What is your relationship to evaluating progress with food and body?
Do you obsessively watch what you eat, then wait for the results with your body to appear?
Or, do you evaluate the root causes of your food and body decisions.
Most of us will feel compelled to hyper-focus on a healthy eating end-result and wait for it to appear.
In this episode, I’m sharing how to overcome evaluation fear, so you can begin evaluating progress in the most effective way.
When you do this, the path towards your food and body goals becomes clear and intentional.
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. I really do have the perfect podcasting environment right now. So I’m in my office as usual, but it’s thunderstorming outside. So it’s super, super dark and gray in my office. The only light I have are a couple of candles here. So I’m really setting the mood today. And today I want to talk about evaluating progress, which I think for some of us is either the least sexy topic, because it sounds really boring and dry, or for some of my people who are type a perfectionist, this may sound like the juicies topic.
So I guess it all depends on your perspective, but no matter where you’re starting from today, I want to talk about why evaluating your progress with healthy eating with food with body is 100% non-negotiable in order for you to create the results you want.
And I think something that’s really valid that may come up for us is we have a relationship to evaluating progress. That’s very punishing and restrictive. So we equate evaluating progress with doing it right or achieving perfection. And that’s actually not why we want to evaluate progress. We want to evaluate progress, not to just see where things are going well and where we’re doing things, quote unquote, right?
But we wanna see what’s not working and where we’re doing it wrong because actually identifying why you’re doing something wrong is the gold. It is the juicy goodness of evaluating your progress because in finding out what’s not working in what you are doing, you’re learning something new about yourself and you’re figuring out what makes you tick. And I think what makes evaluating progress different in my coaching container for my clients is evaluating progress is a way for them to engage with self exploration, because with food and body, to get the results you want, no matter who you are, there is not one right way that works for everyone.
There’s not even one right way that works for you. There are a million different possibilities that can bring you the results you want inevitably, without a ton of your time and effort. But we want to find your way. And the context shift that happens with evaluating progress is when you notice setbacks or you notice things that aren’t working, we get to find what’s not working for you.
What isn’t meeting you, where you’re at, what’s coming up, that isn’t necessary for you to struggle with. So for example, I’m gonna keep it really simple. Let’s say you are following a specific diet or meal plan and you fall off track midweek and you don’t complete the meal plan. What tends to happen when we evaluate progress is we think I didn’t have the willpower. I did it wrong. I fell off track and we make us wrong based on what we see and what we evaluate instead, how my clients evaluate progress is if they see something not working, we want to find why and what didn’t work for you in the case of a diet or meal plan.
I think the most obvious thing is that that method of eating that you were trying to stick to didn’t match with what you really wanted or what was actually accessible for you with food in that time. But I’m hoping this perspective shift makes sense. Evaluating progress is meant to work with you and validate where you’re at. It’s not meant to work against you and judge you and punish you for doing things wrong.
And that is the very first thing that needs to happen in order for you to be willing, to even evaluate progress at all. You have to make a promise with yourself that you will evaluate progress in a safe and healthy manner where you get up from that evaluation feeling more supported than you did sitting down. And what tends to happen is we use evaluations as a way to beat ourselves up rather than a way to support us.
And that is something we do have control over. You can decide to have your back no matter what setbacks happen, or no matter how much you fail. And this is a non-negotiable to getting the results you want. As I, I often say we can’t really get away with being mean to ourselves on the way to the results we want with food and body, it will stop working. So the good news is supporting yourself and being nicer to yourself is that non-negotiable.
And it also just feels a lot better along the way. So needless to say, evaluating progress is really important. And I want to explain what I mean by evaluating progress, because we can take this to mean a lot of different things, especially in the health community. And what I’m about to talk about will partner with last week’s episode, which was measures of success.
And one thing I talk about in that episode is how measuring our weight number of pounds, weight loss. Isn’t actually the most valuable measure of success or progress that is available to you. And what I tend to see in the health community, for those of us who want to eat healthy and who want to lose weight, is that is the only way we’re measuring or evaluating progress is whether the pounds go up or whether the pounds go down.
For some of us, we evaluate progress based on whether we followed the food plan
I just need to try harder, which are not reasons why you are not losing weight or why you’re not following a meal plan. There are things that lead us to the actions we take and that cause us to make the food decisions we make. And when you are evaluating progress in such a narrow way, then you are not truly evaluating progress at all. And you will always feel like you are wrong. And you are a failure in the process of creating the results you want.
Once again, evaluations are meant to support you and have you feel better standing up from them than when you sit down. This doesn’t mean it’s not uncomfortable to acknowledge where we went wrong or where we didn’t get a desired result, but the purpose is never to make an evaluation mean that we are wrong for taking those actions. And when you’re only evaluating progress by the food actions you take or your weight, then the only option you have is to make yourself wrong, because you’re not understanding what genuinely led you to those decisions.
And that’s the most important thing. You have to be evaluating progress in a way where you are acknowledging the cause the root of what led you to take those actions with food and what led you to the current results with weight and something I mentioned in the last episode as well is weight is not the thing. You actually have the most tangible control over because your physiology and your body takes that primary role in terms of when it decides to lose weight, even your food decisions can be 100% in your control, but that’s actually in a moment tangibly, not what you have the most control over.
What you have the most control over is what inevitably leads you to make eating decisions that either serve you or don’t serve you. And these are things that live within yourself. These are things like your mind, your emotions, your stress levels, your body cues, all of the wisdom that you have, that for most of us who engage with diet culture and things like that, we never learned how to pay attention to those things and evaluate progress based on those things.
