Nutrition Coaching- Notice and Name Skill

Back in the day when I was trying to get the oh-so-frustrating double under skill, I had a dream that I was doing them, really well, and lots of them in a row. It was like I was dreaming about flying… it felt that good. Soon after something clicked (in waking life) and they became easy to do!

A couple nights ago I had a similar kind of dream with a completely different skill; Notice and Name.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Eyes narrowed. head cocked.] What is *that*?

I recently completed a year’s worth of work to gain my Level 2 Precision Nutrition certification. A year’s worth of daily lessons and bi-weekly, or so, case studies. It is safe to say that there were many days throughout that time that I lived, ate, and breathed information about nutrition, habits, change psychology, coaching, and then some.

Notice and Name was one of the recurring habits we practiced for ourselves as super coaches in training, as well as encourage our clients to build. A quick breakdown of the habit:

  1. Feel hungry for food/mood altering substance
  2. Realize I am not physiologically hungry
  3. Stop and ask myself why I want to eat when I am not hungry (i.e. Notice)
  4. Brainstorm on the day, situation, mood, feelings, etc.
  5. Have an epiphany of what is really going on.
  6. Name it for what it is (i.e Name).
  7. Mentally file away that information and move on.

There are steps beyond that to help you deal with the situation at hand that don’t include fistfuls of buttered popcorn or the like. We’ll save those for later posts.

Here is a real life example, it was probably one of my first applications of Notice and Name.

My elderly pup has something obviously wrong with him, he has some major vertigo. I come home during lunch to see how he is doing. Not any better, he is miserable. I still have hours at work to complete, emails to send, phone calls to answer, etc. I need to leave but I feel like crap for leaving him alone when his world is upside down. I am rushing out the door and think a stop by Good Times is in order. I stop in my tracks because 1. I don’t usually do fast food and 2. I ate lunch at my desk before I left work. So…. Hand on the door knob, breath, what is going on…? Oh! I feel really rushed, spread thin, guilty, and sad. Good Times helps me not only not think about all of those things but suddenly it helps me feel something different.

Voila… almost that quickly and easily the Good Times craving dissipated for me.

[Disclaimers]There are situations I have been in since that weren’t that easy to pull out and dissipate. It took me several months of practice to get to that point of awareness.

So now, almost two years’ worth of practicing Notice and Name off and on as well as preaching it I have this dream where I am feeling pushed out by my community… A huge fear of mine, being abandoned essentially. In my dream I am trying to figure out what to do with this situation and I am also being pulled in the direction of some sort of awesome baked goods (my biggest weakness!) and I stop in my dream and notice I am having a fear of abandonment and name it and say no to the super tempting baked good (aka: distraction from anxiety).

When I woke up I was kind of proud of myself, it felt like a breakthrough. Because to be honest with you, while I coach people in building healthy habits, I am not perfect I still have some challenging emotional eating triggers in my closet.

The dream helped me realize that all of these habits and skills come in stages. If you come through my Nutrition Coaching modules you may find yourself in one of the below stages throughout the process.

  1. Practice habits (slow eating, Notice and Name, eating to moderate fullness) to build awareness of your physical hunger vs other needs.
  2. Become more and more aware of your current habits but feel like you have no idea how to break them.
  3. Overwhelm or defeat by knowing what to do but struggling to actually do it consistently.
  4. Feel like this “body awareness”, “emotional eating”, and Notice and Name is woo woo BS.
  5. Continue to catch your habits further and further in advance of unnecessary eating episodes.
  6. Gain greater understanding of your triggers (i.e. emotions, relationships, environments, occasions, self-talk, etc.)
  7. Become more proficient at naming your triggers, but still may struggle to consistently diffuse the cravings.
  8. Find and practice healthier coping mechanisms (communication skills, compassion & kindness to self, etc.)
  9. Rely on a mixture of old habits and new ones.
  10. Gain more and more peace around your triggers and allow yourself to feel the discomfort of them so the situation becomes less of a challenge.
  11. Get really good at practicing so you are able to anticipate the fallout from a trigger before it ever becomes a true challenge for you.
  12. Celebrate your normal eating behaviors!!!

These are high level stages and are somewhat cumulative. You may notice you have mastered one situation and another one still poses a challenge for you. For example, habits at home versus habits on vacation. You will find the more you practice it the better you become at it in all areas of your life.

Hunger scale

Next time you find you are not (weak, stomach growling, low blood pressure, hangry, clumsy, etc.) but you want to eat, stop for a little of Notice and Name action and consider what might be driving you to that food. Then pat yourself on the back for some bad-ass awareness building!





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