Can you describe what it is you want for your food and nutrition?
Here’s a question I often ask my clients:
If you can imagine yourself at your happiest and healthiest, what would that version of you feel like?
Post brain injury, there are so many symptoms and side effects to deal with: headache, nausea, pressure in the head, chronic pain, cognitive issues, fatigue…
I find it easy post TBI to describe what it is we DON’T want:
I don’t want to be tired all the time.”“
“I don’t want these headaches.”
“I don’t want to be overwhelmed every time I try and do a simple task.”
“I just don’t want to be like this anymore…”
And sometimes it’s harder to describe or imagine the life we DO want that’s more than just getting back the life you used to have pre-injury or pre-illness.
Spoiler, there is likely no going back to exactly the way things were before.
Because even if the injury or illness had never happened, you still would have grown as a person from a different set of experiences, for better or for worse.
I don’t think we can thrive by pushing away or ignoring the injury or illness. That avoidance comes with its own set of problems.
So, you have the choice to create a new reality for yourself – a new image of a happy and healthy you with all you’ve learned from this journey.
So, who might that person be?
My name is Krystal Merrells. I’m a registered dietitian and a concussion warrior in Ontario, Canada.
I’ve had multiple concussions and I’ve seen how food can become this big stressful thing after a brain injury. I am here to help you move towards feeling good with food.
This is Food Love. A 14-day mini-series exploring your relationship with food.
Today is day 7: Reach for the stars
Creating this new image of yourself might not be easy. For some, the task might seem insurmountable. For others, they may be inspired by the blank canvas in front of them. And others may just feel lost…
Maybe the person you grow into is someone who paces their days, sets boundaries, and enjoys the quiet moments.
Maybe it’s someone who pushes to an appropriate limit that still allows time and energy for family and friends.
Maybe it’s someone who has a deeper connection with their culture and community.
Maybe it’s someone who explores a new kind of accommodating career or volunteer opportunities.
And maybe it’s someone who values working on their relationship with food 🥰
Today’s reflection is actually about painting that picture for yourself.
And I can say, I personally had a hard time with this going through my recovery!
I remember a time when imagining myself in the future felt very uncomfortable. Because I didn’t feel like I could have a future — like the TBI was too unpredictable, like all hope was lost, like I was stuck in this state forever.
But that’s not true.
You DO have a future.
And it can be a meaningful one where you have a loving relationship with food.
If it helps, let me share some wisdom I learned from my psychologist.
A number of sessions were spent working through this idea I had about a future. It seemed a lot of the things I wanted to do were just really unlikely due to my concussions.
I told my psychologist that I had lost the ability to dream.
My psychologist shifted my perspective on this.
It may sound cliché, but ultimately she got me to focus on the journey and not the destination.
She said something like this (highly paraphrased!):
“Someone can dream to be an astronaut.
You could dream to be an astronaut.
Realistically at this point in your life you would not become an astronaut.
However, what does dreaming of becoming an astronaut allow you?
It allows you to explore further interest in science. You can grow a deeper understanding of space. It includes an interest in health, physical activity, mental training…
So although a person might not actually be able to become an astronaut, the dream of becoming one allows them to experience so many other things.”
I think about this conversation often.
That a dream, as unachievable at it may be in reality, still shapes you as a person.
Post concussion, it took me years, but I can now imagine a future for myself — a happy healthy version of myself.
And this allows me to continue to move forward in my recovery and strengthen my brain health.
So if its comfortable for you, go ahead and reach for the stars.
Describe what that happy healthy you would feel like, would be like.
Then review it with your priorities and values we did in day one – do they support each other?
And then allow yourself to dream loving food dreams ❤️
Best in future and present food love,
P.S. We’re at the halfway mark! And this might be a bit of a tipping point.
We’ve been reviewing and understanding different things that affect your relationship with food. This will continue, but in the second half I hope to focus a bit more on further growing that relationship with food.
And this will all come together next Monday, Valentine’s Day, with day fourteen’s live event!
Details have been sent to your email if you have signed up to this mini-series in real time.
You’ll have a chance to chat with me, ask me any of your questions, or debrief the reflections you’ve had during this mini-series.
I’ll also be doing a food demo of one of my favourite simple and delicious recipes: chocolate covered dates – a great Valentine’s Day treat!
So if you haven’t already, mark your calendars. I look forward to seeing you then!