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The journey towards mindful eating mastery is fairly simple.
It’s based on the idea that you learn to eat as nature intended.
By forming an in-tune relationship with your mind and body so you can eat healthfully, while still enjoying indulgences from time to time.
In other words, it’s when eating feels really, really easy.
You’re able to genuinely enjoy foods while also obtaining the results you want with your body.
Doesn’t sound too shabby, right?
The good news is that this process is fairly simple.
I take my clients through a no-frills methodology to get them this result for themselves.
So, why can’t everyone do this effortlessly?
What goes wrong?
It’s because many women (including those I work with) have massive amounts of food fear.
They’re afraid to eat mindfully.
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Almost every dieter who seeks my help has an underlying fear of food freedom.
Meaning, they have their walls up when it comes to eating whatever they want.
For them, to allow themselves to eat mindfully sparks up feelings of distrust.
They think they’ll fall off the deep end if they aren’t forced to eat healthy under restrictive rules.
And who can blame them?
Diet culture has taught us that we need to follow restrictive eating patterns to get the body we want.
We’re not conditioned to believe as a society that eating can be easy!
And the truth is, to truly master mindful eating, where eating healthy becomes effortless…
…you’ll need to release any food fear and give yourself permission to eat whatever you like.
Now, this isn’t to say that you lose all inhibitions and start eating everything in sight unconsciously.
It means, you legalize food in its entirety.
By giving up the power that food has over you.
You kick the black and white thinking to the curb.
Where you no longer identify foods as good or bad.
Healthy or unhealthy.
Right or wrong.
Food just is.
There are clear indicators as to whether a person is afraid to eat mindfully.
And to trust their bodies to tell them what to eat.
This is when they’re afraid to let go of the reins and “lose control” with food.
Here are common fears that are reflective of food fear.
This is a common fear that gets to the core of the issue at hand.
The person with this fear doesn’t have faith that the process of eating mindfully will work for them.
They think if they lose control that they’ll end up in a worse place than before.
And this fear paralyzes them.
The truth is, when you lack trust in your body to tell you what she needs to eat, you lack the ability to eat mindfully.
Once again, this isn’t the fault of the women I work with.
They’ve been raised with the diet mentality their whole lives!
They have the mindset that food or their bodies can’t be trusted when it comes to making healthy choices.
And having a trusting relationship with one’s body is the most pivotal step to eating mindfully and forming effortless healthy eating habits.
Another common fear that rears its ugly head when beginning the mindful eating process.
When we’re under a diet mentality, we are trained to believe that certain foods are “good” or “bad”.
Which turns the act of eating into a moral dilemma.
If we eat healthy foods we give ourselves a pat on the back.
If we indulge in something unhealthy, we feel a shame and a lack of trust in ourselves.
Which gives us the impression that certain foods are forbidden.
And when anything is forbidden, we crave it more.
Which is why, if you’ve ever restricted food, you might find yourself having a binge episode with the forbidden food item.
This gives you the impression that when you allow yourself to have the “forbidden foods” that you’ll never stop eating them.
It’s not your body that you need to distrust.
It’s the restrictive dieting process that gives you feelings of deprivation that cause you to overeat.
As humans we want to believe what we think about ourselves.
It’s the way our brains are designed.
This is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
No matter how negative our assumptions are about ourselves, our brains desire to be proven right about them.
Which means, when you continue to believe fear-based thoughts such as, “I’m addicted to sweets”, “I eat too many carbs”, or “sugar causes me to overeat”, you will prove these thoughts true through your actions.
When you let your thoughts run on autopilot, your eating actions will as well.
It’s crucial that we’re intentional about the thoughts we’re thinking about food.
As mentioned, the diet mentality will cause you to believe that when you eat “forbidden foods”, you’ll never be able to stop.
And no wonder we think this!
When you’ve placed restrictive food rules on yourself for so long, of course you think you’ll want to eat those forbidden foods for the rest of your life.
Because you’ve been depriving yourself of them.
And, sure, you will likely crave some of those indulgences when you first give yourself permission to eat.
But, over time you will cultivate a trusting relationship with your mind and body by releasing food fear.
And you will begin to crave more nutritious, healthy food options over time.
It’s not uncommon for women to believe that the mindful eating process “just won’t work for them”.
They believe they’re too far gone with their unhealthy eating patterns.
That when they gave themselves permission to eat anything, they only ended up in a worse place than before.
The reason why these women failed to eat mindfully long-term isn’t because they gave themselves permission to eat.
It’s because they didn’t really give themselves permission.
They gave themselves permission to eat, without first fixing their eating mindset.
The restrictive dieting mentality still controlled the situation.
Which means they still had feelings of guilt and remorse when they ate foods that they deemed as unhealthy.
If the diet mentality isn’t handled first, you will always continue to pick up healthy eating habits and put them right back down.
You know you’ve mastered the mindful eating process when food no longer has power over you.
In fact, the women I work with barely think about food by the end of our time together.
They’ve developed such a trusting relationship with their bodies that they don’t feel the need to obsess over their next meal.
Or rely on a diet program to tell them what to eat.
They gain the results they want with their bodies by giving themselves permission to eat whatever they want at any given moment.
And not in an unconscious manner, but with pure intention and love for their bodies.
They’ve achieved real food freedom.
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Well, it’s possible for you.
If you’re deep in the food fear trenches, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
Almost every woman has experienced this at one time or another.
The good news?
No matter how much food fear you’ve packed on over the years, you’re always capable of healing your relationship with food and body.
So, you can eat healthy effortlessly and gain the results you want.
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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 place. You can read my full story here.