Many of my clients come to me burnt out. They feel like they have a total lack of energy when it comes to eating healthy.
Which worries them, because they think: “If I don’t have energy left to give, how will I possibly create the results I want?”.
This is the kicker. Because diet culture taught you that to change the way you eat, you have to put in more effort. That you have to restrict, willpower, and suffer to the results you want.
So, you did. You spent more time, effort, and energy attempting to stick to methods of eating that required more from you. Which has left you feeling totally burnt out and spent — with little results to show for it.
Can you relate? If so, your struggles are valid. Your burnout makes sense. And, it doesn’t mean the results you want with food and body aren’t possible.
It simply means you will need to change your eating habits by partnering with yourself, rather than working against yourself. This means changing the way you eat in a way that requires less from you.
In this episode, I’m sharing what healthy eating burnout looks like and how you can begin changing your approach to healthy eating to a one that requires less from you.
This approach means you’re giving energy back to yourself in the process – rather than burning yourself out.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. Thank you so much for being here with me today. I really want to talk about the concept of healthy eating burnout. And what I mean by burnout is when you notice that you feel like you have no effort left to give. So many of my clients come to me in the coaching relationship feeling very, very burnt out when it comes to healthy eating or creating the results with their body that they want.
And really they come to me in a place where they feel like they have a total lack of energy when it comes to eating healthy, and they really see this as a problem. So if this is you, if this is something you have related to, whether that comes to healthy eating or other areas of your life, I’m so happy to be able to support you in today’s episode and give you a different perspective of why you feel burnt out and what you can do now to start remedying those feelings of burnout.
So what tends to happen for all of us, including myself in the past, is we’ll notice that we have low energy and we will not feel like we have the capacity to show up to the tasks that we want to do when it comes to eating healthy or maybe exercise, or maybe this goes so far into your work or your family where you feel like you want to show up as the employee, the business owner, or maybe the mom you wanna be, and you feel like there just isn’t enough energy that you have to supply the actions that you want to be taking.
Now when it comes to healthy eating and we feel like we don’t have the effort available to make healthy eating decisions and lose weight, we will think the solution is to get more energy in a tactical action based way. So once again, most of my clients come to me telling me they’re having low energy levels.
And when I ask them, what have you tried? Most of them will say, I’ve tried getting more sleep, I’ve tried changing my diet. All of these things that they’ve tried differently in terms of what they’re doing, which of course is where most of us will go in terms of solutions. Most of us not taught that so much of why we show up the way we show up is due to our emotional state. And that’s what I want to offer you here is if you are finding that you have low energy levels or you just feel burnt out and exhausted much of the time, it’s highly unlikely that you’re creating this from what you’re doing because it is actually way more difficult than we may think to exhaust ourselves physically.
And I want you to consider what that would mean to exhaust yourself emotionally. Because this, my friends, is what leads to the burnout that I most often see collectively in our society as women.
So many of us are just burnt out, burnt out, burnt out. We are not putting our needs first, and we’re in this cycle where we pick up healthy eating and put it back down, feels like nothing is working. And all throughout this cycle, we feel like we’re just losing energy, losing energy, losing energy. And when we think about what it means to be emotionally exhausted, it’s because we’re living in an emotional state that burns out really quickly. So this may be a state of stress, of pressure, of inadequacy, of shame, of anxiety, whatever that may be for you.
But consider emotionally how you tend to feel day to day. What is the predominant emotional experience that you carry with you? And consider if that emotional experience that you’re carrying exhausts you, because chances are, it likely does. And I just invite you to check in with that here.
Just observe what is fueling you emotionally day to day. And that tends to be what creates emotional exhaustion. And in the coaching relationship with my clients, we identify exactly what that is and exactly what is necessary for each client to move through that. So that is all to say that for most of us, doing more things differently, like getting more sleep and changing our diet isn’t what’s going to actually increase our energy long term.
It’s going to be to learn how to emotionally supply ourselves in a way that doesn’t exhaust us over time. The biggest concern I see with women who come to me with the burnout is they think if I don’t have any energy left to give, how will I possibly create weight loss? How will I possibly create the results I want? So they think about everything that they perceive to be necessary to eat healthy and lose weight.
