Many of my clients in the beginning of our time together have a goal of “eating normally”.
Usually, this means they’re having judgements about themselves as an eater now and seeing themselves as “abnormal”.
The truth is, you will always have legitimate reasons for your food struggles now. Nothing has gone wrong. It’s all solvable.
In this episode, I’m teaching you how to change your relationship to your current food struggles, so you can move forward and learn to “eat normally” in the way you’ve always wanted.
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Hello there. Welcome back to the podcast this week. We are back from our Thanksgiving trip and it was lovely. We spent time at my sister’s house with her husband, my parents were there, my sister got a new puppy, it was really nice to just slow down a bit and be really present with family and have that time. Which, by the way, a lot of you really resonated with last week’s episode, in terms of the stress-state that you find yourself in before the holidays, and first off, I’m always happy when an episode really resonates with all of you, but I want you to know that I’m not a unicorn. I promise I’m no different. I have a human brain. My brain always offers me this same anxiety and stress every year before the holidays. It’s like that tap on the shoulder that says, “Hey there. It’s that time of the year. We doing this?”. And I’ve just learned the skills to not opt into that continuously from my brain. I acknowledge when the flicker of stress or anxiety comes up, but I don’t indulge in it. I’ve practiced managing my emotions and mind so often that when that anxiety and stress is offered to me at the beginning of the holiday season, I so very intentionally allow that human experience and process it fully, so it’s not building up by the time the holidays come around, and as a result I’m not feeling compelled to escape in the Thanksgiving meal or the holiday meals. It really is just simple now. I’m not even having thoughts about the holiday meals. I just get to enjoy them. And I always like to check in with you and give you perspective on where I came from and how it looks different now. So you can see what’s possible. For me and my clients, because I’ve been there and I’m not special. I promise you. I’m an imperfect human too. But anyone can find this control with the right tools. It’s possible for anyone. You can have control with your eating decisions during the holidays, or any other time of the year, without feeling like you’re missing out on the foods you love. I can’t stress that enough. Which brings me into another brief announcement I want to make today. If you’re planning on joining Own Your Eating Habits, my coaching program, in 2022. So you’re ready to have this control with food and you want to learn to eat healthy naturally with a process that you can learn, but you want to get started after the holidays, so in the New Year, get your application in now. Because spots will fill up quickly in the New Year and I recommend if you have every intention of joining, reserve your spot so you’ll be all set to get started. I want to make sure those of you who are really ready and committed to getting started are able to. So, if that is you, you can apply at KatRentas.com/coaching and we can get you enrolled, set up, and make 2021 the last year you ever struggle with food. Alright? So, moving on, let’s get into today’s topic which is the concept of normal eating. A lot of my clients come to me saying they want to learn how to “eat normally” and this is valid. They come to this work thinking that how they’re eating is “abnormal” and it shouldn’t be happening, and then want to learn how to eat like a quote unquote “normal person” so they can stop being broken, weird, and these messed up humans that need to be fixed. And I’m laughing here, but this is very real for us, right? We start off having these food struggles and part of us believes that we are these broken humans that need to be fixed, and I always want you to watch out for that thinking. Because there’s certain things that happen when we see ourselves as broken with food, or “abnormal”. And here’s what I most commonly see. With this belief, you will add a crazy amount of judgement to your eating habits. So, not only are you having the base layer of uncomfortable human emotions that lead you to overeating, but you’re also judging your eating habits on top of that. So, for example, you experience overwhelm as an emotion, so you feel compelled to overeat, right? That’s the base emotion you’re feeling that needs to be managed. But, then what happens is you judge the heck out of your overeating patterns. So, now you’re layering on guilt, shame, inadequacy — whatever emotion results from your judgement. So, now we’re not just dealing with the initial overwhelm. We’re dealing with an overwhelm, guilt, shame, inadequacy, sandwich. This is like a triple decker sandwich. Or in this case, I guess it’s a quadruple decker emotional sandwich. Which will be a lot more heightened and will be more difficult to manage. So, that’s just to say that when we think about the concept of “wanting to eat normally” how is that possibly coming from the judgement that we are “abnormal” for eating the way we do now? That we need to be fixed, that we’re broken, and that something is wrong with us. You’re using your current eating habits against yourself here. Which will make it ten times harder to make the changes you want. It’s really a self-sabotaging cycle you can find yourself in. Where you’re overeating, but then you’re judging yourself for doing so, so you make it even more easy to stay where you are and feed the self-concept narrative that you are someone who overeats and can’t be fixed. See how that works? And I want you to know. It makes perfect sense if you’re having the belief that you “don’t eat normally” right now. If you’re having this belief system that something is wrong with you. Because, here’s why I see this most often come up with the women I work with. So, I work with women who are very committed to solving problems. They’re what I would consider high-achieving women, right? They know how to “get it done” in their lives. They know how to run a business, manage a team, raise a family — really, do it all. Amazing women. And it’s very likely you’re one of them too. You don’t have any doubt about your ability to solve problems in other areas of your life. Or, at least, you believe in yourself enough to accomplish what you need to accomplish in other areas. So, what this can mean is you have this general belief about yourself that “you know what to do” and “you can accomplish things” and “you can get it done”. It’s this very positive narrative and belief system about yourself. But, I always say in my coaching practice, for every positive belief system, there’s a negative that’s waiting for you when the conditions change. Because then the positive can stop being true for you. So, for example, these women are able to believe “I can get it done and I’m capable” in other areas of their lives when they’re able to solve the problems. But, then, when