Do you people please when it comes to your eating decisions?
This can lead to unintended overeating and weight gain, as you may feel a strong urge to prioritize others’ emotions over your own health goals.
When you constantly focus on pleasing others, your own wants and needs often take a back seat. The result is that you may end up eating more than intended, just to fit in with the crowd, or you might feel pressured to accept food offerings even when you’re already full.
However, if you want to achieve permanent weight loss, it’s essential to start advocating for your own needs when it comes to food — above anything else.
In this episode, I’m sharing how to identify when you’re engaging in people pleasing eating patterns and how you can begin setting boundaries with your food decisions, especially when it involves other people.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. I’m so happy you’re here with me today. Today we’re going to talk all about people pleasing eating, but before we do, I want to walk you through a recent client experience that we had an own your eating habits, which was with my client Lizzie. And I want to share with you a bit about her story. So not only can you feel inspired, but you can relate her story back to what your journey towards naturally healthy eating may look like.
So Lizzie was a client of mine who came to me really wanting to achieve weight loss without sacrificing her freedom in the process of that. So I know a lot of you can relate to this where you want to lose weight, you want to stop dieting, you want to eat healthier, but you’re done doing it in a way that requires hustle.
So she was in the exact same place and in her life she had her own online business. She was a wife, a mom of three kids. And according to her, she was the breadwinner of her family and she had great success in her business and she just really loved the stability and the lifestyle she created for her family. Her circumstances at that time felt really ideal, but she told me that she did not want just good results in her life.
Life. She wanted to live extraordinarily. And some of you may also relate to her because a lot of you listening would likely be okay in your life if you kept the eating habits you had and the results with your health that you had and your body. But you want an exceptional experience of having a body and food in your life. So this is exactly where she was at and she said she never felt truly accomplished with healthy eating and weight loss, nothing ever stuck.
Dieting felt too demanding to her, and so she didn’t want to hustle anymore for the weight loss. She really was looking for a long-term approach that felt natural. But this is where she found herself stuck because she did have this lingering belief because of her past that weight loss wouldn’t be possible for her without sacrificing the enjoyment of her life that she had created. So this really was keeping her stuck.
She really didn’t want to sacrifice the fulfillment or happiness that she created with her family. So I told her that actually to change the way she ate permanently, she would need to create a version of healthy eating for herself that added.
To the enjoyment of her life now and didn’t take away from it. So those were the conditions of her success that needed to happen. And of course she wholeheartedly agreed. And in our six months together, I want to share with you the main areas of focus that she implemented so you can get an idea of what your journey may look like to naturally healthy eating and sustainable weight loss. So the first thing Lizzie really mastered was to regulate her full range of emotions separate from the eating decisions she made.
So at this time, she was really focused on enjoying her life, but she actually wasn’t yet holding space for her natural emotional discomfort. And once she began doing that and implementing that process, her stress started going down, which primed her body for weight loss. Stress regulation is what primes your body to lose weight effectively, and that’s what she did.
And then cravings began to lower and she spent less time in her mind ruminating and overthinking, which really allowed her to alleviate that stress. Once she mastered that skill, then she really learned to prioritize her own needs with food rather than trying to micromanage all of the eating decisions outside of her. So a big struggle with Lizzie was she would spend a lot of time making herself responsible for her kids’ eating decision, even her husband’s.
So she really began staying in her lane and began holding her body in just as high of a regard as her partner’s needs and her kids’ needs. So she began holding space to honor her own fullness, prioritize her eating decisions, which allowed her to relax a bit and enjoy her family time more. And then the last big area of focus for Lizzie was making healthy eating decisions in any environment.
So this was really key for her and it’s going to be key for a lot of you because she did not want to rely on rigid scheduling or planning to eat healthy. She wanted that freedom for her family to be spontaneous with food related activities. And that meant that becoming a naturally healthy eater was non-negotiable for her. She needed to learn how to do it in this way. So what she did learn was how to make deliberate healthy eating choices no matter what food was available to her.
So she became really, really adaptable to making it work. In her six months of coaching, she ended up reaching her goal. So she lost the 25 pounds and she did it without dieting, tracking or even planning because.
