One of the most valuable and underrated skills you can develop with your eating habits?
Making faster food decisions.
This doesn’t imply that these food decisions are impulsive or urgent. It means you’re making intentional food decisions quickly from a place of total certainty.
When you’re willing to make fast food decisions you’re creating the space for your eating habits to change more quickly and efficiently.
It means you’re willing to let go of there being “right” or “wrong” decisions with food, where you’re trusting yourself to decide, implement, and evaluate progress to move forward.
This can be the difference between you remaining stuck with the eating habits you have now, and you quickly progressing forward towards the results with food that you want.
Hello there. Welcome back to the podcast this week. Before we get into today’s topic, I want to let you know that I have a free master class for you. I know that many of you tune in each week to the podcast episodes, but I want to give you an opportunity to learn from me in a more personal setting. So, I’ve created a Stop Overeating Master Class and in this video training I explain in detail the two main reasons why you’re overeating right now and what you need to focus on to solve your overeating. It’s a super valuable master class so I highly recommend signing up for it, it’s free, you can access the master class at katrentas.com/stop-overeating. Now, moving into today’s topic, I want to talk about one of the most unexpectedly valuable skills you will ever develop with your eating habits. It’s very, very simple. That skill is making food decisions quickly. Now, when I say making decisions quickly, this goes against much of what we were taught as humans living in today’s society. It’s very common in our culture to glorify taking time to make decisions and we’ll see taking more time to make decisions as being more mindful and careful in our decision-making and I want to explain why this is keeping you stuck. So, I’m going to explain exactly what I mean by this. And to be clear, when I say making quick food decisions, I’m not referring to impulsive, unconscious, or mindless decisions. That’s not what I’m referring to here. I’m referring to making intentional decisions quickly. That’s it. And I encourage you, if this topic seems a little basic and boring to you, I totally understand, but I encourage you to listen to this entire episode. This is such an underrated skill that you can develop with healthy eating in your life and this skill will benefit everyone and anyone. I promise you that. Now, as I mentioned, a lot of us humans tend to live with this belief that taking more time to make decisions means that they’ll be higher quality decisions. And this of course applies to anything in your life, but specifically with food. I see women thinking that it makes sense to take more time deciding what they’re going to eat or what food plan they want to create with themselves. They’ll spend so much time in the planning or deciding stage with food, rather than in the stage of taking action and following through with food plans. So much more time is spent in the decision-making stage. And, as usual, right, I was no different. My brain loves to be in the planning stage. In the past, my brain loved to romanticize the decision-making or planning stage of my food goals where I would download meal plans from Pinterest, make them really pretty, hang them up on my wall, buy beautiful planners where I would color-coordinate my goals – yeah, I was one of those planners you guys. And I talk about food planning a lot, especially with my clients, but what I’m specifically referring to here is the fact that I was constantly romanticizing and stuck in the decision-making stage. And the decision-making stage, at the end of the day, just looks like a whole lot of inaction. It felt very productive and useful at the time, because I created this story where I was being organized and setting myself up for success, but really I was hiding from taking action on those food plans I set. And if this resonates with you a bit, where you feel more comfortable in the planning or decision-making stage, rather than the following through or action stage, first off, welcome to being a human being. This is what it looks like sometimes to stay in our comfort zone. But also, know that it’s safe to be honest with yourself about this. It really doesn’t mean anything about you, if you’re comfortable in that decision-making purgatory where you’re not moving forward but it feels like the productive, responsible thing to do. Where you’re writing your food plans and creating those meal plans, but you’re not really taking action on them and moving forward. I really want you to know, wholeheartedly, that you’re not alone in this, if this is the case for you now. I get messages from you all on Instagram asking me questions about your eating habits, which I love hearing from you. I never mind this, but I can always tell when you guys are asking me for advice from a place of indecision. Just to give you a generic example, I’ll very often get questions that ask me “Should I be including this food or that food in my meal plan?” or “Should I be eating this often in a day or eating less?”, “Will this amount of food be too much for my body, or is it not enough?”