To solve our food and body struggles permanently we must be willing to tolerate uncertainty.
As the humans, we always want to feel certain. This is a useful survival mechanism from our brain to avoid danger. It’s not so useful when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight.
Because certainty leaves only two options: the right way and the wrong way to eat healthy.
What uncertainty with healthy eating leaves room for? Finding your way.
This is the manner of healthy eating that you design by choice. Where you give yourself permission to figure out what works for you and doesn’t work for you. To eat healthy naturally, you will need to embrace uncertainty, rather than avoid it. You will need to embrace what you don’t already know about yourself.
In this episode, I’m sharing how to know when you’re uncertain and when it will be necessary to tolerate uncertainty in your food and weight loss journey.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast this week. I’m so happy you are here. Today I want to touch on the topic of uncertainty, and this is something that in your journey to healthy eating and weight loss will come up for you because it is a process to getting those results you want. And with my clients’ uncertainty is guaranteed. It will come up in their journey and it is always a focus of mine to make sure they are well equipped to handle that uncertainty when it comes up for them.
So I wanted to create a resource for you to use reference and come back to when you find uncertainty coming up in your journey to healthy eating and weight loss. So the first thing to know about uncertainty is that it is an emotion and it’s an emotion we feel when we think thoughts like, I don’t know or I don’t have the answer.
As humans with a survival brain that wants to keep us alive and anticipate danger, we hate the feeling of uncertainty, we absolutely hate it. Most of us will have a very low tolerance for it, which can come in conflict on your journey to becoming a naturally healthy eater because the facts are in this type of journey and process. You won’t know all of the answers or be able to anticipate every event that happens along your journey in the beginning.
You don’t have to become someone who is indifferent to uncertainty, but we all want to be able to tolerate it without reacting to it in our journey. So I want to talk about uncertainty, how you can begin tolerating it so you can make the changes with food and body that you want. And here’s a concept I want you to consider when it comes to uncertainty.
This is exactly why uncertainty matters because it’s going to produce discomfort for you, but it’s also incredibly useful for you to become a naturally healthy eater. And what we have to keep in mind is that with the presence of uncertainty comes infinite possibility. So in other words, infinite possibility cannot exist without uncertainty. So I want you to consider that concept and I’m going to break down what this has to do with healthy eating.
But infinite possibility coexist with uncertainty. And when you’re building your version of healthy eating and your version of permanent weight loss, you want to have infinite possibility with that process. And as mentioned as humans, we always want to feel certain no matter what. So you’re going to notice that likely uncertainty will feel very uncomfortable regardless of the circumstances that are occurring.
So it can be as big as you not knowing if you’ll survive something truly, or it can be as small as you not knowing the quickest way to get to a destination as you are driving.
Sometimes it’s not knowing which meal you’ll enjoy more at a restaurant when you order it. Uncertainty in terms of severity exists on a spectrum, but I want you to know that no matter how big or small the circumstances, it’s going to feel uncomfortable in your body because feeling certain is a survival mechanism from your brain to avoid danger. It’s very primitive, even if it’s just you not knowing which meal at a restaurant will be enjoyable, that moment of indecision and uncertainty will compel you to escape that feeling.
This intolerance we have to uncertainty is incredibly effective. If we were still cave women trying to escape a predator in the wild or gather resources for the tribe, in those times you never wanted to feel uncertain because that legitimately would mean something has gone wrong or danger is occurring. And it’s so important truly that we understand that we have relatively the same brain now that we did back then, which means most of the threats that your brain offers, you are perceived threats.
They are not real threats. And because of this, if we want to achieve our goals and live deliberately, we need to develop a tolerance for the feeling of uncertainty when it comes up in our body. I personally love the not being able to decide what meal you’ll choose off the menu example when it comes to this, when it comes to uncertainty, and some of you may relate because I used to have a really big problem with this and I sometimes still do if if I’m being honest.
