Why Knowing Your Behaviour Trumps Knowing Your Physical ImbalancesAug 31, 2022
Let’s chat behaviour.
The ancient physician Hippocrates said: “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease, than to know what sort of disease a person has.”
I LOVE this! Hippocrates was THE man! Lol. I’m all for testing and identifying physical imbalances in the body (it’s part of our tool kit), but if this is all you do, you won’t get healthy - or at least it won’t be long-lasting. Rather than focusing on what disease you have, or even what energy/mood/gut/etc symptoms you’re struggling with, what about focusing on the type of person that you are?
Because, you see, many of us adults have been living patterns and programs for decades, that are directly affecting our behaviour and the type of person that you are.
Are you behaving in a way that is making you sick, or preventing you from healing? Are you doing things that are causing a chaotic lifestyle, or even conflict within your family?
If you take a good, hard look into yourself, and you answer this honestly, you’ll likely start noticing patterns, even subtle ones, causing your body burnout. If this is you, read on…
If you want to be, do or have anything different to what you have now, you need to DO things differently - you need to BE-HAVE different. The problem is, when people (especially all you juggling, high-achieving mums out there!) aren’t clear on what’s important to them, they find their ‘to-do’ list is full of stuff that keeps them busy, but gets them nowhere. Getting clear on where you’re at now, where you want to go AND who you want to be and what’s most important to you, allows you to live a life of meaning, fulfilment and joy.
If you want vibrant health, abundant energy, productivity (without doing more) and feel connected to yourself and family, you need to Be-Do-Have. What does this mean exactly? Check out our model (adapted from Expert Mindset Coach Kylie Ryan):
In order to be the type of person you want to be, and to have what you want to have, you need to DO. In our model, if you are DOING the things you need to do to be healthy AND you’re finding pleasure in the doing, you will find yourself in FLOW. This is the sweet spot. This is where we want all our mums and dads to be.
Some people try to DO the things they (think they?) need to do in order to get healthy and find balance, however they experience pain - either physical pain (such as eating healthy foods that might actually make them feel sick), or emotional or spiritual pain (such as ‘doing’ exercise that they dislike, or grudgingly eating ‘clean,’ or forcing their way through meditation, etc). In this state they are FORCING life. This always ends badly, and can lead to further burnout or rebellion, as you often start doing ‘unhealthy’ things in order to find pleasure.
FLOUNDERING is when you aren’t DOING anything to move towards your goals, nor are you finding much pleasure here. Often people in this stuck state are in a highly stressed, and in the fight, flight, freeze or facade state.
FANTASY. When you’re in fantasy land you aren’t doing much to work towards your goal, towards flow, but you are finding PLEASURE. This could look like staying up late watching Netflix or Xbox. Eating cheesecake and chocolate and loving it. Maybe even spending too much time with friends or loved ones, to the detriment of moving towards your health goals.
In order to be a healthy, balanced and connected parent, your aim is to behave (and feel) in a way that you can reach flow.
Getting a “Prescription” Rarely Solves The Core Issue
Focusing on behaviour is a very different approach to the conventional way of treating body burnout symptoms. Usually you would go to your GP and get a pill for any symptom you may be experiencing. Rarely is there any behavioural coaching, which is why our world is sicker than ever. Even many natural practitioners, like naturopaths or nutritionists, will ‘prescribe’ you supplements and lifestyle modifications - they will ‘tell’ you what to do, hand you over a treatment plan, and expect you to magically change your behaviour that is literally culturally and generationally embedded in you from decades - even centuries - preceding you. As the saying goes: “you can’t do, what you haven’t been taught.” No wonder so many people fail when they try to get on top of their health or change their lifestyle - it is because there is rarely any behavioural coaching. Many people just end up yo-yo-ing trying this thing, and that thing, without any real long-lasting transformation.
Chris’s Addictive Tendencies Lead To Burnout
Let me tell you a little story about my hubby Chris. Like me, Chris also suffered his own physical and mental burnout after we had children. He was working extremely long hours in his then business, a strength and conditioning gym. I’m talking about waking up at 3:45am to run a 5am training session, and often not getting home until 10pm that night. On top of this he was training extremely hard for state and national Strongman competitions. He was wearing his body down in all ways. His joints were in pain. When he was at home, he was zonked out in bed or on the couch. And he would continually have to pep himself up on energy drinks to stay awake at work. Sundays were probably the only day he did drink caffeine, which left him with severe withdrawal headaches, which he’d nurse with nurofen and bed all day. Needless to say I wasn’t too impressed with his behaviour and state of being, and there was endless contention in our marriage (especially when I was trying hard to live a healthy life, as I tried to recover from my own body burnout).
At the time, I’d just started doing my own functional medicine healing program, and I desperately wanted to help Chris (more so to save our marriage and family life!). I wanted him to have more energy and more life when he was at home - I wanted him to actually BE at home! We did some tests, which not surprisingly showed he had adrenal fatigue. And I did up the best treatment plan for him and said: “here you go, take these supps, eat this way, sleep this much, stop exercising so much, etc, etc.” Chris did the treatment plan half-heartedly, yet there wasn’t much change in his behaviours that were causing his burnout in the first place. Isn’t it Albert Einstein who so famously said: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again - but expecting different results.” Chris was still fatigued, he was still smashed, he was still injured and in pain. Nothing changed until his behaviour changed - he started working less, sleeping more, ditched the caffeine, played with the family more, and really did some deep inner-work on his thoughts, feelings and behaviour, with his own mind coach, Kylie Ryan (one of the best in the field!). This is where the magic was for Chris. This is where his healing happened. And it wasn’t just his body that rejuvenated, it was also his work-life balance and our connection as a family.
Practising Daily Habits & Rituals
The magic sauce for Chris was centred in creating value-driven behaviours, or a set of value-driven habits and rituals.
Research backs up the power of creating daily habits and rituals. American Cardiologist, James Rippe says “there is no longer any serious doubt that daily habits and actions profoundly affect both short-term and long-term health and quality of life. This concept is supported by literally thousands of research articles and incorporated in multiple evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and/or treatment of chronic metabolic diseases”.
So how can you start changing your behaviour….right now? Here are some of our favourite books, as well as a couple of our tools you can use to start making change in your behaviour:
- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchin Rubin
Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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