Research Paper By Beatrice Dupasquier
(Transition Coach, BARBADOS)
World Health Organization focus on nutrition, but I find its statement about malnutrition rather concerning:
Malnutrition, in every form, presents significant threats to human health. Today the world faces a double burden of malnutrition that includes both undernutrition and overweight, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Thirty-plus years ago, malnutrition was associated with brutal weather or difficult geographic conditions, and lack of food in the “third world countries.” It became pretty clear today that the problem is even more present in economically developed and prosperous nations.
As for some countries, the problem is to find a way to feed people; others have to study how to eat better and less to avoid getting hurt.
Nutrition, health, diet, and weight loss have become the main focus of so many people that the industry around it keeps growing.
Science is on continual evolution, creating more and more confusion about what and how to eat. Because of this evolution and the constant discovery, aliment and nutrient status are changing. Sugar, fat, carbohydrates: good or bad? As counting calories was the main goal for weight loss in the ’80s, the 21st century brings the new concept of macros tracking and no restriction diets.
We create some ingredients to fix a need or substitute others; Our food consumption is different, and ingredients are genetically modified to meet the growing population’s needs. As the world gets busier, even though we have a longer life expectancy, our health deteriorates.
Why is the market constantly growing ( apart from because of malnutrition)? Because diet only based on nutrition and physical activity (almost) always fail.
On the other hand, some things don’t change, but we somehow don’t talk so much about it. Something familiar to all, even though we are all different: The relation between mind, body, culture, and perception. The inevitable and unique to each one of us: our belief system.
Why does it take so long to be used as a tool to serve the client in its journey?
We know for a fact that there is a direct correlation between mind and body and that we benefit or suffer from a lot more than the only food we eat. Doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists tend to forget about the main protagonist behind the number on the scale and the blood test result: the individual—a person with his own specificities, characteristics, emotions, thoughts, and experience.
As an application, coaching helps uncover the causes and overpassing challenges, assists the client in acting and taking action. More importantly, it shows the pass to live in the moment, enjoy the journey, give value to the intent, and expand the possibilities by reframing perspectives.
The importance of mindset and being aware of underlying beliefs that can prevent you from losing weight or exercise, even when you know and understand that it serves you.
Recent studies in neuroscience demonstrate that we can change our brain just by thinking. So ask yourself: What exactly do you spend most of your time mentally rehearsing, thinking about, and finally demonstrating? Whether you consciously or unconsciously fabricate your thoughts and actions, you are always affirming and reaffirming your neurological self as “you.” Keep in mind that whatever you spend your time mentally attending to, that is what you are and what you will become.
Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza.
Someone constantly thinking that weight loss is impossible because of family context, for example, will never be able to achieve his goal. Whatever diet and restrictions he can go through will not work.
By recognizing that even if some family issues can play a part, he is a singular individual and can take care of his own body, he will allow the process to start and follow its course. Acknowledgment, acceptance, and action are part of the journey.
Kathy is 32 years old. She is overweight but not yet considered obese by the medical criteria. She has always been overweight and is now concerned about it. Being “chubby” is a sign of good health and is even encouraged in her culture and family. For as long as she can remember, during Sunday lunch, her grandmother always finds time to remind her of her favorite mantra: “Eat! It’s good for you. Sick people are skinny. You don’t want to look like them.”
The goal: lose weight.
The outcome: Reduce her food consumption
What needs to be addressed: Not eating to please her family but to meet her needs. Lose the guilt behind it.
Awareness: she is not feeling good by being overweight, and she doesn’t need so much food to be perfectly healthy.
Underlying belief: being judge by her family if she chose to focus on weight loss instead of pleasing the Sunday chef. Worrying about the need to justify a simple self-care action that might be misinterpreted.
As part of a mindset, once the client gained awareness of the cause that stop him through the process of being healthy or losing weight, the next step is to recognize the journey and “begin with the end in mind”:
as Stephen R.Covey mention in his book:
If you participated seriously in this visualization experience, you touched for a moment some of your deep, fundamental values. You established brief contact with that inner guidance system at the heart of your Circle of Influence.
How a Structure helps to keep the end in mind. What is the importance of having a structure, and how to adapt it to serve the client?
