Deliberate Failure | Kat Rentas

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HINT: It has nothing to do with discipline or willpower.

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Nov 17

Deliberate Failure

Deliberate Failure Kat Rentas

You want to change your results with food and body permanently. And, it’s possible that you’ve tried and failed to do this for quite some time. This means you likely want a blueprint and roadmap that guarantees your success. You want to ensure that you won’t ever fail again in the process.

Here’s the bad news and good news.

The bad news? Avoiding failures and setbacks isn’t possible. You will fail. You will do it wrong. You will have moments when you set a food goal and don’t meet the mark.

The good news? Failures are necessary for your success with food and body. And, the more you’re willing to fail, and evaluate those failures, the faster your success will be. They are the most important metric of success. They are the breadcrumbs to your life-long results with food and body.

In this episode, I’m offering you a new perspective on failures when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight. You will learn how to define failure in a useful way and how to “deliberately fail” towards the results you want.

When you learn to tolerate failure, you learn to create a version of healthy eating and weight loss that fits you. This means, you’re only a certain number of failures away from the results you want.

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Episode Transcript

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Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast This week I am so happy that you are here. And today I’m going to talk about the concept of deliberate failure, , which I know may sound confusing, maybe a little extreme or aggressive to fail deliberately and to fail on purpose. And I’m going to explain what I mean by this to deliberately fail. But really that’s exactly what I am talking about in today’s episode.
So I’m going to open you up to the concept of failing deliberately in your food and body journey and why that’s tactically the best approach you can take. So I’m going to offer a very new perspective for most of you when it comes to failure, and I want you to keep a very open mind because that is my goal for today’s episode. I want you to completely change your relationship to failure because we all have one, especially when we have struggled to eat healthy and lose weight long term.
We will have a very specific relationship to our failures based on this conditioning, and for most of us, it’s going to be quite negative. So I want you to use this episode as a resource for you to shift your relationship with failure from negative to useful. And I’ll get into the nitty gritty and explain what I mean by this and why that’s necessary here in this episode. So what we know is that you want to change your results with food and body permanently, right?
That’s what we all want. And it’s possible that you’ve tried and failed, tried and failed to do this for quite some time. You have been on a journey, and this means that you likely want a blueprint and a roadmap and a syllabus that guarantees your success, right? So you want to ensure that you will not ever fail again in the process and you’re going to get it right.
And what happens with this when we feel very attached to finding a process that will 100% work for a lot of us, it’s because our relationship to failure is very fear-based. We really do think that failing in a process of healthy eating or weight loss is a negative that should be avoided because how we perceive failure is that a failure means our progress is derailed and that we lose progress that we’ve made.
And I just want to take a moment when you think about failure in this way, to acknowledge the pressure that this is going to bring with your eating habits and your weight loss journey, if you perceive a failure or a setback as derailing your progress or moving you backwards in your progress, just take a moment. I know I had this definition of failure and I still catch my brain sometimes. If I am attaching failure as going backwards or derailing my progress, it puts so much pressure to not fail, right?
So if you really believe failures are to be avoided, so in the moment of a failure, if you believe this, what’s happening is you are already rejecting your humanness ahead of time. So if you believe failure should be avoided in your journey towards healthy eating or weight loss, what happens with that belief is you are already rejecting the human mistakes and human errors and human flaws you’re going to have ahead of time because failures are inevitable.
They are a product of your humanness where you’re going to do it wrong, you’re going to try and fail. So I watch my clients do this too because they are perfectly functioning human beings and they will say, cat, can’t you just give me some more blueprints, some more materials, some more things so I can just anticipate all of the failures I’ll have to work on ahead of time and I can start solving for it now, and I love this question because I think it’s relatable for all of us.
And no, unfortunately I cannot do this, right? No one can do this for you when it comes to your healthy eating journey and personal weight loss journey. Just because you are an individual leader, you’re an individual human who’s going to have a very particular set of individual setbacks and failures, it’s going to be unique to your journey and your experience, and that is all part of the perfectly designed process of you creating permanent changes with food and body.
The failures you will come up against in your journey are useful and necessary, and I’m going going to get into why. But these moments of failure in your journey can be really painful when you have a relationship with failure that you believe it should be avoided. So I want to talk about how you listening, how you personally define failure. And this is something you can consider in real time today.