So this is how evaluations and evaluating progress can feel supportive when you’re clearly seeing the math of what made sense in terms of why you got the results you did. When it feels really painful is when we look at an evaluation and it doesn’t make sense why it happened. We can’t understand why we fell off track with our food plan. We can’t understand what led to the results we have with our weight.
That’s all we really want. We want it all to make sense, so we can put both hands on it and make the changes in order to do this. We have to evaluate progress in the right way. Now I want to talk about what keeps us from evaluating. And once again, this does relate to where we’ve been in our past. A lot of us have a very punishing and distrustful relationship with acknowledging our setbacks with acknowledging what didn’t work.
And this is what evaluating is. It’s really putting our eyes on what didn’t work well, so we can do it differently so we can do it better, which for a lot of us is a really painful process because we’re so used to having had beat ourselves up in the past. And so just knowing that piece of it, what I see a lot is what I would call watching and waiting rather than evaluating.
And what I mean by watching and waiting is someone will watch the result they want. So maybe that’s wait, maybe that’s following a food plan and they will hyper focus on it. So they’ll always be stepping on the scale or they will always be tracking food metrics, creating food plans. If you’re like me, I would constantly spend time creating these beautiful, intricate, precise food plans. And we feel so accomplished when we do this, we’ll get that dopamine hit, that this will lead to the results we want.
And then what happens is we watch those things and we wait for the results to happen. And I think most of us have some sense of inner knowing that this isn’t working, that us just creating these plans and stepping on the scale, like it’s not enough. And I think there’s some internal wisdom that we have here where it just doesn’t quite feel stable to step on the scale or create food plans and then just wait around for the result.
I think we all kind of realize we’re not solving for the root of the problem when we do this, but what happens for a lot of us coming from a history where we’ve done this for years is when presented with the opportunity to evaluate in a really real and useful way we avoid it. And we actually will feel an attraction and an attachment to watching and waiting with weight or with food metrics.
And it’s a really, really good distraction tactic we have where it feels very comfortable to focus on the result we want rather than what creates the result. So I really would invite you to think about for a moment, what measures of progress or what method of evaluating do you feel most drawn to with food and body? So what feels the most productive? What makes you feel the most motivated for most of my listeners who identify as type a, it’s going to be the planning.
It’s going to be the learning. It’s going to be everything that in your mind will feel like you’re getting closer to the result, but you’re actually just watching and waiting.
And we really don’t acknowledge when any of these things are happening, which of course, right. We don’t get the results from that place. So that means we want to make the process of evaluating progress with food and with body bearable for you, where it feels safe for you to acknowledge these things and to have your back. So, first off, I would love for you to give yourself the safety and the space, to be honest here, do you find that you get stuck in this watch and waiting behavior with this work where you’re not evaluating those failures?
And if so, how is that showing up for you? And I want you to just be curious here, don’t blame yourself for any of it. It’s always useful to know how and where we’re doing this because the good thing is you are not alone here. All of the humans feel compelled to do the watching and the waiting with the results we want.
It keeps us out of responsibility with the result. And when we’re out of responsibility with the result, it’s easier not to blame ourselves for when things don’t work. And the point of evaluation is to take responsibility and create empowerment over the results you are creating, which can bring up the urge to blame ourselves. And so how you transition from that watching and waiting to evaluating progress with food and body is to again, notice where you’re watching and waiting and to acknowledge what that is protecting you from.
So I want you to picture when you have created a food plan or you’ve set goals for the week, and then you fall off track, something happens and you don’t do what you said you were going to do, or you didn’t eat what you planned for. I really would invite you to spend time in those moments, really seeing how you speak to yourself or in other words, check in and notice what opinions you are having of yourself in that moment when you fail, because this is why we do not evaluate.
It’s what we make it mean when we have a setback when we fail. And that is actually what we are so afraid of. And the good news is we can stop making it mean terrible things when we fail, if we have awareness of it and an easy way to determine what’s occurring here for you is to ask yourself, what do I make it mean when I fail? What do I make it mean about myself, about my abilities, about getting the result I really want.
And if it feels available to you, I’d really invite you to write these down and see what comes up and to really spend time observing these types of thoughts and how every time you have failed in the past with food and body, this is what has been available to you. And I want you to picture the emotional experience that comes up in your body when you observe these thoughts, because that is what is potentially available to you.
When you see something in an evaluation that implies that you took two steps back rather than three steps forward. The reason why this is growth, we all must go through is first that evaluations are necessary to see what’s working and not working so we can move forward. But also because failures are inevitable in your journey with food and body. And I really wanna hold space for the fact with all of us that were not taught this, right.
I know when I entered diet protocols and weight loss programs in the past, I wasn’t taught how to handle emotionally failure. I wasn’t taught that. It didn’t mean anything about me. I wasn’t taught that my emotions created from my failures would compel me to sabotage with food even more, not enough weight was given to the human experience we have when we fail with food and body.
And I want us to improve that human experience. So evaluating progress and moving forward with your food and body goals is accessible to you. And so with that said, I would really invite you just to explore measures of progress or what method of evaluating feels really, really safe to you right now. And what methods of evaluating would feel a bit uncomfortable. And for most of us, those will be acknowledging what we had control over.
It will be acknowledging our emotions, our body cues, everything within us, the cause rather than watching and waiting with the result we want and having that disempowered relationship with those results. This is what I want you to consider today because the process of making changes with food and body permanently should feel supportive. It should feel like it’s increasing your enjoyment of being a human, being an eater, and being a woman with a body.
It should feel like it’s healing, parts of you not creating new wounds in the process. So I just wanted to give you a window into how you can tweak your approach with evaluating your progress in this journey. I hope this was helpful today, and I hope you have a really great rest of your week. 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.