She was really focused on creating a version of healthy eating and weight loss that fit her lifestyle. So why I’m sharing this is even if your lifestyle is different than Lizzie’s, you can start to think about what your own process of health eating would look like for you. If you are attempting to fit yourself into a healthy eating box that doesn’t fit you, you can create a customized box for yourself that is adaptable to your life. So to go through that same process Lizzie did and to find your individual version of how healthy eating you can apply to coaching at KatRentas.com/coaching and we’ll get you on a consultation to ensure you’re a good fit and then we can get you started.
Alright, so let’s go into people pleasing eating. So this is something that a lot of us struggle with when it comes to healthy eating in the beginning.
And to start, I want to share a general definition of people pleasing. And this is when you feel a strong urge to please others even at your own expense. So that’s the key. It’s having a strong urge to please other people, but it’s even at your own expense. So your wants and needs go off the table and the only thing you are primarily concerned with is the emotions of other people and whether or not they are pleased with the decisions you make.
Now, people pleasing eating is very common and it’s a reflection of this. It’s when you make eating decisions for other people even at the expense of your own health and the results you want. And so first I would love for you to consider where this could occur for you. It might be in small ways throughout the day or on special occasions or during outings with friends.
I know for me it was definitely outings with friends where I would eat or drink more than I wanted or needed ’cause I didn’t wanna be that weird person that turned down the food. Or I noticed I would eat more of dinner with family because I didn’t wanna be accused of restricting or dieting or if someone offered me food or more food, I would feel like I couldn’t turn them down. And this was all reflective of my people pleasing eating.
And maybe y’all can relate and I would love for you to consider what your personal examples of people pleasing eating are. So ultimately it’s food that goes into your mouth that doesn’t serve your health goals because you are concerned with how someone else will react to that decision. And here’s the thing to know about all of this. It’s not actually.
Other people’s reactions to our eating decisions that we’re concerned about. What we’re actually concerned about is how we will be required to feel when we observe their reaction. So for example, for me, I would feel shame when I turn down food and think I did something wrong or I would experience guilt where I would think I’m being rude, I’m being inconsiderate. So I want you to think what you would need to feel and experience emotionally if you began to people no or honoring your own boundaries with food, where you set boundaries with your food decisions when you’re around other people.
A really important concept to know when we’re engaging in people pleasing eating is the concept of emotional responsibility and maturity. So emotional responsibility or maturity is us understanding that we are not responsible for the emotions of other people. So it doesn’t mean we don’t care about the humans and it doesn’t mean we don’t want them to feel good, but it’s acknowledging the reality that we can’t possibly be responsible for their emotions because we can’t control someone else’s thoughts or emotions based on what we do.
That is ultimately up to that human. And if you believe that somehow you are responsible for the emotions of other people, particularly with the way that you eat, it’s gonna be like walking on eggshells, you’re going to be avoiding their emotional reactions and you’re going to try and micromanage how you act to avoid certain emotional reactions. It’s gonna take a lot of your energy. So that concept is really, really important to know. You are only responsible for your own emotional experience in this case.
That means the only thing you have control over is what you make it mean when you make your own eating decisions for your needs and you make the reactions of other people mean. So two things are in your control. It’s what you make your eating decisions mean and what you make the reactions of others mean their reactions and their emotions to whatever you decide to do is not actually in your control.
And it does not mean that we don’t care about the humans. It’s just a logical boundary here that we need to set. And I want you to consider again, what would you need to be willing to feel to set boundaries with your food decisions and to say no to an eating decision that you don’t want to make. It may mean for you that you need to hold space for the thought you have of I am doing something wrong or I’m being rude, which can bring up shame and guilt.
The important thing to know is that thoughts like these aren’t facts. So we can’t prove these as true. They are opinions, they are singular perspectives on that moment. These are emotional experiences and they are offered to you by your brain, which means you are not these thoughts and feelings. You can observe them objectively and neutrally when they come up like, oh, I decided to not accept another serving of dinner from my friend who cooked for us this week.
And in that moment I am experiencing guilt in my body because I’m having the thought that they’ll think I don’t appreciate them. So if I’m in this moment and I’m noticing that thought, they’ll think I don’t appreciate them and I’m noticing that guilt, I can witness that human experience without indulging in it as the reality. So I’m not beating myself up with it, I’m not ruminating in the guilt, but I’m watching the thought and the guilt neutrally and objectively where I simply notice it.
