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Unstick Habits: Challenges and Setbacks

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>> Hi. There's a saying in improv, always say yes. Improv is live theater that's made up in the moment. There's no preset character development, dialogue, or action. You basically figure it out as you go without any prior practice. As a result, you need to cooperate with your fellow improv teammates. When they start something, you have to just go with it. You can't say, nope, no thanks. This is ridiculous. Of course, you establish safe boundaries beforehand, so no one feels threatened. Other than that, you never know where the scene will go. It's a wonderful exercise in creativity and going with the flow. This quote by Jimmy Dean sums it up well. "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." So true, right? Yet often so challenging. That's the focus today. How you as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach can help clients unstick habits by working with challenges and setbacks. In other words, how you can help them improv their way towards sustainable change. This is another aspect of respecting the process. In this case, respecting it when the going gets really tough. You're with your clients throughout their journeys for better or worse. And this is one of the worses, but it's okay. You'll be okay. You'll be great. I believe in you. Do you believe in you? In this lecture, we'll explore some of the reasons that clients self-sabotage and how you can help them navigate challenges and setbacks from within your scope of practice. In particular, we'll focus on leading with curiosity, releasing self-judgment, and stepping up as tools for moving out of emotional eating habits and cycles. Before we get into the how, let's start with the why. Why do clients self-sabotage their efforts to change? Why do they say one thing and do another? Well, in short because this is a natural part of the change process, resistance. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, it's important to talk to your clients about this so they know to expect it and then navigate it with them when it arises. Clients come to you because they feel stuck and because they want to change. And as we've discussed, life is about change. However, what do people often fear the most? Change. Ironic, isn't it? Respecting the process of change isn't easy, and it's not always comfortable. Fear of both failure and success threatens our values and how we see ourselves. Have you ever experienced this? We'll ask you to think about this more in your Skill Building Activities. For now, apply the course material and your personal experiences to think about why clients might resist change or self-sabotage your own efforts. Pause the video and write down some ideas. What did you come up with? Did any of your ideas explain your own self-sabotaging? Here are six reasons for self-sabotage. Self-protection, remember that the subconscious reptilian brain wants what's safe and familiar, including patterns and routines. And that emotional eating serves a purpose of, for example, comfort. So any change that threatens that can create resistance. Fear and/or not feeling ready to change, change is scary. Taking action is important, but so as staying mindful about the reasons behind action. Lack of empowerment, one-size-fits-all approaches. Biology, dysregulated body rhythms can be difficult to get back on track and the body might work against change efforts which can fuel feelings of hopelessness. And lack of positive challenge. As a coach, you strike that balance between serving as a supportive net and empowering clients to let go long enough to take the next step. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism with mindsets and behaviors that can be deeply ingrained. Altering food relationships and unsticking habits includes accepting and working with setbacks, as well as focusing on the big picture rather than every tiny misstep or fail. Here are three strategies that can help clients do just that. Number one, lead with curiosity. Remember, the food is a metaphor. Clients get stuck in cycles for a reason and their emotions and eating patterns are information about their values, their limiting beliefs, and their eating stories. Habit change requires using the lens of curiosity rather than choosing to just give into harmful behaviors because it's what we've been doing for so long. This includes noticing what Jennifer Tate calls apparently irrelevant behaviors. In other words, habits that seem to not really matter at first but that impact the behavior we want to change. For example, skipping lunch while dieting which leads to binging later on, or deciding to have just one and then eating the entire bag, or even focusing excessively in body appearance, which actually decreases your odds of successfully increasing confidence. Helping clients recognize these self-sabotaging behaviors is one form of positive challenge. Working with setbacks means learning a lesson and moving forward after a misstep. It means continually returning to that core question. How is that working for me? This might require performing a cost and benefit analysis as someone does with stocks or risks. Maybe try this with clients during a session. Changing habits requires retooling the reward system. For clients who have long turned to food as a reward, this means exploring alternate nonfood rewards with curiosity and creativity. Think back to improv. If actors find themselves in a rut, they have to creatively figure out how to work with it and/or move past it based on the scene they're acting in. You'll have a chance to practice this in your exercises this week. Number two, release judgment around