. Things like that. And first off, what you’ll notice about these questions is I can’t possibly answer them for these women, right? The answers to all of these questions will be based on what works for each woman personally. In Own Your Eating Habits, which is my coaching program, I teach women how to find these answers for themselves, so they’re never relying on me or anyone to do so. How they figure out these answers, which foods work for them and which foods don’t, is through taking action. It’s from creating the plan, deciding on the plan, and following through with it. Then, once they’ve done that, they have all of this juicy data of what worked and what didn’t so they can tweak their approach for next time. This is the only way you move forward with your eating habits. And what’s interesting is I know on some level these women who reach out to me likely know this. They know that the only way to figure out what works is to decide on an approach with food that they think is best, follow through with it, and then evaluate what works and what didn’t. So, after they ask me these really specific questions from a place of indecision, I’ll normally ask them, “What’s really stopping you from just making a food decision this week and seeing how it goes?” Right? Like what’s really the problem here? And this blows some people’s minds a bit, because oftentimes they’re like “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s stopping me from just making a decision and trying it out”. And it’s always 50/50. Half of these women will be on board with the question, really ask themselves the question, and realize where they’re holding themselves back by not making those decisions. And then some women, just because they’re not there yet, will be totally convinced that they just need an answer. That they can’t possibly make the decision within themselves and that they need me to make that decision for them. For these women I recommend just listening to this podcast more so they can understand their brain a bit deeper. But, for many of you, when you think “What’s stopping you from just making food decisions this week and then seeing how it goes? What’s stopping you from just taking action in the best way you know how and then evaluating progress?”. It’s such a good question to ask. “What’s stopping you from just making food decisions?”. At first, your brain will want to blame your lack of decision-making on things outside of you, which is natural. It’ll blame time, money, other people, how much knowledge you have about the foods, etc. All of the things. Any excuse it can come up with for still not making decisions yourself. Really be honest with yourself here. I’m still honest with myself when my brain doesn’t want to make decisions quickly. This resistance to making quick food decisions is there for a reason. This is what I help women grow through in my coaching program. It’s the resistance to making simple food decisions that they want to be making that allow them to make progress and move forward. It really is that simple. You make food decisions, follow through, and then evaluate progress to move forward. Anything that stops you from doing that is your fear-based brain. Anything that stops you from just making those quick food decisions. Now, I want to explain exactly why we do this. Why are we so resistant to making these quick food decisions. It’s because we want to make the quote unquote right decisions. We don’t want to make a wrong decision. We want to make the right decision that will eliminate all possibility of failure. This is what we’re trying to protect ourselves from. Because we’re afraid of how we’ll feel emotionally when we fail. Alright? I’ll say that again because I really want you to understand this. We’re resistant to making quick food decisions because we want to make sure we’re choosing the decision that eliminates possibility of failure and how we’ll feel emotionally when we fail. Got it? This is it, you guys. Now, here’s how you’ll know if you’re in this mindset. First, you’ll be stuck in decision-making or planning. That’s the first indication. Second, you’ll be blaming a lot of things outside of you for why you can’t make the decisions. So, as mentioned, that can be time, money, energy, other people, how much nutritional knowledge you have – things like that. Stories you come up with that keep you stuck in indecision. The third way you’ll know if you’re in this mindset is if you’re in a procrastination, perfection cycle. So, this means, basically, you’re doing a lot of all or nothing behaviors with food. You’ll try to force yourself to eat perfectly healthy in a really strict way, to eliminate all possibility of failure, and then you inevitably do fail because you’re using willpower to move forward. So, then because you feel badly about failing you avoid the work and procrastinate. The perfectionist, procrastination cycle. And even though this technically means you’re taking action, it’s not coming from a place of you making decisions with food. This behavior indicates that you’re still looking to make the “right” decision to avoid failure and the feelings associated with that. So, what do you do when you feel like you don’t know the “right” decision with food? You try to eat perfectly to avoid that failure. And then, when that’s not possible because it never is, you fail, make it mean a lot of negative things so you beat yourself up, and then you procrastinate because it feels really awful. I could do a whole podcast episode on this, because this is something a lot of you guys do, but this is the general idea. These are all indicators of you not making quick food decisions from an intentional, non-desperate place and being stuck in that indecision. Now, here’s where I’m going to blow your mind a bit, possibly. Because we’re so often taught that specifically with food, there are right food decisions and wrong food decisions. And I want to offer to you that there are no such thing as right or wrong decisions. Something can’t be right or wrong, that will always be an opinion. And opinions are always optional. Now, the reason why I point this out is because so many of you feel resistant to making simple food decisions because you’re waiting for the “right” decision that will eliminate the possibility of failure. And I want you to know that this will never be possible for you. I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. It’s just never going to be a thing. To figure out what works for you with food, you’re going to have to make a lot of quote unquote “wrong” decisions. You’re going to have setbacks and things you decide you’d like to tweak for next time. This is how you figure out what works. It’s a non-negotiable and there’s no way around this if you want to move forward with food. So, you need to change your mindset around what a “right” or “wrong” decision is. For me, and what I teach my clients, is that I just omit this language entirely. I do not believe there’s any such thing as a right or wrong decision. I believe there’s decisions that we’d make again and decisions that we wouldn’t make again because of the data we’ve acquired from making that decision. To me, decisions are math. If we look at this way, let’s say we want to figure out what food decisions will equal 10. And we guess that it’s 5+6. At the end of the week, we can just know that “Oh. That equals 11. Let’s try again to figure out what equals 10, right?”