How do you personally define being accountable to yourself with food?
Do you imagine the experience feeling free, light, fulfilling, and accessible? Or, do you imagine it feeling rigid, harsh, and demanding – where the stakes are very high to get the results you want?
For women I coach, it’s usually the latter. They believe that to hold themselves accountable with food they need to sacrifice more effort, time, and energy.
This simply isn’t true in the slightest. To eat healthy long-term, you will need to be accountable to yourself – but not in the way that you think.
You must begin defining self-accountability in a way that partners with your wants, needs, and preferences with food. Where it feels easy, accessible, and enjoyable to you.
In this podcast episode, I’m sharing how to define self-accountability in a way that serves you and meets you where you are now. This way, you can begin creating an experience of healthy eating that feels sustainable for you long-term.
Hello there, my friends welcome back to the podcast this week. So today I want to talk about the concept of self accountability, because when we set out on our health journey or more specifically our healthy eating journey, we hear all of this talk about what it means to be accountable to ourselves and how it is 100% necessary to get the results we want.
And I do have an episode earlier on in the podcast on accountability, but my concepts are always growing and developing over time. And I wanted to do kind of an updated episode on this concept because one of the most common things clients say to me after we work together in my practice is that their definition of accountability totally changes, which is not something they initially expect.
And this is something that I notice is such a huge shift for them personally.
So I really want to introduce to you today what that shift looks like for them when it comes to holding themselves accountable. So this way you can start to picture what it can look like for you. So what I most often see, and this is the case for all of us in the beginning is that we’re defining accountability in impossible standards. So we’re defining accountability through a lens of perfection with food.
So I want you for a moment to consider what you define as accountability or holding yourself accountable right now when it comes to eating healthy. So how do you imagine you’ll show up with food. If you are 100% accountable to yourself, just picture it. And I’m betting what it may look like in general is you making these picture perfect meal plans, sticking to those decisions, no matter what throughout the week, never falling off track and then getting the results you want from that willpower and perfect action with food.
And then what we imagine is that this is the way it will work for the rest of our lives. And somehow we will always maintain this definition of accountability and will continue to eat perfectly and maintain the results we create. So it’s like looking at your future eating habits through a very rose colored filter. We’re not really accounting for the fact that we’re human beings, that things can come up that can cause us to go off plan setbacks.
We may have, we just assume that accountability, once we achieve this, it means we will be perfect with food and we will always follow through. So that’s what we go for. And here’s the thing about the concept of accountability. It is just a term. It’s just a word, how you define accountability will always be up to you. And yes, you can Google words and a set definition will come up.
But all of that is up to interpretation. How you defining concepts like accountability in your brain will more depend on your conditioning and the way you personally see the world. So what I mean is that you’re not going to think about holding yourself accountable with food and then go back to a Miriam Webster definition of accountability. No, you’re going to define accountability with food based on what you believe it is through your conditioning.
And most of us have been conditioned in diet culture to change the way we eat and change the results with our body, which has told us that to get results with our body, we have to eat a certain way without question and do it perfectly. So this is the lens through which we most often will define accountability from. And, um, and here’s the thing about concepts or words like accountability.
Once again, it’s just a word and a concept. It is all up to your interpretation. And what I see is that most of the women I serve in my practice are defining many things through that lens of perfectionism, because they like all of us have been brought up in diet culture, which has shaped their relationship with food and what it means to hold themselves accountable.
But they like me in the past, tend to define a lot of words through the lens of perfectionism. So accountability or holding themselves accountable. They define through perfectionism. Other words include consistency, progress, commitment, discipline. They define all of these things in the beginning through a lens of perfectionism, as in taking perfect action is necessary to achieve those things.
It’s defining all of these things in a harsh mindset that doesn’t serve us. So I’m hoping this makes sense and feel free to take a moment and reflect on how you are personally defining being accountable to yourself.
Does it feel soft, forgiving, easy, accessible, and light, or does it feel forced, harsh, rigid, or restrictive? And if it’s the latter, you are a perfectly functioning human who has just been raised in a culture that tells us that harsher emotional efforts are necessary to get results. So you are in good company.
We are all in the same club here, but this is what I want to bring your attention towards today. Watch how you are defining accountability to yourself and how harsh your relationship to accountability may be right now. This is so important. Now, I also want you to understand why it is that you are defining accountability in such a harsh, rigid and inaccessible way.
And as mentioned, this has to do with our social conditioning and being brought up in diet culture and hustle culture. It tells us that being accountable to ourselves requires perfection from us with food.
So it means never missing a day of healthy eating or never falling off track. But it’s also important to notice that you will define self accountability differently based on whether you trust yourself to have control with food or not. So let me explain in the beginning for my clients, and this may be true for you as well. It certainly was for me, you may not trust or believe that you have 100% control over your eating decisions.
You just don’t have that level of self trust yet. And let’s be honest, if this is the case, you’re listening to this podcast for that reason, and that’s perfectly safe. This is a skill we learn, and this is where we all start. But it’s also safe to acknowledge here with yourself. If that’s the case. Now, maybe you do not trust yet that you have 100% control over your eating decisions.
And if this is the case, it’s likely that you are defining self-accountability in a way that feels harsh, forced, and rigid. Because when you don’t believe you have control with food internally, you will seek to force that control externally through your actions. You’re going to believe that more effort is necessary for you. So therefore, you’re going to define something like self-accountability in that rigid, harsh way where you’re believing it implies that you always have to do the right things with healthy eating, or you have to eat a certain way, or that there’s even a right or wrong way to eat healthy.
