Posts tagged #mind-body connection

What a Marble Jar can Teach us About Self-Trust and Trusting Our Bodies

I’m currently reading “Daring Leadership” by Dr. Brene Brown, whose work about courage and vulnerability is something that I truly admire.  Having helped many hard working women heal their relationship with food over the past 4 years, I find resonance with many concepts Brene shares.

One of these concepts Brene discusses trust.  From personal experience I can recall times times when I opened my heart up to someone only to get hurt.  Or if there was something I truly desired and things didn’t go my way, I would feel disappointed. For me and many people, the original “trauma” then perhaps led us to close our hearts to letting others see us as we are and to stop going for our dreams.   After all, if you don’t ever want to get hurt in a relationship, then just stop connecting with others or loving, right? Or if you don’t ever want to be disappointed, then just stop trying to build your business/lose weight/write a book, right? It sounds silly writing in this way but in reality, so many of us go through a similar experience where we close our hearts in the face of hurt.

In one of my favorite parts of the book, Brene teaches her daughter about trust in relationships.  After a hurtful experience with a peer in class, Brene did not want her daughter to turn to shame, fear, and close off her heart to future relationships.  Brene then shared a marble analogy that could help her daughter understand how trust is built. In her daughter’s class, the teacher kept a clear glass jar on her desk.  Whenever the class did something positive she put marbles in the jar and whenever they did something negative or were unruly, she would take marbles out. Brene then told her daughter to think of her friends she can trust (“marble people”) in the same way.

“Whenever someone supports you, or is kind to you, or sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar. When people are mean, or disrespectful, or share your secrets, marbles come out.”


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 I really loved this analogy because it applies not only to friendships but to all relationships, including the one we have with ourselves and our bodies.

So how do you build trust with yourself and your body?  The marble analogy also applies. Every decision in support and love for our bodies and selves can be seen as a marble in the jar.  Every decision in disrespect or hate for ourselves and our bodies can be seen as a marble taken out.

When we listen to how our body speaks through what is causing it pain vs. pleasure, in that moment we are putting a marble in the jar. If we hear our body is hungry and nourish it with food, that’s a marble in the jar.  If we hear our body is cramped and needs to movement and stretching, that’s a marble in the jar.

On the flip side, there can be many times that we ignore our body’s signs and take a marble out of the jar.  If we’re starving ourselves because our “diet said so,” we may be taking a marble out of the jar. Anytime we demonize our appetite, hunger, or the way we look, we remove a marble out of the jar.  Anytime we drown our negative emotions with food or we push harder past our current exhaustion, we’re removing marbles from the jar.

Looking back, the version of me that struggled with binge eating was in complete distrust of herself and her body.  She was driven to achieve out of fear. She found herself overworking, overcommitting, and ignoring her needs for rest and rejuvenation.  Food therefore became a way to cope with the stress and feelings of exhaustion and loneliness. Her emotions told her something had to change but because she did not know what to do with those intense feelings, food became the way to drown the feelings out even for a few minutes.

By paying attention to my body, she learned how to eat in a way that supported it.  My emotions and energy also pointed her towards what lifestyle & career would work suit her best.  (It’s the reason why I’ve become a coach today.)

Trust takes time and is built in the micro-decisions we make each day.  If you’re wondering how to begin to this process, here are some suggestions:

  1. Pay attention to how your body speaks to you - Your body sends you very clear messages of what it needs, if only we would pay attention!  For example, when you have you pee, it’s very clear and it’s almost a pain sensation in your pelvis that signals it’s time to get up for the bathroom.  Hunger is also a very clear signal of a stomach sensation or a grumbling.

    What is your body saying right now? Perhaps it’s telling you that you need to stretch and walk around after sitting all day.  If so, get up and do that!

  2. Start tuning into your feelings & emotions - Emotions and feelings are the language of the body. Some people fear that if they tune into their feelings and emotions, they’ll get soft and fall apart. While the key here isn’t that your feelings and emotions run your life, if you’re not paying attention to them, you’re missing out on a valuable information system.  Sometimes before the clear thought or explanation comes, our emotions can signal what is truly right for us or wrong for us. At the end of the day, we all want to be happy - so why not tune into what lights you up?

  3. Examine your internal and external dialogue towards your body as well as your beliefs about your body - Do you find yourself berating your  body? Or are you celebrating all that it does for you to keep you alive and well?

    One belief that helped me to rebuild trust in my body is reclaiming the belief that my body is infinitely wise and intelligent. Wellness is my body’s natural state. I began to look for evidence of this belief. If I got a cut or scrape, my body is already designed to work towards healing. Or if I tune into hunger, my body is already designed to tell me what it needs.. If I “get out of the way” by listening and supporting my body, it works towards wellness effortlessly.