It may not be something you’ve ever specifically considered before, and I really would like you to open yourself up to it. Here’s what I see in terms of failure being defined. The official definition of failure is something I want to start off with so we can have the facts of it first, the facts of what failure is defined as is not creating a desired or expected result. So it’s very simple, right? We just don’t create a desired or expected result that can be classified as a failure.
What I see more often is we’ll take this definition and then we’ll make it very personal. So we acknowledge that a failure is not creating a desired or expected result, but then we look at that moment and we turn it into a negative experience that produces shame for us. So we will have a judgment of ourselves in that moment that we observe a failure.
And what’s interesting is so many of us, rather than observing a failure as something outside of us that occurs, we will think a failure exists as who we are. So rather than thinking a failure occurred, we’ll think I failed, right? This is a belief that we will have about ourselves, and I wanna take a moment because it will register different for every human to think for you personally, the emotional experience that you have when you believe about your failures, I failed, right?
It is just so personal, and I want you to notice how it actually is a judgment we are having of ourselves in most cases because for most of us, it’s going to produce an emotion like shame or inadequacy or doubt even. And what we’re really saying about ourselves in this moment is, I’m not capable. Something is wrong with me. This result won’t happen for me.
It’s not possible. So notice how there is neutral failure with the definition of failure, not creating a desired or expected result. This is the math, and then there’s what we make that math mean about us. It’s what you make it mean about yourself, where you single yourself out as being wrong for that failure. Now, we do not learn how to do this by ourselves. We got to this relationship with failure through conditioning.
So we learned this from diet, culture and hustle culture that tells us we should always eat the right things to lose weight, and that we should always do our best. So diet culture tells us that we always have to eat clean to get the results we want. We need to have more willpower and discipline that doesn’t leave room for failure, that’s not included in that equation. Hustle culture tells us we need to do what we’re capable of and do our best to get the results we want.
This is highly encouraged in all of us since we were children. That doesn’t really leave room for failure being useful, right? So just notice this. Most of us were conditioned heavily in a way with food, with our bodies, with life where failure is seen as not useful. And we’re taught to believe it is shameful that if we fail, we have permission to believe I’m a failure, which that can only ever be a judgment of yourself, and it can’t really ever be true.
There’s no way we can make that thought. I’m a failure factual. We can fail, but we cannot be failures. That is just a definition you are attaching to your self-worth. And we all do this in the beginning, but this is where we can start to look at the experience of failure that we’re having with food and body, and we can start to detach ourselves from it emotionally.
So here’s why this is really important, and I’m walking through how we personally define failure because I want you to think about what if it wasn’t possible to ultimately fail? So if you define failure neutrally, that failure is just a moment where we didn’t create a desired or expected result. If we define failure in that way, we cannot ultimately fail because defining failure neutrally shows failure for exactly what it is.
It is a singular moment in time where you didn’t show up or take action in the way you originally want it to. And it’s not a moment that defines you who you are, how capable you are of the results you want, or even the progress you are making with your results. As a coach, I have helped so many different humans, women create the eating habits they want and lose weight long term. It has been a privilege to watch these women go through their different journeys and not one of them got to the results they want without a number of failures.
It’s just not possible. But what’s so interesting is coaching every client, they really believe that their failures at every moment define them and that it defines the progress that they’re making and somehow they’ve gone backwards. And this is where coaching is so useful and powerful because as a coach, I get to show them their mind and get them unstuck from this belief that that moment means something about their progress, that it means they’re going backwards.
It does not mean these things. Your failures, those moments do not define you. And if you do not make your failure neutral and you make it personal, you will believe that a failure means your goals aren’t possible, that it’s all over for you, that it means you are stuck because I see it with my clients, you are taking a single moment of failure and making it mean I am the problem.
I’m not capable. I am a failure. This is why failure will feel like there’s a finality to it for you, right? So if failure feels like something big, scary and like something you need to avoid at all costs, it’s likely because you are seeing it as something permanent when it occurs. Because in a sense, failure is permanent. If your definition of failure is that you are a failure and something is wrong with you, see what I mean here?
It’s all about how you are defining failure. You are not defining failure as a moment in time that is temporary. You’re defining failure as a personal flaw. That means something about you, your progress and the results you want. The really good news is that something can’t be wrong with you. You cannot possibly not be capable of the results you want. These are all just judgements.