Once uncovered the cause, the coach assists the client in using or implementing a structure that will keep him accountable in reaching his goal.
How to define a structure?
The vision and definition of the word, including its meaning, can be extensive. I like to say that a structure is a process, a guideline, a compilation of resources.
We use the term in construction work. It is the base to hold an edifice. Without any structure, the building would not stand.
It is a frame that helps developing something more significant, a final object, program, or idea.
You can consider different structures; some abstract such as in IT, coding is a structure for software. In music, it is a partition for a melody, a succession of notes and symbols that build a base to follow, to create a sequence of sounds and a song. It can be DNA if we think about a living entity or something concrete, such as the skeleton that allows making a body be a whole complete self.
In this case, the structure can be composed of a diet, a sleep routine, meal planning, and grocery shopping organization, a workout program, or a health prevention plan.
Nicole is 47 years old. Her BMI indicates that she is on the edge of obesity. Her blood sugar level is placing her on the list of Type 2 diabetes risk population. Her father died of Parkinson’s disease. Nicole has just overcome a back injury due to a fall that happened over a year ago.
During recovery, she had been conscious of the necessity of following the program to heal her back correctly.
Since Covid and lockdown, her activity has reduced to almost nothing.
Nicole is aware of her situation and wishes to reduce her BMI and step out of this high-risk zone for diabetes.
She eats healthy and has gym equipment at home in a separate room to get the cardio activity she needs to compensate for the lockdown situation.
The goal: lose weight.
The outcome: increase movement.
What needs to be addressed: What is the reason for having difficulty implementing a consistent workout routine?
Awareness: something in her life has to change
Underlying belief: because of her injury, she fears her body is not strong enough to follow a physical routine and keeps her from taking action.
How can a structure benefit and help Nicole move forward?
In this case, it is essential to create trust between the coach and the client and create self-trust and accountability.
What is even more important in health and weight loss is that there is no fit-all, but some bases adapted to each individual. It is essential to adjust the layout to the client’s needs and combine different ones. It is most unusual that only one would be enough to complete the process.
Usually, when difficulties come into our lives, we need the most to rely on a solid structure. But should we rely so much on it that we are lost when we do not have any?
What if the structure you lean on, rely on, is not strong enough and collapses? What if an outside factor such as a pandemic destroys it.
How do you react, and what can you do to avoid losing control?
help the client find a balance and recognize structure abuse patterns or overuse that could not be beneficial. It is to prepare the client to be flexible in the system to have better adaptability, especially during transition.
One should be able to modify their structure without having to rebuild it from scratch, especially in the transition to a better way of eating and implementing a healthy habit. Having a guide or frame to follow is fundamental. When one is looking for an answer and encounters challenges, its need becomes bigger. It helps in the process, creating steps in action, and keeping the client accountable for moving forward.
As it plays a crucial role in our life, can we trust and validate a structure to define its efficiency, and what would be a world without it?
Before validating and defining its efficiency, the coach needs to help the client be aware of the different structures he has to his availability and choose the one he can use for reaching his particular goal. Some actions are so automatic daily that we do not identify them as a robust frame, but it allows us to link together the intent and steps to reach the goal.
The structure starts to fall in place after the client has reached awareness about his belief system and will help create the action plan toward the final goal.
By helping the client recognize the need for a structure or the inefficiency of the one he is using, we allow a shift of perspective and support the creation of the action steps.
The coach helps in replacing structures that are not working, as much as creating new ones.
As coaches, we follow our model, our structure, allowing us to communicate our philosophy and actions with the client.
Well-being and weight loss must be treated as an overall life situation and diagnosis.
By only using dieting we are only addressing one side of the problem, the part easy to fix by changing what goes into your plate.
Coaching moves the client forward and helps him address the issue. Once the issue is identified and the perspective shifted the client cannot go back to the previous situation and state of mind. He is taking action using the structure, which the diet is part of but most importantly is not the main focus.
You do not treat overeating by prescribing the client a restrictive diet, but by helping him understand why he overeats, what triggers it, and helping him understand how it does not serve him.
Once the client reaches this awareness, then the rest of the structure can follow, with diet and exercise routine.
As a result, when causes are treated, it is most likely that the shift will be permanent.
“Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind” by Joe Dispenza.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey.