Confessions of a Mind-Body Nutrition Coach

Would it surprise you to hear I go through many of the same mind-body nutrition challenges you do? Knowing better, but not always doing. Unwanted eating habits getting the best of me. Looking at my reflection and thinking, meh. Well, I do.

Maintaining the balance my body craves isn't always easy when 'life happens'. Understanding the Psychology of Eating and mind-body nutrition has helped me experience this crazy thing we call life with a new set of guides by my side: curiosity, compassion and understanding.

I humbly share this confession as a reminder that perfection can always be found in unexpected imperfection.

[Wo]man Plans, [the Universe] Laughs

Ever overhaul your cupboards to prepare for a clean eating routine only to find yourself staring at that space while crunching on a bag of tortilla chips and fiery-hot salsa? That’s what my first three months of 2017 looked, or should I say, tasted like.

Even new attempts to jumpstart my healthstyle failed:

  • Eat: tested a new clean eating program. Kudos to everyone else in the group. Thanks for the recipe ideas, maybe I'll get around to trying them one day soon.
  • Move: started bicycling to zip along with a sense of fluid freedom. Stopped and blamed it on the rainbecause the rain don't mind.
  • Live: joined a pop-up Facebook group for personal accountability started by a dear friend. Spent lots of time doling out lots of likes and lots of heart emojis. Not exactly what you'd call breaking a sweat.

Ugh, how could I possibly coach clients or do workshops on healthful eating when my choices were bottom of the barrel and everything other than consistent? I started to feel disingenuous and even like a fraud. I knew I could've made progress if I bullied myself into it. So why didn’t I?

Not Cobbler's Children Syndrome After All

You're likely familiar with the adage: the cobbler's children have no shoes. After a few weeks of failed attempts, I turned to my journal for answers. I found myself making this very same connection when I wrote: “You don’t get brownie points for helping others make more healthful choices.”

Trying to force a round peg in a square hole has never been my game of choice - aka, succumb to insanity. Since I was getting nowhere with food and exercise, it was time to take a look at life. Thanks to understanding the 11 phases of nourishment, I kept my wits about me without stressing over my whackado habits.

Just like the weather, our relationship with food has natural shifts. Like it or not, the resulting undercurrent draws us to certain food choices. Sometimes, this can feel more like a full-blown hurricane.

Why is it a big deal? Simple. When we attempt dietary shifts that conflict with our current phase of nourishment, we can beat ourselves up for eating ‘the wrong’ foods. The irony is that those ‘wrong’ foods could actually be the ‘right’ foods when accept where we are and get curious about the phase we're in.

Testament to the Power of Trust + Patience

This year I found myself in one of the topsy-turviest phases called the Anything Goes Phase (AGP).  The AGP is when Mother Nature breaks her own rules and nothing seems to make sense. It was an unexpected personal journey into uncharted territory.

At first it went unnoticed. A silent shift, flying under my radar. I continued to buy healthy, whole foods and rationalized a forgotten meal here and late night there. Eventually, I was forced to take notice as I threw away untouched produce and lost all semblance of routine.

Both my trust and patience were thrown into a 24x7 bootcamp I never signed up for. It was a time of bizarre cravings, like ground beef, which is something I hadn't eaten in about 20 years. I couldn't even rely on hunger cues or feelings of fatigue, days past without having a meal and I felt totally fine.

Even my sleep schedule lost its rhythm. My critter brain was bouncing off the walls like a mentally exhausting game of Pong. I definitely didn't feel like myself. Despite the glimmers of sanity here and there, it was like witnessing a personal, and complete train wreck.

Storms Don't Last Forever

Did I freak out? Definitely tempted. But what good would that have done? Instead, I looked for the lesson as I waited for the phase to pass. After all, storms don’t last forever.

To regain my bearings, I mindfully stepped into the eye of the hurricane. I observed my life from the inside out, watching it whirl and swirl day by day. In watching, I saw how my crazy train eating habits were a direct reflection of my crazy train life during those months.

My personal and professional life required me to stretch in new, and pretty radical ways. Each day was filled with unease, uncertainty and immediate need for action. Instinctually, I knew there was no energy to spare on food choices. Instead, it was a time to challenge my limiting beliefs.

There was nothing easy about it. Every day was like scaling a mountain of outdated beliefs with both hands bound behind my back. Whether or not I wanted to, I continued to climb. I climbed, not to get away from them. Instead, I climbed to rise above them.

Once I reached the summit, I was amazed out how far I had come in such a short time. It had taken 41 years to challenge myself in that way and only three months to conquer. Naturally, cravings for whole foods and healthful choices joined me. The storm had passed.

What About You?

Now it's your turn. Here’s a list of the 11 phases of nourishment. As you review each one, notice which stand out to you. Then, as I did, take a step back and consider the phase as a mirror to see where life is calling you.

I’d love to hear what you found out. Please leave your Comments below, or schedule a complimentary coaching conversation with yours truly. We can talk it through together.

Jennifer SchaeferComment