doing these simple things, you might help clients more than any other health professional has ever helped them before. We all want to be heard. Number two, encourage clients to assess their relationships and explore possible options. Remember one of our running themes in this course, letting go and holding on? You can help clients examine their relationships and whether or not they're helpful or harmful. Clients might cling to other people because they feel disconnected from themselves, or food might be the most interesting or important relationship in their lives. Think about it. If you're constantly feeling bored and uninspired and you're socially isolated, food can easily become your best friend. It's a lot easier to buy an exotic looking dessert platter than to put yourself out there, make friends, and plan exciting activities. How does your client's relationship with food compensate for other relationships in their lives, including themselves? Perhaps, they turn to food to distract themselves from speaking or living their truths. Does that resonate at all? Lack of self-connection, self-nourishment, and self-empowerment can lead us to turn to other people or things for sustenance. Here's an interesting concept. You're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. We've included an exercise in your Skill Building Activities to help you explore this more. For now, here are a few high-mileage questions. Are your relationships supportive? How are things going in your personal relationships? What would you like to see improved? Has food become an important relationship in your life? This might mean that clients have to let go of the more toxic ones and hold on to or even strengthen more beneficial ones. This isn't easy. Luckily, you're there to listen as they explore options to find their own answers. Number three, emphasize emotional expression. Relationships thrive on open communication. For example, take time to unwrap what the argument is really about. Often, what we argue about isn't really the issue. Do you agree? When clients struggle with expression, they might turn to food to help them disconnect from emotions. For example, they might stuff the emotions and distract themselves or numb, all in an effort to avoid expressing feelings they feel ashamed expressing. On the other hand, in nourishing relationships, they're often better able to express emotions and assert their individuality. They can say no when they mean no, and yes when they mean yes. They can ask for what they want, and they can delegate tasks when they need to in order to decrease stress. Relationships are messy and they require continual effort. Self-nourishment and self-empowerment are integral factors. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can help clients practice asserting themselves and releasing emotions in helpful ways, so they can bring these qualities to relationships. This relates to the next point. Number four, create space for self-care. As we've discussed, many of us are quick to help others but not so quick to help ourselves. Yet, creating space for self-care increases your ability to care for others, and it also decreases the odds that you'll turn to food for nourishment. It decreases stress and unpleasant emotions, and it reminds you that you deserve nourishment. Number five, feed your relationships. Again, food is secondary. However, for many clients, food is often at the forefront of the mind at all times, even during social interactions. Focusing on people not only helps clients focus beyond food, it also brings deeper meaning to the coaching. Now, yes, food can play a role in relationships and serve as a positive way of connecting with others. The idea of food as community certainly has its place in wellness, and it's important. However, for the purposes of today, we're focusing on helping clients who struggle with emotional eating, find nourishment through relationships, and beyond food itself. Here are a few coaching ideas that encompass a wide variety of relationships. Create community. Help clients connect with people outside of their homes by, for example, joining or starting a group. Honor the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Introverts are people who recharge by spending time alone and often prefer smaller groups or one-on-one interactions. Extroverts gain energy by being around people and often love being in large groups. Work with your clients to find ways of connecting with people who feel comfortable to them. Focus on flexibility, and growth, in intimate relationships. Don't underestimate the value of touch, help clients find nonthreatening ways to connect with people they care about. It might sound corny, but hugs can feel very emotionally healing. Create dialogues around sensuality and sexuality. Help clients feel safe opening up about these often neglected areas. If clients are using food to help them cope, it's possible that they, one, feel unfulfilled in their sexual lives, or two, use sex to help them cope in some way. These are just two examples. The bottom line is to continue making connections between different areas of life. And last but not least, consider pets. Many of us have very close and meaningful relationships with pets. They're like family members. They also offer unconditional love and they even take away from our distress. Let's recap, when it comes to primary food, relationships are a very valuable place to start. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can help clients evaluate the nourishment they receive in this area. Five basic strategies for doing this are to model nourishing relationships, encourage clients to assess their relationships and explore possible options, emphasize emotional expression, create space for self-care, and feed relationships. This week, we included many recommended resources in your Skill Building Activities along with the opportunity to practice applying some of the material in your accountability coaching session. Keep sharing in the Facebook group and keep thinking about how you can send out this valuable information into your community. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you back here soon.

Video Details

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

Nourish Relationships

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