Life with diabetes has some highs and lows, but just like in a normal life, you can make choices which help to make your life easier, improve your health and wellbeing. In the Diabetic and Healthy podcast, we show you how to do just that. We're here to help you put your diabetes worries behind so that you can start enjoying life with a sky-high smile on your face. So, let's meet our host for today's show, here's Charlotte.
Charlotte: Welcome back to another episode of the Diabetic and Healthy podcast. I hope everyone's doing well. Today, I am sharing an interview with you that I did with a very special guest, called Nic Wood. Nic is a mind and body coach and is going to be one of our expert guest speakers on the podcast. When it comes to diabetes, I personally believe that our approach and our mindset on the condition is just as important as all the physical things that we do to manage it. With that in mind, I approached Nic to find out how her expertise could help people with diabetes, that might be finding it challenging. I really hope you enjoy listening to this interview. Hi, Nic. How are you?
Nic: Hey, Charlotte. I'm good, thank you.
Charlotte: Good. Good. Thanks so much for coming on and agreeing to talk to me today, and appearing on the podcast.
Nic: It's a pleasure. Thanks for the invite. Looking forward to this.
Charlotte: Your title is Mind Body Coach. That's quite an exciting title, I think. But, for anybody that doesn't know what that means, what exactly is it that you do?
Nic: Yeah, so Mind Body Coach, and I wonder if you like it because of the word coach, and your link with fitness.
Charlotte: Yeah, yeah. Personal training, fitness coach. Yeah, yeah.
Nic: Exactly. When we think about the word coach, it's often thought of somebody that's guiding us, instructing us, allowing us to learn and get better at that which we're involved in. So, Mind, Body Coach, I help people out with matters of the mind and matters of the body. So, physical, mental, emotional, and very much through an educational-based way.
Nic: People learn a lot about the structure behind how the mind works. They learn a lot about their nonverbal communication. It's very much getting in touch with themselves, the area of themselves that they're not so conscious of, and familiar of.
Charlotte: Okay. Yeah.
Nic: Yeah, so very much it's a learning strategy. We get a lot more insights into who we are, and how we're doing our problems.
Charlotte: That said, what kind of problems do you help people with? What's the kind of, I don't know, is there a typical problem that people come to you with, or is it a whole range of a bit of everything?
Nic: Yeah, tends to be a whole range of everything. But, of course, there are a lot of specifics, so a lot of phobias, and fears, relationship troubles, chronic conditions, long-term pain, and health issues, addictions, anxiety, depression, PTSD.
Nic: And a lot of the time, because it's very much an educational-based approach, and people are learning about who they are, and what's driving their problem, when they come with a specific problem, quite often, it's actually, the crux of it is something completely different to what they thought it was.
Charlotte: Oh, okay, so there's kind of an underlying...
Nic: Yeah, [inaudible 00:04:03] A phrase we use a lot and that's, the problem is never the problem, it's how we deal with the problem, that's the problem.
Charlotte: Yeah. I was talking to you, I've been getting into a lot of this kind of mindfulness stuff, and stuff. That was a good word. But yeah, learning a lot about that, that it's how we feel about the problem.
Nic: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It's our mindset and often, the word suffering, something that made me a bit curious, is I asked you a little while back.
Nic: What do you call yourself, if we suffer diabetic, I suffer with diabetes? That kind of question allows me to think, well, some people, like, I suffer with diabetes. Some people just get on with their diabetes. It's that very word, and the very way that we deal with situations, and deal with problems, that dictates whether we suffer from it, or whether we experience it and become curious and find ways to adapt and change.
Charlotte: Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of how we speak to ourselves about things.
Nic: Ooh, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. A lot of the times when I'm with a client and they just make a flippant remark like, quiet like "oh, I always do that." Bang. Cause. What [inaudible 00:05:34] say? How did you say it? Because it's very much their body language which also communicates masses of information. It's so important to catch yourself when you make these little flippant remarks because this dictates how we function, and how we run.
Nic: Every single word we speak stimulates neurology. It creates brainwaves. It also stimulates chemistry. And this all has a massive impact in our system. If we're regularly saying, "Oh you know, I'm no good at that, or I'm..." That kind of thing, that ooh creates a chemistry in our system. And that also dictates how we then evolve, and what we do next, and that kind of thing. Does that make sense?
Charlotte: Whilst there's things that we make just as a flippant remark, you kind of pick up on that.
Nic: Yeah, absolutely. Because often these flippant remarks are just said so quickly, so fast, we just let them go. We just know that we're saying it. But, actually, it's a really important part, and when we just pause and become conscious of those flippant remarks, and when I say conscious, I mean aware. Actually, just say the flippant remark slowly out loud and then ask yourself, what does that mean to me? What am I [inaudible 00:06:54].