But the moment I see a list of options on a menu, I can feel the uncertainty come up in my body and it’s simply because I’m having the thought. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know if I’m going to like what I order. What if I make the wrong decision? Now, of course, logically I know I’m not in harm’s way.
I know I’m not going to die from this experience, but because of the I don’t know thoughts, my brain is creating this fight or flight response in my body as a reaction from this perceiving dangerous situation. I’m in my brain at this moment to escape uncertainty, likes to respond in two ways. I either quickly make a decision on the meal without any intention or deliberateness at all. So it feels like an effort moment where I’m just throwing spaghetti at the wall.
Or what I do is I take a very, very, very long time to make a decision. And this is what happens most often, which is just me sitting in that indecision. And this is so important to know if this happens for you, when you are sitting in indecision in any capacity, you’re not really taking longer to make a decision analytically, even though this is how it presents, what happens is you are resisting the feeling of uncertainty.
You’re resisting the worst case scenario that you perceive, which in this case may be ordering the wrong thing and regretting the meal that you did order. I find this is so relatable to many of you. These are the dinners where the server comes by like four times and as if I’m ready, I’ve gotten a lot better y’all. This is not the case anymore most of the time. But if this example does not relate to you, just consider an area of your life where the danger realistically is very low, but your brain perceives it as quite high.
And so you feel highly uncertain and uncomfortable where you then feel compelled to make unintentional quick decisions or sit in in indecision for a long time, all to avoid the discomfort of uncertainty. So I wanted to offer you this and just touch on the nature of uncertainty for a moment here to give you an idea of what to expect from it in your day to day life.
The big takeaway so far is that uncertainty is a feeling caused by your thoughts and your brain feels attached to this emotion to prevent harm from perceived dangers. So your brain sees uncertainty as very, very useful to avoid you entering harms way, but most of our dangers are perceived. So we want to address these thoughts and address these feelings in a useful way so you can move forward in your food and weight loss journey.
But now I want to get into why uncertainty specifically is something you will need to tolerate when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight because you cannot remain attached to certainty and create change because certainty with healthy eating and weight loss only leaves two options the right way and the wrong way. So it leaves us with the options that there is a right way to eat healthy and lose weight, and that there is the wrong way to eat healthy and lose weight.
This means that you’re going to feel very attached to finding the certain right one specific formula for how you’ll eat healthy and lose weight for life. You will search endlessly for it. So you’ll try diets, weight loss programs, maybe you’ll apply to my program, but it’s not because you are focused on solving your food and body struggles for good, even though that’s what you want, right? Of course. But that’s not your brain’s primary focus here. Your brain’s primary focus is on feeling certain about your results.
So it doesn’t have to experience that uncertainty. See how that works? It’s with all of us. So I don’t want you to feel singled out or called out by this or even challenged by this. I just want you to see the possibility of how this could be coming up for you. This is where our brains will naturally go to without this awareness.
So it’s important we can acknowledge that. Of course, we know you want to remove your food and body struggles permanently. That is your goal. But where many of you are getting stuck is that you are so attached to certainty emotionally so you can feel comfortable. You’re very unwilling to feel uncertain and uncomfortable about your results, what your journey will look like, what the solution for you will end up being. So you seek to find solutions that you feel you can be certain about, which keeps you going back to these stricter more rigid approaches because in your mind, those are more guaranteed and certain even though they’re not, right.
We’ve all been on the more rigid approaches and diets and they never work out how we wanted, but it matches your definition of certainty. You want so badly to stay in that certainty because of course, uncertainty feels uncomfortable, and this is perfectly natural without this awareness, but with this awareness, you will need to decide to tolerate uncertainty, not suffer in it, but tolerate it because uncertainty will be present for you emotionally when you solve your food and body struggles permanently and become a naturally healthy eater.