And so they think about the food prepping, the meal, planning, the workouts, the plans, all of it, and they stack that up against their energy levels and they think there’s no way I can make this work with this burnout and lack of energy I’m experiencing. But this is actually the kicker because what happens is when.
Women join my practice, we do help them heal their burnout energetically. That is a big focus. But separately, what’s interesting is they can start creating results even with the burnout because they learn how to eat healthy and lose weight sustainably without putting in more effort. So really, if you find yourself in a state of burnout where you feel like you have minimal effort to put towards healthy eating and weight loss, I want you to listen to what I’m saying here because in a way, this is the best time to learn the lesson that to eat healthy naturally and lose weight sustainably, you want to find a manner of doing this that doesn’t require a ton of effort from you.
And it kind of forces us to learn this lesson when we’re in a state of burnout because then we can’t hustle our way to healthy eating.
We have to figure out a way that feels easier. And why this feels very problematic for my clients is they feel this drive and this attachment and this pool to hustle their healthy eating and to hustle their weight loss because they are conditioned to believe from diet culture that that’s the only way results are created. That in order to change the way you eat, you have to put in a ton of effort that in order to lose weight, you have to restrict, use lots of willpower and suffer and grind to the results you want.
So then when my clients enter my practice, which is all part of the work, it’s all part of the work, we all go through it. We kind of have to give up the wy, the blanky, a little bit of hustle and hard work that we know how to do because now that manner of healthy eating and weight loss isn’t sustainable for you.
You’re burnt out, you’ve tried all the things. So now it’s kind of a bit of surrendering that has to happen to meet yourself where you’re at with your burnout. And rather than try and push your way through the burnout to hustle and grind healthy eating, you have to come up with a manner of healthy eating that can exist for you even with the burnout. Hear what I’m saying my friends? So the work is healing your burnout and raising your energy levels, but it’s also to create a manner of healthy eating and weight loss that can exist even with the burnout.
Because if you can learn to eat healthy and lose weight when you feel burnt out and have a lack of energy, my friends, you can sustainably eat healthy and maintain your weight at any time in your life, and that is powerful. But as I mentioned, what happens is most of us have spent so much time, effort, and energy attempting to stick to methods of eating that required so much more from us.
And so because of that history of dieting and using willpower and grit, we feel totally burnt out and spent with little results to show for it. So what I wanna offer you is if you are feeling a bit burnt out and deflated with creating weight loss or eating healthy, know that your journey isn’t going to look like this transformation where you push yourself to the results you want. It’s going to look like much more of a gradual healing process.
And it’s not a one size fits all for everybody here, but if you are hearing me and it’s resonating with you, likely that will be true for you, that the way towards the results you want with food and body is going to require less pushing and less willpower for you and less hard work. And it’s going to be you becoming a woman that learns how to get the results you want with ease and with patience and with compassion and nurturing.
It’s an entirely different approach that the women I work with tend to be a little uncomfortable with at first because we tend to be the high achievers, the hustlers and the hard workers. That’s where our zone of genius is. But I want all of you to reserve that part of you and those skills for the workplace or for other goals that are more finite. We are eaters for life. We have a body for life. I say this quite a bit, and so we don’t want you to have that hardworking relationship to food and body.
We want it to be sustainable. And there will be periods of your life where you have less energy and you feel burnt out. And we want your manner of healthy eating and maintaining weight to be accessible even when that happens. So if you feel burnt out now, I want you to know that your struggles are so, so valid.
I have been there, almost all of my clients have been there and it makes sense and I want you to know, it does not mean that the results you want with food and body aren’t possible at all. In fact, it means you are a step ahead because it means the path of resistance that you’ve tried with healthy eating and weight loss is no longer going to work for you. Because what most of us have done is fight ourselves and our body to follow through on the meal plans, on the diets, on the things that just don’t feel authentic to us.
And I experienced the same burnout as well, where at a certain point, my mind and body just gave up the fight and it wasn’t willing to hustle or hard work to the results I wanted. And this can be such an opportunity for you to do it differently.
