There are many belief systems and practices around food that, as a society, we haven’t questioned.
This is one of the many ways I see my clients keeping them stuck in their old ways with food.
In today’s podcast episode, I’m introducing you to the things that you will most want to question when it comes to changing your eating habits.
This is the most important step to unlearning your old eating habits, so you can create healthy eating habits that feel natural to you.
Hello there! How are you doing this week? It’s the week before Christmas and I know that for many of you, for my clients, and for myself if I’m being honest, this time of the year can be a bit hectic and busy. Whether that’s finishing up work projects before you go on holiday break, or getting those last minute presents for your family and loved ones, no matter what it is — it’s no secret that, while the holidays are wonderful, it’s also one of the most stressful times of the year for many. And, if you’re feeling the holiday stress, just know you’re not alone. It’s totally valid that you feel this way during these circumstances and my advice is to just be as kind as possible to yourself this holiday season. Especially over the next week. Sure, we can expect some moments to feel a bit stressful. But I promise you, it will be a heck of a lot easier to get through if you’re being kind to yourself along the way. So, that means giving yourself compassion and understanding when it feels hard. You’ve got this. And, also if you’re feeling some anxiety about eating healthy during the holidays, or you’re afraid of losing control with food during the holidays, I encourage you to go back and listen to the episode Holiday Healthy Eating. So many of you were so thoughtful and reached out to me telling me how much that episode helped you, so if you haven’t yet, I really encourage you to listen to that episode if you want a useful pep talk from me before you dive into the holiday eating this week. Now, today, I want to talk about things we want to question with food. And, before I get into specifically what we want to question, I want to talk about how, as the humans in today’s society, we really don’t question things with food. And what I mean by this, is there’s a lot of belief systems and practices with food that we just see as normal. No one’s really questioning it. And, what I see for many of you and my clients especially, is we all start with generally the same belief systems around food. Things that just feel like facts. And there’s a number of beliefs around food that, if not questioned, will keep you stuck in your food struggles. So, I want to share a few of the most common things I see with my clients, in terms of their beliefs with food, that I encourage you to question. And, like everything else I talk about on this podcast, I also encourage you to keep an open mind here. I’m never in the business of convincing any of you of what to believe when it comes to healthy eating or changing your eating habits, but, what I can tell you, is that none of these beliefs will serve you with food. So, you don’t have to fully believe what I tell you here, but I can assure you that believing any of these things will make it harder for you to make the changes with food you want. Alright, that’s my little disclaimer. Let’s just get right into it. The first belief system I see that needs to be questioned is that “Eating healthy requires more effort or willpower”. Now, if you’ve been with me for some time, you know how I feel about this one. But, in case you’re new here, I’m going to break it down for you. Because this is the most common misconception in the health industry when it comes to eating healthy. By far. Without question, most of us will believe in the beginning that eating healthy requires more from us in some way. That it will require more effort, energy, discipline, grit, determination, commitment, willpower — all of the really fun things, right? We believe that eating healthy will require an emotional experience that feels very rigid and firm. And here’s why we believe this. This goes into the next belief that you’ll want to question with food. We believe eating healthy will require more from us, because we believe that to eat healthy and reach our ideal weight that we have to eat perfectly healthy. That we have to eat the right things. We really set us up for failure, don’t we? I think sometimes that’s the beauty of exploring this work here on the podcast, we can really clear up how ridiculous our beliefs about food are. We’re not ridiculous for them, because it’s what we were conditioned to believe. But no wonder we struggle, right? Let’s have our backs here. When we’re believing that eating healthy should require more from us, because to eat healthy we have to eat perfectly, we’re setting ourselves up for a really shitty experience of healthy eating. Truly. It’s the least fulfilling approach you can take. And, I’m so happy to tell you, it’s not true in the slightest. Eating healthy does not require more effort or willpower. Because why would it? If you’re forcing yourself to eat perfectly, yes that will never be sustainable. You’re going to have to force yourself to do that because it will be incredibly unfulfilling. But what if you could learn to eat healthy in a way that felt natural to you? Where you’re not forcing yourself to eat a certain way, but you’re able to discover how you want to be eating healthy long-term? So it feels like a fulfilling choice that you get to make? This is possible, my friends. This is exactly what my clients learn to do. That’s the result they’re able to create in my practice. But, to do that they start by unlearning the belief that eating healthy required perfection from them and that eating healthy required more from them. This is something you will have to be willing to question. Another thing