In my coaching practice, we focus strongly on how our feelings affect our eating decisions.
Today, I want to introduce you to the sneakiest, most dangerous emotion that will keep you stuck with food if you’re not aware of its presence.
The emotion I’m referring to is apathy.
Apathy is created when we’re believing thoughts such as “This won’t work”, “I’ve tried this before” or “Nothing is going to change”.
Without managing this apathy, it will feel logical and safe to remain stuck with your eating habits.
In this episode, I’m sharing how apathy comes up with my clients when they’re working to change their eating choices and exactly what you need to know to prevent apathy from keeping you stuck with food.
Hello there, my lovely friend. Welcome back to the podcast this week. Life is good today. I have the windows open letting the breeze in while I record this podcast. It’s just lovely. And it’s always a special day when I can do this, since it’s usually too hot in Florida to open the windows. But today it is a quote unquote “cool” 80 degrees out with a breeze. So the windows are open. And for us here, 80 degrees marks the Fall weather, so super exciting for us Floridians. To us, this is a cool day. That being said, I hope your week is going really well. I know for many of my clients this time of the year can feel like the calm before the storm a bit, since it’s the couple months before the holiday season. Which means, at this time of the year my clients and I often begin working on how they’ll manage their eating habits around the holidays and the stress that can come up during that time. In my program, women learn to master the tools for natural healthy eating, so that means they learn to listen to their bodies when it comes to food and manage their minds around their eating decisions. So, in this case, this means learning to manage their anxiety and stress around work so they can continue to make progress with healthy eating, no matter the circumstances during the holidays that occur. So, if you foresee yourself needing some extra support with healthy eating during the holidays, I highly recommend if you’ve been considering joining Own Your Eating Habits, to apply now so you can have plenty of time to learn and master the skills I teach you inside. That way, you’ll enter this upcoming holiday season feeling much more empowered and in control with food, all while being able to enjoy the yummy foods that are present around the holidays. Because you can feel in control with food and enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Or whichever holiday dinner you can your families celebrate. Now, let’s get into today’s topic. This is a good one. And on this podcast we talk about a lot of feelings and how your feelings affect your eating decisions. But today, I want to talk about one specific emotion that is very sneaky. Probably the most sneaky emotion that can keep you stuck with food. And this emotion, as you’ve gathered from the title of this podcast, is apathy. The emotion of apathy, if you’re not aware of it, will keep you forever stuck with food. So, in this episode, I’m going to share what apathy with food looks like exactly, why it’s keeping you stuck with food, and what will be necessary for you to move out of food apathy so you can create the eating habits you want. Alright? So, first I want to briefly discuss how most of us think about emotions. And most of us only view emotions in terms of positive and negative emotions. That’s it. We just think of emotions as being in one of these two categories. And really, here’s what we’re saying when we view emotions as negative or positive. Because emotions can’t actually be negative or positive. What we’re really saying is that there’s comfortable emotions that we want to experience in our bodies and there’s uncomfortable emotions that we don’t want to experience in our bodies. So, comfortable emotions may be love, confidence, gratitude, excitement – things that are emotionally heightened but feel really, really good. Uncomfortable emotions may be things like doubt, shame, guilt, regret, sadness – things that are also emotionally heightened but don’t feel so good. The one’s we’d honestly rather not experience. Now, this isn’t the only way to define our emotions. You can also define emotions as useful or non-useful. And this isn’t always determined by whether they’re comfortable or not. There can be emotions that are comfortable but not useful to you and there can be emotions that are really uncomfortable but are useful to you. You’ll know if an emotion is useful or non-useful based on whether it compels you to take action in the way you want. So, my clients become ninjas at this in my coaching program so they can feel compelled to make the food decisions that they want to be making. But, for example, the emotion of courage isn’t comfortable, but it’s incredibly useful to get a result that you want. The emotion of comfort or safety is obviously, really comfortable, but it’s not always useful to get the result that you want when trying to achieve a goal. Non-useful emotions keep you still and stagnant, which is what your brain really wants. And useful emotions allow you to move forward with the actions you want to be taking. With your goals. So, there’s positive or comfortable emotions, and there are negative or uncomfortable emotions. And then all emotions, no matter how they feel in your body, can be useful or