Once you’re able to be the watcher of a emotions like this, then you can choose to change your perspective of that moment. So you do not have to keep making yourself wrong for the eating choices you want to be making. So maybe that means you notice the guilt come up because you think they’ll think I don’t appreciate them if I say no.
And you have that human experience, but you still decide to say no for your body, for your health with that eating decision. But then notice how the perspective of that moment can change when you shift from they’ll think, I don’t appreciate them to, I really appreciate them. You’re switching the focus from you back to them rather than well think I don’t appreciate them.
It’s acknowledging I really do appreciate them. Where you feel love, you feel that appreciation, you experience the emotions you want to feel of that moment. You make it mean what you want to make it mean. This is one example of the shifts you can consider here with these moments when you feel compelled to eat based on people pleasing. But it can be helpful to know that people pleasing eating doesn’t actually occur when we’re focusing on the other people.
It actually comes from us focusing on not wanting to be wrong for that moment. And I’ll say that one again so you can really think about it. People pleasing. Eating doesn’t occur when we’re focusing on the other people and thinking about how much we appreciate them. For example, it comes from us focusing on not wanting to be wrong.
For that moment where we feel guilty because we make it mean I’m doing something wrong. Know that difference. It’s going to bring you a lot of clarity in these moments. Now it’s going to be important for these moments that you know how your brain ticks because there will be justifications, your brain offers you for people pleasing, eating, for making, eating decisions that you don’t want to be making to make other people pleased or happy.
So these are subtle thoughts that will compel you to engage in that behavior even when you don’t logically want to, which will lead to overeating and not creating the results with your body that you want. So expect them and then decide not to indulge them. And I’m going to give you common examples of these justifications for people pleasing eating that many of us can relate to. I don’t want to be rude, this won’t matter anyways.
It will just be this one time. I don’t want to restrict myself, I want to enjoy this meal. I want them to be happy. So it’s not these thoughts that are morally wrong. Some of these thoughts may feel true to you, but what makes them wrong is that it’s the reason we’re making that decision. So for instance, you are not thinking, oh, I don’t wanna restrict myself because that’s actually the intention behind you making that eating decision.
You’re using that as a compelling reason to not have to say no and advocate for your needs when you’re eating with other people. See that difference. Another example is, I don’t wanna be rude. That’s not actually the reason why you don’t wanna say no. You don’t wanna say no because you don’t wanna feel uncomfortable. That’s what’s actually occurring here, and we are not wrong for this.
It just really helps us to tease this out and to understand all the pieces behind our people pleasing eating behavior, people pleasing. Eating is a very big cause of weight gain or our inability to lose the weight. It can create a ton of overeating, and if you want to eat healthy naturally and lose weight permanently, this will be something you will need to solve for in your life. And so to review, here are ways you can equip yourself well when it comes to people pleasing eating.
So it’s not something you engage in. The first one is that emotional maturity and responsibility. So establish with yourself that you are responsible for your emotions and yours alone. We can care about the humans, but they are going to have thoughts and emotions regardless because that is not in your control. So it’s safe for you to let them have thoughts and feelings.
They are equipped to handle those things. Next, you want to begin practicing emotional allowance. So acknowledge the emotions that are present for you. When you stop people pleasing eating and you make different decisions. When you turn down food or choose a different food, just observe your emotional experience and hold objective and neutral space for it. Then it can also really help to make your food decisions ahead of time before you’re in a social setting.
So this is a more tactical solution that you can begin implementing. If you know you’re going to be in a social setting, look up the menu or set some boundaries with yourself for what you will decide, then it will become easy to separate the intentional eating decisions you want to make from those justifications that your brain may offer you for the people pleasing eating. And lastly, just begin honoring promises to yourself.
So when you begin advocating for your food decisions that you want to make with yourself, you’re going to increase self-trust and self-confidence. Self-trust with food is the experience of knowing that you have the capacity to create the results you want with food and body. So you trust that you can relax within yourself, knowing you will always choose what’s in best interest for your health. This is the experience I want y’all to get towards here because it is possible for you to achieve this level of naturally healthy eating.
And you can think of overcoming people pleasing, eating as the ultimate trust exercise with yourself. It truly will build this sense of self-trust and self-confidence the more you advocate for the eating decisions you want to be making. Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful to you, to give you a window into people pleasing eating and how you can begin overcoming that now. I love you. I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week 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.