You may wonder: What will it actually take to solve for your food struggles permanently?
With my clients, they don’t struggle to eat healthy because of the food actions they’re taking.
That is the symptom of a deeper cause. Their food struggles has to do with what’s leading them to take those actions in the first place.
When you believe food is the problem, you will reach for action-based methods to eat healthy. These are the diet protocols and meal plans. You will attempt to micromanage healthy eating actions into place.
If you’ve attempted these action-based solutions and it hasn’t worked long-term, your work is deeper. You will need to focus on the cause of your eating habits to solve for your food struggles. This is what I teach my clients in my coaching practice.
In this episode, I’m sharing the difference between action-based and causal-based solutions with food. Along with what’s necessary to solve for the cause of your eating habits permanently.
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Hello there. How is it going? So it’s funny. I am by nature, a pretty anxious person. I have anxiety and I’m very type a and my brain likes to be in control, which a lot of you listening to this podcast will be able to relate to. So it’s very healthy for me to try new things and to have hobbies where I use my hands, because that releases a lot of tension in my body.
So I’ve spent many years of my life learning how to manage my anxiety. So I’ve tried cooking, I’ve done art, I play instruments. I actually love building furniture, which a lot of people find crazy. I love it. So anything with my hands and I actually have a lot of skills because of this. I have a lot of random skills that you wouldn’t even believe. And recently I’ve taken up crocheting. So I don’t know if any of my listeners crochet, but there was a learning curve and I got a little frustrated, but part of me using my hands to manage my anxiety is it requires me to breathe into it, which really, really calms my nervous system. So I worked through it and I’m now crocheting sweaters for my dogs. and Taylor will just come home from work and I’ll have my glasses on in my sweats, crocheting sweaters for my dogs. So it’s been fantastic. I’m really loving it. And that’s been my jam lately, but I hope things are going well for you. And today I wanted to talk about action based, healthy eating. And if you have been listening to this podcast for some time, you may have heard me to action based methods with food. And really what I mean by this is when we focus on eating healthy or changing our eating habits based on how we’re taking action with food.
So maybe this is through a specific meal plan. It’s through specific meal timing. Maybe it’s a diet or weight loss regimen, but really it’s simple. You can just consider this changing what we eat based on everything outside of us. So micromanaging how we’re eating or the foods, and really I’m not in the business of demonizing these methods. So I’m not one to say that this is the wrong way to eat healthy because not true. This actually works really well for some people. And it’s likely that you’ve seen this work for some people, which can be very confusing because it may not be working for you. And I get a lot of comments that my practice, and this is a bit different because that is very much the philosophy I have is that everything, every possible solution for healthy eating will work for someone, but we want to find what works for you. So I personally do not think it is beneficial at all to demonize any methods that don’t work for you because they may work for someone. So we don’t want to create confusion around this action based methods, whether that’s a meal plan, a weight loss regimen, or a diet may work for some people a, but we can determine from your experience that it likely doesn’t work for you. And you’ll know it’s not working for you. I think if we’re just being really honest about it. So if we really look back at what we’ve tried, and if we’ve tried to maintain healthy eating actions with willpower and hustle and grit, it’s likely it’s not sustainable because we burn ourselves out. We fall off track and then we self sabotage and as mentioned, this is when we really try to micro manage healthy, eating into place with that really tight grip on it.
And then it just doesn’t work out. We inevitably release that grip. We fall off track and we don’t have the result we want, which can be really frustrating and painful because pretty much a all of these solutions given to us by the health industry are action based solutions for healthy eating. It’s just focused on what we’re eating everything outside of us. And this means that it will feel like something outside of us is the solution to having control with food. And this will not be new to you if you’ve been listening to this podcast, especially if you are my client, that is not what I teach. I teach each that healthy eating comes from having control within yourself, becoming someone who knows they have complete control with food, no matter what.
So you are not relying on the plans or the regimens or the instructions from someone outside of you as to what to eat. There’s nothing wrong with those action based methods, but we want to solve the root of the problem for you. We want to solve for why you actually don’t have the eating habits you want and why you struggle with food. And the reasons you eat the way you do now have nothing to do with things outside of you. But this is what you are solving for.
When you reach for action based methods. When you simply try and solve for the foods, that’s not the root of the problem. So you need to solve for the root cause, which is what’s causing you to eat the way you do. What’s leading you towards every decision you make with food, because what you end up eating the foods, or even the amount of foods is actually just a symptom of what led you to that decision. So what’s causing you to eat the way you do is internal. So this is understanding the way your brain and your body operate. When it comes to eating decisions and understanding. This is understanding the foundations of what it means to eat healthy naturally as a human being. So as mentioned, action based coaching is when you attempt to solve your food struggles based on the actions you are taking with food. And that’s where your focus is, what I teach is causal based coaching. So like the name implies, this is focusing on the cause of why you are taking action with food in the way you are now, what is driving your eating decisions. And when you’re not focused on causal coaching, the cause of your actions, you will be skipping steps. So right now, what this means is you’re likely focused on changing what you eat without even understanding or knowing emotionally and in your body. What’s driving you to take action with those foods.
