It’s likely you’ve heard the term “food freedom” being used in the health community.
But what does it really mean? How do you measure freedom with food in a way that serves you?
In my coaching practice, I speak with many women who want to experience freedom with food.
My program focuses on teaching each client to create a definition of food freedom that will serve them in creating the eating habits they desire.
In this podcast, I discuss which definitions of food freedom are useful and which will not lead you towards the results with food you want.
I’m also sharing various definitions of food freedom my clients come up with so you can begin creating a definition of food freedom that serves you.
Hello, my friend. I hope you’re having a wonderful week so far. This week is very bittersweet for me because I’m saying goodbye to quite a few clients. These clients and I have worked together for 6 months, meeting together every single week, and I’ve watched them make so many shifts with not only their eating habits but with other areas of their life. I tell my clients this all of the time, but I want to share this with you here as well. In my program, it’s not about rushing you to the sexiest end result in 6 months time. When you join my coaching practice, you’re done with the quick fixes and you’re done skipping steps and foundational work that you need to be doing to make healthy eating feel natural for you. The beauty in this work is that every single client I have the honor of working with is different. As in, each journey that each client must go through to achieve naturally healthy eating habits is unique. Because they are unique. I think that’s what makes my program Own Your Eating Habits so special is that in the process of the program, it’s no longer focused on getting the client the quickest result, whether that’s weight loss or whatever else, just so they can feel better for a short time. What this would mean, is that they end up right back where they started within a few months of working with me. That is never what I want for these clients and it’s never what I want for you. What my clients learn in the program is how to master and use the tools to become a naturally healthy eater, not to rush the result, but so they can have everything they need to be responsible for their eating habits for life. So they know exactly what they need to do when they’re emotionally eating, overeating, and feeling that lack of control with food. They will have access to these tools for life and they’re going to forever be building these healthy eating skills. But this time is always bittersweet for me as the coach, because I never like saying goodbye to a client. But I’m always so excited to see what’s next for them. One of my client’s who’s ending her coaching is Cathy. She is wonderful, brilliant, and such a joy to work with. She has a really curious energy with the work that we do in the program, and here’s what she had to say about her experience. She said: “My biggest challenge before joining the program was trying to use willpower and dieting to maintain or lose weight. I was also emotionally eating. This caused me to feel hopeless, frustrated, and defeated. After joining this program, I began to more naturally tune into my hunger and fullness cues so I eat less with ease and am more comfortable in my body. I learned that I can choose to act deliberately with food while parenting my brain. So that I can take better action with food without second-guessing. I eat intentionally, balance my food choices naturally, and don’t sweat enjoying “unhealthy” food when I want to. I know that I will never go on a diet, ever, ever again. Kat’s podcast is a great foundation and peek into the process, but coaching is the way to really drill into your specific roadblocks and patterns and identify how (and why) it’s affecting your choices. I would not have been able to see myself and how my brain is operating without her guidance.” I swear I always get emotional when I read these. Cathy is an example of what’s possible, she’s going to continue to massively grow with this work, and Cathy if you’re listening, you were a joy and a privilege to coach. Alright, let’s move into today’s episode. Today, I want to talk about food freedom. It’s fairly likely you’ve heard this phrase in the health community. It’s been very trendy in past years and in my humble opinion it’s a little bit overused. Just a little bit. It’s marketed as a very sexy topic. And it has a nice ring to it, because that’s what we all want in some capacity, right? To feel free with food. Of course we want this. But, I want to talk about in this episode what real “food freedom” really means. Because there are many different interpretations or definitions of food freedom that I see. In most cases, it’s not really even being defined, it’s more being used as a marketing term, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with this. I know as someone who teaches women to eat healthy naturally that true food freedom is completely possible. But, I want to specify a bit more exactly what food freedom looks like. I want it to stop being this fluffy, hopeful concept that’s out in the world, and I want to bring it down a bit more towards reality so you can see how it is totally accessible to you. One thing we have to point out is that you may be defining the concept of “food freedom” in a way that doesn’t serve you. I often see this, where in people’s mind they’ll be so heavily conditioned from diet culture and weight loss culture that to them food freedom is still somewhat restrictive. Which is interesting that their brain’s manipulate the idea of “food freedom” to fit the diet culture narrative that they’ve been conditioned to believe. I’ve seen people believe that “food freedom” is knowing what the right foods are, finding the right diet from something outside of them, being able to fill themselves up with as much food as they want to all of the time, eating unconsciously or mindlessly, reaching the perfect weight, and letting someone else be responsible for their results with food. These are all general definitions of “food freedom” that I see from people. Because to them, and perhaps to you, these are your only options. You may not yet have a clear idea of what true food freedom is, because you haven’t been exposed to those types of solutions. I remember back in the day, there was a diet that was literally called something along the lines of “The Food Freedom Fix”. Ya’ll. It was a damn diet. I still see multiple books, meal plans, weight loss programs that use this in their language. To be clear, we’re not demonizing these diets for doing this. Because that’s a waste of our energy. We don’t need to go there. But, I want you to consider that how you’re perceiving food freedom might be similar to the definitions I listed before. There’s a lot of people who come to me saying they want freedom with food, but then they’ll ask me “What foods should I be eating to feel free with food?”