It’s this mindset where we believe that there is a right way to eat and it’s our job to figure that out and then stick to it no matter what to get results. So I want you to picture yourself holding on really tightly to something because you are afraid you’ll lose it.
This is the experience of self accountability we will have when we don’t trust ourselves with food. When we don’t believe we have control with food internally, no matter what’s occurring outside of us. And this is a painful experience to be in because of course, holding on tightly to that control with food, burns us out. It’s not enjoyable or fulfilling.
So this is how I describe willpower. It feels terrible. And we can only hold on tightly for so long, but this is what you may think. It means to be accountable to yourself, to force yourself and your eating habits into submission. And eventually you’re going to get tired. You’re going to get burnt out. But when you do and you quote unquote, fall off track, you’re not going to consider that it’s the method that doesn’t work for you.
What you’ll end up believing is that you just weren’t accountable to yourself that you just needed more willpower that you needed to try harder that maybe you just didn’t want it bad enough.
This is the equivalent of just rub some dirt in it, right? It’s self neglect and self punishment. You’re going to feel like you’re working against yourself. And this is not the experience we want to provide ourselves. When it comes to eating healthy, the perspective I’m giving my clients often is that the journey to healthy eating won’t always feel easy, but if you are doing it right, it should always feel healing and of service to you.
So sometimes healing can feel hard and maybe a bit uncomfortable, but we ultimately know it’s for our greater care and our greater good, your journey to healthy eating should never feel like harsh self punishment. You should never feel like you are forcing your hand. This is an indicator that you are defining something like self accountability, with food as perfection, and doing the right things or eating the right way.
It’s just very rigid and unfulfilling, which if you are having this experience is just reflective of the fact that you don’t trust yourself with food yet. So you think you have to work harder, which isn’t true, but I want this to make sense to you. If you find yourself here. Now, this brings us into what true self-accountability is that will serve you. And I want you to start equating self-accountability with self trust, because one cannot exist without the other.
When you trust yourself with food, no matter what you create the ability to be accountable to yourself. And the key word here is accountable to yourself. to yourself. This means being accountable to your wants, your needs and your preferences with food and your body. It means honoring your true once with food and your integrity and in case no one has ever told you, you are all that matters in terms of changing the way you eat.
You have permission to be the captain of the ship, the expert, the scientist, all of it, of what it will mean for you to eat healthy. You get to make the decisions, nobody else. And I’m quite serious that no one else’s opinion matters to me in my coaching practice, other than my clients for themselves. So I am the guide that shows them how to create an experience of healthy eating and getting the results they want with their body that matches their integrity of what feels good for them.
So it is a collaborative process. Their experience of healthy eating needs to match the experience they want to have of healthy eating. What matters is how you want your experience of food to be for you. You get to decide. So what I’m really saying is that self accountability means honoring your once with food and honoring your integrity.
And you give your yourself permission to define self accountability in this way. When you trust that you have 100% control with food. Now, before I lose you, I know this may sound extreme, especially if this is your first podcast episode with me, welcome. But if you are listening to this and you’re like me, but what about the macros and the tracking and calories in versus calories out.
I want you to just be willing to put that aside for a minute and open the door, just a sliver with what I’m offering you here. Just peek in that doorway and explore this possibility that the only thing that matters is how you want to eat healthy for you personally, and creating the results with your body in a way that will create self trust, which is what inevitably leads to self accountability.
Because self accountability with healthy eating is not doing it right, because you can’t do it wrong.
It’s not never falling off track because a track never existed. It’s not sticking to a plan because it’s not the plan that matters. It’s how to bring yourself to an experience of healthy eating, where a plan isn’t even necessary, because you know how to honor your deeper once with food and your body. And just to highlight the main point of what I’m saying here, I’ll use a general perspective of what this can look like for my clients.
As an example, generally, when a client enters my practice, they define self accountability as eating the right things and doing what they should be doing to eat healthy and lose weight. How they leave. My practice is defining self-accountability as making food decisions and creating results only based on what they want, what they know they need and what their preferences are. They learn how to create the results they want by honoring themselves and their integrity and the manner in which they want to create.
That result. Your experience of self accountability cannot be harsh or rigid because it will not be sustainable. And did you know that it’s actually a tactic and a non-negotiable that you enjoy your journey to healthy eating and getting the results with your body that you want. It is necessary because how you create a result is how you will keep it. If you create an experience of healthy eating or weight loss through restriction and a rigid approach, that’s, what’s going to be necessary to maintain those results you create.
If you create an experience of healthy eating through self trust, honoring your own wants and needs and enjoying the process, that is how you will keep it. So I described two extremes here, the definition of self accountability, that’s more rigid and restrictive, and the definition of self accountability. That’s freeing where there’s no rules. And it’s all about honoring your deeper wants with food.
The purpose of this episode, isn’t to convince you of my definition of self accountability. And it’s not to brainwash you out of the rigid approach, although, Hey, if that works, maybe it’s for the best. You tell me a point of this episode is just for you to see what’s possible. Try on this concept, peak in that doorway. See what possibility you can find, try on the truth that you can have an experience of being accountable to yourself, that partners with the experience of healthy eating that you actually want to have.
All right, thanks for being here today. I hope you have a lovely rest of your week. Take care, 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.