Charlotte: In terms of, say somebody is listening and thinking, "Okay, I think, I kind of worry about certain things, or have anxieties or am struggling with certain things in my life, but I'm no good at talking. I couldn't come and talk to a stranger. It would just be a waste of time." What would you say to them?
Nic: All right. That's a brilliant question. And mostly, because the way that I work being an educational approach, people don't talk about problems. People don't come to really go into detail about their problems. I mentioned earlier that it's really important about the nonverbal body language. Now, what's happening, because in a session somebody's going to be learning how their mind works. They learn how they access information. We all have certain ways that we do it. The moment somebody begins to discuss their feelings, discuss their feelings relative to a certain problem, bang, I catch that moment.
Nic: I need to really assess all the nonverbal cues and this involves eye markers, hand movements, any kind of facial twitches, breathing. Every single little pointer like this, at the beginning of when someone's starting to discuss the problem, is the key to us really getting to dig in how we're doing the problem. People don't have to go into detail. People can tell me very, very little, and sometimes, people don't even know what's causing their upset inside of them, so how can they talk about it?
Charlotte: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Wow. Okay. I think that in itself would probably help a lot of people, just knowing that, even if they came to you and thought, "Do you know what? I don't even know what I want to say, but I know there's something going on that's kind of affecting my day to day." You can still help there.
Nic: Yeah. One of my live videos I did last week on Facebook, was giving people a formula to be able to look at their life in all the aspects. So, that involves your fitness, your health. It also involves things like romance, career, family, friends, money, creativity. When we look at everything as a whole, that gives us a bit of insight into where we could place a bit more energy. And so, when people come along and they don't know what's going on or why, they just know there's some kind of friction inside, and just by having an example of this, as a starting point to give us a guide, can really help people to begin to track things, become a bit more conscious of where stuff might not be fitting and sitting so nicely in them.
Charlotte: Excellent. Yeah. I joined in on that, and it's definitely a really helpful tool. That's something I'll make sure we get something from the website, maybe some visuals of that, so people can work on that themselves.
Charlotte: In terms of somebody with diabetes, I mean, something that I definitely experienced myself, not so much now because I have a very different approach to my diabetes, but certainly early on, it's just an overall feeling of being very overwhelmed. And I think a lot of it is just the case of you don't get a day off from this. I think there's days it really dawns on you. The days when, obviously, your blood sugars aren't cooperating or doing what they're told, and it's really kind of interfering with your activities, and what you're trying to do. It's those days that sometimes it does feel overwhelming, but you think, "This is it. This is it, every day. I'm not going to get a day off from this. I'm not going to wake up and be better and suddenly, not have to have all these calculations and have to do my injections and checks my blood sugar. This is it."
Charlotte: And I think, I guess, it's being human that that would hit you every now and then, and be quite overwhelming. And it's something that I have come across frequently with other people with diabetes, is they just have this general feeling of kind of being overwhelmed. Is that the kind of thing you could help with?
Nic: Yeah. With everything, I never guarantee results, but it's something that comes up a lot with clients generally, whether they have chronic health conditions, or not. Life sometimes can be shit, can be stressful, and just, things just go upside down. You mentioned something just about being human.
Nic: That's how it is sometimes. If we just take the moment to recognize that we are overwhelmed, or we just can't cope, it's okay. It really is okay to have this experience and have this moment. The one thing that's consistent in life, is change. It will pass. It always does. It's finding, respecting ourselves when things are a bit chaotic. Just pausing, and then the moment we can just accept us being how we're being and struggling, then instantly, it does actually help to change the chemistry in the body. The moment we just pause, take a couple of breaths, recognize we're going through a bit of a struggle, we actually turn off that fight or flight mechanism because that is what's coming into play there, whether it's in a very strong way, or just a subtle way. The moment we recognize, we take a couple of breaths, we then turn on the parasympathetic, which is the calming, the restoring, rebalancing.
Nic: And this means we can also begin to think logically about the problem. So then, straight away you're opening up new avenues of, well, do I need to readjust something that I'm doing? Could I be doing something differently, right now? It's just about being nice to yourself at the end of the day. And certainly, if somebody is consistently struggling with it and it's becoming a problem, then yeah, having a bit of coaching, finding ways specifically that allow someone to adapt to this, to not get overwhelmed so much, or to recognize it when it happens, can be really, really, really key to getting them moving and evolving in the ways that they want to.