non-useful. Now, let’s talk about the emotions that don’t feel negative or positive. These are the emotions that are oftentimes overlooked. These are neutral emotions. As in, they don’t really provide much of a vibration in your body. As I like to say, there’s not a lot of drama with these emotions. They’re more level in your body. Now, these can be the most effective emotions when it comes to taking action and changing your eating habits. Some of the most effective neutral emotions I see are calm, focused, certain – neutral emotions that aren’t as heightened that make it easier to take intentional action with food. Everything just feels a bit more stable. These are examples of neutral emotions that can be very, very useful to your eating habits. A lot of things can be accomplished from these emotions. And, actually, my clients succeed the most with their eating habits from neutral emotions rather than positive emotions. Because it feels very stable. So, neutral emotions can be a superpower. We’ll have to do another episode just strictly on the power of neutral emotions. Noted. But, there is a neutral emotion that can keep you stuck with food, or any goal you set, without even realizing it. It’s a very, very non-useful emotion. And it’s very common. That emotion, as you may have guessed, is apathy. Apathy is the most sneaky, most non-useful emotion that will come up for you in your healthy eating journey. And chances are, you will have some healthy eating apathy going on for you right now. Google defines apathy as “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” And I do believe that this definition is entirely accurate. This is how it presents itself with my clients when they’re experiencing total apathy when it comes to healthy eating. And my clients will come to me when they first join my program telling me that they’re not moving forward with healthy eating and they feel totally stuck. They’re not sure why and they’re convinced something must be wrong with them. Spoiler alert, nothing is ever wrong with you. You just have a human brain. And a lot of the time, like a lot of the time, these women are just experiencing the emotion of apathy when it comes to changing their eating habits. And apathy, like every other emotion we talk about on this podcast, doesn’t come from anything outside of you. It comes from your thinking. From your thoughts. And remember, your thoughts and beliefs about your eating habits will be based on the evidence your brain has gathered from your past. That’s how beliefs are created. From past data. In other words, your beliefs about your eating habits are based on everything that hasn’t worked for you in the past with food. So, naturally, when you try to eat healthy or maybe you join my program and begin something new, your brain’s going to have thoughts about it. It’s going to have all of the opinions. Such as “This isn’t going to work for me”, “I’ve already tried everything”, “This won’t really last”, “We’ve never done this long-term before”, “I won’t keep this up” – things like that. Now, these thoughts don’t sound too pretty, but let’s keep it real here. When we know that your brain bases it’s beliefs on past data, we can kind of see why your brain may believe these things about you and your eating habits now, right? Let’s have your brain’s back. Now, for some of you, these types of thoughts may actually create doubt, which is a negative emotion that’s really uncomfortable. So that can be the case as well. But, for many of you, you will experience similar thoughts to these, that will produce the feeling of apathy. And apathy isn’t heightened or obvious in your body. It doesn’t really feel positive or negative. It kind of just feels like a lot of nothingness. My client’s often describe it as a numb feeling. And here’s the reason why this emotion is so dangerous. And why you never want to be making food decisions from this emotion. Because, this emotion is very, very, very comfortable. It’s, once again, not super positive or negative. It’s just kind of there. And because it’s so comfortable and neutral, it will keep you stuck if you’re not aware of it. And when you’re not aware of this apathy and where it’s coming from, this emotion will feel almost like certainty in your body. Which means, the thoughts that create the apathy will seem almost like facts to you. So, there are facts and then there’s thoughts and emotions. A lot of the times we equate stating facts as feeling very neutral. And when we state beliefs, that’s when it creates heightened emotions that feel positive or negative. Where we experience some type of vibration in our body. But, with apathy, there won’t be much of a vibration at all. So, clients will come to me thinking that their thoughts that create apathy are facts. That their apathy is an emotion that should be taken action from and listened to. This is so sneaky. Now, I’m going to give you an example of how this has shown up for my clients so it’s really clear to you. A really common example is when a client comes to me saying that they’ve tried following a food plan for the week and then it just doesn’t work out. They feel really stuck. So, in coaching, a lot of exploration and digging is involved here where we go deep with their thoughts and emotions, but here’s the conclusion we generally get to. I will ask them how they felt right before going off their food plan. Right before they quit. I want to know what