It makes sense that you’re burnt out. It makes sense that your energy capacity is low. It does not mean the results you want aren’t available to you. Now, it means it forces us to do it differently, which is a gift. And this means that we have no other choice but to change the way we eat by partnering with ourselves rather than working against ourselves. It means that we have no choice but to nurture ourselves and look after our needs and to do it differently than we have before.
So really what this means is you need to change the way you eat in a way that requires less from you. It doesn’t require more from you because think about your life and think about the demands you already have, whether that’s at work or in your family life or in your personal life. There’s likely already things that are calling your attention.
We don’t want the experience of food and body to add more to that plate in your life because having a body and eating is a byproduct of being human. We don’t want that to become a source of burnout and stress. We want that to alleviate the burnout and stress from your life. Healthy eating and even the experience of having a body can add value to your life rather than to be a source of stress.
So I want to offer ways that we can eat healthy in a way that requires less from us in a way that will require less from you. But no, your manner of healthy eating that works for you will be highly individual to you. We are all individual humans and it’s up to us to find our own way. If this is something you want support with, I highly recommend my program.
Own your Eating Habits. That’s exactly what we help you do. But this is going to give you an idea of what this can look like from a 1000 foot overview. So the first way to change the way you eat in a way that requires less from you and doesn’t burn you out is learning your personal needs with food and then actually meeting them. So most people in this world have no idea what their personal needs are with food. We have been outsourcing what we think we need to diet recommendations to meal plans, to influencers, to people online to tell us what to eat.
And your body and your preferences are the best way point to find those answers. And so that’s what I want you to start doing, is to start even evaluating internally what your personal needs and preferences with food are. What foods do you find most pleasurable?
What foods satisfy you? What foods don’t satisfy you? What foods will you never give up? What foods could you give up tomorrow? And you wouldn’t even think twice about it. But consider, have you ever asked yourself these questions? Have you ever spent time getting to know yourself as an eater? So a lot of people actually don’t know this, but in a past career, I was an animal care specialist. So I love animals. I always have. I’ve always worked with them.
And a big part of my job always was to meet the needs of the animals in terms of their diet. And we would weigh the food, measure the food, everything was planned to a tea. And I kind of thought about how we don’t do this for ourselves as humans in terms of considering what our personal needs are with food. And I know this can sound a bit silly.
I’m not suggesting you measure and weigh everything you eat like I did with caring for these animals, but it’s just an interesting perspective to consider here. How well do you actually know yourself as an eater and what your personal needs are and how can you start figuring that out now? Because imagine how much less it will require from you to eat healthy if you knew your personal needs with food better than anyone, better than any outside source could tell you.
That is what I want you to consider. The next way you can change the way you eat in a way that requires less is a simple one, but it’s one that so many aren’t doing, and it’s eating how you actually want to be eating. Okay, I know this sounds so simple, but I really want you to evaluate the difference between how you think you should be eating and how you even want to be eating.
Now, a lot of you, if you are struggling with food, will think that if you give yourself permission to consider your food once, that you’ll just want to eat non-nutritious food all the time and you’ll want to eat fast food because you’re addicted to those foods and you’ll kind of go down that rabbit hole a bit. That’s not what I want you to do here. I want you to give yourself the space to separate how you think you should eat from how you would want to eat if you could create your own version of healthy eating.
I know for me, when I really discovered that this was the path to success, the most simple thing I came up with is that I just wouldn’t want to forever give up the foods I love. So for me, I mention it every now and again. It’s cheese and chocolate.
I never want to give up cheese and chocolate and bread. Bread is not something I will ever give up. And it just allowed me to look at it through the lens of knowing I didn’t want to give up any of those things. So how could I work to create the results with my body? I wanted keeping that in mind, acknowledging my preferences, honoring my needs, taking that into account when I made decisions. And it just means that what I once started entering the conversation of when I made healthy eating decisions, I didn’t operate from the shoulds.
I began eating healthy based on what I wanted. And this is a process. It’s one that I teach all of my clients. But it’s a really great perspective shift for you to consider here because imagine how much less that will require from you to begin eating how you want from those reasons rather than how you think you should.