So to put it more simply, you’ll create a meal plan at the beginning of the week for the foods you’re going to eat that week. And you’ll feel very motivated and accomplished ahead of time. It feels as good as done. And then what happens when we rely on doing those actions is we’re not accounting for emotionally, what will come up for us that will compel us to go off plan. And we’re not paying attention to the body cues we’re having that will tell us what it really needs to eat that week.
So we’re not checking in with our mind and our body at all. When we are deciding those food action, and we’re just not taught this, we are skipping steps and this is why it is not working. So we’re going to get into more specifically why it’s not working and what will be necessary to solve for the cause. But if this is your experience, I wanna offer that you just validate yourself for a hot second. Because what I see is I see so many women coming into this thinking everything’s gone wrong. That nothing will ever work because they can’t force the right actions with food into place. But if you are skipping over the mind and the body work as to what drives your eating decisions, of course it hasn’t worked. And of course it’s not working right now when focusing on the actions doesn’t work. And we’re in that place where we’ve tried everything, at least that’s how it feels. You’re going to be inclined to think that something is wrong with you. You will be compelled to beat yourself up. And I really want to invite you to have compassion and understanding for yourself.
Instead, all that has happened is that you were not presented a solution that focused on the cause you were given solutions that were focused on the actions outside of you, outside of what actually drives your eating decisions now to solve for the cause of your eating habits.
You will need to determine what is leading to your eating decisions now. So what’s leading to your eating decisions. Now are your mind and your body. So first you want to understand how your mind is driving your eating decisions based on your thoughts and your emotions. So as human beings, we are driven by our emotions. I know women like me, very type, a very logical. We really want to believe that we are driven by our logic and that we’re not very emotional. This can’t possibly be the case. If we are a living, breathing, human being as humans, we are driven by our emotions. And if we have this story that we’re just highly logical and that we’re not driven by our emotions, first of all, it can’t be true, but also a lot of suffering will happen because then when we are driven by our emotions and we act separately from our logic, we will think something is wrong with us.
And we are emotional beings, whether we realize it or not. And so in order to solve for the cause, we really need to understand our thoughts and emotions because they are why we feel compelled to take any action we take in our lives, especially with food because food is a readily available source of emotional comfort. It is a source of emotional comfort that we will always have access to because we need to eat to stay alive and food can effectively suppress uncomfortable emotions that we are feeling emotional, eating and overeating can suppress and uncomfortable feeling. So emotionally we will be driven to eat more than is necessary to eat more of the foods that comfort us and you guys, this is completely normal. I really want you to hear me when I say this, because I see women making this mean something is wrong with them all of the time. And I have been here too, but I really want to offer you that this is just not even close to accurate. Nothing can possibly be wrong with you. You are a perfectly functioning human being. If you are feeling compelled to emotionally eat, because we have a survival brain that does not want to experience uncomfortable things. It wants to be efficient, seek comfort and avoid pain. So it knows that food is a readily available source of removing that discomfort from our emotions. So eating based on our is something that as humans we will feel compelled to do at the most primitive level, it’s just having a survival brain. And the good news here is we do not have to listen and act on the urges we have to emotionally eat.
And this is a skill anyone can develop, and this can be done simply when we understand the specific thoughts and emotional experiences we have that are compelling us to eat more, that are compelling us to eat a certain way. So in a nutshell, this is just having specific awareness of your mind and your emotions in the most concrete way, and in own your eating habits. This is the foundational work that each client learns. So they develop the skill of having fine tuned awareness of their thoughts and their emotions that are compelling them to overeat.
There’s no confusion and there’s no gray area there. So then in that moment that they feel compelled to emotionally eat and they have that urge. They have that pull to eat more. They can say no to it because they understand and know that they either experience the emotion or suppress it with the foods. And the big difference here to understand is that we will all feel compelled to eat emotionally at one time or another. This is just being human, but there is a big difference between how you feel held to eat emotionally and what you want to eat for your health.
How you feel compelled to eat emotionally is going to feel very urgent. And it’s going to feel out of your control. If you haven’t developed the skills I’m referring to here, the latter, which is what you want to eat for your health, logically is very neutral. So these are the food decisions you want to make for your health or weight loss or whatever other goal you have with your body.