Charlotte: I'm terribly sorry. My toddler, he's just ran into room. I'm talking about fight or flight. You may have heard the almighty tantrum going on in the background, as he rebels against getting dressed today.
Nic: We don't have to, we're all in lockdown.
Charlotte: Real life coming into play there. The joys of lockdown. Okay. What you were talking about, I suppose is, if you're feeling overwhelmed and you're getting those feelings, it's more a case of acknowledging that, rather than fighting against it.
Nic: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Recognize it. We're humans. We emote, we have feelings. These are emotions and they're just part of a bit of energy, a bit of something just flowing through us. If we resist it, it kind of creates friction. Accept it. Let it be. Tell yourself that.
Charlotte: Another thing that again, I've experienced myself, and spoken a lot with other people with diabetes, is things like their relationship with food. Being someone with diabetes, it's kind of impossible not to think about food. As much as people that say if somebody is dieting, or they're trying to follow a certain eating plan and things like that, although they're mindful of what they're eating, they don't have to think about it all the time. They don't have to continuously think about food. But, because of the role that food plays with your diabetes management, it really becomes impossible not think about food, and not to think about, not only what you're eating, but what you're eating next, and what you're doing next, and what you're going to eat later, because all that comes into play when you work out your insulin doses and everything.
Charlotte: And I've certainly found that, again, personal experience and speaking with others, this can make quite a unnatural relationship with food. So again, is that the kind of things you could work through with people?
Nic: Yeah. It's kind of interesting, and as you're asking me, my mind is saying, "Hmm," because you're absolutely right, it can become obsession because, let's face it, it's different to other addictions, because food is necessary. If somebody's alcoholic, well then, alcohol isn't necessary for life's existence, whereas food is. Like it or not, if it's a problem, it's an addiction, you still got to go back to it three times a day, or however often you're having to eat. Now, a few different ideas. When I'm working with somebody on a one to one basis, I'm going to be watching their non-verbals. It would be really key to me, to get a clear insight, to be able to show them how food is showing up in their mind.
Nic: On a subconscious level, we're very visual. When you think about explaining something to someone, you're going to be coming out with pictures in your mind. And what's key, is how we're doing the pictures in our mind. For example, sometimes food can be very, very big in our imagination, and this isn't necessarily conscious, okay. This is very much just at the structure behind how humans convey information or think about things. So, how is somebody doing it in their mind is really important, really prevalent. Another indicator is, and we can also link this back to that wheel that I mentioned, so having a look at all the different areas in our lives. If there is an area where we're not fulfilled, if we're not meeting some of our needs, perhaps connection and relationship needs, or financial security needs.
Nic: If we're not meeting them, then we will find ways to distract, or find ways to calm and comfort ourselves. And food is such a common go-to. There are many ways in which we seek to get a bit of ease in ourselves. Whether it's fitness, whether it's food, whether it's smoking, drinking, there's all sorts of ways that our system will use to distract. We would often look at the underlying picture. I'll again, just share with you guys. If you want to have a look at this, what we call wheel of life, you can get an idea on how to get a visual onto what areas you could perhaps put a bit more time or love into, so that your mind is less focused on one thing.
Nic: Yeah, I know you've got to focus on it in different ways, and perhaps, I can't get to grips of how you guys are dealing with it in diabetes, but certainly, when there's imbalance, when there's an obsession, it's looking what's underneath that. Where can we get balance, elsewhere?
Charlotte: Yeah. No, no, that makes total sense, actually. Total sense. Yeah. The way you used the word balance, so just about balancing out where you're putting your energy, and where your focus is.
Nic: Yeah. Absolutely. You also mentioned the word extremes the other day, because I did listen to Charlotte's podcast. I thought, "I'm coming on here. I'm going to-"
Nic: [inaudible 00:19:52] much about diabetes. A couple of my family members have got it. Over the years I've seen them manage it, and work with it, and you guys mentioned extremes a lot. Whether you're dealing with your extremes in your blood glucose levels, whether you're dealing with extremes in how to manage it, you manage it well one day, not well the other day, whether you're dealing with extremes in the obsessions, it's... Life can be a big pendulum, and we're rocking from one end to the other, and sometimes though, it's important for us to go from one end to the other because then we can just ride it through. And so often, we will come to a balance in the middle.
Nic: And our biggest extremes and, perhaps, what we perceive to be mistakes or failures are so often our biggest learnings. And when you think about all the things you've ever learned in life, how many of the things have you achieved, and achieved in the way where you never made a mistake to be in the position? No, our mistakes are our biggest learnings. Our extremes can be our biggest ways to find balance, again.
