Self-love is a non-negotiable for you to reach your food and body goals. But, how are you currently defining self-love?
Do you define self-love as being a heightened experience of your body that feels motivating and positive?
Or, are do you define self-love as unconditional, where you love and appreciate your body – no matter what?
In this episode, I’m talking about self-love and how most people are defining it in a way that doesn’t serve them or their goals.
I’ll walk through the wrong way to define self-love and the right way to define self-love that will inevitably lead you towards the results with food and body that you want.
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. So before I get into today’s episode, today’s teachings, today’s ranch, whatever it ends up being today, I want to check in with all of you. And I noticed that this podcast is getting fairly close to 100 episodes, which absolutely blows my mind. I truly feel like for me, I was a completely different person starting this podcast nearly two years ago.
And it’s so crazy how much love and fulfillment I have from releasing this work to you all. And I’m so excited for what future episodes bring. And there has been so much growth in these episodes along the way. So I want to celebrate that, but I also wanted to check in because something has really been on my mind with the content and the concepts I released to you all.
And I really want to make sure that for those of you who are listening to this podcast and implementing the work, I teach you that you’re doing it in a safe way.
And what I mean by that is my content here on this podcast. It is a resource and it’s a damn good resource if I do say so myself, but it is not a rule book, my friend, and you do yourself a disservice. When you come into this work, believing I, or anyone outside of you knows better than you without question, right? So just a disclaimer, I’m obviously not referring to your medical doctor or any one of that sort.
I’m referring to this type of work, where I teach you concepts and tools, and then you can take them into your life and use them yourself. And really, I mentioned this a lot in this podcast, but we want you to build the self trust with food that you are the best expert. So when we go into work like this and we believe that I or someone else always knows better, then we really are coming from almost the diet mentality where we think that there is a right way and a wrong way.
And we go into it blindly believing that everything here is the right way. Now there’s going to be many of you who jive with all of the concepts I teach. And that’s great. That’s amazing. But for the vast majority of you, because we are all such individual and complex humans, there’s gonna be elements to this work that really work with you, and that are super helpful and align with your values. And there’s gonna be some that just don’t feel like they quite fit.
And that’s okay. I want you to go into this type of work with a stewardship with your knowingness and your nervous system. So you can go on about this journey with food, knowing that you are the best expert, because this lack of self trust that you may have is what needs healing. For those of us who have struggled with food in the past, where we think we don’t know the best answer, learning to eat healthy or even lose weight is an exploration process with yourself.
So you can find the answers you already have, and we want this podcast, or if you become my client, we want it all to be a safe container for you to take what serves you and leave what doesn’t. And what I find is that most of us, before we work through this, have a very unsafe relationship to disagreeing with things. So I get a fair amount of messages, cuz I’m in the online space.
It happens every so often where someone will tell me something in this work that they disagree with, which totally happens. And they’ll say that does not work for me. That is not something I want to do. It’s not something I want to believe. And they say it in a very defensive way, which makes sense. And we wanna understand where this comes from. We have this unsafety in our nervous system when we disagree with someone and the danger in this, especially with this type of work is we’ll put up defenses to all of it.
So then we’re not looking for what we do agree with, right? And so really this is what I encourage with all of you who listen to this podcast and gain value from it. Or if you are a new listener, this is great because this is how I want you to go about this work. It’s safe to disagree with things you learn here, take what serves you in this content, throw the rest away without getting your nervous system to a place where it feels like it has to put the defenses up. No defenses are necessary in my space.
You are safe to disagree. And then I recommend taking a break from what creates resistance and then maybe checking back. This happens a lot with my clients. There’s some things that occasionally just don’t quite fit with where they’re at in their journey, their progress. And so we put it aside and then further on down the line, it applies and they can check back in with it, try it on again, but know that all of this work is here to work in collaboration with your knowingness and your wisdom not work against it.
We are not in the business of convincing you what’s right. And what’s wrong here. I’m in the business of teaching you that you are the best expert and the work here is meant to help you uncover what that is with food and body. All right. I hope that makes sense. And I hope that’s helpful regardless of whether it applies to you or not. All right, moving on. So today I want to talk about self-love redefined and for most of us, the concept of self-love won’t be anything new.
It’s a very popular topic in the self-help industry, but what I see and what I’ve noticed for years, coaching clients, coaching you all is that we tend to define self love in a way that just doesn’t serve us. And the lens through which we’re viewing self love through is unattainable. And it doesn’t partner with us on the way to the results we want with food and body.
So today I wanna talk about what I mean by that. And I’m going to pair this with what’s necessary with self-love to make permanent changes with food and body. So how I see self-love being defined the wrong way is I tend to see us in the beginning, define self love as this incredible, amazing, heightened feeling. And sometimes I poke fun at this.
