Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't tell me what to eat

One thing I've noticed is that most people really don't want to be told what to eat.

I've noticed this with myself too. Went to a lecture with some very well known Nutritionist's in Santa Barbara. The lecture was all about eating healthy and teaching out kids to eat healthy. A noble cause. I noticed though, the minute it was over I had this overwhelming desire to go to of all places McDonald's!
My husband looked at me have got to be kidding. But there was no denying it., as much as I tried to suppress her, that little uppity, rebellious troublemaker was saying..."McDonald's"
The good news is I didn't go.

I have seen this often, in daily life and in coaching clients.
My son makes a point of triumphantly declaring, "I like grease, grease pizza" Because he knows that is something I will rarely say yes to. As much as I try to be smart about teaching him to eat healthy in a low key way. He is constantly 'pushing the envelope' and seeing just how much 'junk food' he can add to his day. (Not much)

Then there was the little girl in Preschool that was not allowed cake/sugar. At the school birthday parties,she would be hiding under the picnic table, scarfing down as many chocolate cupcakes as she could before we 'found her'.

When working with clients I have learned to ask, rather than tell. I've learned that people really do have to come up with their own solutions. You can give them the knowledge, but they really have to figure out what will works best for them. I'm learning not to convince, but rather to listen. Each person has their own unique and individual story, and I hope in some small way I can help them tell it.

I remember as a young child, being told to eat the canned mushrooms on my plate,( that were sitting there looking an awful lot like snails.) Large crocodile tears rolling down my face. Feeling terribly ill. Knowing that no matter what my grandfather said, I would not under any circumstances be able to eat them. I did not eat mushrooms after that for 20 years. I'm sure a lot of folks have a similar stories.

I think it's about listening and about waiting until each person finds the truth for themselves and their health.
It's a lot easier just to 'tell people' what to do.
Personally though, I think that it is the listening and the waiting that allows the magic of transformation and success to happen for each person.
PS. Thank You to Nutritionist, and as far as I can tell, one of the smartest(and funniest) guys on the planet, Jeff Novick for his recommendation of Motivational Interviewing as an effective coaching tool. It has been an incredibly helpful.

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