it comes to food, it’s not working for them. Their Type-A, organizational, leadership skills do not work for them when it comes to changing their eating habits. Because what do they do? Like all of us, they try to micromanage food, solve food, and fix food. Because, it’s not working for them. In other areas they believe “I know how to make it work”, so when it doesn’t work with food they end up believing “This isn’t working so it needs to be fixed”. Then some more time passes, they don’t fix it in the way they know how, so they’ll end up with the belief “There must be something wrong with me”, “I just want to eat like a normal person”. See the judgement there? And I’m speaking about this type of woman that I work with, but chances are most of you will really resonate with this person. It can feel like this divide between who you are in your work life and personal life vs. who you are with food. You’ll feel in control in other areas, but then completely out of control with food, which can be a painful place to be in. Because the skills that allow you to be in control in other areas, aren’t working for you with food. So, take a moment to consider what this looks like for you. How are you providing yourself evidence that your eating habits are abnormal or that something is wrong with you or that you need to be fixed. This puts us in a victim-mindset. Which primitively, your brain loves because it will keep you stuck and not taking responsibility for your results. Your brain likes to conserve energy, so this is ideal for it. But, it won’t get you the results with food you want. So we want to be mindful of this belief system that may come up. And 9 times out of 10 when a client comes to me saying they want to “eat normally” I know this is coming from a place of judging themselves and believing that they’re a special case that’s “not normal”. I always say jokingly to my clients, I’m not a special case and neither are they. None of us are special. We’re all the same. We can validate where we’re at with food now, because we have legitimate reasons why we have the eating habits we do – always. Which this is my PSA for the episode. No matter what eating habits you have, no matter how much you overeat, no matter what’s coming up for you – you have good reasons for it. Reasons that are not personal, they’re math-based. They’re based on facts and logic. Now, what your brain will do is try and make sense of your eating struggles by making them personal. It will offer you the thought “Something is wrong with me”. Our brains are very dramatic and self-centered. Have you noticed? This can’t ever possibly be true. You can notice when your brain wants to get very dramatic and whiny, it’s kind of like an angsty teenager, right? That’s how I see my brain at least. She’s just constantly thinking, “Ugh. Of course this would happen to us. Why wouldn’t it? We’re not good enough and something is wrong with us.”. She’s just wrong, it’s fine. That’s just my emotional brain trying to make sense of when I don’t have a result I want. But, you can just know right now, that any time your brain wants to create a story about how it’s personal and that’s why your eating habits aren’t working out – it can just be wrong. Because it’s not possible for your eating habits to be personal. There’s always math that adds up that creates the eating habits you have now. And, really, a major benefit to my coaching and my program is that immediately the clients get access to the answers. They get to understand why they have the eating habits they do and the step-by-step process for what it will take to solve them. This evidence can calm their brain that believes they have “abnormal eating habits” and that their struggles are personal. Because now we have the math. But that’s just to all say that you likely have a brain right now that wants to make your eating habits personal. We can understand how it got there and why those beliefs are present. But, it’s not accurate and this thinking will not serve you. Now, I want you to consider what you believe “normal eating” is, in your mind? If you had to define “normal eating” what would that look like? It’s interesting because there can’t possibly be a set definition of normal eating. It’s a very general concept. You all will have various definitions of what that means for you. For most of my clients they would define normal eating as never overeating, never feeling compelled to emotionally eat, never having uncomfortable human emotions, eating the right things, never self-sabotaging with food – basically, perfection. And in case you were not aware, perfection with food and all of the things that it implies, is the least normal, natural thing. It will never happen. If you believe that normal eating implies perfection, you will keep self-sabotaging because of what you make it mean when you don’t eat perfectly. Did you know? It is normal to feel compelled to overeat, it is normal to have uncomfortable human experiences, it is normal to eat foods for pleasure that aren’t the most nutritionally valuable, it’s normal to have moments where you realize you ate too much, it’s normal to be an damn human being. God, we’re hard on ourselves, right? Eating is probably the most human, natural thing we do. We eat to survive and we’re trying to expect perfection from that. Eating is directly tied to emotions, your body’s needs – things that are linked to your survival and we’re seeing it through this lens of perfectionism. Of course we’re going to self-sabotage with this mindset. And really, there’s no such thing as “normal eating”. There’s how you will feel compelled to eat primitively, which is the case for every human, and then there’s how you decide to eat based on the results you want. That’s it. And what my clients learn is exactly how to manage their primitive mind so they’re not giving in to their natural urges to overeat. Natural urges. It’s natural, my friends. Which then allows them to deliberately take action with food in the way that they genuinely want. So it feels enjoyable, it feels easier, and it feels under their control. In order to have control with food, you don’t have to put yourself into this box of “eating normally”. There’s just eating the way you intentionally want to eat. And how you all want to eat is probably having control with food, where you’re able to fully enjoy foods you love without losing control with them, and also providing your body what foods it needs nutritionally to be healthy and get the results you want. You don’t need to be a perfect eater to do those things. That’s the very big difference. All of those things that you’re perceiving as abnormal with your eating habits? What if emotional eating, overeating, cravings, were normal? What if nothing has gone wrong? What if that’s natural to have that come up for you? And, what if it’s just about learning how to work with your natural human brain, rather than believing there’s something abnormal about you? Something I want you to consider today. Alright, my lovely friend. Thanks for listening 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.