Because here’s what that takes to become a naturally healthy eater. You go about your journey figuring out what works and doesn’t work for you. So you experiment and then you evaluate your progress. You create your own version of healthy eating and weight loss that matches your needs, your preferences, and your goals so you can maintain those changes permanently. Doing this all requires uncertainty. So this is because you are no longer delegating your progress to someone or something outside of you.
You no longer rely on a cookie cutter process to tell you the right way. What you are doing is finding your way, you create your right way knowing that there are a million options available to you. There is infinite possibility, but you’ll get to decide what works for you. So this is what my coaching practice and program emphasizes and teaches on. There is a method to doing this for yourself, but I want you to acknowledge how uncertain you would feel in this type of process.
And it doesn’t mean it’s not working and you are not moving forward or creating results. It means most of the time you will only know the very next step to take in your journey because it is a process of discovery and experimentation because how you build your version of healthy eating and weight loss is through that trial and error, experimentation and evaluation. Three steps forward, two steps back, right?
You implement and then you fail. And then you take that failure, you study it, and then you move forward with that information. I kind of think about it like moving through a mace and it’s dark and all you have is a flashlight. You can only ever see the next step in front of you, but you can navigate it and find your way, which of course this is going to feel uncertain. And I actually think this analogy is a little disturbing and scary, so don’t worry it’s not that bad.
But I want you to just use this visual to give you perspective. I want you to consider how you will understandably feel in the journey and process to naturally healthy eating. When it’s a process of trial and error and experimentation, you’re going to feel uncertain, and it doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. We don’t want to let that feeling impact the decisions you make in your progress. And here is the mindset switch I watch my clients make.
I think this can be helpful for all of you to know. So what happens is they apply to my program and they join, and in the beginning they see their eating habits, weight and self as a problem to be fixed, and they’re looking for the one right solution. So this is very much aligned with our diet mentality, right? We think there is just one right way, and they’re hoping that my process is it.
And honestly, most of the time my women have some doubts before joining because you’ll never know if a process is the right one before you do it. But here’s the mindset shift that actually occurs. They begin to realize that no right way exists. There is infinite possibility, there are infinite ways you can eat healthy, lose weight, and get those results. So what that means is they get to find their way, they get to build it, and my process just gives them the tools to build it their way themselves.
They are the creators, they are the artists, they are the scientists. So you can think about your relationship to uncertainty now. So consider what your relationship to uncertainty is like when you see your eating habits as needing to be fixed versus picture what your relationship to uncertainty would be like if you saw your eating habits as something to be designed, created, and built by you, based on what you prefer and what you need.
So how I say it is my clients learn how to be the best expert of their own eating habits, and sometimes there’s resistance in the beginning to doing this because of uncertainty, which is natural. They want to feel certain and they want someone or something to give them that validation so they don’t have to feel that way. I had a client ask me one time, she said, Is there any way you can give me an overview or syllabus of what my entire journey will look like?
Bless her. But I just looked at her because she knew the answer. , no, of course I can’t do that. I would happily do that if I could, my friends, I promise I’m not gate keeping anything here. I just know the truth, which is that to eat healthy naturally and solve for this permanently, you have to be willing to feel uncertain as you build your way.
What’s interesting about this client, and so many of my clients because they’re humans, is that she was already well on her way. She was creating results, she was transforming, and her brain still felt uncertain and unsafe just because we’re conditioned to believe that our eating habits aren’t to be designed by us, they are to be fixed by something external. We are conditioned to believe that uncertainty with our progress means something isn’t working or something has gone wrong.
So always remember that uncertainty will always be perceived danger when it comes to your healthy eating and weight loss journey. It’s not real danger. And a side note is that life is uncertain. We will never be certain of our future. So what I tell my clients as well is they want to be able to tolerate uncertainty on their way to weight loss. Because what will happen is if they lose the weight and they have no tolerance for uncertainty, they’re not gonna know what to do with it, and they will be in danger of gaining that weight back.