emotions were present there. And they’ll tell me that they didn’t really feel much of anything. That they just stopped following the plan, they quit, and they’re not really sure why. A lot of them will come up with stories after they do this and quit, where they beat themselves up and think “Maybe I didn’t really want this”, “Maybe I’m not capable of eating healthy” – but I always let them know that this is never the case. It’s not that they didn’t really want to eat healthy or that they’re not capable. They didn’t follow the food plan for the week for a legitimate reason. And the reason is always emotional. Always. It’s never logical, you guys. So, I’ll ask them to go back to right before they stopped following the food plan, to that emotion of nothingness, and I’ll ask them to tell me what they were thinking in that moment. Almost all of them will tell me that they had some variation of the thought “This isn’t going to work out anyways”. So, they quit. And when we dig some more and we evaluate what they’re feeling when they think this thought, it’s just total apathy. It’s just neutral nothingness. They feel zero driving force to following through with that food plan. In their mind, it’s not even this heavy doubt that’s occurring. It’s just like “Oh no. There’s no point in doing this. No way. It’s not going to work anyways”. It feels like the most neutral and logical thought process in the world. In fact, so much so that most of the clients don’t even know it’s happening for them. So, of course, what do we all do from apathy? We do nothing. We quit. It creates total inaction. And then of course, what do you prove to your brain when you don’t take action from apathy? What evidence do you provide to yourself? You prove to your brain, once again, that there’s no point in trying and that it’s not going to work anyways. Because you took action from that apathy, you give your brain legitimate reasons to keep believing that “This isn’t going to work out”. This, right here, this is the cycle with food so many of you find yourselves in. It’s why you’re not following through with your food plans and it just feels like a lot of nothingness. It just feels like you’re totally stuck. Really evaluate whether this is the case for you. If so, you’re a perfectly functioning human. It just means you’ve been taking action with food from apathy. Which doesn’t serve you. Something else I’ll add is that a lot of the time, this apathy won’t be very obvious to you. So, in the previous example, this client had the thought “This isn’t going to work out anyways” when she tried to take action with her food plan. In that moment, this apathy will be so conditioned for you, that it won’t present itself so obviously. You may not have that exact belief come up in the moment. Instead, your brain may present excuses. Such as, “I’ll try again next week”, “I don’t have the ingredients I need”, “This takes too much time”, “This is too complicated” – whatever excuse sounds most convincing to your brain. So, right before you don’t follow through with a food plan, it’s likely that very seemingly logical excuses come up for you. And you listen to those excuses and quit. But, those excuses aren’t the core beliefs that created your apathy in that moment. That’s where coaching is really valuable because we can dig deeper. For the client example I gave, she was having excuses at that moment as to why she couldn’t follow through with her food plan. But, the reason the excuses were coming up and the reason she was experiencing apathy was because she was genuinely believing “This isn’t going to work out anyways”. So just need that in mind. Notice how this can come up for you. Now, I want to present you with some realness here. To move through this apathy and eat healthy, to make progress with your eating habits, you’re going to have to be willing to be very uncomfortable. Firstly, because apathy is very comfortable. So to move out of it will require some discomfort. Not in a punishing way where you’re strongarming yourself away from the apathy, because that’s willpower. But, in a way where you’re willing to process that apathy and move forward with it. You will need to be willing to take action with food in a way that your brain considers extremely pointless. Because your brain will in no way be convinced that “It’s going to work” or “It’s going to last”. I will say that the purpose of this podcast is of course to let you know that naturally healthy eating is possible for you, always. Because it is. But, the purpose of this podcast is to also be honest with you about what it’s going to take. There is no way around the real work. And it’s all possible for you when you’re willing to be uncomfortable and move through the apathy, rather than letting it keep you stuck. My friend, if this apathy is something you really struggle with and you feel stuck with your eating habits, I invite you to apply to my coaching program Own Your Eating Habits. This is where you can receive the support you need to move through this apathy. You gain access to an entire curriculum, coaching calls, and on-going access to me as your coach. It truly is the safest, most valuable container for you to get unstuck with food and make the changes you want. You can apply at KatRentas.com/coaching. Enrollment is now open for the Fall season. I love you, I hope you have an incredible rest of your day, 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.