to question with food is when you’re believing “I need to know what foods I should be eating”. Now, this is a loaded one, but most of us start here, right? We start by watching ourselves struggle with food, despite everything we’ve tried. We struggle to find control and we notice ourselves overeating and not getting the results with our bodies that we want. So, our brain tries to make sense of this and eventually determines that “We just must not know the right foods to eat”. And, this is so useful to know you guys, if you feel like you don’t know the solution to a problem you’re having, your brain will come up with one based on what it’s been taught. And what have diet programs and weight loss programs taught you? That the focus should be on the foods you’re eating. That what you eat will determine your results with your body. And what’s interesting is, this isn’t the case. Whaaaat? Hear me out. Listen. Because so many of you get stuck here. You all are hellbent on believing that you need to know the right foods to eat and that this is the problem. This is not the case. This is a belief system. You know how we know? Because most of you will already have an idea of the food choices you want to make. I know you’ve spent time creating those meal plans and food plans that you had every intention of following through with, and then it didn’t work out. You end up falling off track. But we’re still convinced we don’t know the right foods. This is just what diet culture teaches us. Those are the solutions they sell us. They sell us the meal plans and diet regimens. The struggle you’re experiencing isn’t not knowing the right foods, it’s feeling like you don’t have control of making those food decisions. It’s overeating the foods, it’s unconsciously eating throughout the day, it’s the unplanned binge episodes when you get home from work. I’ve been there, it’s okay. But I want to offer that you really walk through this belief in your mind and question the heck out of it. It was never about the foods. Women lose weight and achieve better health in my practice without ever changing the foods. They just get to eat what they want, because they learn how to create control with all foods. When you create that control? What you eat just gets to be your decision. There’s no right foods or wrong foods. There’s just the foods you decide to eat based on what you know your body needs from you. Which is something you can learn from your body. There’s also the foods you decide to eat because you want to enjoy them, not from a place of urgency to fill up with them, but just because you think they taste really good. You’re allowed to eat foods you enjoy, ya’ll. You can still get the results you want and enjoy the foods you love. I should do a sister episode to this where I talk about the little-known truths with food that no one tells us. Maybe I will. But, that’s another belief system to question, that there are right foods and wrong foods. There are so many things to question you guys, I’m kind of skipping around a bit here. We could be here all day if I wanted to. But let’s just get into the next one I see very, very often. It’s the belief that “X foods are bad for you”. So it doesn’t matter what the food is, you just believe it’s bad and you shouldn’t be eating it. Now, we can acknowledge that certain foods are less nutritionally valuable than others. Of course that’s the case. That’s no secret. But that’s not what most of us mean when we’re believing that certain foods are bad. We add this moral weight to that. As in, if we eat those foods then we’ll believe that we’re bad for doing so. And food should never be a moral dilemma. That’s where a lot of suffering comes in for so many of my clients in the beginning. Their eating habits are very personal, and this just can happen when we’re women who are brought up in diet culture where we’re set up for failure. We’re taught that eating certain foods is bad. Which can’t possibly be the case. No matter which food you eat, it will never be a moral decision. Now, on top of that, we also want to question whether foods are literally “bad for you”. Once again, we can acknowledge that certain foods are much less nutritionally valuable or maybe they don’t hold any nutritional value, right? But what’s interesting is that what we tend to believe is that this means we can’t or shouldn’t eat any of those foods at all. For instance, sugar is a very common one I see. It’s definitely the most common thing I hear from clients and they’ll say “Sugar is bad for me” like it’s just the facts of the universe. This wouldn’t be a problem is these same clients didn’t want to eat cake at their daughter’s wedding, or if they didn’t want to enjoy the holiday desserts, right? They want to eat sugary foods in their lifetime. Which creates a bit of a problem when they’re having the belief that “Sugar is bad”. Here’s what we don’t question enough. I can tell you, working with hundreds of women over the years, watching eating habits in all of the humans, that sugar is rarely bad, unless you’re overeating the sugar. And this can be applied to any food that you perceive as bad. Too much of anything is unhealthy for you. That’s without question. But chances are, for most of you, it’s not sugar, or other foods that are the problem for you and that are causing you to gain weight or feel unhealthy. It’s overeating those foods and that is something you can solve for without ever having to get rid of those foods permanently. See what I’m getting at here? It’s really the idea that the foods are not the problem. You just need to learn how to harness control with those foods. The next belief I encourage you to question is something I see very commonly, which is “I need a food plan to stay on track”. In other words, many of you will believe that a food plan or meal plan is responsible for the eating