This week, many of our hearts are feeling heavy over world events.
It causes us to realize that there will be circumstances in life where healthy eating isn’t necessarily the top priority.
That being said, I want to offer that just because healthy eating isn’t the top priority, does not mean you sabotage your current progress and lose control with food. Or, that you comfort during these times through overeating and emotionally eating.
There is a way to have control with your eating habits during these times, in a way that doesn’t require healthy eating to be the top priority.
In today’s episode, I’m sharing what to do when eating healthy isn’t the top priority for you and how to avoid self-sabotaging your eating habits during these times
Hello, my friends, I hope you’re doing well this week, before we get into it, I do want to touch on that. At the time of this episode, there are some crazy things going on in the world this week. I do happen to have listeners all around the world. So no matter where you are, I’m wishing you safety love and I fully support you. And to be honest, I was almost considering going silent this week on the podcast, just to give everyone time with what’s going on in the world.
So I’ve been a little more silent on Instagram with emails and just to give us all time to process everything that’s happening, but on the podcast this week, this is really our time together to support you and allow you to feel supported with your eating habits. No matter the circumstances. And I wanted to offer something that could be useful at a time like this, because at first I caught myself thinking that healthy eating doesn’t need to be a priority for us at certain times, right?
When there’s crazy things going on in the world or in our lives healthy eating isn’t necessarily at the top of the list, changing our eating habits isn’t necessarily at the top of the list. So I caught myself, oh, okay. This week let’s put this work aside, but I realized that this is the perfect time to talk about this type of scenario where healthy eating may not be the top priority in this given moment.
And what I want to teach you today is what that will look like when healthy eating is not the top priority and how you can still support yourself during these times. Because having healthy eating not be a top priority is going to look very different for some people than it does for others and not having it be top priority would have looked very different for me in the past.
And it does now.
So I really want to give you all clarity on the difference there. And of course I want you all to always feel supported with your eating habits, no matter what the circumstances in the world are or in your personal life. So if you’re listening to this episode, when it is released, this will support you with all the things going on in the world. If that’s something that is weighing on you a bit and healthy eating, isn’t the top priority in your mind.
But if you’re listening later, this episode will be useful for you. If healthy eating is not the top priority because of other circumstances that are coming up that need your attention more. So maybe it’s periods of grief, it’s periods of hardship, it’s periods that require more of your attention. So for some of us, it will be more serious things like losing a loved one for others of us, it can just be when it’s moving day or when it’s your kid’s first week of school, right?
There are things and circumstances where healthy eating isn’t necessarily going to be top of mind, top of priority that day. And so I want to talk about what this does not mean because when I say healthy eating isn’t top priority, a lot of you are going to think what I’m referring to is the polar opposite, right? You may think I’m referring to, self-sabotage letting it all go out of your control, total unconsciousness to how you’re eating overeating indulging in over pleasure with food, emotionally, eating, giving up all control.
And this is not what needs to happen when healthy eating is not your top priority. This is something that never needs to happen. And it is always 100% under your control. Whether we realize it or not in the beginning, it’s valid. If you’re having a current relationship and mindset with food, where this feels like the case, you feel like that control is not something you always have.
That is a learned skill, but it is always available to you. And just because healthy eating is not the top priority, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t become a priority. It doesn’t mean we self-sabotage and let it all go and use that as an excuse and a reason to overindulge in food overeat, emotionally, eat all of the things. So the reason why you may think that not making healthy, eating a priority means the total opposite is because you believe that making healthy eating a top priority requires a ton of work from you.
It requires more time. It requires perfection. It requires you eating all the right things, basically kind of being a robot, right? This is what we think healthy eating requires from us in the beginning. Like we have no fulfillment with food. We never have urges as a human. We never partake in uncomfortable human experiences.
We’re kind of just a robot that eats all of the right things. And it just works out. That is not required for you to eat healthy and get the results with your body that you want. And that’s the evidence I’m always helping you learn in this podcast that isn’t necessary, but you may believe it is. So if you believe that that’s what’s required when healthy eating is a top priority, then when it’s not a top priority, which in your mind is perfection.
The other end of that is self sabotage and consciousness losing control. And this will always keep you ping pong ING with your eating habits. You’ll either be making it top priority from a place of more effort and willpower where it’s feeling awful. You’re expending a lot of emotional energy to keep those eating habits, or you give it all up when it isn’t a top priority.
So when you have circumstances that are going on currently in the world, or you have things happen in your life, that aren’t ideal, you have further to fall. When you make healthy, eating requires so much from you and you make the stakes really, really high. And when you do this and healthy eating, just isn’t a priority. This shows up in a number of ways. So really what will happen is you’ll come up with all these reasons why it’s necessary for you to give up control with food during these times.
