The Fascinating Truth About Childhood Trauma and Healthy Habits

Trauma and healthy habits

This is a guest post by parenting, trauma and childhood behaviour expert Jane Evans. She recently teamed up with a company called Fink Cards and released a product that is centred around raising awareness of childhood trauma and its impacts.

This article is all about the links between trauma and healthy habits. Over to Jane!


You may wonder what my Parenting Impacted by Trauma Fink Cards have to do with physical health and good eating habits, at a glance it’s not obvious and if you aren’t a parent, even less so!

However, all of us have been parented or cared for by someone when were young children and that will have a profound effect on our diet and exercise habits today, especially if we were exposed to high levels of anxiety and/or adversity in those formative care­giving relationships.

Looking at how, why and what our relationship is with food and exercise often reveals a great deal about someone’s earliest years. If they then go on to work with, parent or care for children or young people then being able to identify and potentially address a more complex relationship with food and physical activity can be life­ changing.

A new born baby comes in to the world with a survival based drive to connect with those who are closest to them or they will not get fed, held, changed and soothed. Limited brain development means their efforts are simple ones, track with their eyes, cry and imitate facial expressions from those closest to them.

They also are very tuned in to their Mother’s emotional state, having been inside them for 9 months, and they also work hard to tune in to any other significant figures in their daily lives. When they are being fed, whether breast or bottle fed, they like to be close to the person feeding them and so they will pick up on their emotional state.

If the person feeding the baby is feeling anxious about it, ‘will they take the right amount/am I doing it the right way/will they sick it all up/are they putting on enough weight’ or, if the adult is stressed in other ways, perhaps because they are in an abusive relationship and their partner tries to hurry them through the feeding as they don’t like them being preoccupied with the baby, or they are constantly criticising them, or a parent is struggling with depression and not getting much emotional connection with their baby the baby begins to relate feeding as something stressful as they feel the tensions.

Why does this early experience matter and what does it have to do with adult behaviours around food and eating?

Babies and children learn most about everything from those around them, how they make them feel and what they see them doing and hear then saying. A parent who has their own childhood trauma to cope with every day may have a complex relationship with food. Over-eating sugary, fatty foods may act as way of numbing emotional pain, sugar has been found to have numb out the stress response so making people feel more ‘emotionally comfortable’.

Likewise, under eating, purging or limiting foods serve as a similar distraction from internal stress and distress as they are about focusing on something else. Grow up in a household where food is a ‘big thing’, meal times, even as a toddler are stress­ related, celebrations and commiserations all revolve around food ‘treats’ and patterns are easily established.

Research into the fact that we have brain cells in our stomach and digestive system, how early trauma impacts our digestive system in emerging all of the time. The same goes for exercise, having a stressful childhood will mean needing adult habits which alleviate our systems default ‘stress’ mode. Sometimes that’s through excessive exercise, or through feeling too overwhelmed and exhausted by the stress cycle to even attempt it.

Again, learning how to sensibly and effectively use healthy food and regular exercise comes from childhood and watching the adult’s behaviours.

For me, the great hope comes from the fact that brains can be reshaped and rewired to enjoy healthy food and eating habits and regular exercise. It’s good to have support to do this as it can seem like entering an ‘unknown land’ without a map and emotional knock backs and increased stress can send us back to what ‘feels’ familiar, however unhealthy that is.

As a parent or carer, changing what you do today WILL change what your child does moving forward. If you suspect your own childhood stresses are the foundation for complex eating and exercise needs look for support to have the life you and your children deserve!

 


About Jane

Jane Evans has been working with families with complex needs around early childhood trauma for over two decades. As a passionate advocate of offering an understanding of the impact of early childhood trauma in all areas of our lives, Jane speaks and trains around the World.

Jane has written two books to be used for young children who have lived with domestic violence (How are you feeling today Baby Bear? & Kit Kitten and the Topsy Turvy Feelings) and her work with traumatised families has also featured in Channel 5’s documentary ‘My Violent Child’.

For more information about Jane visit: www.parentingposttrauma.co.uk

Or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram

 

Parenting Impacted by Trauma CardsAbout Fink Cards

Fink Cards is a leader in the field of creating powerful conversations, creating award winning publications that start positive conversations.

Jane’s set of Parenting Impacted by Trauma cards contain 48 compelling questions.

They are priced at £14.99 and available here!

 

 


 


The Health Room Q&A Series

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter.


Health Room Q&A

If you happen to follow the Health Room YouTube Channel, you might have seen that I’ve recently started putting out a series of question and answer videos.

If you’ve been watching them, you’ll know what they’re all about, but for those of you who haven’t had the chance to check them out yet, I thought I’d take a minute to explain.