Trust takes time to build in all relationships, including the relationship you have with yourself.  What choice can you make today to put a marble in your own jar of self-trust? Please comment and share below so we can all benefit from your insights!

Stay well, eat well, and savor all that life has to give you to because life is simply too short not to!

Keia



“The Way You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything” - Why Healing your Relationship with Food will Affect Other Aspects of your Life

Have you ever heard the quote that “The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything?”  In other words, how one approaches any facet of life can be a good indication of how they approach other facets of life.  

I find resonance with this quote myself. I find that if I’m being a procrastinator, sleeping in late, and missing on my calendar commitments to myself, I’m usually putting of bigger important things that are keeping me stuck.  If my apartment is a cluttered mess, I usually find that my schedule is overcommitted where I’ve spent the week running around feeling chaotic. Or if I’m not following through on my commitment to exercise in the mornings, then this pattern of not keeping my commitments and finishing projects is manifesting in other parts of life like at work, my personal goals, and more.

I love this quote because it reminds me that everything in life is connected.  It also reminds me that even if external results (weight loss, new job, a new partner, etc.) are not directly under our control, the internal choice of WHO we are choosing to be and HOW we are choosing to express that in any moment is within our control.  After all, regardless of the place or situation, you are the common denominator in these experiences. Wherever you go, there you are, right?

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In this same mind, I find that as we prioritize our self-care and healing our relationships with food, this soon spills over to other parts of our life.  One of my recent clients had a relationship food which reflected her overall sense of feeling stagnant in life. This sentiment reflected in her career where she felt bored and unfulfilled and also in her relationship with food where on weekends at home she’d often use food to fill the void.  But after really tuning into what was important to her, she began to develop a habit of follow through and focus as she began to prioritize her healthy eating and exercise. By the end of our work together, not only did she start eating more mindfully, she also asked for and received a raise in a job she was passionate about.

Another of my clients was binging multiple times a week and reported feeling so lonely and ashamed after the occurrences.  In our work together, she began to develop more kindness and forgiveness with herself after her binges. In doing so, naturally the binges began to lessen and she found herself showing up as more open and kind in other areas of life.  In her relationships, she also began inviting people to see more of who she was and get closer in relationship.

So I’m curious what this article sparks in you.  Do you believe that the “way you do one thing is how you do everything?”  If so, where are these patterns in life is this serving you? Where are these patterns holding you back?  Now that you know, what will you choose to do about it? :)

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback below!  Know you are so worth it.



How to Love your Body Even if You Still Struggle with Food or Haven't "Lost the Weight" Yet

One common misconception is that if you love yourself now, you’ll stop going for what you want and become a lifeless vegetable. I find this is far from the case. At certain times, choosing to love your body now might mean to stop the striving and fighting especially if you realize it’s not working for you and isn’t getting you closer to what you truly want in life. At other times, choosing to love yourself and your body might mean challenging yourself to work harder to move towards what you truly want.

So how do you practice loving yourself and your body even if you aren’t yet where you want to be with food? Here are 3 ways to start practicing today:

One Key Question to Begin Healing your Relationship with Food & Body

Last year, I attended a talk by Allison Kinnear, the owner of a Voice of her Own and an amazing coach for women leaders. In her talk to busy, high-achieving women, she spoke about the importance of self-care to fuel yourself. I find for my clients when they prioritize their self-care not only do they feel happier, more energized, and calm but inevitably those around them get to benefit.

There was one particular exercise Allison led the participants through that I particularly loved.  It was an incredibly simple question that I think can help you distinguish between when a habit, such as eating, is beneficial for you and when it is detrimental.

One key question to begin healing your relationship with food is:

“I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!”

A few years ago, I was at Vegetarian Fest in Seattle where a vegan chef and author, Alan Roettinger shared what he believed it meant to truly love someone or something.  He shared that when he fell in love with his wife, he found himself paying attention so intently on how she moved, what she said, and what she did.  To him, to love meant to give complete focus and intention.  He brought that same focus to the food he made with love.

“I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!”  I am guilty of uttering these words and have heard them countless times from friends and clients, who deep down are frustrated with the weight loss process.  Chances are though if you identify as an emotional eater or someone who is overweight, you probably don’t pay much attention to your food or at all.  In fact, you may find that you eat distracted perhaps in front of your phone or the TV.  Perhaps you may find that you are using food to go unconscious and to soothe, as is common in emotional eating.

So what if you agreed with Alan Roettinger’s definition of what it means “to love.”  What would it look like to truly love food?  Perhaps you would make your meal times special.  Perhaps you would place the food nicely on the plate, focus fully on how the food tastes, and be grateful for what it provides you.