Your brain is offering you. My brain offers them to me too. These are just thoughts that produce shame and they’re your brain’s way to opt out of responsibility and keep you stagnant. Remember, your primitive brain will love doing that. It wants to do what’s easy and efficient, and what’s easy and efficient is to keep you exactly where you are. And judging yourself for your failures rather than evaluating them is a perfect way to do that.
So do not stay unconscious to this part of your brain that we’re looking at here, this part of your brain that judges you when you fail. Notice when your brain wants to make failures a bigger deal than they are. And it’s not that we’re invalidating the emotional experience of that because that can be hard, but we have to know that failures are okay, they are safe, they are necessary.
Know this in your logical mind, but just know that just because you know this logically doesn’t mean you won’t have a brain that tries to convince you that a moment of failure is negative and personal. My brain does it too, but practice tapping into that higher self that can remind that fear part of your brain, that failure is just part of the progress. It is necessary. So it’s important to know that perfection doesn’t create results.
Progress creates results. And we will hear this often, right? Progress not perfection, and logically we’ll know it makes sense, but there will be this ingrained part of us that is emotionally attached to this idea of perfection. I find this a lot with all of my high achieving women. We all really think that we are the a plus students and that we can do a plus work all of the time when it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, and we really just don’t account for our humanness a lot.
And so accounting for your humanness is going to be a big part of this for you because progress is what will create your results. And progress includes failure, right? It’s not always sexy, I like to say, because how we make progress is through trial and error. And you can picture how differently you would allow yourself to make progress and create the results with your eating habits and body that you want. If you allowed yourself to go through a process of trial and error.
So I always like to say picture a scientist in a lab creating anything so they’re not seeing setbacks and what didn’t work as personal to them as a human. Sure, they may have feelings about it, but it’s not singling themselves out as wrong for the process of the experiment. They go about the trial and error from curiosity, fascination, and deliberateness.
So this is the shift I want you to focus on what you are terming as a failure. Scientists are terming as trial and error. And I know this is a somewhat cliche example, but my mind really does go to a typical picture of a scientist in their lab with their pipe, pets, flasks, all of the things. Yes, there are emotions that come with the process of becoming a naturally healthy eater and losing weight coaching is a highly supportive resource for that.
But what would be possible in terms of your results if you showed up as the scientist with failure versus your own worst critic? What if the goal was to experiment and fail as much as possible to find your answers so you can move forward after each failure and create the results so you can speed up the process of trial and error? Because my friends, any result worth having is created from trial and error.
It is not created from doing things perfectly and becoming stagnant in the face of failures and setbacks. Know this. I want you to look at any device or item that you see around you. So imagine the people who created that iPhone, that computer, the car you may be driving, even a pen or a pencil, right? Do you think they felt attached to perfection when they were creating the results of that item?
No. Right? They expected trial and error to occur, but they had a different relationship to doing that. That just wasn’t personal. We will have a personal relationship because of course, we’re talking about our eating habits. We’re talking about our body. So much emotional baggage has been conditioned in us when it comes to this topic. But what I wanna offer here is we can balance the uncomfortable emotions that come up with the useful emotions we can have with the trial and errors of our journey.
How you create the balance between these two emotional experiences is from awareness. So you must be aware of the negative relationship you have to failure. You must be aware of your own inner critic and know that this doesn’t need to feel like suffering to do this. It actually relieves the emotional suffering if you can hold witness to the negative relationship to failure that you are having. How you do this is you decide to be deliberate about the results you’re creating.
First and foremost, you decide to be the scientist of yourself. You decide to take action and move forward. You decide to proceed with trial and error, and you plan ahead of time for emotionally what will come up for you when you have a setback or fail, when the error part of trial and error occurs in those moments, you want to observe what thoughts or opinions you have about yourself and your progress.
So what sentences run across your mind? What emotions come up as a result of that thinking? This awareness is crucial for everyone, and it will be crucial for you because first, you will need to begin teaching yourself that this emotional experience you are having isn’t personal, personal. It’s just coming from thoughts in your mind. It’s coming from conditioning, and it’s coming from how your brain perceives that moment of failure. Separating yourself from your primitive mind like this can make these experiences less personal and it will be easier to stop singling yourself out with your food failures.
