What comes to mind when you think about right foods vs. wrong foods?
I used to believe that I was a better person for eating foods that I considered “right”.
And, that I was a lesser person for eating foods that I considered “wrong”.
My beliefs about “the right foods” caused food to become a moral dilemma in my life.
I added heaviness and drama to every eating decision I made.
Can you relate?
In today’s episode, I’m teaching you how to separate fact from belief when it comes to “eating the right foods”. Along with how you can take ownership of what foods are right for you.
Because there are no right or wrong foods.
There’s only the eating choices you make as the expert of your own body.
Hello there, my dear friend. Welcome back to the podcast this week. Today, we’re going to talk about the right foods. And what thinking about food, in terms of there being right foods and wrong foods is actually doing to your mindset when it comes to eating healthier. And if this is the first podcast episode you’re listening to, first of all, welcome. I’m so incredibly happy you’re here. But this episode may be a little different than what you were expecting. I laughed a bit when I was naming this podcast episode. And part of me knew that anyone who found me from this episode would likely be looking for a podcast telling them what the right foods are. Or, in other words, the super secret formula of food rules that they’ll finally be able to stick to to lose the weight and get the results they want. And, if this is you and you happen to be a new podcast listener and this is the first episode you’ve listened to and this is why you clicked on this podcast, I want you to stick with me for a little bit. Because this episode will be super, super valuable to you. And, for the record, we all know I like to talk about how much of a mess with food I was in the past, and it’s no different here. I used to be an avid podcast listener when it came to healthy eating and health. Really, I was just an avid consumer of any content I could find that would give me any healthy eating answers. And this led me to feeling stuck much of the time since everything I was listening to, in terms of the right foods to eat, was conflicting information. I would hear more carbs were good and then read something else that told me carbs were bad. I would listen to something that told me dairy was beneficial for my health and then listen to something else that told me it was what was preventing me from getting results. So, it was a mind-numbing place to be in to say the least. I began to get really frustrated with all of the conflicting answers that were being presented to me. But what’s interesting, is my brain was still convinced that the right combination of healthy foods existed for me to get the results I want. As in, I truly believed that there was a specific meal plan or diet protocol that would magically give me everything I wanted with my body. It would cause me to shed fat and lose the pounds and then my life would forever be sunshine and rainbows. I would become this fit, confident being that I always wanted to be. And it sounds silly and I am kind of exaggerating a bit. But also, not really. I did subconsciously believe that once I found the right foods to eat then my results with my body would just magically happen. And this stemmed from a conditioned belief that there were “right foods” to get the results I wanted and “wrong foods”. So I was constantly scanning for information on what the right foods are that I should be eating and what the wrong foods are that I should avoid. And what I did when I created this belief over time, following diets and obsessing over meal plans, is I really just created a lot of drama around my eating habits. Over time, believing that there were foods that were right and foods that were wrong put this massive weight on every eating choice I made in my life. Because what happened when I ate foods that I perceived as being right? I associated a positive feeling with this. Because morally if I ate foods that were “right” I became “right” so to speak as an individual in that moment. I would feel adequate, worthy, capable – all of those things. Eating foods that I considered “the right foods” became almost a moral decision. Which means, when I ate foods that I perceived as being “wrong” a negative feeling would be associated with it. Because of what I made it mean about myself. Eating foods that I perceived as being wrong, caused me to feel shame, regret, incompetence, inadequacy – all of those really fun emotions right? And once again, it’s because I was making my eating choices this heavy, moral decision. I would feel like a better person when I ate good foods. And I would feel like a less capable person when I ate bad foods. Eating food really became this moral dilemma in my life. Now, as if that wasn’t bad enough, here’s where the suffering with food really came into play. I was attaching all of this emotion and weight to my eating choices when I saw them as good or bad. So, eating “good” foods or “the right foods” made me feel good about myself emotionally. And eating “bad” foods or “the wrong foods” caused me to feel negative about myself emotionally. And then from there, I also felt like I had no control over the foods I was putting into my mouth every single day. I was emotionally eating, overeating, just feeling totally out of control of all of it. My eating choices felt completely outside of me. So, not only was I creating this heavy relationship with food by classifying foods as right or wrong. But I felt out of control of making the food decisions that I felt were right. So, picture me, going through life constantly feeling like I was out of control of how I felt about myself. Because I felt out of control of making food decisions that I perceived as “right”. Hopefully you all are still with me here. I’m really trying to paint this picture. Basically, it was not a good time. And I can talk about this with a little bit of a lighter heart now. Because I’ve moved past this and done the work I teach. But this was one of the biggest struggles of my life. It really, really was. To feel this out of control with eating the right foods, made me feel out of control with the way I felt about myself. I was letting my eating choices determine how I felt about me. Which means I was feeling totally incapable, inadequate, and unworthy of the results I wanted with food and my body. And I felt this way for many years. If this is something you have experienced in the past, or maybe this is something you’re experiencing right now, know that you are not alone. I had this relationship with food and ultimately myself for a very long time. And almost every single client that comes into my practice, comes to me with this belief system. Where they believe there are right foods and wrong foods. And when they eat foods that they perceive to be right, then they have permission to feel like they’re worthy, and that they’re capable, and that they can get the results they want. I want to be clear. Whether you’re my client, or whether you listen to this podcast every week, I never want you to feel like your thoughts and feelings about yourself ever have to depend on the foods you put into your