Hey, Catherine, I am so glad to see you. And I am really, really excited to dive into this topic with you today. So the question that is on our mind is about mindset shifts? And this is a loaded question. I know that this can go into a million different directions. But what are some mindset shifts that you encourage women to make as a part of their health journey?
Great question. And I love this question, because I spend so much time on this topic and helping people think a little differently. I think also the other reason I love this question, (which is not your question), but is that we often jump ahead to the answers. We all want to “just tell me what to do.” I mean, I get people that even fourth and fifth visit coming back to me, “we’ve worked through mindset, and okay, now can you just tell me what to do, right,” and I’m like, Oh, so you clearly didn’t really work on those mindset pieces. So I think that mindset and our language that’s involved with mindset, and in not just how we talk about it, but how we really believe and think about it is a super important piece of the process.
When it comes to nutrition, I want to give one quick caveat, which is that I don’t expect and I don’t want anyone to expect that your mindset will change overnight. I get men and women who are frustrated that they are in a different mindset, all of a sudden, the next time that we talk, and I think this is like a lifelong process of the idea of, can I engage this idea? Can I think about things a little differently? Is not something that I want any of y’all to walk away from and feel guilty about not being able to change by tomorrow.
And so really embracing the idea of just exploring what some of these mindset shifts could look like is important to me, as I work with people to think about sitting with the value of introducing the idea to myself, and then working into it and not sort of a quick, fast process.
I wish I had a cute little acronym. I don’t, but I guess I could come up with one maybe someone out there can. There’s four different mindset shifts that I focus on. And these all come second to one of the previous videos that I’ve done with HER Health Collective about foundations. So go back and listen to that one if y’all haven’t already.
But the first that I would think about is personalization. And I think a lot of people know this is true, when it comes to nutrition that we’ve started to see that maybe it’s not the same for all of us that maybe there’s not some big USDA plate, that’s going to work for everyone. But we still wish it weren’t true. I get a lot of people that think maybe there’s just something I haven’t stumbled upon. And I think one of the mindset shifts that has to be made is that it’s got to be your own journey. And my own journey, that what works for me is not going to be what works for anyone else in the world. And I think, thankfully, like as we mature and age, we start to realize this about ourselves and our personalities. And the same is true for nutrition, that whatever is going to work for you is probably going to be different than anyone else that you can find. And rather than trying to mimic someone else and hearing what your neighbor is doing and how she lost weight, or what your mom is doing and how she got fixed her digestion problems, these are all things that might help you. But I would be focused more on the tools that your friends and family and neighbors are using, and not so much trying to adopt exactly what someone else is doing. So that requires work, which is the part no one wants to put in. But I would say the first is that it is going to be a personal and unique journey.
The second mindset shift that I really like to encourage and if you’ve worked with me, so you know well that I’m super focused on curiosity and an embracing this mindset of curiosity as just a critical piece of health and not just nutrition, but all of health. I think we have so many things coming at us. We have sort of our own physical and mental symptoms and emotions. We have social media that wants to tell us 18 million different things and very conflicting at times, we have friends and family that want to tell us different things. And so really just this idea of instead of labeling something, instead of assuming something, being willing to sort of as you’re working on that unique plan, be curious, and be aware and start to explore. And again, this part takes time. But this is the difference to me in the way that I work with clients as far as it relates to nutrition, and just giving someone a meal plan or giving them a prescription of what they should be eating but instead helping with some tools and some resources and then putting the work on your plate. For all of you out there to really take the time to dig in and to be curious with what is my body saying how does this work for me? I always like to say like consider that maybe your body has something smart to tell you because we as women oftentimes assume that our bodies are broken, and that whatever my body is telling me is not right it must be coming from In this place of harm, or trauma or brokenness, and that’s probably true, and yet so valuable, even more valuable to listen to what that is to kind of explore what is it? What could this symptom mean? What, you know, if I’m experiencing XYZ symptom, maybe that’s my body’s way of trying to tell me to slow down or to eat more or to exercise less, right. And there’s a lot of things that our bodies can communicate. Just like kids, sometimes they come out sideways, right? Those symptoms aren’t always direct and clear, really, being willing to sit with yourself and be curious as much as you can, I think is valuable.
The next mindset shift that I encourage people to make is consistency. And this maybe isn’t such a mindset shift. But really working on this idea that as we think about health as a practice, that it’s gonna be something that I have to keep practicing that consistency to me is where we miss a lot of times on old school diets or health plans, that they are oftentimes so extreme that I can’t be consistent. And when I talk about consistency, I always want you to think about going even smaller, and like I always say, like almost obnoxiously slower than you want to make changes that are so small that they feel easy. And yet you can do them day in and day out. So rather than taking on six different things that I’m going to add to my plate, or taking on, I’m going to do exercise every day really trying to figure out what if I just did once a week for the next month? And could I get good at that. And I always add in there that like success is so powerful when we when we see it with our kids a lot when they achieve some things, there’s confidence, there’s success, and that is so motivating, and so much more motivating than failure. And so I think for all of us as we work on health, thinking about what can I be consistent with and making change, no doubt, but like making that change so small, that maybe someone else doesn’t even notice you’re making a change. But you’re starting to see that you can do that. And then you move on to something else. So consistency is that one.
And then the last one is patience. So I think after talking about all three of those personalization, curiosity and consistency, patience, maybe is our least favorite part. None of us want to wait. We all want the quick answer. And we are fed to believe that we can get a quick answer from a lot of things on social media. But understanding that this is an ever evolving practice and a process and that requires patience. And I think that’s something maybe the hardest of all the things that I’ve just talked about to really sit with and consider what does it look like for me to be patient with this process. The one thing I’ll add, though, is I always like to remind people that patience is not static. Patience is active. So just like some of us have learned with meditation, that meditation doesn’t mean just sort of throwing my hands up and laying back and falling asleep kind of thing it can but that there’s an active process of returning my mind to that space. And the same with patience is that I want you to see change. I want my clients, I want all of you out there to see change. But it might be a lot smaller than you want it to be initially. And so what am I paying attention to? How am I being aware and curious and noticing those little changes takes work. But that’s where the patience comes in handy. So I think those are the four things that I really love to talk about.
Katherine, I love that so much. You said, “Consider your body has something smart to tell you.” Mind blowing, because through so much of life and all the things that we have going on, we constantly believe that there is an easy answer, and that we can look for a trick or a hack or a quick way to the other side. But most of the time, we are not listening to what our body is actually telling us. And there’s so much power in that. And throughout everything you said, all four, what I kept hearing again and again is that it’s going to take time. And I mean that’s kind of what they all go back to and the patience is a big part of that and it is so hard but your health is worth it. And a lot of times it’s going to be more sustainable. If you do take that slower road to whatever that goal is or that journey is. Thank you so much for sharing those with us.
Katherine Andrew, MPH, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Masters degree in Public Health with nearly fifteen years of experience in community public health and private nutrition counseling. Her work experience includes individual and group health counseling, interactive workshops, food systems consulting, non-profit program development and management, and safe skin care advocacy and promotion. She works with clients to identify and address health concerns, navigate food sensitivities, explore body image, plan healthy meals for themselves and their families, evaluate and improve hormone health, maximize stress management, and restore their relationship with eating so they can enjoy food and thrive. Gut health, food sensitivities, hormones, family food dynamics, and intuitive eating are a few of Katherine’s passions and specialties.
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