Many of you are believing that how you feel compelled to eat emotionally is what you want to be eating. So you’re mixing these two things, which is why you are identifying as that emotional eater. Or maybe you’re just identifying as someone who isn’t in control with food. And none of this is true. There’s how you’re feeling compelled to eat emotionally. And there’s what you want to be eating and how want to be eating based on your goals. We will always have those two things separately within all of us. You just need to learn to separate those emotional urges with food from your once with food. So I went deep into the mind piece, but this is one of the pillars of solving for the cause of your eating habits. And with just this piece, and even what I presented you here, you can really see how only focusing on the actions with healthy eating aren’t even scratching the surface of what it takes for you to have control with food.
You have just been missing a huge part of the equation. Not because there’s anything wrong with you, but because none of us were taught this in the beginning. This is what I actually creates control with food in a way where you’re not having to kill yourself to have it. Of course, it hasn’t been working for you. I want you to validate yourself for this. We have just been totally unconscious and unaware of the emotional piece within ourselves. All right? And then there’s understanding how your body drives you to make eating decisions. So the mind and emotions create urgency with food. This is where overeating and emotional eating lives, but for the body, what drives you to make eating decisions is not urgent. The cues that your body provides you are very neutral. So for most of you, this means that your body cues with food will be very diminished right now because you’ll have been overeating and emotionally eating. So those body cues are no longer making much of an appearance because we haven’t been communicating with them. And if they do make an appearance for you, it’s likely only when you feel very hungry or very full it’s at the extreme level. When those cues are screaming loudly at you, because we haven’t been listening. So once you’ve solved four, the emotional piece, and you’re no longer overeating, you’ll notice all of the cues, your body has naturally to tell you what to eat and your body always knows better than anything outside of you. It will tell us when to start eating, stop eating and which foods it finds most satisfying and pleasurable. What we’ve been doing with action based healthy eating is not communicating with our body at all. So we have been problem solving with our logic rather than doing the internal check of seeing what our body is telling us, seeing what our body actually needs. We have been piecing together meal plans and diet regimens without considering what our body actually will need in any given moment with food. So this is a really big difference in solving for the cause. The answers you have within you versus the symptom, which is the actions you take with food, everything outside of you solving for the cause of your eating habits requires that you have a close, a intentional and intimate relationship with your emotions and your body cues. This is the only way you can become a naturally healthy eater who doesn’t need to rely on meal plans or regimented eating. If you want to rely on those things, Theyre, there is nothing wrong with that, but I’m speaking directly to those of you who want to eat healthy naturally without fuss, without it being a huge focus for you in your life. That is possible. If you develop the skills that the focus on the cause, which will mean you will need to give up making action based methods, the top priority, and you will need to focus on the inner work because the result that is possible when you focus on the cause this deeper is you eliminate confusion. Because right now you may have a fair amount of confusion happening when it comes to your eating habits. So you don’t know exactly why you eat the way you do. You don’t know exactly what to focus on to solve for your food struggles. When you focus on the cause first, you will always know the cause of your eating habit. And I want you to think about what that would do for you right now. Even if your food struggles aren’t solved overnight, and it takes time to create those changes, because it does imagine what would change for you. If today you knew exactly why you were eating the way you have been in your life and what was necessary to forever solve for that to have control with food, no matter what. And this is actually the first thing my clients and I work on together, and a massive shift happens very quickly. They immediately feel lighter emotionally because all of a sudden when they determine that, cause for themselves, they’re no longer making their food struggles personal. So they know where their work is and it settles the overthinking and ruminating part of their brain that has been happening when it comes to healthy eating. So all of that is to say, never diminish the impact that is available to you. When you eliminate the confusion around healthy eating and what it takes to have control with food. This is what happens when you solve for that.
Cause. So to summarize this concept, there is nothing wrong with action based methods of healthy eating. There are many into the individuals who can focus on those approaches alone and see success. A lot of you listening will have examples of people in your lives who do this, and they’re very successful. These are the people we look at and we’re like, what do you have that I don’t I’m confus used. If you’ve been attempting those same action based methods for some time, whether that’s months or years, I want to invite you to give yourself the permission to know that those methods were never meant to work for you. As in, they were never designed to solve the root of your eating struggles. If you’ve been picking up action based methods of healthy eating and failing them long term, it just means your work is internal. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. And it doesn’t mean that the solution is going to be any less clear. It just means to solve for your particular food.
You will need to focus on the cause on what’s leading you to certain food decisions from your mind and your body. It can be the simple, so many women who come to me for help think solving for their eating struggles will be, oh, so very complicated because they believe they’re a special case and this is normal for us to believe, but it’s never true. The causal based solutions are simple.
There is structure and they’re just different than what you’ve been doing now. So if this resonates with you, I’m here to help you and support you. Keep learning with me in this podcast or join on your eating habits. If you want that more structured process and coaching to solve this problem, because it is all solvable, my friends. All right, it, thank you for being here with me today.
I hope you have a lovely rest of your week and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.