Charlotte: It's funny you say that because when I say my attitude towards my diabetes is very different how it used to be, something I try to do now, I have the Libre sensor, which is a little sensor on my arm. I scan that with my phone, like a product in the supermarket, do a little beep beep, and it tells me what my blood sugar is doing, and what it has been doing. And it's really useful because it gives you a lot of statistics, and you can look at graphs to see exactly what your blood sugar's doing. Now, old Charlotte would have looked at those graphs and been massively judgmental. I'd see a spike and that would be a bad thing.
Charlotte: It spiked really badly there, and oh, it's dropped really badly there. Whereas, I've tried to change the way I look at that now, is to just nod and judgmentally look at it and going, "Oh, yeah, look, it came up there," and then I work back and go, "Okay, why did it do that big spike? What did I do differently? It's done that big low. Oh yeah, actually, I probably over injected that or I haven't taken into account that I was going to go and do some exercise and that's why it's done it." I try to look at it and learn from it now, rather than look at it and go, "Oh, I was a bad diabetic that day. It's a really bad wiggly line and is not nice and smooth."
Charlotte: I think just changing how I look at it has made a massive difference because now, I'm actually being productive with those graphs, and with that data, rather than just looking at them and making myself feel bad about it.
Nic: Yeah. Yeah. That's kind of a nice thought, actually. And it just reminds me of three attitudes to learning, which is part of NLP. It's how we approach learning, how we approach information. And some people can have this positive attitude, "Oh, this is going to be amazing. This is going to be great." Some people have a negative attitude, "Well, what's the point? It's going to be useless, it's not going to suit me." And others can have this curious attitude, "Well, okay, so how can I make this work? Or what can I do differently?" Now, them in themselves is quite interesting because I had to admit before I discovered this, or learned this, I was always like positive attitude, or I like to think I was. Like, "This is going to be amazing," and it can be really naive because we can hit our head when they're not. Oh, shit. We just complete go, "Well, what's the [crosstalk 00:23:32]"
Charlotte: Wasn't planning for that.
Nic: Exactly. It kind of goes a bit tits up. And obviously, if you've got a negative attitude, well then, it's never going to work. But, if we go in with a curious attitude, and just be open to what we're observing, what we're seeing, well then, like you said, you just get interested. "Right, well, what was I doing then? What could I do differently? What resources do I have that can help this?" It's a wonderful way of looking at things. Just be curious. Just have a kind curiosity with it all.
Charlotte: Yeah, I love that. I could literally talk to you all day, Nic, about this kind of stuff, and I'm sure our listeners could, as well, because it really is fascinating, and I hope that everyone will listen to that with this curious open mind because it's not everyone's cup of tea, as it were. And some people are very, I don't know, very matter of fact.
Charlotte: And they think that kind of even talking therapies and things like that, again, they go into it with the attitude of, "This isn't something that can help me, this wouldn't work for me." I hope everyone does kind of open their mind to this, and come into it with curiosity, like you were talking about.
Nic: And you know what? It's so important to remember that I just share information. You guys take what you want from it, and you use it and put it to the test because we are always the best judge of what's right for us. By all means, listen, and hear, and be curious, and then just see what you think.
Charlotte: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Nic has very kindly agreed to be one of our expert guest speakers on the podcast, so you're going to be hearing a lot more from Nic, and what I will be doing is asking our listeners, so we've got the Facebook group, so I shall ask in there, and also people are always welcome to email me. It's Charlotte@diabeticandhealthy.com, and please do let us know your thoughts, because if there's anything specific that you're listening to Nic talking now and there's anything specific that you think, "Oh wow, I would love it if Nic could cover this in a podcast," then if you let me know, I'm sure that me and Nic can put our heads together and get that sorted.
Nic: Yeah, that sounds great.
Charlotte: Well, thank you so much again, for coming in and talking today. As I've said, could quite happily talk to you all day long, but [inaudible 00:26:25]. But thanks again, Nic, and really look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Nic: [inaudible 00:26:33] You too. Thank you.
Charlotte: I really hope everybody enjoyed that and learned lots from Nic. If you enjoyed this episode, please do hit subscribe and remember to leave us a review. As always, your feedback is so important to me and I love hearing from you, so please do drop me an email with your thoughts. That brings us to the end of another episode, so until next time, please take care, and have a happy and healthy time.
Speaker 1: This episode has ended, but your journey towards a healthy and happy life continues. Head on over to DiabeticandHealthy.com, and join the conversation with other diabetics and their families. All the information in this episode is not designed to replace the advice from the health professional team looking after you and your diabetes. Before making any significant lifestyle changes, do consult them with your doctor.