So you’re going to come up with all of the reasons why it’s justified that you’re going to overeat emotionally, eat, not honor, your body’s needs, which eventually leads to the results with your body that you don’t want. So reasons may be, I just don’t have the energy right now, or I just don’t have time for this right now, or really other things are more important.
I can’t devote all of my focus to this, right? And notice how these reasons for overeating emotionally eating or because you believe the opposite requires more time, effort, energy, even focus. You think it requires all of your brain space and it doesn’t. But I just want you to see this all or nothing approach that can happen and how you create a situation where unconscious eating emotional, eating overeating is your only option when healthy eating isn’t a top priority.
And this is not what this means. This is not what I want for you. When the circumstances in the world aren’t ideal, it doesn’t mean we need to transfer responsibility for the eating decisions we’re making. And the purpose of telling you this isn’t to have you strong arm and discipline your way to healthy eating when things in the world or in your life are hard.
This is about taking best care of yourself. When things in the world are hard, when things in your life aren’t ideal, what we want is for you to come out of the other side of these hard things, knowing you supported yourself, you supported your health, and you were as kind to yourself about all of it as possible, being unconscious to your eating habits because of the reasons that it takes more time, or you don’t have energy is not the kindest thing you can do for yourself during these times.
And it makes sense why our brains go there because of the mindset I just described, but that’s not what you need to do. So also notice how the title of this podcast episode says when healthy eating isn’t top priority, right? So I’m not saying it’s not a priority at all, but top priority. It doesn’t need to be the primary focus in your life during these times.
But it doesn’t mean we completely deep prioritize taking care of ourselves and giving ourselves what we need to be someone who naturally eats healthy. You need to want to make this a priority, but priority does not mean more emotional energy is required. Doesn’t mean more time. It doesn’t mean more from you in general, a priority in your brain is just a clear focus.
So you’re making a decision with intention on that focus. So there’s a lot of things that you prioritize in your life, and none of them are requiring more of your emotional energy to prioritize them, showing up, to work, things like that. It is a no-brainer in your mind, it’s a priority for some of you. These things are a priority in your mind in the way that they’re a no brainer.
It’s not requiring more from you to make that decision, to do those things.
You just decide that you do. It’s what you want to do. It is a priority for you. Now, eating healthy may not be the top priority, right? So during times when things are hard, other things may come before eating more nutritionally, valuable food, right? Maybe you’re not as focused on the goal of healthy eating as you would be. If the circumstances were different, but you’re not letting it all go.
And self-sabotaging because you think the circumstances in the world are reason to not care for yourself and not provide yourself that support with food and with your body, really, for my clients, what this looks like, and for myself as well, not having healthy eating be the top priority can simply mean not setting a specific goal with food for that day or week. So there’s no specific plan you can if you want during these times, but maybe it’s just not your top priority in these moments.
There are other things that need your attention. So there are plenty of circumstances where I am not creating or having a plan for food that week. I’m not over eating the food. I’m not emotionally eating the food. I’m not giving up control with the food. Therefore, when I’m on the other side of these circumstances where it felt hard, I didn’t sabotage my progress. I just made it not the primary focus of that time.
So a lighter example, this is the opposite end of the spectrum. I talk about this a lot with the holidays. So with the holidays, for example, healthy eating is not my top priority. My top priority is spending time with family, enjoying the eating experience and going deeper with the pleasure in the foods. Now what my clients learn is this doesn’t mean overindulging with the foods and losing control with it.
So they learn how to have complete control with the pleasurable foods. So this means I’m prioritizing pleasurable foods over nutritionally, valuable foods, but I’m not control with any of them. It all is my decision. Even when healthy eating isn’t a priority, it doesn’t mean you lose control with it. It means my decisions with food during that time may change control with food can happen.
Even when healthy eating is not a priority, you can still not overeat. You can still not emotionally eat. You can still eat the foods that make you feel the healthiest and most satisfying. You can still not lose control with the foods you find pleasurable. The only thing that changes is that healthy eating is not the top priority in your mind during this time building those skills.
And you’re not beating yourself up for it or feeling despair because you know, you have decided these priorities from an empowered place.
You know, you are the leader of your life, the captain of the ship, and you have decided what your priorities are right now. And that healthy eating is not the top priority because of the other circumstances that need your attention. So healthy eating is always a priority for me and my body, even when it’s not the top priority. Even when other things come before me eating the most nutritionally, valuable foods or making the steps with my eating habits that I want to make, I never D prioritize healthy, eating completely.
I just decide when it’s the primary focus and when it comes in second or third place, or maybe even fourth or fifth, who knows, but it’s always my decision. Healthy eating is a practice I have in my life for myself. It’s intentional, but it’s not strict. It’s conscious, but it’s not something I’m always thinking about.