When you see it’s just your brain having a judgment. You also need to have this awareness so you don’t react from those thoughts, from those feelings, because that ultimate failure we referred to where we ultimately fail, that only really happens when you give up, when you forever quit, when you stop being a steward of the results you really truly desire with food and your body, this is what you avoid and fear.
This is what you think your single failures mean, that you’re giving up, that you’re quitting, and that you’re putting your results out of your reach. How you have power over, whether you do that or not, is when you become aware of your relationship to your setbacks and you decide to witness those emotions rather than act on them. Meaning when you have a setback and your brain wants to tell you that it’s not working, I’m a failure, I’m not capable, and you are feeling an adequacy, shame, whatever that uncomfortable emotion is, you’re choosing to not participate in the act of beating yourself up.
So you hold witness to those thoughts and feelings. You allow them to exist, and then you keep the course anyway. You keep moving forward. You keep being the scientist conducting experiments through trial and error, and you never quit, which means you really can’t ever fail if you have this awareness.
So the bad news is that avoiding failures and setbacks is I possible you are going to fail. You will do it wrong. You will have moments when you set a food goal and you do not meet the mark. And most of the women who join my program are a lot like me, and they really do think that their journey will be a little bit different, where they don’t have a myriad of failures along the way, and it’s just never true.
They’re going to have all of the failures. But this brings me to the good news that these clients always end up learning when they’ve created the results they want. Failures are the most important metric of your success. The more you are willing to fail and evaluate those failures, the faster your success will be. Failures are the breadcrumbs to your permanent success with food and body.
And you can fail deliberately, my friends, not in an effort way where you’re giving up, not that, not the ultimate failure I’m referring to, where you throw your results to the wind and give up, which if you are here listening to this podcast, you have not given up. So there’s that. We can rule that out. But you are deliberately approaching failure in a way where you’re like, game on. I am here to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t.
Let’s go. So I want you to picture someone who goes all in, in learning how to build a new skill for the first time, or they learn something new. So , I have a favorite Disney movie. Well, it’s between a couple. I really love Frozen, which with so many moms, I coach hate that movie because of how much their kids want to watch it.
So in that case, I get it. I do love Frozen, but I also really love Mulan. And for those who have seen this Disney movie, you know how great it is. But for those that haven’t, it’s the story of a Chinese woman in an imperial dynasty, and she lives with her family, her father and mother. And what happens is a war and an invasion comes upon their country where only the men are required and allowed to fight. And her father is very old and very weak.
So she knows that if her father goes off to war, he will almost certainly die. So she cuts her hair, she takes his armor in the middle of the night and she leaves, goes off to the war camps, and she disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place, and she gets there and she has to learn combat strategy, all of the skills that being in a war entails, and she has zero skills.
She’s learning to fight alongside these men that have been trained, and she comes in last place every time she fails over and over and over again, and there’s this moment where she’s about to give up. So she gets ready to go home, and she has this moment where she decides to go back and she decides to go all in on her failures, and she decides to never give up. And instead of getting discouraged from her failures and going back home, she has this shift where she embraces the failures and she believes in her ability to rise and to move forward.
So you can understand why it’s my favorite Disney movie. Everyone in the world has seen this movie, but in the off chance you haven’t go watch it. She ends up surpassing as a woman, the men in her camp. She builds her skills and she becomes a leader.
She excels, she figures it out. And I know this is a Disney movie, y’all, but this is what I mean when I say deliberate failure. You go all in on the progress you make when you’re willing to experience failures and setbacks for however many times it takes for you to create the results you want. What would change if this was your experience, if you were able to change your perspective on your failures with food and your body when it comes to losing weight, when you have this perspective, you will expect failure.
You will expect your progress to look a little messy. Your timeline of progress is directly related to how much you are willing to fail. Most of you like me or conditioned to believe that failure is negative, that it will hold you back and it will sabotage you. You only hold yourself back and sabotage your progress when you make your failures negative, when you make them mean something has gone wrong.
You have the capacity and the ability to support yourself through your failures, evaluate them and create the results you want with that information. What if you had full permission to not make your failures personal, to not make them negative, to see them as useful? How would you show up differently to your food and weight loss progress with that permission? All right, my loves I so hope this was valuable to you today.
Go deliberately fail. Be the scientist, , be like Mulan, and go create the results you want. I love you. I will talk to you next week.

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Kat Rentas, Healthy Eating Coach

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 placeYou can read my full story here.