The Number One Mistake Women Make When Trying to Eat Healthier - Kat Rentas

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Feb 17

The Number One Mistake Women Make When Trying to Eat Healthier

Number One Mistake Eat Healthier Kat Rentas

There’s so much overwhelm that exists when it comes to eating healthy. 

And it’s not surprising.

Since the diet industry is constantly telling us that to eat healthier and lose weight, we need to focus on eating “the right things”.

This causes women to attempt to eat certain foods through discipline and willpower.

And eventually they quit. Because it feels so hard for them.

These women will usually blame their eating mistakes on lack of time, knowledge, or circumstances outside of them.

And they’ll convince themselves that they failed because they didn’t find the “perfect diet”. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reason why these women failed to eat healthy was far more simple than this.

And it starts by understanding the truth about sticking to a diet.

When You Force Yourself to Follow Food Rules

I like to define a diet as “a set of restrictive food rules written by someone other than yourself”

Meaning, it’s a set of food rules that tell you to eat a certain set of things, based on what worked for someone else.

When you think about it like this, so many things can be considered a diet.

There’s the vegan diet, keto diet, low-carb diet, zero sugar diet – the list goes on and on.

The truth is, we’re given a set of “healthy eating boxes” to choose from.

And we’re taught by the diet industry that we have to fit in one of them to be healthy.

The problem is, not one of these boxes knows anything about your bodies’ food needs, preferences, or goals.

A diet is food rules written for the masses made up by a small subset of people who know nothing about what your body truly needs.

Here’s what happens when you go on a diet:

 

  • You’ll read an article online about this new diet that really works and allows you to shed weight. This is exciting to you. You’ll think, “This time will be different. This diet won’t feel so hard. It’s worked for other people, so it can definitely work for me.”
  • After reading the diet, you’ll schedule out all your meals for the week. The first few days go really well.  You’re motivated to finally change your eating habits so you can see new results with your body.
  • Around mid-week it doesn’t feel “right” anymore. The food you’re eating just doesn’t feel satisfying to you.  You think, “Alright. Maybe I just need some of the old foods right now. I’ll get right back to my diet after”.
  • The end of the week comes and you realize you “fell off track” again. You’ll try again next week. Next time will be better.

 

The majority of women have been in this diet-cycle their entire lives.

They pick up healthy eating habits and put them back down.

The main reason diets don’t work long-term?

And why are you failing to eat healthy?

Because you’re relying on willpower to follow a set of food rules written by someone else.

Why Willpower Fails

Willpower can be defined as “the control exerted to take action or resist impulses”. 

It’s heavily glorified in our society.

We’re not taught to accomplish food goals with love, compassion, and care.

We are taught that to get the results we want, we must operate out of discipline, self-punishment, and willpower.

I’m not going to tell you to love yourself and avoid willpower because it feels good.

It’s because willpower does not work.

You cannot force your brain to take action differently. They are far too advanced for that.

If you try and take new food actions, without addressing your brain, you will experience resistance. 

You will try and push through that resistance through willpower.

But, willpower always runs out.

It’s like holding a beach ball underwater. It’s only a matter of time before it comes shooting up out of the surface. 

Unfortunately for us, most diet programs and meal plans operate from this place of willpower.

These plans are action-based. Meaning they will tell you the food actions to take to get results.

Once again, to force yourself to take action means you’ll have to harness willpower. 

Which never, ever works long-term.

What it does instead is damages your relationship with food.

When you attempt to force yourself to eat healthier and it doesn’t work out, you will experience a magnitude of problems:

 

  • You will acquire toxic food beliefs (“eating healthy is hard for me”)
  • You will act out of self-punishment (“I’m eating this to earn the body I want”)
  • You will see food as a means to an end (“If I eat correctly I will lose the weight”) 

 

This heavily damages your mindset around food.

Which is ultimately the defining factor when it comes to eating healthy long-term.

When you approach new eating habits this way, it doesn’t feel so hard.

Let me explain.

A New Approach to Eating Healthier

The reason why willpower doesn’t work, is because you have your brain working against you.

Your current eating habits are highly reflective of your current thinking.

If you’re not eating healthy, chances are you’re having thoughts like:

 

  • “I wish eating healthier could feel easier”
  • “I’d be happier if I lost the weight”
  • “Why can’t I stick to this diet program?”

 

Or something along those lines. 

This type of thinking is what produces your results with food.

Which is being someone who doesn’t eat healthy.

So, when you try and take action away from this mindset (eating healthier), your brain will cause you to self-sabotage.

This is your brain’s way of keeping you safe.

In order to eat healthier, you will have to change your thoughts around food.

Which, in turn, changes your identity around food.

To do this effectively, so you don’t have to rely on willpower, follow these four steps:

1) Change Your Food Thoughts

As mentioned, your current thinking around food produced your current results with food.

If you don’t change your thoughts, you will inevitably keep creating the same results with food.

So, what new thoughts will bring you the results you want with food?

An easy way to figure this out is to ask yourself, “what does someone who eats healthy effortlessly think?” 

Someone who eats healthy is likely having thoughts like:

 

  • “I feel good when I eat X,Y, and Z foods”
  • “I’m never worried about what I’m going to eat”
  • “I enjoy being kind to my body. Since it does so much for me in return”

 

You’ll have to do this exercise for yourself to come up with thoughts that align with you.

For more on this, read this article.

2) Paying Attention

To intentionally create new results with food you want to start paying attention.

First, to the thoughts you’re thinking when it comes to eating healthy.

Second, to the way your body feels before and after you eat.

You want to constantly be exploring what works for your body and what doesn’t.

Get into the habit of asking yourself routinely:

 

  • What foods make my body feel nourished?
  • What foods make my body feel sluggish?
  • What foods do I want to include more of in my daily diet?
  • What foods do I want to include less of in my daily diet?

 

You’ll need to practice paying attention to your bodies’ needs and preferences.

This is how you write your own rules with food that don’t rely on willpower.

3) Practice Compassion & Curiosity

You’re going to want to judge yourself for the negative food thoughts that come up.

Instead, operate out of compassion and curiosity.

 

  • Compassion says, “Of course I think that way. This makes total sense. I understand why this happens.”
  • Curiosity says, “That’s so interesting! What can I change to produce better results this week?”

 

See the difference?

This skill will not only benefit your eating habits, but will impact every area of your life.

For more on this, read this article.

4) Have Fun With Food

You can practice eating healthier while still enjoying the process.

There’s this limiting belief that healthy food has to be boring.

This is not the case. 

You can look at eating healthier like a whole new adventure with food.

Take time every week to try a new recipe that you’re not familiar with.

Begin experimenting with spices in the kitchen to give those veggies flavor.

Make your kitchen space an enjoyable, cozy atmosphere. 

Intentionally think about how you could make the act of eating healthier fun and enjoyable for you.

You’d be surprised how few people actually do this.

This is where the magic of healthy eating lives. 

What to Do Next

If you take the time to do the steps above, you will begin to solidify healthy eating habits that feel natural.

Notice how here I didn’t tell you exactly what to eat.

I didn’t tell you the “right actions” to take with food.

Because that would be a waste of your time!

Stop listening to the diet programs that promise you results.

Start trying new approaches to figure out what works for you.

You don’t need another list of food rules that tell you how to eat healthy.

You know who does know what you need to feel nourished and healthy? 

You do. You’re all you need.

Your body is constantly trying to tell you what to eat through hunger cues, satisfaction factors, and other clear ways that you have been missing for some time.

It’s time you start listening to her.

- Kat Rentas

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Kat Rentas, Eating Psych. Coach

Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified eating psychology 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 placeYou can read my full story here.