It’s something I enjoy, but I don’t feel the need to overindulge it when it’s not a priority. It just means it’s not at the top of my mind in terms of my goals and for my clients in the beginning of us working together, it really does require this work to be a primary focus, right? Because they’re building the skills they’re using the tools. They’re mastering their eating habits.
They’re unlearning old patterns with food and creating new ones. At the very core, they’re becoming someone totally different with food. So healthy eating is a top priority. And this trickles into so many other areas of their lives. Because when you change who you are as an eater, you change who you are in other areas as well. But then what happens is, as they learn how to become naturally healthy eaters, healthy eating is a priority to them, but it doesn’t need to be at the top of mind priority for them every single day, because they have become someone who does the things that are required to eat healthy without thinking about it.
They have become this person. They have intention behind it. So they’re not unconscious to it, but it’s not top priority. There’s other work and other growth in their life that can come first. They have more brain space to focus on building other skills with things they love, bettering their relationships, getting promotions at work when food isn’t something that’s taking up so much of their brain space. So this is the place that’s available to all of you when you do the deeper work.
But for those of you working on your eating habits right now, moving forward, where it has been a top priority for you, you are committed to making these changes, know that during these times when the circumstances aren’t ideal, it is safe to not have it be the top priority. It is safe for you to be the leader of your life and know what things need your attention the most, but that doesn’t ever need to be a reason for you.
Self-Sabotaging the progress that you have made and giving up your control with food does not need to be all or nothing. I promise you. So here’s what I recommend for all of you when healthy eating is not the top priority for the meantime, and there are circumstances occurring in the world or your life that have your attention. The first thing I recommend is that you make a decision on what your priorities are.
You do not let this be unconscious. You firmly make decisions on what your priorities are right now. So for instance, I have clients who have healthy eating, be the top priority because they’re learning the skill of becoming a naturally healthy eater. And then something happens in their life that requires all of their attention and their brain space. And it’s something that genuinely, they want to prioritize more and healthy eating in that very moment for that period of time, what I tell them is to make a decision on what their priorities are.
So for them, it’s placing attention on what needs to be healed, what needs to be taken care of what needs to be processed in the other areas that are occurring for them. Once they’ve given themselves that space, then food can be prioritized. But none of this has to do with them giving up control with food. The next thing I recommend is taking responsibility for your emotional experiences. Even when healthy eating is not the top priority.
And when I say this, I don’t mean positive your way out of uncomfortable feelings. I don’t mean when things are happening in the world, trying to control your feelings and not experience the uncomfortable, not experience the emotion that feels hard. When I say take responsibility for these feelings, validate yourself for why you are feeling the way you do and allow them without judgment, because this is what will allow you to move through the circumstances and heal in your current circumstances or problem solve for your circumstances rather than spinning them.
Because if you’re spinning in the circumstances of your life, you will feel compelled to comfort in food. This is when you will feel compelled to self-sabotage with food and overeat. So take responsibility for how you’re feeling, validate yourself for it, and then allow all of it in a clean way without using those feelings as a reason to give up control with food. And the last thing I recommend during these times is compassion.
And I know compassion is a word that gets thrown around a lot and my type a women kind of roll their eyes a bit and say, yeah, yeah. Just tell me what works. Compassion is the most useful tactic you could ever have with your eating habits, because here’s what happens when you don’t have compassion. You’re going to have a setback with food. You’re going to experience hard things. Emotionally things are going to come up for you because you’re a human without compassion.
You don’t let yourself be a human with food. When you stop letting yourself be a human, you don’t have evaluate your progress. You don’t get close enough to what went wrong for you. And you self-sabotage. You give up responsibility and control for all of it, for your eating habits. All because you viewed something like compassion as too fluffy, it’s not tactical enough. It is the most necessary tactic because compassion allows you to evaluate setbacks.
Notice what you could have done differently. Ask yourself how could I have supported myself with my eating habits or my goals more in that moment while acknowledging that I’m a human who has setbacks and I always will be. And I also have the ability to evaluate these setbacks and move forward. So during times when healthy eating isn’t top priority doesn’t mean we have to give up control with food.
It just means we can make decisions on our priorities. Now take responsibility for how we’re feeling during this time, allow all of it and then have compassion for when it feels hard. And when we have setbacks during that time, this will allow you to support yourself with your eating habits, even when it’s not a top priority. So you get through these current circumstances, come out the other side and you’re ready to keep continuing your progress with food, with out, missing a beat.
So I’m hoping this perspective was helpful for you this week. I’m hoping this is an episode and the pep talk, you can come back to when circumstances in life are hard. And when healthy eating may not be the very top priority for you right now, we’re eating habits and the results you want with your body, all of that work is waiting for you when you’re done processing the hard things.
All right? I hope this was helpful. Thanks for being here with me today. 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.