The next way to eat healthy in a way that requires less is having patience and compassion for yourself. And I know I get it, my friends, so many of you fight me on this because remember, as I mentioned before, right, us high achievers, perfectionists, however you identify our blankie and our wy is hustle and hard work. We’re really attached to those things because we know they create results. And a lot of us are this way in adulthood because many of us were raised with a firmer hand growing up.
And we think that compassion and nurturing for ourselves means self-pity. And I see this a lot in my clients when we start getting to the work where they want to have compassion and understanding for themselves. Their biggest fear is that this means that they’ll pity themselves. And those are completely different things. So I’ll have to do a separate podcast episode on this specifically, but really you want to be able to have patience and a softer hand with yourself because along the journey towards sustainable weight loss, you’re going to have setbacks.
You’re going to fail, you’re going to plan everything to a t, know all of the information ahead of time and still not do what you planned because you don’t stop being a human when creating the results you want. Now, what you will learn, and what my clients learn is that imperfection is totally fine and you can create all of the results you want and be an imperfect human. I know that’s a hard sell for those of us who have dieted, and for those of us who are perfectionists, I promise it’s true, but that is a process you learn.
But just to simplify this here, I want you to consider, consider what it would look like to hustle and force yourself to the changes you want with food and body and what would look different if you moved towards those changes with patience and compassion. Instead, some of you may be tempted to think because of how you perceive yourself that you wouldn’t do anything and you’d give up your goals and you can’t be trusted.
But go with what I’m saying here and try this out. If that wasn’t true and you wouldn’t give up and you could trust yourself, how would that look different to eat healthy and lose weight from patience and compassion? Just give yourself the permission to answer this question. The last way to eat healthy in a way that requires less is the big truth of doing this that I want you to see here. It’s creating trust and control with food from within yourself rather than micromanaging it externally.
So so many of us in the beginning have this perception of ourselves that we aren’t in control with food, that our cravings are not in control, that our urges can’t be controlled, that we’re addicted to the foods we love. So what that means is when we try to eat healthy or lose weight, will try and micromanage everything in our external world.
So this is why a lot of us become expert planners, prioritizers, delegators. We really have everything together externally and very organized. But a lot of the time, those of us who are great micromanagers have a lot of internal struggles happening where we feel very anxious or unsteady or imbalanced. And this can present in how we eat as well. We’ll feel very in control with food and our emotional state.
So we will micromanage our outside world as much as possible to try and guarantee the results we want. And this is making it harder. This is hustling. This is trying to create healthy eating and weight loss from a perceived lack of control within you. And I want you to consider a reality where you believe that you have 100% control within yourself, that you can make eating decisions.
And this means no matter what cravings you have, no matter what urges you have, you have the power to decide how you want to eat always.
And now, if you’re like, I was in the past, this may sound like a bit of a fantasy, it may sound too good to be true, and if it does, that is okay, but just give yourself permission to consider this reality. And what would that look like for you to know you had ultimate control? What would look different externally with food? A big one I see is clients often come to me being really attached to food planning. And it’s not that food planning is negative.
I talk about this a lot. Sometimes it can be very useful to make food decisions ahead of time based on our schedule. I do that a little bit too. But when we’re emotionally attached to a food plan, it’s because we think that’s what creates control. But you can make eating decisions in a moment, my friends, with no plan, no thought ahead of time, and that is always in your power.
And so picture the reality of you being someone who always has the ability to make eating decisions. What would look different? What micromanaging would you give up and how would it require less from you? Healing healthy eating burnout happens when we’re willing to do it in a way that requires less rather than more. Because this approach means you will give energy back to yourself in the process of eating healthy and losing weight, rather than burning yourself out and expending that energy.
It really is the only way to change your results with food and body permanently and sustainably, my friends. So I hope this episode today gave you some new insight. I hope that it resonated with some of you in specific ways that you can see, and if it was helpful, please let me know. It’s always such a privilege to speak to you all every week. I hope you have a great rest of your week and I’ll talk to you next time.
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.