mouth this week. As in, I don’t care what eating choices you’ve made in the past. I don’t care if you’ve eaten an entire buffet for the last 10 years. You do not automatically get permission to see yourself as less than just because of any eating choices you’ve made in the past. The only thing that’s causing you to feel unworthy, incapable, doubtful of yourself, is what you’re making your past eating choices mean. And you don’t have to make it mean anything about you. I say this with so much love. And let’s be real. Your brain has a ton of evidence for believing “I can’t be trusted with food” or “I don’t know what’s wrong with me” or “I’m out of control with food”. Damn right your brain may have evidence for believing that about you. But your brain has just as much evidence for believing something different and having your own back. For example, I had those exact beliefs about myself in the past and then I realized I don’t have to keep believing that at all. Because I was punching myself in the face with those beliefs everyday. And if I’m punching myself in the face, I’m certainly not going to be able to make intentional eating choices with food. So, start gathering evidence to the opposite. How can you be trusted with food? How do we know that there’s nothing wrong with you? How do we know that you’re not really out of control with food? Because here’s the thing. You have just as much evidence that “something is wrong with you” as you have for “nothing is wrong you”. Evidence for both sides will always be available. It’s just what evidence you decide to look for. And if you’ve had the belief that there are right foods and wrong foods. You will have certain beliefs about yourself as an eater. You’ll think that because you’ve eaten a lot of perceived wrong foods that “something has gone wrong”. And I just want you to look for evidence of the opposite. Alright, moving on. It’s funny I feel like I go into these episodes with a plan of what I want to talk about, and then the first half is just me going on a rant. But many of you seem to like them, so I’ll just keep ranting when I feel like it’s necessary. But, with all of that being said, I now want you to really sit with yourself and observe what comes to mind when you think about eating right foods and eating wrong foods. Write down all of the thoughts that come to mind when you think about what foods are good and what foods are bad. So examples of things that come up for you when you think about eating right foods or wrong foods may be “Sugar is bad” or “Less carbs equals weight loss” or “You lose weight with less calories” or “Veggies are good” or “More fat is bad”. Consider what beliefs you have when it comes to the right foods. Now, some of you may be thinking, rightfully so, that “Kat. These aren’t beliefs. These are facts. I know it”. And I hear you. And the truth is, there are some things that come up for you that may be considered fact. They may be. But, that’s not the purpose of this. The purpose here isn’t to pick out the facts with food that are coming up for you, when you think about right foods and wrong foods. The purpose is to identify your food beliefs when it comes to right foods and wrong foods.. Because to you, right now, all of your food beliefs feel like fact. One hundred percent. The sky is blue is a fact. And to you, “Sugar is bad” may feel like a fact. You’re very certain about this. And we’re not even worried about whether it’s technically true or not. What matters is how this belief makes you feel. So, explain this further, I want you to consider things that are facts. Like we said, the sky is blue. We can all generally agree that this is a fact. Something else we can agree on, is because it’s a neutral fact, it doesn’t really bring up emotion. And it doesn’t really change the way we show up in our life. And this is how you know something is a fact or a circumstance. Everyone agrees, there are no conflicting opinions, and it’s neutral. It doesn’t bring up any emotions on it’s own. Now for many of you, you won’t be able to say the same when it comes to things like “Sugar is bad” or “Less carbs is healthier”. Things that feel like facts. Because some of these things that we’ve listed will bring up emotion for you. Consider what healthy eating facts you believe to be true. And then consider which of those brings up an emotion for you? So, I’ll share a personal example. In the past, I believed because of diet culture that more carbs were bad. And that you couldn’t lose weight on carbs. I considered this a fact. But, when I believed that, it caused me to feel overwhelmed and restricted. Because I happened to love carbs. It’s not something myself, or my body for that matter, wanted to give in life. So we could sit here and argue over whether “Carbs or bad” is a fact. Some of you may be like, “That is a fact”. But that really doesn’t matter here. What matters is it stopped being a fact and became a belief the moment it caused me to feel a certain way. The moment it caused me to experience overwhelm and doubt in my abilities to eat healthy. Because then with this thinking of “Carbs or bad” and with those emotions, I felt more compelled to overeat. Because these emotions were really uncomfortable and I was seeking comfort. If I saw “Carbs slow down weight loss” as a neutral fact, truly, it wouldn’t create this emotional response. But because I was believing “Carbs are bad”, I was creating this moral dilemma with it. Because I began to create beliefs about which foods are right and which foods are wrong. I made food emotional. I made my eating decisions mean something good or bad about myself. And when we make food emotional in this way, we affect our ability to use the decision making part of our brains. Which is where you make conscious eating decisions without drama. So, observe all of the facts you carry in your brain about what foods are good foods and the right foods. And be really honest with yourself. Which of those actually feel like neutral facts to you. And which of those is a belief that creates an emotional response that ultimately can sabotage your eating habits. Consider what thoughts you have about “the right foods” now. Are they facts or are they beliefs? How does each of them make you feel emotionally? And then I want you to consider, what would you have to believe about food instead to create an emotion that serves your eating habits. For example, I had the belief that “Carbs are bad”. This belief didn’t serve me whatsoever because of my emotional response to it. It made me feel totally overwhelmed and restricted. So I changed it. I now believe something along the lines of, “My body knows exactly how many carbs are enough for it”. Or something like that, right? My body always knows. One takes away my power and the other brings it back. And all of this is to say that there’s not right foods or wrong foods. There’s just food with varying levels of nutritional value. And then there’s our thoughts about it. And your thoughts about food will determine how you show up to your eating habits over time. Alright, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. And I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified 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.