decisions you make, and that if you do not have one, your day will be a mess with food. That everything will fall apart and you’ll completely self-sabotage and overeat yourself into oblivion, right? We’ve all kind of thought this at one point. We give food plans or meal plans all of the power and credit. Like, they’re the holy grail. Sidenote, this is why so many of you will also be obsessed with finding the right food plan or diet, because in your mind, this is where the control is. It’s where the power over your eating choices is. And it’s not. We know this, because all of us have tried to forever follow through with those food plans and it doesn’t work long-term. So, then with this belief system, you’ll think, “Well, I need to find the right food plan, because that must have been the problem”. No. You do not need a food plan and, just to be clear, in my practice I do offer teachings on how to create personal food plans that make sense for you if that’s your jam, but it’s never necessary to eat naturally healthy. Which is what most of my clients want. They want to eat healthy and reach their ideal weight in a way where they don’t have to micromanage it. The big reason we have to question this, is because we’re not giving enough credit to how your human body was designed. Everything about your human body was designed to keep you alive and healthy. Everything. That’s it’s job. So, it has everything it needs to give you the healthy eating answers. It has everything it needs to reach your ideal weight without effort. You don’t need anything external to do that. You don’t need to micromanage your eating habits with a food plan. I always joke about this, but do you think that in caveman times that they were relying on food plans to stay alive and get the food they needed? No. They listened to their bodies. It wasn’t even a question. In fact, food planning, the belief that this is even necessary, is fairly recent in human times. It began with the diet industry. The diet industry created this rigid, restrictive relationship with food that affect our mindset. So now, we think that to eat healthy it has to look rigid and forced. It was never the case. To eat healthy naturally, you just need to learn to manage your mind and emotions, to listen to your natural body cues and get in tune with them, and then to build that trust that you have everything you need. A food plan is optional. It always was. That’s not where control is created. This is one of those rant episodes I feel. Where I start off with a structure of what I want to talk about and then it just kind of turns into a rant. But, it’s fine. Sometimes those are necessary. Another belief I want you all to question, is the belief that “You need more of something external to eat healthy and have control with food”. So, for most of us that will mean believing we need more time, energy, knowledge, etc. We’re believing we need more of something external to control our eating decisions. And, I want to be clear what I mean by this. I’m not referring to those of you who are taking action on your food struggles and solving for the root of the problem, from that place of full responsibility. So, these are the women who join my program and they’re ready to be 100% responsible for their results with food and they’re ready for the process that will show them how to do that. So, they’re not looking to blame external factors for their eating decisions any more. They’re ready to be accountable to themselves and take responsibility. Versus the energy, that I think most of us start with at some point, where we’re not really taking responsibility for any of it, right? We’re blaming our eating habits on not having enough of something outside of us. And we don’t do this consciously. This is what our survival brains do. They love to blame. But blaming in this way will keep you stuck so you want to question it. Your eating habits aren’t the result of not having enough time, knowledge, energy – anything outside of you. Believing so, will keep you stuck in feeling like a victim of your eating habits. How you’ll know if you’re stuck here is if you have a convincing story as to why you’re not responsible for your eating decisions now. I had all of these stories in the past. I had stories as to why I didn’t have enough free time, money, knowledge, energy, support from others – I have been there. Trust me. But eventually to move forward, it required me to question all of it and see where I was keeping myself stuck. I needed to notice how these were just stories my brain created to transfer responsibility for the way I ate. And that’s really the difference in my practice, I truly believe this, that the difference is that I teach you exactly how to be responsible for all of your eating decisions. I teach you how to be accountable to yourself and build that self-trust so you become your own best expert. I’m not giving you the magical solution that comes from outside of yourself, so you’re feeling like you’re always depending on something outside of you to have control with food. Control with food comes within you. You have the tools, I just teach you all how to read that manual so you forever know how to harness that control. Make sense? Alright, as I mentioned, we could talk about this all day. There really are a number of things you’ll want to question with food, and if you’re my client you’ll know that during our time together, we’re determining what beliefs you have around food that you’ll need to question to move forward. This is the very first step. So, have fun with it, start questioning everything you believe about your eating habits, about the goals you have with food, and that’s when the magic can really start to happen. Alright, my friends. I hope you have a lovely holiday week for those of you celebrating 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.