So if you’re a subscriber of Health Room, you’ll know that when I send you the first (or maybe second?) welcome email, along with a link to your free habit changing eBook or guide, I include a question that goes something along the lines of:

If you have a minute to spare, hit the reply button and let me know: what is the one problem that you struggle with the most when it comes to developing healthy habits?

The idea is that if I feel that I have a few ideas that may help you out, I’ll get back to you with them.

Over the past few months I’ve had hundreds of amazing responses all about diet, movement, mindfulness and life in general. It really does excite me when I see that I’ve had another question come through. So thank you for that!

Initially I was replying to each question individually, but I realised there were a few slight issues with that process.

  1. I’ve started to get more and more questions through from you guys as the blog has continued to grow. That’s awesome, but replying with a well thought out answer does take time, so unfortunately I’m not always able to get back to you right away.
  2. Replying back via email helps just one person. Surely there’s a more efficient way of doing things that could maybe help more people? After all, many of you have actually been experiencing similar issues.

So I’ve decided to take things in a slightly different direction.

That’s where the Q&A series comes in.

Instead of replying directly back to you, if I think that my ideas could maybe help more people, I’ll record a quick video and throw it up on the old YouTube channel.

As well as benefiting you guys (hopefully!), I get something it of it too.

I get to take the YouTube channel a little further, get out of my comfort zone a little and build my confidence in front of the camera.

Hopefully it’s a win win for all of us :)

So below are the first few videos in the series. Check them out, let me know what you think, and remember – if you have a question or topic that you’d like me to cover in the future, you can either subscribe to the newsletter and drop me an email, leave a comment on YouTube, or hit me up on Twitter.

Any one is good for me!





Bottom Post2


25 of the Best Nutrition, Fitness, Mindfulness, and Health Podcasts

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter.


Health Podcasts

I love podcasts. Aside from my own personal experiences, they’re without doubt my favourite way to gather information and deepen my understanding of all things healthy.

I think it’s so cool that whenever you feel like it, you can download an hour long conversation (sometimes more), throw it onto your mp3 player, and listen to some of the brightest, most innovative people on the planet talk about things that you love.

All for FREE! It’s insane.

The tranquil tones of Rich Roll, Justin Goodheart and others have got me through many a long car journey. I sometimes stick a good health podcast on whilst I’m stretching in the morning, or when I’m out on a long run or ride. Although I often talk about the benefits of switching off and being mindful of your movement, there’s definitely something to be said for learning on the go too.

I was quite late to the podcast game and only really got into them a few years ago, but lately I’ve really been expanding my repertoire.

Here’s a collection of my current favourites, all loosely linked to one or more topics under the health umbrella. From plant based nutrition and movement, to mindfulness and sustainability (and everything else in between).

I’m always looking for new content, so let me know in the comments section below if you have any other suggestions for awesome health podcasts!


(more…)


7 Questions on Habit Forming and Healthy Eating With Me, Luke Jones

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter.


7 Questions With Luke Jones, Health Room

I have something a little different for you guys this week…

I like to stay busy and keep my fingers in many pies (healthy ones) when it comes to this wellness movement. Luckily, over the past few years I’ve been privileged enough to work with some really great people and some amazing businesses.

One of my latest projects is with a company called Fink Cards, a UK based business developed by a lovely lady called Lisa Warner. Fink is all about starting conversations within families on various topics from relationships and parenting, to health conditions and childhood trauma. They work with specialists in different fields to produce decks of cards, each containing conversation starters on a particular topic.

The general idea is that conversations help to raise awareness of certain issues that perhaps otherwise may have gone unnoticed. By talking about these issues, we’re hopefully able to understand them more clearly and perhaps make any necessary changes.

They’re a really great company, and I’m really excited to be working with them to produce a deck on healthy habits for families (which should be available to purchase early September).

To build up to the launch, Lisa and I did a Q&A session over on Facebook earlier today, all about living healthily and changing habits. I really enjoyed doing it, and thought I’d collect together the main questions and answers to share with you guys (edited a little to correct my horrific spelling).

Hope you enjoy!


(more…)


Marinated Portobello Mushroom Burger With Chunky Skin-on Fries 1

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter.


portobello mushroom burger

Mushrooms? In a burger? And it tastes a bit like meat!? Craziness.

I like a good plant powered burger now and again. Last year I put a recipe up on the site for some homemade butternut squash burgers, which I actually haven’t had for quite a while…

Right now, in their place are these marinated Portobello mushroom burgers. They’re unusually meaty, and taste quite different to anything that I’ve had before. But I like them.

They go great with some baked skin on fries (my girlfriend’s new speciality) and a generous serving of salad on the side.

This recipe requires a little more oil than we would typically use in a meal, so it’s not something we have it all that often. It’s not a huge amount, and anyways I’d say it’s probably still a bit healthier than having a big fatty hunk of meat in a bun…

Give it a go, and let me know how it turns out!


(more…)