. I’m like, come again? Excuse me? And, to be very clear, I was this person. You may have had thoughts similar to this. It’s fine. We’re human. But we want to question it. We’re so trained to seek diets and external results with food that we don’t even really have access to real food freedom as a possibility in our minds, much of the time. Now, I want to share how I define food freedom in my coaching practice. The first definition of food freedom in my practice is being in control of every food decision that you make. In other words, it’s making food choices that feel like a conscious decision. Where the decision actually feels like yours, and not some hunger gremlin that makes decisions for you. This is the first definition. That control piece with food. And, pretty much always this is exactly why clients join Own Your Eating Habits. They just want to feel in control with food. The second definition of food freedom is feeling like you have everything you need to decide what you want to eat. It’s feeling like you can create the answers with food. You can decide what you’re going to eat based on your own needs, preferences, and goals. In terms of my clients, they’re able to do this because they decide what they’re going to eat based on their hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and pleasure with food. When you’re able to come up with the food answers yourself, you gain freedom because you’re no longer relying on external sources to eat healthy. The third definition of food freedom is having trust in yourself that you’ll continue to make progress despite any and all setbacks that occur. Notice, how I’m not saying that food freedom is being able to eat perfectly healthy all of the time without setbacks. No, no, no. It’s time to just accept that we’re human beings, okay? Let’s just collectively accept that setbacks and failures happen. Because we’re eaters for life and there’s going to be many different seasons of your life. Including seasons where you’ll be more prone to emotional eating and overeating. But here’s the difference with my clients. This is the difference when we’re defining food freedom in this way. These setbacks don’t completely sabotage your progress with food and body when you know how to evaluate them and solve for them. This is an invaluable skill that I teach in my practice, because here’s what freedom is not. Freedom isn’t when you have a food setback and I fix it for you as the coach. Freedom is when you have a setback and as the coach I get to show you exactly why it’s happening, what you’ll need to focus on to move through the setback, and how you can make better decisions for next time. I teach you to be the own expert. That is freedom. Freedom with food is having complete control with your eating habits without thinking about it 20 times a day. It’s just who you are. You’re able to manage your mind, listen to your body, and follow through on a method of eating that is sustainable, enjoyable, and works for you. So you’re providing for your body nutritionally while also enjoying the heck out of foods you love. That is how food freedom is defined in my practice. I also want to share definitions of food freedom that clients come to me with. So, before each client joins my program we hop on a private consultation call. This is where I can connect with each client to determine if they’d be a perfect fit for the program and I ask them, “What’s the vision for the eating habits you want? What’s the best case scenario with food and your body?”. And I want to share some of the most common answers I get here. Firstly, so you can listen to these definitions of food freedom and consider what yours is right now. I want you to get clear on what you really consider to be freedom with food, so you know what your goal is. So you know exactly where you’re going. So here are some visions of food freedom that clients come to me with. I picked these out at random. To these clients food freedom means, “Not following a diet plan ever again”, “Maintaining my current weight without willpower or effort”, “Enjoying food without guilt or shame”, “Having chocolate and still getting the results I want” (I love that one), “Knowing what I’m going to eat without constantly thinking about it”, “Calming down the hunger gremlin that lives inside me”, “Having the confidence to know that I’ll eat what I say I’m going to eat”, “To trust myself that I’m making the right decisions with food”, “To take away the resistance of healthy eating and actually enjoy the freedom”. Alright, I could go on and on, but these are a handful I picked out from clients and Iwant you to consider all of these visions of food freedom that women have come to me with. These are women from different cultures, walks of life, personality types — women from all around the world. And I think it’s important that we acknowledge how similar we all are. How connected we all are by our struggles with food and our past eating habits, but also how connected we are in where we want to go with food. The result we want in our lives when it comes to food and body. I love what I do, so, so much. If you couldn’t already tell. But it’s more than that. Collectively as women we’re realizing that eating healthy shouldn’t feel so inaccessible. It shouldn’t feel so impossible. It should feel natural and sustainable for each of us. When each of these clients joins my program, they learn exactly how to eat healthy naturally. And it’s interesting because the tools they get in my program are very simple and accessible. They don’t require a ton of effort to implement. Compared to past diet approaches these women have taken where willpower, effort, grit, and discipline was necessary. Their definition of food freedom, because of how they’ve been conditioned in diet culture, is to try really hard and use willpower to get a different result. That’s what a lot of these women subconsciously are prepared to do in my program before we start. So, when they get access to my tools, and no willpower, grit, or discipline is required, their brains are like “Hold up. What’s really going on here? What’s the catch”. Their brain’s want to make it mean something has gone wrong because it’s not entirely believable yet, that it can just be simple. And why I’m telling you this, is right now your definition of what it will take to achieve food freedom may be inaccurate. You may be believing that to achieve food freedom that you’ll need to restrict or use willpower. Because those are the only options that have been presented to you thus far. The truth is, healthy eating was always meant to be simple and easy. It was never meant to feel restrictive. Freedom with food was always the point. The difference is that once you become a naturally healthy eater, you’re not going to look at yourself as having “food freedom” every day where you’re running through the flower fields and feeling like a unicorn. No. It’s better than that. You’re not even thinking about it. It’s just who you are. You naturally eat healthy so you can make room for all of the other things in your life that you want to do. This is food freedom. This is accessible to you when you’re given the tools to make it simple, as it was always meant to be. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for some time, you may have started to gather this. You may have thought, “What if it was just this simple?”, “What if it never was meant to feel restrictive?”, “What if I didn’t even have to put in a ton of effort to feel free with food?”. If you’ve had these thoughts, or similar thoughts when listening to this podcast, I encourage you to apply to my program Own Your Eating Habits. If you’re committed to becoming a naturally healthy eater right now and solving your food struggles for life, you can apply at katrentas.com/coaching. This program isn’t a quick-fix. It is not focused on fixing you, because you’re not broken, my friend. It’s teaching you an entirely different way to approach healthy eating that you can take with you into the rest of your life. It’s setting strong foundations with food. Alright, I hope you found value in this podcast today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. Thanks for being here today and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified 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.