. Now, obviously I’m guessing you know what numbers equal 10, but for the sake of this example let’s say you don’t, if we’re looking at this as food decisions that serve you. All you would do is keep trying to add different numbers until you found a combination of numbers, or food decisions, that add up to 10. See where I’m going with this? I hope so. It’s all math, you guys. I promise you. Any part of your mind that’s making simple food decisions mean more than that, is your fear-based brain. There’s just decisions and then there’s the result of those decisions. Then, you get to evaluate the results of those decisions to decide again what you’re going to try next. And really, you don’t often know if a decision is going to serve you or not, be right or wrong, until you move forward and start making those decisions and following through. Otherwise, you’re just going to be stuck in the decision-making, planning stage. Which is a lot of fear, procrastination, and indecision. Making quick decisions with healthy eating means you decide what you’re going to eat, knowing that you’re willing to evaluate any setbacks that occur as valuable data. This is the only way to move forward. And here’s why waiting longer to make decisions is not useful. So many of you have this belief that taking longer to make decisions means that the decisions will be higher-quality and it’s never the case. I want to explain exactly why. When you take longer to make decisions, you’re giving your fear-based brain a chance to step in and make the decision, rather than your intentional brain. So, the primitive, fear-based brain wants to avoid failure or negative emotion at any cost, so if you give yourself more time to make a decision, this brain will start to overthink and come up with stories as to why you can’t make that decision. This brain wants to keep you stuck. The intentional part of your brain, or the prefrontal-cortex is designed to make decisions. It’s the part of your brain that logically knows the decision it wants to make at that moment. It doesn’t need more time to make that decision. Any part of you that feels like it needs longer to make a decision always comes from that fear-based brain that wants to keep you stuck and wants to avoid failure. This is why I always tell my clients “It’s safe to go with your gut”. And when I say go with your gut it’s not from a desperate, unconscious, or urgent place. It’s that part of them that feels really grounded. That decision from their gut that they know is useful. They can trust this part of their brain to make decisions. Any part of them that overthinks the decision isn’t from that gut place. It’s from that fear-based part of their mind. So useful to think about. This actually comes up a lot with women who apply to my coaching program and it’s very natural. They’ll apply to the program totally ready to get started and make a change, but then on the call when it’s time to make a decision to join or not join their brain doesn’t want to make the decision. They feel this resistance to making that quick decision. So, they’ll say “I need more time, more money, more energy, more support from others” etc. right? They’re brains will start overthinking and coming up with stories as to why they can’t make this decision right now. This is from their fear-based brain. When really, these women came to the call from their calmer decision-making brain already committed and set on joining the program and changing their eating habits for life. Doing whatever they need to do to make it happen. As soon as it was time to make a decision, the fear-based brain took over and created a mindset of indecision to avoid the possibility of failure that comes with making the decision. Our human brains are so fun aren’t they? Now, if you’re my client and you struggled with this, you know this, but I always make these client’s aware of what’s happening in their mind. I let them know, “Hey. There’s no right or wrong decision. But, you want to look at the place where your brain is making this decision.” And the goal I have for each client is to make decisions from the logical, intentional part of their brains, regardless of what the decision is, because these are the decisions you’ll like your reasons for. You’ll never like the reasons your brain gives you for the decisions it makes from the fear-based brain. And I want to offer, if you find yourself feeling resistance to making quick food decisions, or any other decisions in your life, ask yourself “What’s the worst possible scenario here?”. Because your brain thinks if it makes the “wrong” decision that you’re going to die. It’s very primitive. It’s always trying to protect you. But really, the worst case scenario of any decision is always a negative emotion. It’s what you make the decision not working out mean about you. Which can’t actually harm you. It’s safe to experience negative emotion. So, then, you get to decide. You get to make a decision with this knowledge. Do you like your reasons for not making a decision? For staying in indecision because you don’t want to experience a negative emotion? Or do you not like your reason for not making the decision? And, from this point forward, you’re going to make decisions, move forward, and feel whatever emotion comes up as a result? This will change your life and your eating habits in the quickest way possible if you let it. Alright my friends, thank you for being here today. I hope you took something valuable away from this episode. 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.