It’s like we think one day we’ll look in the mirror in a swimsuit and we’ll think, Ooh, yes, 10 out of 10 looks amazing.
And here’s what I want you to know is that self love is not a heightened feeling in your body because heightened feelings in our body don’t produce the most stable of results if we’re acting from them, because I want you to picture emotions like excitement or infatuation when they’re living inside of your body, they’re positive emotions, but they’re not actually the most comfortable, right?
We tend to make very impulse decisions from these emotions. And so if we’re defining self-love in this way, and this is what we define it as then, it’s really not the experience we want to aim for in terms of making changes with food and body, because this is a heightened experience of it. And it’s more what I would term as infatuation or just excitement. Now self love also is not the feeling of feeling adequate or good enough, right?
So on the other hand, self-love we also cannot be defining it as how good or valuable or worthy we think we are. That’s also not self-love because your self worth has no finish line. There’s no tangible metric. You can possibly meet to think you are worthy or good enough. This will only ever be an opinion. So this is kind of the two ways I see self love being defined.
It’s either this heightened feeling of infatuation or it’s this feeling of being good enough and adequate. And it can’t be either of these things because if we’re defining self love in these ways, both of these definitions are conditional, right? As in once certain conditions are met with your body, once it’s at a certain size or metric or weight, then you have permission to love yourself, see how this works.
In the former example, once you are at a certain size or weight, then you can feel the heightened feeling of infatuation in your body or in the latter example, when you are a certain size or weight, then you can prove to yourself that you’re good enough that you’re worthy or that you’re adequate. And these are really unstable ways to define self love. And it will make your experience of trying to reach self love.
Feel impossible because the thing about defining self love in these terms is that bar will just keep going up and up and up, right?
This isn’t what love is and what will happen and happens. A good amount in my practice is my women will go through this process and lose the weight and they’ll realize that it was never about the weight. It was never about the circumstances of their body because changing the circumstances of their body. Doesn’t all of a sudden give you permission to love yourself in the ways I just described to you here.
It doesn’t just give you permission to feel infatuated with your body and excited about how it looks. It doesn’t give you permission to feel good enough or worthy or adequate. Those can only ever be opinions you have about yourself. And the circumstances of your body are completely neutral. How you think about them and your opinions of those circumstances are your thoughts. And so I want to look at self love a bit differently today because this isn’t what love is.
Those definitions are conditional and we don’t want to wait for you to meet certain conditions with your body to give yourself permission, to experience love with it, especially as women, because there’s a lot of changes. We go through with our body over the course of our lives, and we do not want to create a conditional shaky experience of self love based on how our body looks at any given point in time. This is such an unstable experience of being a woman with a body.
So love for your body is not conditional. And I wanna get a little deep for a second to really bring this point home and have you see this a bit differently because I want you to think about the person you love most in this world. I want you to observe that particular feeling. When you think about the love you have for this individual and just observe it in your body, does that feeling that you are experiencing match the experience of self love that you are chasing maybe, but I want to offer that for many of you, if you are like, I was probably not the feeling of self love that you are chasing is very conditional and very flighty perhaps.
And when you think about the love you have for the people we love in our lives, it feels more settled and grounded and safe. So let’s compare this to love with our bodies. Now, here’s what happens when we see self love, as conditional as in, we have to make the conditions of our body perfect in order for us to love it. What will happen when you’re making the stakes that high is you will go into perfectionism with healthy eating and weight loss, and you will hustle and rush your way to the results because here’s the thing y’all self love.
That basic emotion that is really grounded and safe in your body is a basic human need. It’s not frivolous. It’s not a lofty goal. It is a basic human need for us to feel like we can love ourselves and our current state. And so when we tell our brains that we have permission to do that when certain conditions are met, your primitive brain is going to want to rush there as quickly as possible for its survival.
Perfectionism will set in desperation will come up and you will feel the urge to hustle yourself to the results you want with your body in a way that dismisses your needs and punishes yourself to that finish line. And what this leaves you with is maybe you’ll get the results with your body that you want and you’ll experience the dopamine hits from that. But what happened is you were trying to achieve in internal self love by changing the external conditions with your body.
You’re trying to compensate for the lack of internal love. You have by changing something outside of you. And we can’t achieve true self love without cultivating self love from within in the process. So this will lead to self sabotage. It will lead to burnout, and then we’ll have a bigger self love void than we did when we started. And I want you to think back for you personally, because all of our experiences are individual to us and look a bit different.