Because here’s the thing, we don’t know what the circumstances of our life food or our body will be 10 years from now, But if you can tolerate uncertainty and that feeling, you will be able to make deliberate decisions with food and body no matter what the circumstances are. That is control, that is power, that is the ability to create your results no matter what. And here’s what tolerating uncertainty leaves room for.
It really does leave room for finding your way, for finding your version of healthy eating that you want to partake in, in a way where you don’t have to harness willpower, discipline, any of it. It doesn’t have to feel forced. This allows you to create a manner of healthy eating that you design by choice, where you give yourself permission to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
You give yourself permission to be the scientist or artist and experiment. It gets to be a more interesting and enjoyable journey when you act from this place. When you take this approach, your decisions around food and weight are just based in what’s accessible and sustainable for you personally. So to eat healthy, naturally lose weight permanently, you will have to embrace uncertainty rather than avoid it because what your version of healthy eating will look like is uncertain right now.
You have not experimented or created it yet. The manner of what your weight loss will look like is uncertain right now, right? You haven’t experimented or created it yet with your body, but my friends, don’t let that stop you from getting in the ring where you actually create it from putting yourself in that intentional, deliberate space that requires you to experience uncertainty. But that’s okay because this is perceived danger.
My friends, embracing uncertainty with food and weight loss is just embracing what you don’t already know about yourself, what no one else has the power to know but you. It truly is just a process of exploration and partnering with yourself. So I also want to give you this example if it’s helpful for those of you who don’t know what coaching actually entails. So coaching how I describe it, it is a tool that provides you ultimate awareness and clarity.
So when you get coached, you will know where your blind spots are, how they’re showing up in your life, and how you can solve for them. In a sense, this does provide you more certainty in the beginning of the coaching, which is a welcomed relief when you’ve spent a long time struggling with food and body and not knowing why. So my clients always feel this relief in the beginning.
It is just a floodgate of relief when we start working together because now they see all of the pieces and they’re not confused, which is amazing. But then what can happen is that uncertainty starts coming back up because of course it does, and because the client knows what goals they have for themselves with food and body, but the path to it isn’t as certain or as clear as their brains would like, because the process is one of experimentation.
So we can acknowledge that the path to permanent healthy eating and weight loss is to learn to stop overeating and emotionally eating, to honor your body cues and to make clear food decisions. So even if we just highlight those skills, how each client builds that skill and gets there is going to be based on how their brain operates, their preferences, how they work. So the process really is one of experimentation, and the client needs to learn about themselves as an eater in their day to day life, what makes them tick with food.
They begin learning what their emotional needs are, what their body’s needs are, their food preferences, how their body responds with weight loss, et cetera, all of the things. And I think sometimes we forget that we are all very individual humans. We’re not replicas of each other. So in order to create permanent change in any area, we have to find our way and experiment with ourselves to get there. But that also means all of us will have to start with feeling uncertainty and having a tolerance for it without reacting to it.
When my clients do this, they build awareness by experimenting and evaluating. And what the coaching does is it helps them distill that information so then they can move forward with that knowledge and solve for it. And it also helps them digest and process the uncertainty so they can keep moving forwards. So with this episode, I know I offer you quite a few things here, but I want you to just start by considering your relationship to uncertainty.
So do you see uncertainty as a legitimate reason for making decisions or not making decisions? So not just with healthy eating and weight loss, but in your life, Are you like me and you find yourself being impulsive or indecisive with your decisions at the restaurant? How does the emotion of uncertainty compel you to act? And if you were willing to feel uncertain and that emotion wasn’t seen as something to be solved, how would that benefit your progress with food and body?
So just explore these questions and see what comes up that is of value to you. If you find yourself feeling really uncertain, because you will as a human, just know I have so much compassion and love, and you have full permission to come back to this episode to get a little pep talk or to check in with yourself and see what’s coming up. All right, my friends, I hope this was helpful. Have a fantastic rest of your week 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.