setbacks. Here's the truth, clients will have to keep eating. They'll continue changing and they'll continue misstepping along the way. However, they don't need to continue feeling plagued by self-doubt, and self-punishment, and compulsive eating. Releasing judgment around setbacks is a perfect opportunity to practice self-nourishment. First of all, resistance and setbacks are normal. We all struggle sometimes, and allowing clients to share vulnerabilities helps them unload distress in a safe space. As a coach, you can illustrate not only the normalcy but the benefit of resistance and setbacks. We want to self-soothe, not self-sabotage. We just want to feel good, however, avoiding pain exacerbates it and self-judgment inhibits change by fueling old patterns. For example, in one study, participants were instructed to eat a milkshake followed by ice cream. Those on diets ate more ice cream because they felt guilty for eating the milkshake. Learning and moving on help secure new patterns. Setbacks and problems are opportunities for change, exploration, and movement because they encourage flexibility and adaptability. Change is a continual dance or as one professor of mine used to put it, two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back. It's not a straight upward trajectory. Releasing judgment around setbacks also encourages clients to practice letting go rather than continuing to eat while stressed or worried. Knowing that they can't control everything is a hard realization, but it also highlights what they can control, including the choice to keep breathing and keep moving. As a coach, never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. This relates to the last strategy today. Number three, choose to step up. Learned helplessness around food is often overlearned and applied to other areas of life. How do you help clients break that cycle? One very valuable strategy is empowering them to step up. This provides positive challenge, motivates realistic optimism, and increases commitment and accountability. It also goes beyond food. Choosing to step up with regards to food choices can start a domino effect of change. It basically boils down to this. Things do not necessarily happen for the best, but some people are able to make the best of things that happen. In his book, "The Happiness Advantage," Shawn Achor describes three mental paths that someone can take after adversity. Moving in circles aka staying stuck, moving toward further negative consequences, or moving forward toward greater strength and capability, otherwise known as falling up. It's often hard to move up when bad stuff happens, and especially when you know that you caused the bad stuff to happen, it's so easy to stay stuck in the yuck or to spiral downwards. It's so easy to turn to food for comfort, or control, or to numb the pain and frustration. However, energy is not infinite. You can remind clients that they always have the power to choose how they invest their mental energy. You can also share the connection between happiness and success. How rather than trying to succeed in order to be happier, they can choose to be happier in order to reach greater success. Remember the positive stress cycle. Choosing to step up is a continual choice. Your clients will have to keep choosing to step up. Slowly, over time, it will become more second nature. But just like learning to tolerate distress in more healthful ways, stepping up requires practice. And just like distress tolerance, stepping up includes mindsets and behaviors. It means being honest with yourself. For example, questioning whether self-talk is based on facts or opinions that keep you stuck in habits. There's definitely an element of accountability. Stepping up is a form of self-commitment, and it's strengthened when you step up as a coach by offering your clients not only love but tough love when they need it most. That doesn't mean pushing them too far or too hard and tough love isn't always the most helpful choice. Use your judgment around this. In his book "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," Daniel Pink discusses the three elements of true motivation, autonomy, mastery, and purpose. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you promote autonomy by empowering clients through setbacks. You promote mastery by encouraging them to move slowly and take small steps so that they continually experience success. And you promote purpose by connecting them with the personal values driving the change goals. We use a lot of analogies and metaphors here as these can be helpful coaching tools for framing habit change. We included a list in your recap handout, but keep thinking about your own as well. Here's today's recap, resistance and self-sabotage are normal parts of the habit change process. Six reasons for this, self-protection, fear and/or not feeling ready to change, lack of empowerment, one-size-fits-all approaches, biology, and lack of positive challenge. Three strategies for working with challenges and setbacks are lead with curiosity, release judgment around setbacks, and choose to step up. This week, try the exercise stepping up to change. Like the other two exercises this week, it's also available as done-for-you to use with clients. You'll also see a short TED Talk on improv comedy in your Skill Building Activities, which offers some helpful frameworks for coaching change. So look for that. It's one of the many ways that you can send out the material this week. Thanks for joining me, until next time.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 18 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Mar 14, 2019

Unstick Habits: Challenges and Setbacks

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