Take a moment to consider how this cycle may show up for you in terms of how you are defining self love and how you may be trying to create that externally to compensate for the lack of it that you have internally. It’s more than, okay. I think this is where we all really, really start. It’s how we’re conditioned to see ourselves and this experience, but we just wanna lovingly look at that so we can see, okay, this makes sense because here’s what happens when we see self love as unconditional, kind of like how we think about love.
When we think about the individuals we love most in this world, when we love someone unconditionally, or we love ourselves unconditionally, we don’t wait for the perfect conditions to start loving ourselves. We don’t wait for ourselves to meet the mark. We don’t wait for ourselves to hit the goal.
We don’t wait for ourselves to look a certain way in the mirror. It’s unconditional. It’s not a transaction, right? There’s no metrics or measures that we need to reach before. We have permission to feel this way about ourselves. And when this is the case, when we can cultivate this unconditional love, this means we start treating ourselves differently. So we start caring about our needs and we start meeting those needs, caring for ourselves, parenting ourselves, checking in with ourselves along the way towards the results we want, because here’s the thing.
It’s a lot harder to be an as to ourselves.
You would work in partnership with them and support them. And it wouldn’t take a lot of effort on your part because it just is based on the unconditional love that you have for that person. So I just want us to think about this for ourselves. When we want to make changes with food and body, you will have to learn to unconditionally, love yourself to the changes with food and body that you want to make.
Now, I understand that for many of you, this is going to be a bit confusing at first because right, you’re defining self-love in the wrong way. You’re setting the bar too high. And remember self-love is an infatuation with yourself or obsession. It doesn’t mean you remove yourself from the human experiences and never have insecurities or doubts. It’s unconditional love. We’re reaching that neutral, grounded feeling that stands the test of time, where you’re positive that the love will exist no matter what, whether you’re having a good day with your body or you’re having a bad day with your body.
This isn’t as lofty as a goal as the self love that you think needs to be created. Does that make sense? The bar is just being set too high. The goal is not to take you to this elevated sense of self love that you have to work hard to maintain. We want to create that neutral, grounded feeling that feels stable and safe, no matter what the circumstances of your body are. So how do you approach the changes you want to make with food and body differently?
If you access that unconditional love feeling now, and if this still feels inaccessible, I want you to think of maybe your child or your best friend, maybe your partner, significant other, maybe even a parent, how would you speak to them along their journey towards healthier habits? How would you help them meet their needs when they’re growing and going through the hard things, think about it.
Think how differently you would show up in that scenario versus how you may be showing up with yourself now. And I actually also really like to picture a plant when I’m walking through this example. So I have plants in my home. I love them. I don’t have the greenest thumb, but I’m always learning. And ironically, I actually got into plants when I was doing the work I’m sharing with you here.
So when I was learning how to properly care for myself and love myself, unconditionally plants ended up being the perfect reminder for me day to day. And sometimes what I think about is when we’re trying to create self love, conditionally, it’s like watching a plant constantly and impatiently waiting for it to grow. And when it takes too long to grow in our minds, we yell at it
We neglect it because our love towards that plant was always conditional, right? It was based on how quickly it would give us the result we wanted, which in this case is for it to grow. So we try and punish that plant to the growth. We want to see where it’s this toxic transaction rather than a prosperous relationship. And I know I’m talking about a plant guys
Loving the plant unconditionally is understanding that for the plant to grow and flourish, we must help it reach its needs. Of course, we must water it, place it in the right light. Have you heard that talking to your plants helps them grow? So I have
It’s not a transactional relationship where you give it a certain amount of care than expect more in return in a very expected way.
No, you work in partnership with it. And the most important part of this is that you end up seeing beauty and appreciation in all of the phases of the plant’s growth. As a plant owner, I love watching a plant grow from nothing to a fully grown beauty of a plant. The entire process is enjoyable to me. I love problem solving what the plant needs and how I can become more experienced at helping it grow.
All right? I think plant analogy is over, but
So it can thrive. You are the plant owner and the plant, and to create permanent changes with food and body, the same concept is required. There. You must learn to be in partnership with yourself, to the changes you want to make. You must learn how to meet your personal needs rather than reject them. You must find wisdom and enjoyment in every small stage of that growing process and unconditional self love that more grounded, neutral feeling that is unshakable is what will take you through that process.
And it’s not as lofty of a goal as conditional self love, which feels very heightened and dependent on the circumstances of your body. It’s very shallow and transactional picture how different this experience of food and body would be. If unconditional self love was the fuel of your actions. I want you to just play with this shift for now and observe where you’re at and what the next small step would be for you to start considering the unconditional self love.
Now that way the changes with food and body that you want to make will meet you at that place of self love. You are not going to have to compromise self love to get those results. All right. Thank you so much for being here with me today. I really hope you have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you in the next episode.
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.